Fan Film Writer's Primer

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Maurice, May 2, 2011.

  1. jespah

    jespah Taller than a Hobbit Moderator

    Jun 21, 2011
    Boston, the Gateway to the Galaxy
    Thanks, guys, these should be helpful to future emergent screenwriters :)
    Ryan Thomas Riddle likes this.
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Snagglepussed Admiral

    Oct 17, 2005
    Real Gone
    The following was posted as its own thread here (link) in July 2020, but since it is very much related to fanfilm writing I figured I should share it here as well...

    Starship Exeter—The Atlantis Invaders: Annotated

    I've been meaning to put this out for a few years (and shared it with one or two people), but here's the abandoned script for the planned 3rd episode of Starship Exeter, titled "The Atlantis Invaders".

    From my intro:

    [...]even though “Atlantis” was shelved, never to be filmed, enough people have asked about it that I finally queried Jimm as to if I could release my script and he said he didn’t mind. I was a tad concerned that the script was in my 2nd-And-A-Halfth draft state (officially draft 4, revised) with shipboard scenes finalized but all the off-Exeter stuff awaiting another pass.

    Then it occurred to me that the script’s unfinished state could be more interesting than a polished draft, as some future fanfilm makers might find it valuable to see a script in the middle of its evolution, especially if fully annotated so they could understand what was planned, why it's in the shape it's in, and how a lot of the story and structural concerns were addressed or not yet addressed. Heck, if it wasn’t educational it might at least a serve as a warning that writing screenplays is not as simple as it looks.

    Director Scott Cummins wrote a nice foreword about why no part of the episode got filmed, and gives some insight on how tight a race it was to get even @Serveaux 's "The Tressaurian Intersection" in the can.

    It was planned that Executive Producer Jimm Johnson would give me an afterword before I put this out there, but he's busy with some life things at the moment. So when he gets that to me I'll update the document to give him the last word.

    So for what it's worth... here's the script, complete with concept sketches, deleted material, experiments, et al. A look at a might've-been.


    "The [annotated] Atlantis Invaders"
    A Work In Progress

    NOTE: the original file was over 30mb, so I posted one 6x smaller.
    But it's still too big to embed. Sorry!

    Sample pages
    View attachment 16694
    View attachment 16695

    Partial Storyboard reproduced in the document.

    P.S. Since posting it I have, of course, spotted a few typos, which I will fix when Jimm Johnson finally gives me his afterword. :)
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020
    Ryan Thomas Riddle likes this.
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Snagglepussed Admiral

    Oct 17, 2005
    Real Gone
    I've often inveighed against this all-too-common crutch in fanfilms, but here's the Great Bird of the Galaxy himself weighing in on Skype Zoom calls with HQ in a 1967 memo about the scrapped Norman Spinrad script "He Walked Among Us".

    Screen Shot 2020-11-29 at 8.27.12 PM.png

    Just. Stop. :D
  4. Bixby

    Bixby Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 4, 2011
    I love how Star Trek is supposed to follow science, and yet an Admiral a galaxy or two away can still have instantaneous replies with the fan film mary sue captains
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  5. Maurice

    Maurice Snagglepussed Admiral

    Oct 17, 2005
    Real Gone

    Have you ever wondered what a beat sheet is, of just what the heck a "story beat" is? Well, today Ken Levine— Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer—who wrote for MASH, Cheers, etc., addressed that on his blog, so I don't have to write it up. ;). Here's his short take on it.

    ———————————​ Ken Levine [blog]

    Friday, December 04, 2020
    Friday Questions

    Question from a non-writer. What the hell is a "beat"?

    Any new element in the story.

    Think of the story as the spine and beats as the vertebrae.

    Examples of beats:

    A couple starts an argument.

    A father shows his son how to tie a knot.

    Bob takes out the ring and proposes.

    Fred arrives with the Christmas tree.

    In an outline you start with the beats. First this happens, then that, then the next thing. It gives you an overview of the story. Are there too many things (beats) happening in this act? Are there not enough? Is it repetitious? Is there a step missing?

    Once you’re satisfied that all the vertebrae are in the right place, and the story spine holds up then fill out each beat.

    The couple that starts an argument. Over what?

    Father showing son how to tie a knot? Does the son not want his help? Is this a bonding experience?

    Bob takes out the ring and proposes. Is he clumsy? What is his proposal? Was she expecting it or surprised? Does she accept or reject his proposal? I would say that’s a separate beat. The story very much turns on whether she accepts or not.

    Hopefully you get the idea. I write my beats on the computer then move them around. A lot of writers use index cards. One beat per card. You can also use note cards in certain scripture [sic] programs.​

    Levine's blog is fun (link), especially if you like TV comedies. On his Hollywood and Levine podcast (link) where he interviews lots of Hollywood people. As a former sportscaster, he's easy to listen to.

    Screen Shot 2020-12-04 at 10.31.03 PM.png
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
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