Friday, March 27, 2015

Social interaction

Writing is the only time I feel safe
Writing is the only time I feel sane
I feel like I've come home when I write
I feel like I belong when I write

Every step away from writing makes me feel
And as odd man out. Out, out, out.

Every glitch in social interaction makes me want to flee
Every glitch in social interaction makes me want to hide
Social interaction is not personal
Social interaction is just me acting

I feel like I've come home when I write
I feel like I belong when I write
Writing is the only time I feel safe
Writing is the only time I feel sane

Image from Pintrest. Click on it for more info

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

GoKinema 2015 - A collection of links

GoKinema 2015, Open Set, Photo: Christian Holst

I just wanted to collect the different blog entries and articles about GoKinema 2015 and the movies made on my script "the Kill" on Open Set. Some written by me, some by others.

The original script "The Kill"

The article on Go Into The Story.

The article on Voodoo Film (in Swedish)

My blog entry about the event.

GoKinema's News entry.

Dick Pope visits Gothenburg (in Swedish).

An article on Imago.

Note on ISA.

Blog entry at Garn Creations (in Swedish)

"The Kill" on (film from day 1)

"The Pros" on (film from day 2)

Watch The Pros here

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Using Scrivener for writing screenplays

These days I try Scrivener for writing screenplays. No, I am not a friend of Final Draft. I have used it and liked it, but it was expensive and there were tools for free doing the same thing and more. So, I dived into Celtx. I enjoyed the desktop version of Celtx very much, but now they have gone online and what I liked with Celtx is no longer there.

When working on a screenplay, well any longer text really, you do a lot of things beside the actual final text. I do mindmaps, write about the characters, do loglines, synopsis, outlines and collects links, images, articles and other stuff. In desktop Celtx you could collect all these things in one project file, which for me was exactly what I needed. No more flipping between writing program and folders and browsers.

When Celtx went online all those things vanished in a smoke. Then I began my search for a new tool and found Scrivener. For some reason, I hadn’t thought about special programs for writing novels. I had always written these things in MS Word. First I transformed my current novel project into Scrivener and I became deeply in love. I read that the program had a rather big start-up time for a newbie, so I took my time and didn’t give up to figure things out, knowing that if it was such a good program as the reviewers said it would be, the things I wanted to do should be doable. And they were.

A few transformed writing projects later, I continued with trying its movie scripts functions. All the good things about Scrivener are still there of course. I can collect my files in one place, I can link to things, all the things I could do in Celtx, only better here. But, and this is a very large but, the screenplay exported out from Scrivener needs to be checked carefully and if it is a long script it will be difficult and tiresome to get it good. You see, the program has no clue to keep a character and the following dialog together in one piece. There are no functions for keeping one format together with the next. And delivering a file with the character’s name at the bottom of the page and the dialog on top of the next is not very impressive. On the contrary, it is what Noriaki Kano would call a unfulfilled basic requirement, and basic requirements are those that the customer expects to be there, which does not make the customer happy, but only unsatisfied if it is not there; like you expect a car to have four wheels. When it comes to writing movie scripts this car – Scrivener – misses a wheel.

I still use Scrivener for writing screenplays though. I like the rest of the program and after all there is hope that this glitch, this unfulfilled basic requirement, will be corrected in time. Otherwise I will have a boring and frustrated time adding an empty row here and there, which I can survive if it comes to that.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Writing lyrics

One and a half year ago I took a crash course in song-writing at Coursera, because I had been asked if I could write some lyrics. And, frankly, I hadn't a clue. Sure, I had written some funny, less serious stuff and improvised some horrible things, but nothing for real, meant to people to hear and enjoy in sober condition.

This was the first lyrics I wrote that I felt turned out well (it is not part of the project I had been asked to write lyrics to), getting the metrical line and feet right. First I thought it was just getting the same number of syllables in every line, but my mother quickly taught me the ideas about dactyls and iambs (like – υ υ). Then the first thing my mother says is "you can't sing words like 'soap bubbles'". I think I figured that it worked with "Goldfinger" and should work with "soap bubbles" too. Well, perhaps she is right, but I still like it. Here it is.

Soap bubbles float by thousands over the garden
Shimmering in all colors that there is
Just as we now in love move ourselves to Eden
We are Adam and Eve in love’s first kiss

We live resplendent afloat in a soap bubble
When you are in love this becomes your world
Comely fair universe without any trouble
Life outside of this rush by us in whirl

Every bubble must burst
And then we will fall
Totally unrehearsed
Causing some appall

Lying sprawled on the ground smelling reality
Facing each other’s vulnerability
Dealing with our world’s sudden mortality
And the forever lost tranquility

Every bubble must burst …

For the first time our love is put to trial
Time we need to outride the bad weather
If we so soon turn shock into a deep dismay
We will not likely last long together

Every bubble must burst
And then we will fall
Together we may nurse
Keep playing our ball

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Personality types of your characters

In my latest projects I have tested to use personalities according to Myer Briggs for my characters. There are sixteen personality types according to Myer Briggs, each a combination of four letters, one for each trait.

First I go here to this quick test. This is a very basic, which is to prefer in this kind of situation.

Then I go here and read more about the personality type gained from the previous site. They have good, long texts about general behavior, strength and weaknesses, relationships, careers and so on. Reading those gave me interesting angles on my characters that I had not thought about. (They have a test too, but it is far too long for these kinds of needs – and funnily enough came to the wrong conclusion about me.)

But, I had a character with a mental disorder and the personality site above is a bit all over positive and does not go into medical things, so I found this site: Disordered personalities and found a personality that fitted my needs for the character.

One could always question if people could be put in labeled boxes. The problem, I think, with not doing it, is that you put all in one box and presume they are all like you. Or even worse: put all that fits you in one box and the rest in another box – we and them. We are all unique, but that does not make us all the same as the rest of us. Some of us are very different from some others and some are the same in some things and not in others.

Finding my personality type has help me a lot understanding why other people behave so strange.

When I looked at the resulting characters passed through the Myer Briggs machinery they felt like a bunch of people with more variation than I had ever felt I succeeded with before. They also felt solid. I had a team of three that had gained their roles in the group in ways I had never thought of if I hadn’t used the personality types as a base.

Monday, February 23, 2015

To describe a character in a movie script

Most movie script writers know that you write the character’s name with capital letter first time of appearance. I also think it is common knowledge to keep color of hair and eyes out of it and it for most times is redundant knowledge what color the shirt has. Amazingly enough, brand of watch and precise age are both common traits it seems, especially among scripts from the yet not known writers.

Both are pieces of information you actually don't need to tell.

When writing a movie script it is easy to forget one thing: it is not a novel. Of course it is not a novel you say, and yes, I know you know it is not a novel. The point is that those producing the movie have read the script. When you read a novel you need information about a character early. When you meet a guy or a gal it is nice to get a fairly clear image of who it is and not halfway in learn that the fair boy you imagined is an old man. When you finished the book, you have finished the project as well. The story is ended and the book returns to its shelf. When it comes to a movie script the process has just started.

What’s the difference?

It is such monumental difference that I’m amazed that so few mention it. All those people making a film create the characters from the whole script! Those “JENNIE (43) enters in a blue costume” are close to irrelevant. The character’s age is interpreted based on what she does, her family situation and so on – the whole picture. If she is a parent she is probably over twenty, if she runs alongside a car, she is not likely past sixty. Unless it is a story about teenage parenthood or superpower at old age, any age between twenty and sixty could do just as fine. If not, probably other things in the story tell us what we need. To yell that the age is precisely “43” is only limiting in a way that is not for the good. Remember, the writer's excellence is with words and story – but leave the creation of the film to those who know the trait. It’s a movie script, not a manual.

Besides, is really the first thing you think about when a new person entering a room his or her age? The precise age!? Stick to describe what would be your first impression of the character, and only what is needed for the story.

This is where the brand of the wrist watch comes in. I don’t know my brands. If you tell me it is a… whatever brand, it doesn't tell me a thing. And the expensiveness of a brand can differ over the world as well so what is bought at Harrods in one place could be K-Mart in another (well, perhaps not, but you get the point). Use words that we can all understand, like “expensive” or “cheap” and leave the selection of brands to somebody else.

It is amazing how much you can cut if you only can leave your imaginary sense of control of the story behind you.

Remember that for the reader the project has just about begun when they finish reading. You've built a skeleton. If you have not covered it up in unnecessary garnish, its strong bones will show. Don’t draw the attention to the less vital parts of your story, and especially not with things limiting the options to get it sold.

Image from Pintest. Click on the image for more info.