Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Walking the Graveyard

Walking the Graveyard written by Désirée Nordlund

I’ve just watched one of the best short movies I’ve ever seen.

And that’s not just because I’ve written the script. A script is just a blueprint.

Sure, you need good blueprints to get the building you want, but without a good crew and actors, any fabulous script could be shattered to oblivion. So everybody involved deserve credit.

Jerry J White III, the director, sent me a private link to Walking the Graveyard this morning.

And I am breath taken.

Photo belongs to Robert A Vollrath
Edited by the writer

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dear Uncle

Dear Uncle short script by Désirée Nordlund

My current short script project “Dear Uncle” was previously called “The Farm” simply because I hadn’t spent time with the title yet.

I’m almost finished with the first draft. The ending is too cute, though.

It is about a bitter, old man who wasted all his money and himself, and neglected his home, because he didn’t wanted to leave anything to his brother, who abandoned him when they were young. But one day stands his unknown, pregnant niece at his doorstep and tells him that his brother is dead.

Photo by Ronny Ilvemo
Edited by the writer

A world of Goo

I have been absent for a while, because I’ve not been well. It started with goo in my windpipes and then in my nose and last Tuesday I got muscular pain in my shoulder, so I have not been able to work, since sitting in front of a keyboard is not the most effective way to make the blood flow through the muscle. That means I’ve not been able to write either.

I should have taken care of myself earlier.

But, here we are.

I still feel tired. There is still some goo snooping around. My shoulder feels better – but on the other hand I’ve not been sitting still, so I can’t tell for sure if it is completely okay yet, but the signs are goo. . . Sorry, good.

A World of Goo

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Once a hero

“What do you want to be when you grow-up?” I asked my five-year-old.
“A carpenter” he answered.
“Why do you want to become a carpenter?”
“Because they fixed our swings at pre-school.”

Of course. They were not exactly carpenters, the men fixing the swings, but that is beside the point. The point is that these blue-collar-men are my son’s heroes; they fixed the swings.

When in life does the carpenter, the plumber and the road worker turns from being what we dream of becoming to just men and women with skills we desperately need, but somehow place as lower ranked in status?

Friday, November 19, 2010

To fill the pipe

To fill the pipe with writing content

There is a limit how much I can write during a session. It is not a matter of time, but rather how much there is in the pipe, so to speak.

When I start a session I have – when I start or soon after – material I want to write, “pipe content”. Usually this is one or two scenes.

When I’ve written this the pipe tends to be empty. I can’t get a single word out without feeling lost.

If I take a break and think of the story as a whole and gets back maybe an hour later, there might be more in the pipe, but not for certain.

Over the last years I’ve learned how to call inspiration when needed. Now it is time to learn to control the pipe.

And if possible, make the pipe longer, containing more, because usually I run out of pipe content pretty fast.

Straßenarbeite, 1945
Photo: Deutsche Fotothek‎
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Story and moving images

I’ve now read and set my points for each of the twelve short scripts sent to me from NSFA. It was a wide range of points. One even got the lowest possible. None received full points, but one or two I thought could be great films, if rewritten a little.

The bottom mark was given to a script that in my opinion wasn’t a script. Alright, you don’t know the formatting rules, but write your story anyway. That is great. You shouldn’t stay away form writing just because you don’t get the format right. But if you missed the fact that a movie consists of moving images and the finished film would be a guy having a long monologue, then it isn’t a script in my opinion; it is a short story. It could be a great story, but the media is ill-chosen.

A movie is a story told through images.

This is harder than it seems.

Two people sitting by a table talking can be just as boring as a monologue. Because the story is told through words. The reason for people to eat so much in movies is because then they have something to do while they are talking. But the images do not tell the story, the dialog does.

I don’t say that images have to say it all, but the ideal is that they tell a lot.

The two scripts I liked best used the environment and not just the dialog to move the story forwards.

And they had a story.

Surprisingly many of the script lacked of story. There were great characters, interesting events, grave situations, but no story. Sometimes I could not even figure out why the writer bothered to write it. Of course there is a reason for the writer to write a particular text, but in some cases I couldn’t find that reason. Those scripts were as dead as a cut off toenail.

I wish all the writers good luck with their future writings.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Who can anyone with a conscience put that kind of burden on a child?

© CC/Double Image Photography

Since I became a parent I get deeply saddened, frightened and upset when children are mistreated. Of course I’ve never overlooked it, but it never touched me on the level it does these days.

I think I live in a good country; a nice, fair and educated country; a country where a kid counts as a real, living person worth all care in the World.

Then I get pissed off, frankly, when I read about children mistreated in Sweden, my country.

When the authorities behave like a child does not count then I’m ready to explode.

Yes, there are laws, but hello, there are real children out there. Splitting families by sending the parents back to their respective countries - that was something I simply didn’t think would happen in my country. Two people fall in love and they get a kid, but neither of them is yet allowed to stay in the country and when their kid is two years old they get the final decision: they are not allowed to stay. But they come from two different countries. The family is split.

Children are so vulnerable. They need love and a safe place to be. They can’t always put in context what is happening and sometimes thinks it’s their own fault. Who can anyone with a conscience put that kind of burden on a child?

Photo © CC/Double Image Photography

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Judge at a short script screenwriting competition

How to write a movie script judge short script screenwriting competition

National Student Film Association in the UK has asked me to be one of the judges in their short script screenwriting competition.

So now I’ve got twelve short scripts of maximum five pages to read and rate.

I hope I will read one or two really good scripts that will make their way to production.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To write a feature script that sells

To write a feature script that sells

Now when I’ve taken a step back from my previous project I realize how blind I was. I want to make a living out of screenwriting. So, then I need to sell one or two feature scripts to give me the comfort of knowing I can handle this. To sell one or two feature scripts I need to write one or two or three or four feature scripts.

And those things take time.

The last two feature projects I’ve started have failed. And by failed I mean I didn’t finish the first draft because I felt the story had problems. I don’t say I won’t work with them again. All I say is, I left them half-way in disappointment.

But I had such great hopes for my previous feature. This one I was going to finish. Now I had a well thought out story, great characters – and a third act.

I didn’t want this to be a failure. It must not be a failure.

I refused to realize that it was.

I didn’t want to spend more time on half-finished scripts I can’t sell.

I have two feature scripts in my bag that I am proud of. One has gained interest from a Hollywood director and one is turned into a graphic novel as we speak.

That is great but I can’t sit back and relax, because so far there is nothing in it to support myself financially. I’ve so far only scratched the surface of a possible career.

Besides, selling one script is “easy”; it is the continuation I’ve heard is the hard part.

I really wanted a third script. A new script. So I knew I could write, still. A mood booster.

I sure need a mood booster right now.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I’ll start writing a short script again

Writing short scripts

I feel like a lousy writer again.

I have myself to blame. I shouldn’t ask for answers I can’t take. But I wanted to know if what I wanted to tell with my script came through. It hadn’t.

But before I slipped down in that dark, soggy hole of self-pity I realized two things. The first was that after all it is quite healthy to be brought down back to Earth even if the landing is without parachute. The second: I’m not a bad writer; it’s this particular script that doesn’t meet up to my expectations.

So, once again I’ll take a step or two back from this project and start a background process in my mind to sort this story out. The dialog is splendid, the characters really have started to become worth listening to, but the story has basic problems. And who is really the Beautymaker? I thought I knew, but a tiny embryo of an idea sparkled in my mind. Let’s see what happens to it over time.

Now I’ll start with a short script. An idea I’ve been bouncing around for a while and now the characters started to talk.

First I wasn’t sure if this story was about to become a feature or a short, but now it is so obvious it is a short that I can’t even understand how I could consider it to be something else.

I love to write shorts. They are fast to write and simple in its structure, compared to a feature where you have several parallel plots and even if you plan ahead you are lucky if you get hold of it all in the end.

Yep, right now I’m sick-n-tired of features. I’ve started too many scripts only to get stuck when I come to the third act. Next time I think I’ll start with the third act, just to get it over with.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Supporting characters

Supporting characters

It is interesting how little that can give inspiration and solve a problem.

This weekend I got feedback from one of my most trusted critiques. She pointed out that one of my characters wasn’t consequent; she flipped between understanding to hurt without any explanation, one page was forgiving and the next deeply offended. There was also a relationship including this character that I completely neglected.

Supporting characters, ladies and gentlemen, should not be neglected.