Screenplay format? Any use except as a submission as ... a screenplay?

  • Thread starter DaveC426913
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  • #1
DaveC426913
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This cold has kicked my ass so much that I went through the phase where I slept for 20 hours a day and am now in the phase where I lie in bed for 20 hours from fatigue but can't sleep because I've had too much sleep.

So I've been fleshing out an old story idea in my head, scribbling notes on the back wall of my brain in the dark.

It's a classic horror, full of shantytown back alleys, their filthy gutters running with booze and the blood of dead men, raging sea storms and evil captains hell-bent on revenge. It is lending itself to visual tropes so well I find myelf writing the outline as if it's a screenplay. It would be a perfect black and white Twilight Zone episode - if it weren't quite so dark and if it were an hour long.

I dislike novels where it is obvious that the author is hoping to see their favorite scene in the move adaptation of the book. They spoonfeed the hypothetical art director with the visuals. I found Michael Crichton did this. There's a fine line between a visual passage written for a reader and a visual passage written for the screen.

And I really find screenplays hard to read - certainly not for entertainment. They are very clunky. Maybe it's my own inability smoothly flip back and forth between my visual cortex and my verbal cortex.

Just curious if anyone else has a similar struggle and if there's any point in continuing in the direction of a screenplay format, or if I should bite the bullet and write a story.
 
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  • #2
DaveC426913 said:
This cold has kicked my ass so much that I went through the phase where I slept for 20 hours a day and am now in the phase where I lie in bed for 20 hours from fatigue but can't sleep because I've had too much sleep.
Might be the drugs, might be something...never know until you try.
 
  • #3
DaveC426913 said:
I dislike novels where it is obvious that the author is hoping to see their favorite scene in the move adaptation of the book. They spoonfeed the hypothetical art director with the visuals.
Yes, me too. When I get to that point I stop reading that author: if I like the story I wait for the film (or these days the Netflix series).

DaveC426913 said:
There's a fine line between a visual passage written for a reader and a visual passage written for the screen.
I think the line is actually quite broad - in a book the point of describing a scene is to help the reader understand the characters' reactions to it: in a film the point of a scene's visuals is to make the viewer react to it.

DaveC426913 said:
Just curious if anyone else has a similar struggle and if there's any point in continuing in the direction of a screenplay format, or if I should bite the bullet and write a story.
What is the point in writing something you wouldn't enjoy reading? Unless it's to make money of course, but I'm assuming that if you can do that from your writing you wouldn't be asking the question.
 
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  • #4
All excellent points, pbuk, and nutritious food for thought. In fact, I'm going to copy this directly into my notes at top-of-page.
 
  • #5
I don't mind extended scene descriptions, provided they don't ride a thesaurus unto turgid...

FWIW, I'm slowing, but still read so fast, I don't see fiction's words or sentences, sometimes not even paragraphs, but ingest each page in a couple of saccades. In effect, my subconscious runs a 'text to movie' convertor. I just watch that...

OT: My sympathies with your 'spent' physicals: Your immune system went to war-footing, and that debt's going to need time to pay down...
( Been there recently, lost a long weekend to post-URTI exhaustion... )
 
  • #6
Nik_2213 said:
I don't mind extended scene descriptions, provided they don't ride a thesaurus unto turgid...
I don't mean 'extended', I mean 'literally written for the screen'.

The story is actually forming in my head as a b/w Twilight Zone ep.

Here's an excerpt from my zero-th draft outline.

  • Filthy Back Alley of the town, soaked in rain, booze and urine
  • Disheveled hulk of a men with features lost in the shadows is seen entering a shop in the seediest part of town. A pause.
  • Scuffles are heard. A gunshot sounds. Then silence.
  • Door opens and hulk steps out ... He is carrying a large, heavy object, wrapped in filthy cloth. He shifts the object to his other shoulder before shuffling off into the night.
  • Behind him, the door to the shop slowly drifts closed in the wind. But just as it is about to shut completely, a blood-covered hand clamps the doorjamb.
  • The hand loses its grip and slides down the jamb to the ground where it falls limp, blocking the door from closing.
- scene -

Cheesy, I know.

Still, bullets 1-4 can easily be written as exposition. Bullets 5 and 6 are pure screen. They would look silly written on a page.

Nik_2213 said:
OT: My sympathies with your 'spent' physicals: Your immune system went to war-footing, and that debt's going to need time to pay down...
I'm a new member of the hexagenarian* club (by a mere six weeks) and I feel like my warrantee expired at midnight on my birthday.


* I know that's not the technically correct term. I'm hoping to side-step all the innuendo and giggling that would inevitably follow use of the correct term.
 

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