Archives For screenplays

Creatio Ex Nihilo

Dan Baker —  June 30, 2014

When I’m writing a screenplay the blank page scares me. Why? If my screenplay is a reflection of what’s inside of me, then a blank page reveals that inside of me is nothing. At least that’s how it feels.

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Yeah, yeah. I can already hear my usual spate of friends: “you hate EVERY film, Iron Man 3 was AWESOME, what’s wrong with you??”

I didn’t hate Iron Man 3; I thought it was fun. But what bugs me is on the back of Marvel flexing its muscle with The Avengers, Iron Man delivered one of the laziest scripts I’ve seen hit the screen in a while.

Even if you don’t agree with me today, soon I wager, you will. If Iron Man 3 is an indication of things to come, you’ll do well to heed my warning and start looking for the new up-and-coming independent filmmakers now.

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That was Jess’ response when I told her the John Gray feature film script was a quarter finalist at BlueCat. That places us in the top 10% of 3391 international submissions. Fer’ real, check it out!

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The first time I heard independent feature films typically take 4-5 years to complete my mind was boggled. After all, we turned around a pretty successful short in under two months. How hard could it be?

Turns out, pretty dagum hard.

Officially we started writing the John Gray feature film September of 2011, which puts us at about the 16-month mark. I sometimes wonder if I had known how utterly frustrating and maddening this writing process would be, if I would have even started.

Fortunately, I discovered these difficulties gradually.

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Have you ever worked and worked and worked on a project, only to hit a dead-end? I have. More than once. There’s nothing more frustrating than  investing huge amounts of time and effort into an idea, only to discover you don’t know what the characters and plot want.

There’s a million tips and tricks out there, but what I’ve discovered recently addresses the problem at its root: often the quality of your writing is negatively affected by your attitude. That’s not a major revelation, sure, but I think you’ll be surprised at how I learned this.

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Writing has to be one of the most difficult things in the world. At least it is for me (granted, I’m my own worst critic). Any little help, tip, or trick I can find is a boon, sometimes triggering a little mini-breakthrough.

Over the years I’ve discovered a number of writing resources that I turn to time and time again. If I’ve missed any here, please share what you use to get the words flowing.

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One of my favorite iPad apps, Index Card, was released as an iPhone app today! Horay!

Every writer will tell you how important it is to plot out your story before you start writing, and many do so on index cards. That’s exactly what this app sets out to do. Index Card’s straight-forward and uncomplicated interface gets out of the way so you can focus on what’s important: the story.

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