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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old December 20 2011, 03:56 AM   #46
Maurice
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Bixby wrote: View Post
Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
Kirk comes to realize Mitchell's changes endanger his ship, ergo Mitchell and must be marooned
Elisabeth Dehner's name is the one missing in this phrase.
EDIT: I just saw that you were commenting on what appeared to be a missing word, but was actually just a editing error. That and wasn't supposed to be there.
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Old December 20 2011, 01:18 PM   #47
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
I thought Captain America was a wonderful example of what that kind of movie ought to be, on every level. Nothing mediocre about it.
I agree. I thought Captain America was excellent. Well-written and well-acted.
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Old December 20 2011, 01:28 PM   #48
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
The PROBLEM of THE Problem

Dramatic stories are about solving a Problem, but it's easy to get this wrong.

The fundamentals
  1. FIRST ACT should set up the Problem that faces the Protagonist
  2. SECOND ACT should Complicate the problem, make decisions/action more difficult
  3. THIRD ACT should be where the Protagonist makes a Decision that leads to the action required to solve/resolve the problem
And this requires the Protagonist to experience:
  • an intellectual climax wherein she decides what must be done
  • an emotional climax wherein something impels her to finally take the difficult action
  • which usually leads to an action climax (no sex jokes, please) wherein she actually does what needs to be done
Or...
  • What must the Protagonist DO to resolve the Problem?
  • What decision does he make?
  • What drives it?
  • And what action does he take?
The problem with most fanfilm scripts is that the characters are REACTIVE and not ACTIVE. They are not propelling the story by making decisions; they are reacting to the complication of the moment. That’s passive, not active.
Discuss.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, which is something I don't often do, and say that for all the other shortcomings Intrepid may have, the writing is not one of them. Heavy Lies the Crown, despite the awful audio (amongst other issues) has a pretty solid script that generally follows these rules (IMO of course).

Now this is not to say I think it's a perfect script (I'm not that foolish or deluded - it has more than it's share of problems) and I've written far better since, but as these things (and first efforts) go I think it's pretty decent.
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Old December 20 2011, 03:17 PM   #49
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

I agree completely Nick. Intrepid meets the two tests that are absolutely vital: good scripts and good acting. With those two elements in place, other issues don't stand out nearly as much. By the way, have you considered going back and looping in some of the trouble spots with the audio in the early episodes?
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Old December 20 2011, 03:57 PM   #50
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Thanks Mike.

I've wanted to do ADR on our earlier episodes since before we released them, but not everyone's been so keen. That attitude's changed a bit since we've had no choice but to do ADR on The Stone Unturned so I'm hopeful it'll happen eventually.
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Old December 20 2011, 04:03 PM   #51
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

I love this thread. Very insightful.

When I began making Starmada (which is a 3 season serialised 5-8 minutes episodes. 9 eps season 1, 10 season 2 and 14 season 3) I wasn't aware of this formulaic script writing. I assumed a story needs a beginning, middle and end logically.

Having looked back I see each season as an act. The limitations of the animation studio I used made it necessary to make it in mini episodes. Ideally I would have liked to make 20 minutes parts of 5 episodes per season. However, it has taught me an awful lot about creating cliff hangers- especially ones which seem to have impossible resolutions.

I feel like I have followed the 3 act plan . Introducing the enemies and main characters in the 1st season. Revealing the mystery and adding complications in season 2.

In season 3 I do wrap things up- however I feel like with this season the 3 act plan is used again throughout the season. I decided mid season to tell the story in flash back for 3 episodes.

I don;t know if this has broken the rules but I think it added an extra element and kept the storytelling fresh and unpredictable. I was heavily influenced by 24 during season 2. Does 24 follow the 3 act rules? All I seem to remember is the show just building up more and more tension and mystery- not many revelations until end of season
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Old December 20 2011, 09:30 PM   #52
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

USS Intrepid wrote: View Post
I'm going to go out on a limb here, which is something I don't often do, and say that for all the other shortcomings Intrepid may have, the writing is not one of them. Heavy Lies the Crown, despite the awful audio (amongst other issues) has a pretty solid script that generally follows these rules (IMO of course).

Now this is not to say I think it's a perfect script (I'm not that foolish or deluded - it has more than it's share of problems) and I've written far better since, but as these things (and first efforts) go I think it's pretty decent.
I'm going to have to watch that again so I can grade your paper.

Solarbaby wrote: View Post
...I wasn't aware of this formulaic script writing. I assumed a story needs a beginning, middle and end logically.
Beginning, middle, end is too simple a metaphor because you can apply to almost anything. A street. A tryst. Whatever.

I'd say it's more a format than formulaic. It's a structural blueprint that has a lot of wiggle room.

Solarbaby wrote: View Post
Having looked back I see each season as an act. The limitations of the animation studio I used made it necessary to make it in mini episodes. Ideally I would have liked to make 20 minutes parts of 5 episodes per season. However, it has taught me an awful lot about creating cliff hangers- especially ones which seem to have impossible resolutions.
Cutting up a larger story into "webisodes" doesn't violate the strictures of three-act structure any more than the acts (between commercial breaks) of a TV series do, so you're fine in that regard.

But I don't want to wander back into Three-Act structure here exclusively. What's important, I think, in my post on The PROBLEM of THE Problem is the nature of making something that's got dramatic build. The Three Act structure is merely the frame on which your hang the Problem, Complications and Decision.


So, here's a challenge to you writers: try filling in the form I used to analyze Where No Man Has Gone Before with your own script and see if it holds up.
1. FIRST ACT should set up the Problem that faces the Protagonist
Fill in main Problem here
2. SECOND ACT should complicate the problem, make decisions/action more difficult
Fill in what Complicates the Problem here
3. THIRD ACT should be where the Protagonist makes a decision that leads to the action required to solve/resolve the problem. As in:
  • The Protagonist must experience an intellectual climax
____ comes to realize ______
  • an emotional climax wherein something impels action
_______ drives _____ to decide to take action by ____________
  • an action climax
_____ does __________ to resolve the Problem
  • The Protagonist must be active, not reactive
Fill in examples of active decisions does the main character make to propel the story
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Old December 20 2011, 09:35 PM   #53
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Maurice Navidad wrote: View Post
I'm going to have to watch that again so I can grade your paper.
Good luck finding something I haven't already banged my head on a table over.
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Old December 20 2011, 09:48 PM   #54
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

**** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ABOUT STARSHIP INTREPID ****

My biggest issue with Heavy Lies the Crown and Transitions and Lamentations is that I would expect the Federation to reassess the colonization request after the first attack, before allowing colonization to proceed. In particular, I would expect the Federation to wish to determine first why the Surai are attacking, and whether they already have any legitimate claim to the Charybdis Sector

I realize that Section 31 is pushing for colonization for some reason, which could explain the Federation position, but why hasn't this incongruity occurred to the colonists and the crew of the Intrepid? Maybe I missed something, too, and perhaps these questions will be addressed in future episodes.

Rest assured though, I will be watching. I'm enjoying Intrepid so far.
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Old December 20 2011, 09:59 PM   #55
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Can someone explain how Pulp Fiction works?
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Old December 20 2011, 10:06 PM   #56
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Comet and Cupid wrote: View Post
**** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ABOUT STARSHIP INTREPID ****

My biggest issue with Heavy Lies the Crown and Transitions and Lamentations is that I would expect the Federation to reassess the colonization request after the first attack, before allowing colonization to proceed. In particular, I would expect the Federation to wish to determine first why the Surai are attacking, and whether they already have any legitimate claim to the Charybdis Sector

I realize that Section 31 is pushing for colonization for some reason, which could explain the Federation position, but why hasn't this incongruity occurred to the colonists and the crew of the Intrepid? Maybe I missed something, too, and perhaps these questions will be addressed in future episodes.

Rest assured though, I will be watching. I'm enjoying Intrepid so far.
Thanks. It's always nice to get this sort of positive yet constructive feedback.

My take's always been that the Federation doesn't really have much authority over what the colonists do. They're setting up a colony in neutral space (although in fairness, once the colony's established it's no longer neutral). The Federation can't really tell them what to do, and Starfleet's only along for the ride because the Federation Council feel obligated to protect their citizens. Indeed, the colonists didn't want Starfleet there at all, and were it not for the attacks would have told them to get lost already.

Also, keep in mind there's only a week or so between the two attacks, so it's possible the Federation may not have acted yet. I would imagine they could try and remove the colony, though the colonists themselves may delay that by legal challenge. I'd also imagine the Federation Council might be more cautious about such things in the wake of the situation with the Cardassian DMZ. Of course, they should also be more cautious about far flung colonys given the Cestus III incident. Honest answer? It's probably not as well thought out as it should be.

If I had to do it over again I'd make different decisions myself.

Talking of which, the whole Section 31 aspect was really poorly considered, and in hindsight I wouldn't have included it at all. The colony/aliens story was interesting enough to stand without all that conspiracy babble, and it's by far the weakest and most fannish aspect of the story.
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Old December 20 2011, 10:33 PM   #57
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Thanks, Nick.
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Old December 20 2011, 10:33 PM   #58
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My observation (and, honestly, my bias) is that Section 31 is never a good idea. That said, it didn't bother me here.
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Old December 20 2011, 10:59 PM   #59
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Comet and Cupid wrote: View Post
Thanks, Nick.
You're very welcome. I love talking about this stuff.

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
My observation (and, honestly, my bias) is that Section 31 is never a good idea. That said, it didn't bother me here.
I'd agree with the first comment. But thanks anyway, Dennis, you're always far too kind.

Honestly, the only reason we used Section 31 at all is that I was trying to pay homage to all the fan productions around at the time, and wanted to sneak in a cameo for Eric Busby's Section 31 characters. There really wasn't any other reason for it, and in hindsight I wish I'd done it without adding the conspiracy subplot. It was just utterly extraneous and really adds nothing particularly important to the plot that couldn't have been addressed in other ways. I can't wait to move past it.

Completely unrelated, but I was really proud of the homage to Phase II (or New Voyages as they still were back then). It's also one of the nicer scenes in the entire thing, IMO.
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Old December 21 2011, 12:20 AM   #60
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Nick , you know I haven't a kind bone in my body - I'm (once) a director. What you do on Intrepid is why I was anxious to have you on Polaris.
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