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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old November 27 2013, 11:54 PM   #151
doubleohfive
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

MikeH92467 wrote: View Post
I am struck by how much goes on behind the scenes in putting out unexpected fires and the incredible talent and skill it takes to get a network show out on a weekly basis. It really shouldn't be surprising that such things can significantly delay or completely de-rail a fan project.
Trust me. It's like that on every show. The problems might not be about crazy visual effects or alien-of-the-week makeup on all of them, but every show, every film has it's roadblocks and problems, which is why I made my earlier comment about filmmaking just being problem-solving most of the time.
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Old December 11 2013, 10:59 PM   #152
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

This might be educational or at least interesting for some here:

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Old December 12 2013, 08:45 AM   #153
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Thank you.
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Old December 12 2013, 03:49 PM   #154
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

That video was excellent. Thanks for sharing, Maurice!
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Old December 12 2013, 04:17 PM   #155
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

I've actually seen Star Trek fan-written scripts using Star Trek fonts.

Not by me, I hasten to add.

Final Draft makes life so much easier.
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Old December 12 2013, 05:55 PM   #156
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

USS Intrepid wrote: View Post
I've actually seen Star Trek fan-written scripts using Star Trek fonts.

Not by me, I hasten to add.
I worked for a production company a few years ago and got a call one day from a very nice kid wanting to submit a script to us. He had to have been a teenager (at least I hope he was) because he'd only written it in pencil and could not email it to us.


Final Draft makes life so much easier.
It's funny - when I moved in March, I came across some old papers from when I was a kid. Among them was an old, old script I'd written (and then sent to the DS9 writer's office.)

I had to have been 14 when I wrote this thing in PFS Window Works!

Ugh, even thinking about it now, I marvel at how bad it was but also like to think of it as a measuring rod for how much I've learned and am continuing to learn.

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Old December 12 2013, 06:17 PM   #157
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

That was neat, Maurice. Thanks!

That take-away at the end about the screen-writing format: "if you don't care enough about your movie to format it in the way the industry wants, make it easy to read and free of major typos ... well then no one in the industry will care about your movie, either," resonates because it's very true of many other writing endeavors. Even posts to a simple discussion forum like this!
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Old December 12 2013, 06:18 PM   #158
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Psion wrote: View Post
That was neat, Maurice. Thanks!

That take-away at the end about the screen-writing format: "if you don't care enough about your movie to format it in the way the industry wants, make it easy to read and free of major typos ... well then no one in the industry will care about your movie, either," resonates because it's very true of many other writing endeavors. Even posts to a simple discussion forum like this!
Truth. Incidentally, it also applies to resumes of all things. (You'd be amazed at the shape some of the ones I see passing through here are in.)

Last edited by doubleohfive; December 12 2013 at 07:16 PM.
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Old December 12 2013, 10:18 PM   #159
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Screenwriting is HARD, and one good takeaway from that video is that the script should be easy to read and exciting. An excellent story scripted in a purely mechanical and functional manner excites no one. You actually have to be a good writer to make a script a page turner.

I recently got a nice attaboy from a Producer who said of my screenplay that (paraphrase) "with a script with this many characters I usually have to read it again to get everyone straight, but I always knew who was who," and that "the action scenes were very exciting, clear and easy to visualize," which were really nice to hear since I work hard on those things.
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Old December 13 2013, 02:20 AM   #160
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Here's a great article about story structure and translating your idea for a film into an actual screenplay by Jen Grisanti, a former exec who cut her teeth at Spelling Productions and who went on to become one of the most respected and sought-after script consultants in Hollywood. She is currently an instructor NBC's Writing on the Verge program as well.

Story Structure: The Evolution Of An Idea Into A Script
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Old December 13 2013, 07:09 AM   #161
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

doubleohfive wrote: View Post
Here's a great article about story structure and translating your idea for a film into an actual screenplay by Jen Grisanti, a former exec who cut her teeth at Spelling Productions and who went on to become one of the most respected and sought-after script consultants in Hollywood. She is currently an instructor NBC's Writing on the Verge program as well.

Story Structure: The Evolution Of An Idea Into A Script
That's great and concise advice.

One of the tricks I use when I get stuck is to change how I'm writing. I'll try something like just writing dialog and no screen directions, or writing what I want the dialogs to mean as opposed to the actual wording, or writing what the subtext is (the character is really saying, please don't go, but their words are masking that, etc.).

Another thing that works for me is to write scenes that don't belong in the script, just to get a feel for how the characters interact, like, "what would the conversation be like if they were stuck in traffic after a long day?" or "what would they do if they saw a mugging?" or whatever. It's a good way to figure out who the people are and how they react, which can in turn suggest things about how they might behave in the actual scenes in the script.
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Old December 13 2013, 06:03 PM   #162
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

^^ I love that idea, Maurice.

Years ago, I did something similar for a project I was working on with a friend. My friend was dissatisfied however with the development of two characters - a couple - in the story. So I spent a weekend writing just a blurb about these two, what their daily life was like, their routine, their breakfast conversation with the Sunday paper, etc. to illustrate everything else we'd already sort of devised for the couple in the actual short film we were ramping up to produce.

Those breakfast scenes never made it into the film, but they were hugely informative for the characters as we continued writing and for the actors when we were filming. And while Sunday breakfast might not be the most exciting or original of scenes, for our purposes it worked quite nicely.
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Old December 13 2013, 08:41 PM   #163
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

Now, see, that's interesting for me. As the executive producer and being in charge of the casting, I find actors who are intriguing people. Our scripts are bare bones in terms of how the characters interact with each other, and I put it on our cast to put how they see the characters into their performances.

For example, Rachel and Jeremy were discussing their characters. Both work the third shift, she as third shift watch commander, he as third shift senior medical officer. They took themselves aside during pre-shoot activities (makeup, wardrobe, practice, lighting and sound) and ironed out how they wanted to interact with each other. When we were ready to shoot, they nailed their scenes. Just absolutely nailed them. That's what we like to see, and for the most part we do.

When the second season rolls out starting in January, I think people we see what I'm writing about, and appreciate the talent of the people involved.
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Old December 13 2013, 09:41 PM   #164
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

^^^Actors can bring a lot to the table, but, obviously, you still need a solid table.

On Polaris the two leads came up with a small and subtle bit of physical business which implied things about the relationship of their characters which were not in the script per se. It tells us what they're thinking in a subtle way.
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Old December 14 2013, 01:28 AM   #165
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Re: Fan Film Writer's Primer

This is a great article by Timothy Cooper about short films, but has a few great nuggest that could easily apply to writing as well:

Sharing here because by and large, the majority of the fan films we enounter here have more in common with short films than they do with features, and sometimes more than even actual broadcast hour-longs.

7 Simple Secrets for Making an Outstanding Short Film

Some pertinent points to consider:

The writer/director clearly demonstrates a personal connection to the story.
In Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight, the filmmaker has probably struggled with seeking acceptance, just like her lead. And we can all identify with the idea of having a crush on a teacher. The Crush’s screenwriter likely thought, What if I had taken that crush to the next level? For Please Say Something, writer/director/animator David O’Reilly clearly has a powerful and dark view of the struggles a relationship entails, and how two different people can feel as alien to each other as a cat and a mouse.
They tell a story of one character’s or couple’s journey—but no more.
These shorts don’t overreach. Remember: A short film is not a feature. It has little room for subplots, secondary characters, montages, or epic scope. It covers a single dilemma and resolves it in some way by the end. Too often, writers attempt to confront multiple dilemmas, introduce us to more than two main characters, or recreate a whole chunk of their feature film. A short is not the place for any of that. It’s the chance to attack one major scene or conflict—nothing more. Takeaway: Limit your reach. Utilize the “short” part of this medium by telling just one story and telling it well.
They feature memorable characters.
Film and TV are about characters; even the biggest special-effects-heavy movies are nothing without memorable leads. Gun battles, alien invasions, the apocalypse—they’re all really about the characters these events happen to. These short films demonstrate that the filmmakers can build characters that sear themselves in our mind, even in the space of just 10 or 15 minutes. Plot, twists, and story are all important, but without someone we can empathize with, your film will be forgotten. Takeaway: Give your characters strong personalities, quirks, wants, and goals. That way, we’ll care about them, and willingly follow them on their journey.

The entire article is worth reading and isn't all that long, but these points especially are ones I would point all fan film writers and producers to consider and pay attention to.
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