Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Maurice, May 2, 2011.
Make it not suck is my mantra. One day I may even come close.
Going back to what Bixby posted about introducing characters, you can also do so in an efficient manner that tells us something about them without pages upon pages of banal dialogue, like the most recent entry in the "Dreadnaught Dominion" series.
The first apartment scene in the "Mission: Impossible" pilot is a great example. http://dai.ly/x23c9af
In less than a few minutes, we're introduced to the members of the IMF. They're playing a hand of poker and each of them is cheating, which is revealed once they show their hands. This tells us so much about them without having one iota of dialogue spent on spelling everything out.
22 Movie Cliches That Just Won't Die
Seriously. Just. Don't.
I haven't gone through this thread, but here are a couple of pennies' from my own writing kit...
Exposition is dull. Make it interesting. The easiest way to do with is introducing some kind of conflict inherent in the act of giving exposition. Some examples:
People keep mininterpreting what you're saying or jumping to the wrong conclusions. ("The Klingons are building a new outpost near Deep Space Eleven." "So that is where they intend to launch their invasion?" "Invasion? What invasion?")
The person giving exposition has a clear agenda in conflict with the audience and/or characters. ("Due to Captain Kirk's cavalier attitude towards Starfleet regulations, we are going in to fix his mess.")
Interruptions based on conflicting agendas. ("OUr mission is at Tau Ceti V where the..." "Is that where we meet with Commander Tuvok?" "What? No. A Ferengi information merchant says..." "Excuse me, is this Ferengi in contact with Commander Tuvok?" "I don't know." "When will you know?")
Invest the exposition with emotive values. ("When we tried and failed to save the shuttle, one of our dilithium crystals cracked. Which means we cannot go faster than warp three, and shouldn't realy try to do that much. Warp two is a lot safer." "How far away is Tarsus VIII?" "Two days, at warp four." Silence. "Mr. Spock, how long before the comet reaches Tarsus VIII?" "Approximately seventy two hours, Captain." Everyone looks at Scotty, who shakes his head.)
Use minuteia to comic effect. ("Andorian mating has undergone considerable change since the founding of the Federation..." "We know that." "Although, it should be noted, records do indicate variations from the standard pairing of four were far from unknown in ancient cultures, specificaly the so-called Summer Age of the City State of Throall five thousand years ago, measured in Earth years of course, when pairings of two and three and in some cases five were if not common far from unheard of and in at least one case--a wildly popular drama of the period, sadly now lost--such was lauded. More or less. There's some disagreement on that amongst scholars." "DOCTOR!" "No need to shout, Captain." "Sorry." "Apology accepted. Now, as I was saying, in the so-called Deep Winter Age that gave rise to the modern..." "Doctor? Please?" "Yes?" "Is it legal for Lt. Shath to marry Lt. Vorik?" "Technically, yes, in that there's no law against such a thing, although certain legal precedents could in theory--Captain? Where are you going?")
Speaking strictly about exposition, based on recent viewing experience, if you have title cards that run for more than 30 seconds, you're doing it wrong.
Zzzzzzzz.... huh. What?
Yeah, that's not even remotely funny.
I know there was discussion about Final Draft and some other cheaper or even free alternatives earlier in the thread, so I wanted to throw out another one. Today I got an email from Amazon announcing their Storywriter screenplay writing software. While it lacks the bells and whistles of Final Draft, it does have a few nice features and is free to download when logged into your Amazon account.
I haven't tried it yet, but I'm off to download it now.
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