I have never written a screenplay before. This is going to be all new to me and I have to admit to being equal parts nervous, excited and confused. Not a new feeling in my life, but not my usual start to a TLC challenge.
I’ve written a few short plays that are basically sketches with pretensions, and a couple of books that can safely be classed as novellas. Never a screenplay.
I thought that screenplays were something that just happened by themselves, came into being with a golden shaft of light and some angelic ‘oooh’-ing… perhaps?
Whenever I would see or read that someone had written the screenplay for the film of a book, I couldn’t help but think…’well, the novelist did all the hard work for you’. For some reason plays and books felt like proper adulty writing, and screenplays were something anyone could do without much thought.
Of course my vanity is about to bite me in the backside big time!
Undoubtedly, like all of us, I’ve sat through examples of both bad and good screenwriting and never given it much thought. I remember reading somewhere that Harrison Ford told George Lucas, ‘You can type this s*** but you sure can’t say it’ in reference to the original Star Wars film. He wasn’t wrong. As a child of the 70’s I was obviously brought up on Star Wars, but even as a child I could tell there are some supremely cheesy lines in there.
A few months ago, I was desperate (or bored, or drunk, I forget which) and watched ‘Kong: Skull Island’. Don’t. There were lines in that movie that made me cringe, literally. At one point I even found myself muttering ‘give me a break’ and wondering how the lovely Tom Hiddleston managed to keep a straight face. When my favourite Avenger and an actor with 6 wins and 33 nominations to his name can’t make it sound convincing, you know you’ve gone horribly wrong somewhere.
But then you have the movies and TV shows that inspire us and make us laugh. The monologues and characters on the big and small screen which portray so beautifully our emotions and feelings, putting into words things we didn’t even know we felt.
This challenge will be a bit tricky for me, I think. It’s a departure from my comfort zone and I’ll need to take some chances and try out new things to make it work.
But then that’s what I love about doing these challenges in the first place. I get to triumph and overcome adversity, or crash and burn in epic failure… and everything in between. That’s half the fun. The other half is rewarding myself with chocolate when I submit.
Just remember, do, or do not… there is no try. I heard that in a film…