Converting to Script 2 – Finding your voice
OK. So, I got my framework. I got an A-Z map of how to write this film in my 35 Steps. The only thing I don’t have is time. I’m sure it’s been said before, but time is like gold to a writer. It’s funny, even as I write this all that’s flashing before me is:
‘Shouldn’t you be writing the script instead?’
True. But actually this week has been productive because of one thing. I’ve found my voice. Now voice is the most important thing for a writer. Sure you can write the best medical drama ever, but if you know nothing about hospitals (unless you can get one to collaborate with) this will be an ugly mess. Of course as the writer of the original book it was quite easy to tap into the voice, however, the problem was how to present it. Now the problem with the book is that it is mostly a first person narrative. Though there is lots of character interaction, most of this is interrupted by inner thoughts. How do I approach that? Well, I had a number of options.
- The Voice Over.
- The Talk to the Camera.
- Ignore it Altogether.
- A mixture of 1 and 2.
I tried writing the first chapter (which you can read here… (link) cheap plug) first using Option 3. I tried to break it down into a normal scene. Go from A-B. But it didn’t work. And the reason was that by doing this I lost a lot of the dialogue that could not realistically be spoken, and I also lost a lot of the character. This way would also have a drastic knock-on effect on the rest of the book as it is almost 60-70% inner monologue.
Ok, how about Option 2.) ?
Well, the problem is twofold.
Firstly, the comparison with High Fidelity and others is too great in this mode.
Secondly, as these thoughts happen so frequently the talk to the camera would either have to be restricted and once again lose some of the character or be so frequent as to be distracting.
A mixture of 1 and 2 was a thought, but maybe a little odd to figure out which bits would be which.
Which leaves me with Option 1.
Voice over seems the best route. In fact, it’s perfect as reading the book back, I found an over exaggerated element to the book. Something which would be greatly improved by voice over and also flash cuts (Quick cuts from the real world to the imaginary and back). So that was decided. The voiceover would introduce the scene or ‘day’, comment on the background thoughts of Michael and the rest of the action would just play out around them.
Once you make any decision like this it’s best to stick to it. Sure you can change your mind, but when you’re fifty pages in and you decide it’s not right all you have is fifty pages of wasted time. As soon as I decided on that I had to stick to it. Those fans of Bladerunner, ignore that thought as obviously voice over/non-voice over is possibly the biggest debate that science fiction fans have. But late on Thursday I sat down, 33 Steps at hand and started writing. And then
BAM BAM BAM BAM
Four scenes were done? Four sections of my 33 steps were done! 12% of my film was done!
If I kept that pace up on a weekly basis, I’d be done in nine weeks. It was incredible, as soon as I had found my voice it just flowed from me, sweeping up the book in itself and transferring it.
It should be noted now that the chance of anyone completing a perfect script in less than three months is absurd. So I will assure you blog ten will probably be documenting my failure to keep up this pace or will be:
Rewrite Rewrite Rewrite… actually, it may just be that anyway.
Well, we shall see…