Story Creation first- Writing the Screenplay second. This is what we are doing on Absolute Freedom

One of the main reasons I have decided to keep a regular blog is to highlight the process

Sunday 11th August at the 12 Apostles Victoria

Sunday 11th August at the 12 Apostles Victoria

of creating our next feature film, Absolute Freedom. I want to include what works for the film production. I also want to include what does not work. The challenges are one of the fun parts of making a film and I am sure we will have many on our road to completing the film in late 2014.

So where are we at now in the development process? We have completed the story creation and are about to start on the 2nd draft of the screenplay. Up to recently, my main focus was creating the story for the film Absolute Freedom. We have finally completed the process after months of diligent work.

Creating a story for a 120 minute film is an exceptionally challenging process and many film makers fall down at this very important part of the process.

Its very important to recognise the difference between creating a filmic story and writing a screenplay. There are big differences between the two.

Some writers take on the challenge of writing the screenplay as they are making up the story. This is exceptionally challenging and generally the writer will end up with a very weak story or even worse, end up with writer’s block.

With Absolute Freedom our new 120 minute film, we have spent many a day working on the story. We have what I call Story Pillars. These are  story events that move the story forward.

This is how we train our students to write: breaking the Sreenwriting process in two:

1 Create the story first, story event by story event.  In other words, create your characters and the story plot and movement. Make sure there is strong objective and create extreme obstacles and blocks in the way of the success of the character.

2 Then, after you have spent an exceptionally long time preparing your story, only then write the screenplay.

For example on Absolute Freedom, we have 28 pages with 93 Story Events. When we start to write the second draft of the screenplay, the 93 Story Events will expand to a 115 page Screenplay. Working on the Story first and writing the Screenplay second is an efficient way of working on the story.

When I start to write the screenplay, one of the ways I work is that we cast actors in the12 Apostles Sunset 11th August 2013 roles and then improvise the scenes. We actually record the scenes and then write the scenes and the dialogue from the improvisations. This is a very effective process and really guides the writer to write scenes that work.

This is the process that we are working on at the moment with our script. I have just placed a casting in Star Now and with the help of the very best actors we will now workshop and write our screenplay over the next five weeks.

This process saves a dramatic amount of re-writing and creates exceptionally real screenplays.

Everyone has a different process for writing their screenplay. There are no rules or guaranteed formulas to make the screenplay work. However, it is advisable to work on your story first before actually writing a 120 page screenplay.

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