The Weekly Screen & Fiction Writers' Tips

Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Film… Movie! Movie… Film! It’s the same difference isn’t it?

In Screenwriting Tips & Advice, The Art of Writing, Writing Tips and Advice on 19/10/2014 at 15:16

moviemaking

OR…

FILMMAKING

Whatever…?

The written word versus the visual one?

Well…

both really

I write with a filmmaker’s eyes…

I film with a writer’s structured mind…

Do you see? Do you see?

I see… already!

Hello fellow scribblers, key strokers, filmmakers, scriptwriters, daily creatives etc., etc.

Please tell me life has been kind to you?

Tell me you have met with success no matter how small.

A lifetime or two hundred suns ago.

Oh please don’t exaggerate. Ok.

Right, some time ago, as you know. I made a conscious decision to tinker with scriptwriting. And in a short space of time, I wrote a radio play, a stage play, a two, two-hour film adaptation of one of my novels, a half-hour television script and a number of other film and television scripts. I felt totally satisfied and believed I found my creative niche at long last. Well, at long last was up to that time.

I still craved. Creative minds do that, they crave. Whatever they are doing their minds are craving, yearning. It’s an intellectual drug. They need new experiences, new subjects to learn, new people to meet, new places to visit, new food to taste and so on. Well, for me I wanted to develop my screenwriting to the next level.

And what for heaven’s sake would that be?

Well, I’m glad you asked me, my dear conscious self. It’s like this. I became frustrated trawling through the internet looking for photos of a look alike protagonist or antagonist or love interest for my next screenwriting saga that I can pin on my board, or impatient by writing a short character description before they enter the scene. I wanted the real thing. I wanted people, because in my head, my characters were alive. Their dramas were vivid. Where they lived was real and their emotions, painfully human. There seemed to be only one avenue open for me.

To film my own scripts. To learn filmmaking and its various facets. To spend my time filming, meeting other filmmakers, to watch films, to join filmmaking groups, read filmmaking books and magazines and so on. The last time I felt this thrilled and occupied was when I began to learn how to write. I had to learn a new skill with all its pains, and its ups and downs. Remember the time when your scripts were rejected time and time again. What did Oscar Wilde say? ‘I’ve received enough reject letters to wallpaper my bedroom.’ Ah, the joy of learning.

 

quiet please filming in progress

So guess what I did with my time over those sunlit days and moonlit nights in the last few months? Yup! I became a film apprentice. As I mentioned in my last blog I have amassed my learning equipment, travelled high and low, met a lot of inspirational people and created at first, some outrageously amateurish footage. But it was fun. I learned a lot and wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I filmed new angles with cheap home-made equipment. I had great fun coming up with new filming perspectives. But I was on the way to making my scripts become real. Currently, films similar to ‘The Blake Witch Project’ are masterpieces compared to what I still consider my mediocre efforts. But do you know what?

What?

They are my mediocre films. I am at that perfectionist stage when anything below that level is puerile, kindergarten output. But hey, I’ll get better. And in a coincidental way it has brought me back in touch with how I started as a writer, by writing short stories. I was quite surprised at that outcome. Now I have written several short scripts to create as my calling card. I have even dug up some of my old short stories – YES, NEVER THROW ANYTHING AWAY. As I said, I found these old short stories and am currently adapting them into film shorts.

Film festivals, have always got room for short films. And when I pondered some more about filmmaking, or moviemaking, making your own films is little different to a self-published book, although that is a lot cheaper to reproduce than a film. But the market to being noticed as a filmmaker is far broader than the one for books. You have festivals, the internet and television to spread your visual word.

Films, movies, a well-crafted script, short stories, documentaries, these are forms of expression. Of reaching out with a theme, a visual message. But isn’t that what fiction or non-fiction books, short fiction, articles and poetry is doing. I am still voicing my messages, but now I have increased my chances of being heard. It’s not about me wanting to become famous, far from it, it’s about increasing my audience.

 

lights camera action

 

It really is ‘Lights. Camera. Action.’ And do you know what? No matter how old I’ll get, I will always stop, assess and learn new ways to increase my audience, and my skills. I will never be happy with one medium and that has always been the case from the time I was able to hold a pencil and scribble some indecipherable something on a page and glow with pride, shouting ‘I did that. I did that.’

So until I meet with you again, just sit back and assess yourself and your skills and ask if you can go off into a new direction. And if you want to, then ask yourself what is stopping you and get rid of that hurdle, work your way around it, through it, underneath it, anything. JUST DO IT. Don’t just sit there and wish.

Well… until the next time we cross paths, love you and those around you. Listen, encourage and be patient with you and them. Remember, they will be the first ones there when you want your ass kicked, hand stroked and your cheek kissed.

Keep well. Remove your creative blocks. And be at peace.

Believe in you.

Nev

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Where have I been? You really don’t want to know…

In Authors and Books on 08/03/2014 at 14:32

missing link 2

OR

sorry to sound mysterious

BUT

sometimes, one loses time doing other things

AND

really I have no excuse

SO

let’s get on with the show…

What’s today’s philosophical question?

‘Do novelists remain novelists all their lives, or do they move to pastures new?’

AND

‘If they do remain novelists, then do they change genre?’

Hmmm… Interesting thought Watson. I just need to play a few notes and have a few smokes from my pipe. Well, I suppose you shouldn’t speak in general, but I’m sure that some novelists move on to new ways of expressing their creativity. It is very possible.

And so, Holmes it is possible to think, that some writers change their style.

Yes, yes, of course. One has to think of the story. Would it be better as a book, poem, film, short story, comic and so on. You cannot assume that because you are a novelist, and you have a story, then it must be suited to a novel. You can make it so, but perhaps it would lose the depth, the emotion, the characterisation.

Then it is settled Holmes. A novelist cannot remain a novelist.

Oh Watson, you are generalising again. How can that be? A novelist who wants to change their style need also consider whether they have the skills to do so. This isn’t some instant decision.

Yes, of course, skills, aptitude. It isn’t some area to rush into. That could lead to disaster. That could destroy your writing confidence, your voice, your creativity.

Absolutely Watson.

missing link 1

So then Holmes, what about genre?

What about genre?

Well, my initial question? Can a novelist change genres, or do they have to remain with the genre they know?

The answer is in your question Watson. You said, ‘with the genre they know’. To change one’s genre requires a tremendous effort. To write about a genre, you have to know the new genre, as well. To know the associated words and expressions, the characters’ mannerisms, speech, the way they dress, the background and so on. If you need to write about it, then you have to have almost lived it. Can a romantic novelist, suddenly become the writer of steam-punk detective novels? I hardly think so. I may be proved wrong here but I believe that you have to spend as much time reading that type of genre as reading romance.

Yes, you’re right Holmes. You can only write about something well if you are familiar with that topic. And write with the same skill set as other writers of that genre.

Bravo Watson. You have answered all your own questions. Excellent.

So, it’s goodbye from me until next week.

Have a positive productive week.

Love one another and be creative.

And this week I ask you to love yourselves.

Ta Ta.

EmotiCON = Emotionless, Emotionmore, Emotionwhere?

In Fiction Tips and Advice on 16/07/2013 at 13:46

sticker emotion images

Let me tell you a story ….

In a peaceful town called Heavennah, lived a quiet man with his obedient wife and their two ever, so well-behaved children, along with their silent, obedient Jack Russell. The town knew them as the Whisper family and they lived at the end of Troublefree Drive.

Nothing ever happened there, at the Whisper residence. In fact, the local police awarded the family year after year the Most Law-Abiding Citizens Award. None of the townsfolk complained, in fact, everyone sent the Whispers gifts and congratulations every time they were presented with the award.

Many times did their name arise at the townsfolk meeting, in the hope that either of the adult Whispers would accept the honorary position of Mayor. But Mr and Mrs Whisper were far too modest to accept and were Christian enough to suggest their neighbours.

Due to this endearing gesture, the Whispers were nominated for the Be Kind To Your Neighbour Award and won this every year as well. So famous were they to the town and the neighbouring towns, they had begun to attract the awards from other towns too. Everyone was so happy.

The Whispers, of course were in a permanent state of embarrassment. They won an award for that too – the most Modest Couple.

So, day after day, week after week and so on the Whisper life remained the same. There were no outbursts, arguments, disagreements with neighbours, bad school reports, theft, scandal not a hint of anything. Life was the same day after day for the Whispers and their relationship with their neighbours.

This won them the most prestigious prize of The Perfect Family.

If only everyone was like the Whispers, many of the townsfolk said. One even said so in the local newspaper. That nominated him for the newest prize of Kind Words Spoken but failed to win it, when the Whispers won it for inspiring the article. The writer was so pleased and wrote another article saying so.

Life was so content. Everyone was so content. And it continued like that for evermore.

The End.

YEAH RIGHT! What a boring story. And why is that?

Because nothing happens.

Fiction is about things happening, friction, conflict – EMOTION. Why would you want to read it? It’s too perfect. Too plastic, as Frank Zappa would say. What a dull life the Whispers lead.

Many years ago, in the Seventies, I had a spate of short stories accepted. They were the gentle stories some women’s magazines accepted that suited their client group – usually gentle granny type that loved a good wholesome story before her afternoon nap. But gentle as they loved it, it was killing me creatively. So I turned up the heat and began sending off more real situations, such as; life of a family when the husband/father is unemployed, race riots and the effects on others. how road accidents can affect families and so on. None were accepted. I still have one of the responses which said ‘their readers cannot face such scenarios. My writing is too vivid and will generate too much emotion in their readers.’

In other words, the editor (who lived next door to the Whispers) was worried their readers would have a heart attack. Family life, arguments, unemployment, crime, murders and so on have been around since humans have been here. So would anybody pick up a book, story, see a film, listen to the radio and so on if there was a lack of friction in fiction, conflict, emotion, va va boom. NO!

Now, fiction has turned. Now it’s forty to fifty years from my granny tales and we see friction everywhere because it’s real. Nowadays, it’s highly unlikely you will sell any work if it lacks conflict, some problem the hero or heroine has to solve and the friction the road to the solution offers.

So, you have a choice, you can either become a Whisper or you can yell it, shout it, tell it, argue it as realistically as possible. We have soaps to watch now and I guarantee that on EVERY episode, they argue, shout and become as emotional as possible.

Why, I believe they even argue on the Simpsons.

Now before I sign off for on this tale…I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to all my nearly 1000 followers on here and the hundreds on all my other sites too. You are a great bunch and for as long as you’re there, then I shall be here.

Take care and love each other.

Neville

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