For the next three months, every Thursday, I will be guiding you through writing a feature-length (110 pages) screenplay. Why are we doing this? A few reasons. For new screenwriters, it’s a chance to learn how to write a screenplay. For experienced screenwriters, it’s an opportunity to learn a different approach to writing a screenplay. And for every screenwriter, it’s an opportunity to light a fire under your ass, keep you moving, and have a finished script in your lap in just 90 days.

We have three months to achieve this, which equates to roughly 13 weeks. Each week I’m going to give you a task, which you will need to finish by the following week. I’m going to need, at minimum, two hours of your time a day. However, the more time you can contribute to the cause, the better. More time means more thought, more trial and error, more swings, which means an overall improved product.

One of the biggest pushbacks I expect to encounter in this exercise is writers saying, “Well I don’t do it that way. I do it a different way.” Tough. This is about trying something new. It’s about going outside of your comfort zone so you can grow. I don’t expect you to write every script this way from here on out. But I do expect you to discover some new methods you’ll be able to use in future scripts. So don’t complain. Just do it.

The plan is to write both a first draft and a second draft. Afterwards, the best scripts will be chosen for a tournament. You do not have to participate in the tournament if you don’t want to. It’s merely there to incentivize you throughout your journey. Those tournament scripts will be put up for critique by the Scriptshadow Faithful, who will vote for the best script each week. The feedback they give you, you can then use for further rewrites to improve your script for the later rounds.

Are we ready? Okay, let’s get to it.

First and foremost, you need a concept. We’ve been trying to come up with those for the last two weeks. Guys, I tried to get through all the loglines you sent me but there were just too many. I’ll attempt to rate a few more today but don’t hold your breath. If you didn’t get any feedback, you’ll have to go with your gut and write the idea you like best. And really, let’s be honest. You were going to write your favorite idea anyway. :)

If you didn’t participate in the last two weeks, you’ll need to come up with a concept and logline pronto. Check out last week’s post, as well as the comments, and you’ll get an idea for which concepts tend to work best. Once you’ve identified your concept, it’s time for the first task. And the first task is one that 50% of screenwriters detest. I DON’T CARE. This is your week 1 assignment.

OUTLINE AND CHARACTER BIOS

For those of you who want to start writing your script, TOUGH. Unless you’re a genius, the screenwriter who jumps into his script immediately runs out of gas by page 45. Oh, they won’t admit it. They’ll keep writing. But deep down they know they’re lost. This week’s assignment is designed to prevent that from happening.

DAYS 1-3 – THE OUTLINE

There are six main points you want to identify in your outline. But before we get to those, let’s go over the basic blueprint of a story. A protagonist is breezing along in their life. Then something happens that jolts the status quo. This thrusts them onto a journey where they try to achieve a goal. They encounter lots of obstacles and uncertainty along the way. Then, in the end, they somehow pull off the impossible and achieve their goal (or fail!).

We’re writing 110 pages here. So you’ll break your outline down into Act 1 (roughly pages 1-27), Act 2 (roughly pages 28-85), and Act 3 (roughly pages 86-110). Your scenes will average between 2 and 3 pages long. That does not mean every scene will be 2 or 3 pages. It means this is the AVERAGE. Some scenes may be 7 pages. Others may be half a page. In the end, you’ll be writing between 45-60 scenes.

The more scenes you can fill in for your outline, the better. But the only ones that are required for next week are these six. If you can figure out more, great. But these are the essentials.

The Inciting Incident (somewhere between pages 5-12) – The Inciting Incident is a fancy way of saying the “problem” that enters your main character’s life. For Raiders, that’s when the government comes to Indiana Jones and says they’ve got a PROBLEM. Hitler’s looking for the Ark of the Convenant. You, Indiana, need to find it first. Or, more recently, in The Revenant, it’s when Leo is mauled by a bear. Everything is irrevocably changed in his life after that incident.

The First Act Turn (page 25-27) – The first act turn is when your main character will start off on his journey to try and obtain whatever it is he’s trying to obtain. So what happens between the inciting incident and the first act turn? Typically, a character will resist change, resist leaving the comfort of his life. But most of the time it’s just logistics. We’ll set up what needs to happen, how they plan to do it, how impossible the task will be, etc. It all depends on the story.

The Mid-Point Twist (page 50-55) – If your story moves along predictably for too long, the reader will get bored. The Mid-Point Twist is designed to prevent that from happening. It changes the rules of the game. And there’s a bit of creativity to it. It could be an unexpected death. It could be a major betrayal. It could be a twist (Luke and Han get to Alderran, but the planet they’re going to has disappeared!). The point of the Mid-Point Twist is throw your story’s planet off its axis.

The End of the Second Act (page 85-90) – This will be your main character’s lowest point. They likely just tried to defeat the villain or the problem and failed miserably. Along with this, everything else in your character’s life should be failing. Relationships. Their job. Their family. It’s all falling apart. Your hero will be AT HIS LOWEST POINT. Hey. HEY! Stop crying, dude. It’s just a movie. He’s going to get back up and kick ass in the third act. But right now, it looks like he’s fucked.

The Early Second Act Twist (page 45) – We’re going backwards here only because I wanted to get the important plot points down first. Once you have those, figure out page 45. Basically, page 45 will be 15-20 pages into your second act, typically where most writers start running out of ideas. You need to add some sort of unexpected moment here. Something that lights a fire under your plot. It’s not going to be as big as the Mid-Point Twist. But you can’t have 30 straight pages of the same pacing. You have to mix it up. The Early Second Act Twist in The Force Awakens occurs when Rey and Finn get captured by Han Solo. Notice how Han’s entrance into the story takes everything in a different direction.

The Late Second Act Twist (page 70) – This is the same idea as all the other “twists” we’ve been talking about. If you mosey along for too long without anything new or different happening, the reader gets bored. You need to be ahead of the reader, always coming up with plot points that they didn’t expect. I’ve seen writers use The Late Second Act Twist to kill off a character. In Frozen, it’s the moment where Hans reveals to Anna that his entire courting of her was a sham designed to take over her kingdom.

Once you have these six key moments in the script mapped out, you’re in great shape. Why? Because now you always know where you’re going. You always know where you’re sending your characters, which will give your script PURPOSE, something people who write randomly and without an outline rarely have. And don’t worry. These moments are not set in stone. As you write the script, you’ll have new ideas, and these key points may change. That’s fine. But by having something in place initially, you’ll be able to write a lot faster.

It should also be noted that not every story will follow this path. Not every script’s structure is based off of Raiders of The Lost Ark. I get that. Still, you want to think of these moments in a script as CHECKPOINTS. Whether you’re writing the next Star Wars or the next Magnolia, every 15-20 pages, something needs to happen to stir the pot. So if you’re going to take on something unique, no need to fret. Give yourself those 6 checkpoints so that your script is moving towards something.

DAYS 4-7 – CHARACTER BIOS

I know. You HATE CHARACTER BIOS. Look at it this way. Remember when your parents told you to eat your vegetables but you never understand why when Captain Crunch and pop tarts tasted so much better? Then when you hit adulthood and you were 40 pounds overweight, you looked back and thought, “Hmm, mom and dad may have been right about that one.” Well, the same thing’s going on here. Character bios may not be fun. But you’ll thank me for them later.

What you’re going to do is write a character bio every day for your four biggest characters. One of those characters will likely be your villain. Here are the things I want you to include in each bio. Try to get between 1500-2500 words for each character.

1) Their flaw – Figure out what’s holding your character back at this moment in their life, the thing that’s keeping them from reaching their full potential as a human being. Stick with popular relatable themes. Selfishness, egotistical, stubbornness, fear of putting themselves out there, doesn’t believe in themselves. You may not explore this flaw in the movie. But it’s good to know, as it will be the main thing that defines your character.

2) Where they were born – A lawyer from the projects in Chicago is going to talk and act differently than a lawyer from the upper crust of a rich East Coast suburb.

3) What their family life was/is like – Our relationships with our siblings, but in particular, our mother and father, influences our personality and approach to life more than anything else. Know your character’s relationship with each and every family member.

4) Their school history – Were they a nerd? The popular kid? A drug dealer? An athlete. Our school experience, particularly high school, affects who we are and how we act for the rest of our lives. So the more you know about this period in your character’s life, the better.

5) Their work history – Work is 50% of our lives (for many of us, a lot more). It has a big effect on who we are. So you want to establish what your character used to do before they got their current job, and also the events that led to them getting their current job.

6) Highlights of their life – This is basically everything else, the character’s highlight reel, if it were. When they lost their virginity, any devastting breakups, their highest points, their lowest points. Just let loose here and use this section to discover what your character’s life has been like.

And that’s it! You’ve completed your weekly task. If you finish ahead of time, go back to your outline and fill in the areas between the major plot points. The more scenes you can outline ahead of time, and the more detail you can add to those scenes, the easier it will be to write the script when that time comes. Okay, all of this starts RIGHT NOW. So what are you waiting for???

  • Tor Dollhouse

    LET’S GO TEAM!

    • Omar Samir

      Go Team Venture!

  • Lucid Walk

    Please help.

    I’m going with my dream-catcher project (which Carson liked the most), but I think I want to change the plot. Here’s the original; I was going for something along the lines of CORALINE.

    “Every night, a bullied foster girl ventures into the magical world of an enchanted dream-catcher to escape the horrors of her everyday life. But soon, she learns the dream-catcher may harbor horrors of its own.”

    Now, I’m thinking I’d like to go somewhere along the lines of NARNIA, SPIRITED AWAY or the late David Bowie’s LABYRINTH, where the girl and someone she loves are trapped in the dream world. She has to find them, and then they have to escape back to the real world. And of course, they’d have to escape soon or else they’ll be trapped in the dream world forever.

    This is supposed to be one of those fun, adventurous movies you’d watch on a Saturday night with friends. But I don’t know which version sounds more fun. Any thoughts?

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Dude, take this story and go dark. “Pan’s Labyrinth” dark. Overall your logline is too vauge for much input. A lot is going be dependent on your take of who the dream-catcher is, and what kind of work opens up.

      Currently I’m in the editing phase of an epic fantasy novel. Wish you the best with your offering, sounds like it has some potential.

      • Lucid Walk

        Funny, you’re not the first to compare it to PAN’S LABYRINTH

        • Bud White

          I struggle with the tone of this. You reference wanting it to be fun, but use the word “nightmares” three times in the new logline. That to me suggests a horror story (consistent with your use of that term in your first logline) which doesn’t seem like typical Saturday night fare to me, but that’s personal taste of course.

          That being said, the idea of a grown up Narnia is fun, if that’s what your aiming for?

          Full disclosure – I had to google what a dream-catcher was, so I think it’s quite possible I don’t understand this idea.

    • Eric Boyd

      I think the updated version sounds like the most fun with kind of a Ghostbusters vibe, but you’ll defiantly need some sort of an antagonist trying to stop the hero from her goal. In the aforementioned Ghostbusters, this was the William Atherton character. Without him I don’t think there would have been enough conflict with them just catching Ghost for the entire second act.

      • Lucid Walk

        Good point. I’m thinking she gets adopted by a strict family and they’re planning on moving back home to their foreign country

    • jeaux

      I like #2 best. 1 goal – escape! While #3 has 2 goals, fix the dreamcatcher and recapture the nightmares.

    • Jarrean

      I liked the first logline better. And I think if you can link the horrors of her home life to the ones the dream catcher you’re onto something.

    • Scott Serradell

      If you’re looking for fun/adventure you may want to put #1 away. Thematically it feels heavy.

      I like #2 but consider this: You will have to create an entire fantasy realm/world, complete with its own rules/logic, if we’re to be immersed in it. You may have already done some of this but, from my point of view, anything half-baked (as in not-yet-matured) idea in fantasy can tear down the house of cards.

      BUT THERE’S HOPE! And you can cheat this a little with #3: By placing it in OUR world you don’t need all the details/nuances if we were inside the dream world. I also think #3 sounds the most fun. In fact, I can SEE it when I read the description. Good luck!

      • ShiroKabocha

        My thoughts exactly. #3 has the most possibilities. #1 and #2 feel too linear and don’t seem to have enough meat to your story.

    • shewrites

      What’s your audience? if it’s children, you can’t go too dark. That’s the first thing I would try to determine.

    • Jonathan Soens

      I like your instinct about the idea of the dreamcatcher containing something sinister.

      Perhaps some kind of lore about dreamcatchers needing to be new, because once they’ve been used to protect another child, they then contain all the nightmares and darkness that they stopped from afflicting that kid while he used it.

      So, like, it should’ve been disposed of after it did its job years ago. But the intricate design is so pleasing, so transfixing, that people keep deciding to use it past its usefulness. And it’s now collected decades’ worth of darkness ready to spill out.

      Something like that could be neat. It would be nice if you could find actual legend or lore that backs up that basic premise… but we can’t always let the truth get in the way of a good story.

      • Jonathan Soens

        Or it could’ve been previously used on a kid who was so troubled and messed up (maybe not as dark as a school-shooting type of kid, but something along those lines where it’s clear the kid was a real nightmare), the dreamcatcher was ruined in its attempts to filter our the bad stuff while he slept.

        I could see something creepy about finding out your kids dreamcatcher used to hang over the bed of a troubled kid who had night terrors and went on to do something really bad.

  • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

    There’s another thought to keep in mind about midpoints, especially if your main character is undergoing a major transformation in the story. Obviously this character must have a fundamental flaw. You should use the midpoint not only as an opportunity to branch the story off in a different action, but use it also to confront the main character with his fundamental flaw. Hold a mirror up to him/her and have it say “see? This is what’s wrong with you! That’s what’s holding you back!”

    Example, in the Social Network. I’ll argue that the midpoint comes when Zuckerberg decides it’s time to expand Facebook’s reach. But wait, what happened before? In fact, what triggered this decision? Well, a few moments earlier he talked with Erica Albright, the girl from the opening scene and got shot down again. His inability to empathize and connect with other people has reared its ugly head again to bite a chunk off his ass.

    This is the spot where your character can start making changes in his life, or crawl back under his shell and continue down the tortuous road he’s always been on. As you know from the movie, Zuckerberg chooses the latter road.

    Remember this when you are planning the midpoint, especially if you want to pack a heavy emotional punch (and since you’re a storyteller, why wouldn’t you want that?)

    • Scott Crawford

      The best midpoint I can think of is SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Clarice Starling asks Hannibal Lecter for help in catching the serial killer “Buffallo Bill.” Lecter agrees only if Clarice will share secrets with him (bad idea).

      Two things happen at midpoint:

      1) We learn that Lecter KNOWS the name of Buffallo Bill.

      2) Senator’s daughter is kidnapped by Buffallo Bill.

      Two things have happened: the path to success has been simplified because we now know that Lecter will be the key to finding Bill (even if he prefers to still speak in riddles); but also the stakes have been raised. Previously, Clarice had weeks to find Bill, now she only has days before this young woman dies.

  • carsonreeves1

    Just locate those 6 key moments in your script. All you need is a sentence to tell us what happens. But it’ll be better if you can go into more detail.

  • Omar Samir

    I’m not the professional here, but don’t you think the middle second at twist and the early second act twist are a little too close together? When I think of twist, I think of something that COMPLETELY knocks the story off its feet. So putting two of those 5 pages apart would be a little hectic, right?

    Also. I fully understand why every part of he character bio thing is there… Except for the place of birth. I don’t really think that’s essential at all.
    Also, if I’m using historical figures, as in… Real people, do I have to write a character bio? Isn’t that just their wikipedia page?

    • Comma

      Maybe in some cases the place of birth is not essential. But it could be useful, and it could be useful when you’re not expecting it. It’s something you know about your character. Anyway, it’s just a little creative decision to make – maybe for your story it’s more important to know if your character is from a big city (for exemple…?) or a small village (for exemple…?), mountain or sea, earth or mars.

      Wikipedia is a great source of informations but in my opinion you should at least copy/paste the more interesting elements, and come up with the missing informartions (relationship with the parents? biggest flaw?).

    • Vic in a Box

      Real people… as in Evil Kenevil?! Yay!

      I sometimes do crazy bios that detail quirky stuff aside from regular history. Wiki might not have the real person’s favorite color, or whether they like the crust on their sandwiches.

      It’s the regular facts that get you inside your characters head (even if it’s a real person). But it’s the quirky stuff that makes them come to life on screen.

  • Eric Boyd

    To help me get started, I decided to take a movie that uses a similar formula to what I want to write and find it’s six main points. Since I want to write a high-octane chase movie, I’m going with The Terminator.

    If your movie was popular enough you can just google the title of the movie plus “plot points” or “beat sheet” and probably find that somebody else has already done this for you.

    After doing this, I think I have a much clearer picture of how I should construct my outline.

    Here’s the 6 main points for The Terminator that I copied and pasted from the internet, if it helps anybody else.

    The Inciting Incident: The Terminator kills a woman named Sarah Connor and Sarah sees it on the news.

    The First Act Turn: he Terminator attempts to kill Sarah and Kyle jumps into to protect her. “Come with me if you want to live.” Sarah makes the decision to go with Kyle to get away from the Terminator.

    The Early Second Act Twist: Reese explains that The Terminator has come back from the future to destroy her and prevent John Connor, the yet-to-be-born son of Sarah and the future leader of The Resistance, from being conceived. During this chase, they finally manage to escape when The Terminator crashes his car into a wall. But it’s a short-lived victory when they see The Terminator is no longer within the wreckage.

    The Mid-Point Twist: They are taken into police custody. Sarah is told by the police psychiatrist that Kyle is crazy and she begins to believe them, however, the Terminator blasts his way through the station killing everyone. Kyle finds her and she clings to him for her life. For the rest of the film she is totally committed to believing Kyle.

    The Late Second Act Twist:Kyle tells her he’s always respected her as the woman who trained John and more importantly that he’s loved her all this time. They make love. John Connor is conceived.

    The End of the Second Act: Reese is dead, She must now defeat The Terminator on her own.

  • Comma

    Sure, if you write at the same time 2 screenplays in 90 days and this doesn’t affect the quality of them.

  • Comma

    I’d like to watch/read synopsys of some movies which shares similarities with my story, any suggestions? Thanks.

    -The Sentence
    In a future where criminals are punished with instant aging, a young ex-convict -turned 70- has a week to break in the maximum security lab where his youth can be restored before the process becomes irreversible.

    • Paul Clarke

      IN TIME

      – Good concept, not so stellar execution.

      Maybe even a little MINORITY REPORT. Mixed with a heist film.

      • Comma

        Yes! How could I miss IN TIME? I love Andrew Niccol!

      • Comma

        I just saw IN TIME. There are many elements that are in my story too. I didn’t like the movie at all but the concept is interesting and what makes it a pro work is that each scene, dialogue, everything is about the theme. I think this is a problem in my story because my theme seems to be not really organic with the plot.

    • Eric Boyd

      INCEPTION might be a good one. It’s also heist film with a unique hook and a ticking clock.

    • Scott Crawford

      Runaway Train

      The Inciting Incident (somewhere between pages 5-12)

      After an attempt on his life, Manny plans to escape prison.

      The First Act Turn (page 25-27)

      Having escaped prison, Manny and Buck board freight train whose driver has died.

      The Early Second Act Twist (page 45)

      Manny and Buck find engineer Sara, who tells them train is a runaway.

      The Mid-Point Twist (page 50-55)

      Heroes are able to slow down train enough for it to pass over bridge.

      The Late Second Act Twist (page 70)

      Train is heading towards a chemical plant, so the train is diverted towards a dead end.

      The End of the Second Act (page 85-90)

      Ranken on his way to freight train in helicopter.

      • Comma

        Thanks… but, honestly, I can’t see the similarities… Maybe my logline is not clear?! After the aging sentence my hero is free to go. The idea is that the aging sentence allows the gouvernement to close the prisons in order to cut the prison’s budget. The supporters of the aging sentence maintain that the aging process induce a maturation of the subject and that the chances of repeating the offence are equals to the chances in a traditional prison system.

        • Scott Crawford

          It’s just a really good movie!

          OK, what you’re talking about is more like a heist movie. How about THE BOURNE LEGACY?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bourne_Legacy_(film)

          Jeremy Renner has been given pills that increase his brainpower, now they’re wearing off.

          Renner and Rachel Weisz must break into the lab in Manila and give Renner an injection of a virus that will PERMANENTLY restore his brainpower and stop him going back to being a simpleton.

          That happens about the end of Act II. The rest of the movie is him recovering and then escaping the assassin sent to kill him.

        • Jonathan Soens

          It’s a cool idea. (I’m immediately interested, and I’d definitely watch it.)

          But it’s also sounding like a pretty straightforward heist concept (once you get past the futuristic, techy setup), so I’m struggling to think of a good example to point you towards that isn’t a plain heist film.

          Obviously you get to have some original fun, since yours is set far enough into the future for there to be new technologies that make your heist execution a lot different than contemporary heists. You ought to pull up some geeky science or tech sites and read some pieces speculating about where various technologies look to be headed, and then push those ideas even further.

          I have a couple thoughts, in case you’re open to suggestions or feedback on the story itself…

          1. Just so it doesn’t feel like a clumsy plot contrivance, I’d explain the delay (between when the aging is administered and when it becomes permanent) as a deliberate feature of the drug. Like, the government builds in a short window of time when it can be reversed just to allow for appeals court rulings and that kind of thing.

          2. I’d also really make a point to hammer home the danger in what he’s attempting. The heist plan should involve a sequence of crimes that, being caught for any of them, would result in immediately tacking those extra years onto his aging — resulting in basically a death sentence due to old age. The stakes aren’t that he’s stuck as a 70-year old if he fails. The stakes are that he’s aged even further, and he’s probably dead altogether.

          • Comma

            I think you hit the problem of my concept: the aging punishment and the heist aren’t really organic. I added the heist as a tool to build a plot but it doesn’t really fit the concept. What I like about my concept is that the hero has a clear goal, a clear desire line and we can understand his motivation (even if he’s not a woman). And I like the theme of the movie which is ‘is the aging punishment ethic or not?’.

          • Jonathan Soens

            Confession: I don’t always know what people mean when they say things aren’t organic in a story. But…

            I do think it can tie together nicely depending on how you handle a couple of things.

            First, his aging needs to be an impediment to the heist itself. I’m not entirely sure how the aging works in your story — do they immediately age all the way to their final age after the procedure/treatment (and it just takes a couple weeks to become permanent), or do they gradually go from their starting age to their final age during that time?

            I’d definitely make it a major plot point that the facility he needs to break into is staffed with young workers.

            Perhaps that’s a built-in security feature, because they anticipate some ballsy old guys might storm the castle to reverse the aging punishment, and they want alarms to go off in everyone’s head as soon as they see someone who isn’t young in the building. So he has to figure out a way to justify an old guy being in the building at all, which is tough, or he has to creep around like a ninja (which is also tough if he’s super aged). That works particularly well if he’s visibly aged soon after receiving his treatment/punishment.

            Another possibility, if he ages gradually during that window of time, is that you get to throw a wrench into the plans when he advances to an age where the skills his original heist plan called for are now eroded, forcing him to improvise a new plan. Or perhaps it’s not the age itself so much as some medical condition that mostly comes on later in life, which negates one of his main skills that was going to make the heist work.

            Second, I’d consider the merits of making him innocent of whatever he was initially charged and convicted of doing. I know this can be a familiar plot, the wrongly accused deal, but if you have a good idea for it, it opens up some avenues. It lets you also toy with the possibility of proving his innocence and giving him a legitimate path to have the conviction overturned and the punishment reversed. But most importantly, it can tie your heist to the overall story in a thematic sense — he never committed a crime until they wrongly convicted him of one and forced him to, in a way.

          • Jonathan Soens

            As I was talking about him being wrongly convicted, an alternate idea hit me…

            What if his punishment is for a crime he committed as a kid? Suppose, in this world, when a kid commits a crime, they basically put the punishment “on their tab” and make them pay for it later once they’ve become adults. Because, obviously, they wouldn’t want to take criminal kids and age them into physically mature adults (who would be more dangerous physically, coupled with still being stuck with the mind and mentality of kids who haven’t fully developed yet — a bad combo for criminally inclined youth).

            So you could play up how unfair it is that he’s being punished this way for something he did years ago. Or you could even make his original crime something that is no longer illegal (sort of like a guy who gets convicted of a marijuana-related crime, and it’s legalized a year later), but the way the system works at that point in time, everybody who is already convicted is still on the hook for the punishment regardless of later changes to the laws that made them guilty in the first place.

    • brenkilco

      Essentially it’s a serious caper film with a deadline. Honestly can’t think of anything really similar. Escape From New York is sort of the reverse. The hero has to get out of somewhere before the explosives inside him go off. There’s an old Star Trek episode where the crew contracts a virus that causes them to rapidly age and they have to figure out a cure before they all kick off. Not coming up with another movie on point.

    • Pugsley

      This reminds me of a script called HIBERNATION Justin Lin is attached to.

      – In the future, convicted criminals are cryogenically frozen to serve out their terms. Every five years they are brought out of hibernation for 24 hours to enjoy a day of life. Our wrongfully convicted hero must use that one day every five years to discover, and capture, the real killer. But every time he’s brought out of hibernation, the world has moved on five more years, and the evidence is that much thinner.

      • Comma

        Do you have this script? I’d like to read it (I read carson’s review).
        comma.vimaire (at) gmail dot com
        thanks

        • Pugsley

          Sure.

    • Eric

      Have you thought about replacing instant aging with aggressive aging? In the first version you basically have a heist movie starring a 70 year old, and I’m not sure what would make it different from any other concept which might force an old dude to rob something. With aggressive aging however, you can start off with someone who looks like Ryan Gosling and have them age throughout the course of the movie. Maybe the aging complicates their plans somehow, as their body isn’t physically capable of performing the same feats it was when they conceived of the plan.

      The rapid aging could also serve as the ticking clock element. Not only does the advancing age make it harder to complete their plan, but DEATH is what is ultimately waiting if they don’t succeed in reversing it. Right now your urgency is being provided by the process becoming irreversible, but that feels a bit arbitrary and only has me asking why they didn’t make it irreversible to begin with. Why don’t they hold the guy in prison until it’s irreversible? Giving him an aging virus and then releasing him to die on his own makes a little more sense to me.

      And as a side musing, if it’s possible to reverse aging for this one group of people could it theoretically be possible to reverse aging for anyone? Certainly rich assholes would be all over this technology. Maybe there could be an element of conspiracy to the plot. Maybe your protagonist was framed by said rich asshole? Maybe your protagonist and rich asshole were friends. Maybe your protagonist was a rich asshole too. Maybe these two rich assholes INVENTED the process to begin with (which could give you some irony), but one wanted to use it selfishly to live forever while the other thought that was being too much of an asshole for his tastes.

      Maybe not. But it seems like a useful cul-de-sac to go down at this point in the process.

      • Comma

        Thank you for this in deep analisys.

        About the conspiracy element: it’s exactly my story. In fact, the whole system is designed to take out the life from criminals and give it to the rich elite, but this is unknown from the people because 1) the elite wants to take advantage of the system in an exclusive way 2) the ‘extra life’ is a drug, addictive: they need more and more ‘extra life’. But I don’t want my hero been framed, I’m working on this… I’d like him to be guilty but I need to make him likable… I need to work on this.

        About the ‘aggressive aging’, some other commenters here suggested the same principle. I understand why but I don’t feel it. In fact, the ‘aging lab’ is responsible for spreading the information about the possibility to reverse the process, This is a kind of hook to make criminals repeat their crime to pump out more life from them.

        I think that at the end the hero sacrifies himself proving he has become a mature person and destroys the lab to f**k the system. (He learns that the only way to regain his youth is to take out life from hundreds of people).

        If anyone read me, how bad is my english (0-10) (english is my third language : ( )

        • Vic in a Box

          1 being dog barks to 10 being Shakespeare, you’re pulling a solid 7-8. I wouldn’t have guessed english is your 3rd language.

          Regarding your script, I’m gonna gripe about the elites as antagonists. My brain turns off as soon as I find out the “rich” are behind it all.

          IN TIME did it, as well as ELYSIUM, and tons of other scripts. It’s just so… lame marxist poop. Don’t get me wrong – if you have a FANTASTIC spin on those elites that makes me stand up and throw a molotov cocktail at a bank, by all means. But for the most part… meh.

          Who did it well? MONSTERS, INC. Stealing kids screams to power their world. Wow.

          So maybe stealing youth to power a much needed/used part of society? BOOM. Here’s your Oscar, sir/ma’am.

          Rich people aren’t inherently bad. They’re just better at making money than us. And lots of rich people donate more money to charity in a month than I make in a year.

          Good luck!

          • Comma

            Good point. I promise I won’t make the ‘richs’ the standard bad ones (at least not in such a bold way). Maybe I must watch Soylent Green once again too.

  • Dutch Patrick

    I thought I had it easy because I’m writing a fantasy about the Pied Piper, but dang, I underestimated this. The Character Bios help a lot because with those I already found some answers of outline plots I struggled with. I’m also someone who skipped the outlining before, and it’s quite a task not to get tempted starting writing the screenplay before the outline is finished.

  • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

    Well, I can point you to where I got the idea, plus some other nifty examples!

    http://www.crackingyarns.com.au/2010/07/30/midpoint-stakes-supreme-ordeal-identity-essence/

    • Kane

      Thanks posting that link. Really good stuff.

  • Scott Crawford

    Good idea for character bios, and outlines for that matter – role-playing games. I’m going to use the example of the now-defunct James Bond RPG, and to avoid legal problems, I’ll only link to one of the fan-created modules, although PDFs of the other modules have been posted online over the years:

    http://jamesbondrpg.webs.com/James%20Bond%20RPG%20-%20From%20Russia%20With%20Love.pdf

    CLEARLY it’s not for everyone, and I don’t say I fill out one of these forms for my characters, but it gives you a good idea of what to look for. Notice how much more background detail there is for the main characters than the supporting ones.

    Look at how each character is better at some things than others.

    The idea that the character have secrets that won’t be revealed except under certain circumanstances and so on.

    So, if this works for you, great, if not don’t care. Or if there are other RPGs or other games that could used in a similar way, come and share!

  • Paul Schellens

    Considering the idea of using a successful film as a template, can anyone think of a good movie that goes something like this (this is not a logline):
    A man returns home after a long stay away to find everyone acting strangely. Weird clues emerge slowly and someone who he’s never met before tries to warn him, but he doesn’t trust them. Ultimately, of course, when he knows the truth, the people want him to ‘join’ them so it becomes like a mob/zombie chase as he tries to escape. Maybe he even has to go back into town to rescue the person who tried to warn him.

    I’d love to see how something like this has been done before. Any ideas?

    • Scott Crawford

      Thinking about this, so far all I can think of is THE STEPFORD WIVES:

      Family arrive in Stepford. People acting oddly. Independently-minded women suddenly become braindead housewives. She suspects that it might be polluted water. Her new best friend changes (that’s the big one, because you didn’t think she would change). Turns out they’re all being replaced by robots. And then… the ending still horrifies me, if I’m honest.

    • Citizen M

      This is giving me a Wicker Man vibe.

    • Eric Boyd

      Depending on the tone you’re going for, Edgar Wright’s THE WORLD’S END might be worth checking out.

    • huckabees

      The Truman Show – doesn’t include the returning home part but there’s paranoia, warnings, everyone but the protagonist in on a secret and a chase at the end.

      • Jonathan Soens

        There’s a fun little Philip K. Dick novel similar to the Truman Show, too, which is definitely worth checking out. I believe it was called “Time Out of Joint” or something like that.

        The hero… (SPOILERS, probably — haven’t read it in years, so I don’t remember exactly how much I’m about to spoil)…

        The hero is like Truman, in that he’s living in an odd, fake world that’s been constructed around him. He occasionally notices behaviors are odd or things are amiss, but he can’t put his finger on what’s wrong. All the while, he’s living in a sort of idealistic household, and his big pleasure in life is tinkering with these puzzles in the newspaper (like we might do a crossword or a sudoku in our newspapers). And it turns out the whole thing was an elaborate ruse to make him do elite code-breaking, or whatever, for some shady government/military agency.

    • brenkilco

      It sounds somewhat similar to the original Invasion of The Body Snatchers, with a doctor returning to town from a brief stay away to find everyone behaving oddly. Random clues and warnings. A woman insisting her husband is no longer her husband. And it ends with the protag being pursued by a mob of pod people since he has refused to join them, while trying to rescue his girlfriend.

    • Paul Clarke

      Sounds a bit like Wayward Pines. Along with the other suggestions.

      Where has he been? And why did he come back? I think those are the two vital story elements we are missing. He needs a good reason to be there otherwise he could just leave when he realises something is off.

    • http://antixpress.com/ kidbaron

      Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There are about 3 or 4 versions out there. Stepford Wives, maybe.

    • Midnight Luck

      I believe there’s a TWILIGHT ZONE almost exactly like that, but I couldn’t tell you which episode. I remember watching it on tv, some various channel. Maybe Poe knows?

    • Malibo Jackk

      One of my scripts fits this model.

  • Scott Crawford

    Cool. I think I read something about that event. Rings a bell anyway.

    Good idea: Do what Cameron did with Titanic. Before everything, he wrote out a TIMELINE of the real events so he could everything straight.

    Now obviously you’re going to fictionalize some aspects of the story, you have to, you always have to. But you can use the timeline to help you outline the story, so you simply decide where on the timeline the end or beginning of each act will be, etc.

  • Scott Crawford

    It might not be a bad idea, if you can, to maybe outline two or three stories, cause that’s not too difficult, in case one logline falls apart when she start to expand it. But I worry that you probably won’t be able to write long character bios for two screenplays, so it’s a question of maybe having a backup, but eventually concentrating on one.

  • Paul Clarke

    “A protagonist is breezing along in their life. Then something happens that jolts the status quo. This thrusts them onto a journey where they try to achieve a goal.”

    Nope, nope, nope, nope nope.
    This is why we get boring first 15 pages. And characters who feel like they never existed before the movie began.

    The main character has a long running problem that they cannot solve because of their flaw/imbalance. An opportunity comes along to solve that flaw.

    I can’t think of many quality movies where the main character is “breezing along in life” at the beginning. Maybe Raiders, but Indiana is single and clearly has issues with Marion.

    Sheriff Brody isn’t breezing along – the townsfolk don’t like him because he’s an outsider. But then an opportunity come along to prove himself.
    Luke Skywalker isn’t breezing along – he desperately wants to leave his planet and go fight.
    The crew on the Nostromo all bicker about money.
    (With Grendl not here I have to use those examples)
    Jaimie Foxx in Collateral has been driving his cab for 12 years and will never start that business he wants or ask the girl out because he’s afraid.
    The Karate Kid is bullied and also can’t stand up for himself, but along comes a karate tournament and Mr. Miyagi comes along.
    Louise was being abused by her husband, then Thelma presented her with an opportunity.
    And on and on.

    Please don’t be fooled by the Hero’s Journey label – Ordinary World. That just means creating a baseline for this story world. Character wise they need to have more going on long before the story even began.

    • Eric Boyd

      I can think of one rare example where the Main Character is “breezing along in life” and it’s this “breezing along in life” that’s also his flaw – The Dude in the Big Lebowski.

      • brenkilco

        There are actually many, many examples. It’s a particular trope in film noir where the protagonist takes one step away from his orderly, complaisant life and is instantly on a ski slope to doom. The Woman in The Window for instance.

    • Scott Crawford

      The way I think of it, the hero’s life is in BALANCE, but then thrown OUT OF BALANCE. We all know what’s it like to coast through life, even if we’re doing to stuff like fighting crime or building skyscrapers.

      But we’re not advancing and (in some way) we’re doing harm.

      * Michael Corleone loves his family but wants nothing to do with the family business – and incompatible situation (THE GODFATHER).

      * Indiana Jones is a mercenary willing to exchange a priceless urn full of ashes for a large diamond (THE TEMPLE OF DOOM).

      * Tess McGill is an ambitious businesswoman trapped in a series of humilating and meaningless jobs (WORKING GIRL).

      Then their lives are thrown out of balance.

      * Michael’s father is shot.

      * Indiana Jones crashlands in India.

      * Tess’ new boss, Katherine, breaks her leg on holiday, and at the same time she discovers that Katherine has stolen her idea.

      This then leads to a new course of action.

      * Michael wants to kill the men who tried to kill his father.

      * Jones agrees to recover the Shankara Stones.

      * Tess pretends to be Katherine.

      • Comma

        I think that the initial situation is in balance AND out of balance at the same time.

        Thinking about the initial situation as ‘in balance’ or ‘out of balance’ is tricky. It’s better to think in terms of dialectic: thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

        In the thesis there’s always a ‘potential’ for change (this is what you will define ‘out of balance’). A cathalist allows this potential to express itself and the situation becomes motion. This is mechanism that works in each part of the movie (a scene, the 3act structure, the character’s arc…). And the ‘new equilibrium’ at the end of the movie should be considered as a new beginning, with the same potential for change. So the resolution too is not in balance/out of balance – like the beginning, it’s just a moment in a dialectic process. In the movie everything must move, move, move.

    • Garrett

      You have a point. But I believe your point comes from an overall objective perspective of the story’s problem. From the subjective perspective of the main character, “breezing along in life” simply means to me that they continue life as they know it. Or said dramatically, they continue believing *the lie.* “An opportunity comes along to solve that flaw” you are right, or at least how the character perceives their problem. The main character is blinded to what their real problem is and will set off on their journey to try and equalize or balance the tables so-to-speak.
      Anyway, to answer to what I think you’re saying is mostly correct, but from the overall perspective of the story and not so much from the main character’s point of view.

    • Citizen M

      In the beginning, the characters might have problems, but they deal with them in their usual way. Then something happens, and they have to step out of their comfort zone to deal with it.

      Take your Thelma and Louise example. The road trip they take is a bit naughty, but something they are confident they can deal with the blowback from. Then Louise shoots a rapist and they are way, way out of their comfort zone into a new situation they have no experience of dealing with, and we are into Act 2.

    • brenkilco

      It’s best when the protag’s initial problems directly inform whatever crisis is heading his way. Something that predisposes him to temptation or recklessness or whatever. Too often in genre movies it’s all tedious cliche.

      Guilty I let my squad get wiped out at the battle of Walla Walla. How am I ever going to find redemption?

      Jack I want a divorce and nothing short of a giant tsunami or a horde of rampaging zombies will make me realize that I still love you.

      ZZZZZZ

      • huckabees

        Yes. It’s always a big plus if the protagonist is the master of his own disaster. Makes him less of a victim and creates connective tissue between flaw and main conflict.

      • Stephjones

        Hah. My new idea is called The Tsunami Effect. Get out of my head.

      • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

        We have no connection to our mom thank god these dinosaurs are attacking.

        • Pugsley

          lol!

          Moon-sized space ship destroys the world, epiphany: I still love my wife.

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            Isn’t that the way it always works out?!

          • Pugsley

            Alas, our fate lays with space bugs.

  • MrMcGuffin

    Can’t comment… writing.

    • Scott Crawford

      Best comment today!

    • Midnight Luck

      if you had more time, your comment might be shorter,
      like
      “……writing”

      • MrMcGuffin

        I just got notes on my non-comment! Love this site.

  • Scott Crawford

    OT: The Shallows (p.k.a. In the Deep)

    • brenkilco

      Seems competently assembled. Fairly seamless CG. Silly. Probably padded to achieve feature length. Thought Lively had the sot of dewy good looks that wouldn’t develop into grown up beauty.Wrong there. Still can’t act though.

    • Andrew Parker

      Looks like a gender-swapped species-swapped location-swapped remake of The Revenant. Oscar time for Blake Lively!

      • crazedwriter

        Looks good. She learned from her hubby the power of doing a super- contained thriller. (see Ryan Renolds: Buried.

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      You see that shot of her firing a pistol? What’s the chance the shark also has an air tank in its mouth–85%?

      Her line: “Grin for me, you dirty motherfu–” BOOM!!

    • jbird669

      Good looking thriller and Blake Lively in a bikini the whole time? Sign me up!

    • Pugsley

      “Sis and I have mommy issues, thank God for Jaws.”

    • Malibo Jackk

      Greatest surfer movie ever made.

  • mulesandmud

    Spending 3 days out of 90 on your outline gets my alarm bells ringing in a big way. I hope Carson has additional outline-related beats built into future weeks.

    Otherwise, a rushed outline, combined with the fact that many people are using a concept they invented last week, could turn this process into a very rough road.

    A token approach to outlining can be more harmful than no outline at all, since it leads to a false confidence about a structure that you haven’t properly crafted or considered.

    Imagine taking a week to design a car, then a year to build it. That’s not how an efficient assembly line works. The design phase takes years so that the assembly phase can happen in hours.

    Now, scripts ain’t cars, but still. Your structure is your movie, in most ways that matter. Don’t skimp on it.

    Writers often default to the too-obvious version of a scene during a first draft. Outlines are the same way. The first try almost always leads to generic or formulaic plotting. Stopping the outline process after one or two passes defeats the whole purpose; instead of charting out a path unique to your story, you condemn yourself to cliche for the long haul.

    If you’re going to take the time to build a blueprint for your script, then you’d better damn well make sure it’s a solid design. One that helps you reach the writing phase confident that you know the entire story.

    That doesn’t mean every scene or line of dialogue is locked in place, but it means that you’ve thought hard about your reasons for every single choice, that you’ve asked yourself all the tough questions, and satisfied yourself with the answers.

    Can you do that in three days? Maybe, but that’s a big three days. Like, Good Friday to Easter Sunday big.

    If I take 90 days to write a script, that process tends to look something like this:

    Day 1-30: outline, brainstorm, develop characters, explore themes, re-outline, rinse repeat.

    Day 31-60: write act one, find character voices, establish style, tone and rhythm.

    Day 61-90: write acts two and three, revise, proof.

    You’ll notice that the process accelerates; it takes me more time to write the first three quarters of the script than the other three quarters combined. That’s because the outline has cleared the path, and the first act has warmed me up, so that my writing gradually turns from a slog to a jog to a sprint.

    For those following Carson’s schedule, I recommend carving out some extra time during that first month to revisit your outline with a skeptical eye as often as possible. Continue testing and evolving your structure for as long as you can. You’ll thank yourself later.

    • brenkilco

      Otherwise, a rushed outline, combined with the fact that many people are using a concept they invented last week, could turn this process into a very rough road.

      Yeah, a potential train wreck. A simple train wreck without a midpoint reverse.

      • crazedwriter

        But at least it will be a finished rough draft that can be fine-tuned during the rewriting process. I think the goal here is to just finish SOMETHING, which if we are honest, a lot of us have been unable to do.

        • brenkilco

          This may be a valuable exercise in self discipline. Will anything better than awful come of it? Let’s hope. A first draft must have a basically sound story or there’s nothing to fine tune. And good stories can’t be composed at gunpoint. But hey maybe somebody here has a genius tale floating around in his head and just needs a nudge.

          • crazedwriter

            i don’t think anyone is expecting to have a perfect script when they are done, but for anyone with decent abilities and a good idea, I think they can come out of this process with something workable. I’ve written a screenplay in 90 days and received lots of read requests and positive feedback on it, so anything is possible. Let’s not be Debbie Downers so early in the process. m’kay?

          • brenkilco

            If you have some decent story ideas you can absolutely bang out a workable draft in ninety days. It all depends on how fully formed the ideas were.

          • crazedwriter

            Agreed. May the God of decent fully formed ideas shine down on us all. Good luck everyone!

          • Mr. Blonde

            God, I wish that were true.

          • garrett_h

            I don’t think Carson is looking for the next Chinatown or Pulp Fiction here. From what I gather, this is more along the lines of his “Write a scene like XYZ” only on a much larger scale.

            IMO it’s refreshing to see him try something new. There’s only so much to be learned by reading someone’s review on a screenplay you haven’t even read, then reading the comments and watching them go completely OT and off the rails entirely.

            Is this a USC MFA class? Or even UCLA Extension Screenwriting course? Heck no. But at least there seems to be some form, some structure, to getting people to write a complete script. I think that’d be useful to some – if not most – that come here looking for screenwriting advice.

          • brenkilco

            Well, I know he’s not looking for the next Chinatown. If I recall correctly he wasn’t all that crazy about the best screenplay ever written when he reviewed it. Didn’t think a plot centering on water rights and dam construction was big enough.

            “Write a scene like XYZ” only on a much larger scale.”

            Damn. Now that you’ve given my idea away, I have to start all over again.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      Amen.

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

        Funny way of putting it–but true. Good job, Marija ZombiGirl.

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          Well, that’s just my way of working :) I have tried different methods and I have found that the longer the prepping process, the shorter the writing time for the first draft. I don’t like fractioning that spontaneity too much so I just “vomit” it out in 3-4 weeks. But I can only do that after 4-6 weeks prep.
          Anyway, to each their own, as they say. I’m just a little worried that too much impatience and desire to impress will result in weak end results…

    • pabloamigo

      Great advice overall. There’s never enough time to plan…

      However, I think the whole process will still have merit with the timescales outlined by Carson, mainly as an exercise in ‘getting it done’. Regardless of whether it’s a screenplay masterpiece or a bit of a bodge, most writers need to (at least once) write ‘the end’.

    • Altius

      This. Don’t rush the blueprint just to get to the build.

    • ShiroKabocha

      Agree. Outlining / brainstorming is the part that always consumes most of the creation process for me. Once I have it sorted, the actual script writing goes pretty fast after that :)

      I think I’ll try and play with this 3-month deadline just for the experiment though (not gonna enter the tournament, just try and get a 2nd draft done).

    • crazedwriter

      He clearly stated they are not due until a week from today, so hopefully a person with good time management skills will continue to work the outline for at least a week, and since it is not written in stone, the outline should be a fluid document that is continually worked on throughout the full pre-writing timeframe.

    • klmn

      I’m going to have a hard time finishing because I’ve got over a thousand pages of research material to read, and I’m sure I’ll discover more along the way.

      Still, I’m going to give it a shot.

    • fragglewriter

      I can definitely understand what you said, because I am the same way. But I also think this would be useful to writers who are hired by a Studio/ Producer/ Actor/ Director to write a script or pilot in a short amount of time. It might not be the best script, but it’s a rough draft that can, and will, be edited/fattened until the Director says “That’s a wrap.”

    • garrett_h

      This is good advice in general. And I’m with you on most of it. Also, I’m not participating in this experiment, merely an observer. But… a couple of points.

      1. For the most part, I don’t think everyone came up with these ideas last week. I’m not sure about other writers, but most writers I know have TONS of ideas. And likely they’ve been chewing the cud on said ideas for a while. So they have a general idea of what the story is going to be before the outline process.

      2. Carson only asked for a few major story beats. Not a complete outline. I
      think rough story beats, especially the major ones, are doable in a few
      days. And likely Carson will have more outline steps.

      3. Your 90-day method works for you. That’s great! But I don’t think any method is one-size-fits-all. Even Carson’s. Your way isn’t the ONLY way to write a script in 90 days. It isn’t better or worse than the way Carson is trying to introduce. It’s just A way. Of many.

      I really think you’re putting the cart before the horse here. Let Carson do his thing. Anyone who wants to follow along can. You don’t have to, especially if you think his way will lead to a trainwreck of a script. You’ve got your process down pat. That’s good. You don’t need this exercise. But I’m sure there are some that do. Sometimes that kick in the pants Carson was talking about is needed, especially for those that have struggled to reach the finish line.

      • mulesandmud

        1. Didn’t say everyone.
        2. Sincerely hope he has more outline steps.
        3. Never even implied my way was the only way.

        Trainwreck was a word someone else used, not me.

        I appreciate the reply. Your caveats add perspective on my post, just like my caveats add perspective on Carson’s. Let’s let everyone do their thing, so that all the carts end up behind their respective horses.

        • garrett_h

          I saw bren’s post after mine lol, the trainwreck thing was a complete coincidence.

          Just thought your post was unnecessarily critical of this whole experiment. Maybe mine was the same in response to yours. And ’round and ’round we go…

          Touche! Now I’m gonna go on some lambs.

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      There’s literally no idea that can’t be made better by thinking on it longer. Everyone loves the idea of “artistic inspiration,” but it’s bullshit, and a ruse that keeps gifted people from making good ideas better.

      Writing isn’t riffing on a guitar; it’s not about what you do in the moment, but what you can do over time. The more time you spend with your outline, the better you will do. If you have a great idea for a set piece, think longer and you can make it legendary.

      I’m going to participate in this madness, but only because I’ve been outlining for three months.

      • brenkilco

        No, that’s not fair. Your script must be based on a logline you came up with no earlier than a week ago in a misguided attempt to make Carson go Whoa. Otherwise I could use the thing I’ve already banged out a rudimentary first act for…..hmm.

        Glad I’m not going to have to read this stuff.

    • Jonathan Soens

      Spending only 3 days seems unworkable to someone whose process is built on outlining, sure.

      But I think Carson is trying to force-feed a modicum of planning and outlining to the writers who so far refuse to give up their “fly by the seat of my pants” strategy of winging it.

      Carson is probably hoping that by making it 3 days, it makes it manageable enough to get them to finally try it (the way a parent tries to trick their kid into trying some new food, assuring them they can just try it and trying it doesn’t obligate them to eat a whole truckload of it) and he hopes it will be a revelatory experiment for some of them.

  • Randy Williams

    According to Psychologists, it takes three months to get over a romantic break up.

    I suspect six months from now, a lot of writers here, who have been only glued to their computer screens writing, will experience some hopefulness.

    • ABHews

      I’d say tough love…but that’s just plain tough.

  • TajRoy Duane Calhoun

    DX I never got an email back from Carson on my loglines and I honestly don’t know which one to go with. I’m leaning towards two, but I’m not sure. Without a doubt I can narrow it down to three—the remaining two of the five I sent are not conceptualized well enough in my mind yet for me to outline them in a week. So I’mma post those three that I can.

    The Immigrant
    Contained Horror
    When the efforts of the church fail, the owners of a haunted plantation in the Antebellum South have no choice but to seek aid from an African witchdoctor.

    Renaissance
    Drama, Based a True Story
    Having fallen on hardship after the loss its founder and faced with closure, it falls on a group of rebellious young artists to bring life back to the once great Disney Animation Studios.

    Temperance
    Superhero, Martial Arts
    After she escapes from an occult super-soldier program, a young woman trying to re-start her life is recruited by a family of super-powered assassins to help kill the program’s ultimate creation.

    • Jarrean

      The Immigrant.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      I like The Immigrant best but… Sorry if it’s just me but the logline is very confusing :/ I like the ideas in there but I don’t really get what it’s about.

      • brenkilco

        Just what did the church fail to do?

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          Right.
          Oh, wait! “The efforts of the church” + “haunted plantation” = maybe the church sent a priest or an exorcist and that person failed to get rid of the haunting thus leading to the witchdoctor?

          • brenkilco

            That’s likely the case but he should say so.

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Agreed :)

          • TajRoy Duane Calhoun

            Yeah, that’s it. When I say “the church” I meant essentially “every priest or exorcist the family could get to attempt to help them”. They all failed.

            Sorry if that was confusing. But another reason I put “the church” instead of like “a priest or an exorcist” is because the reason all of them failed is because the thing haunting the plantation is a being that the Christian church as a whole is unable to deal with.

            I’ll try to make it clearer when I re-write the logline.

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            No worries, we’re here to help :) Love the idea, hope you write it.

          • TajRoy Duane Calhoun

            Yeah. Honestly, of those three I posted I was leaning towards this the least, but the reception from the logline has been so unanimous and positive in its direction!

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Such positive reaction is always a nice surprise. The same thing happened with one of the three concepts that I tested both here and on FB. I know we should write what appeals to us the most but I also believe that an idea that works so well for a large number of people is worth writing. So I’m giving mine a try. I actually started working on it before this challenge but the 3 months time limit and everybody writing at the same time is a good incentive to keep going – one of the hardest things about spec writing is finishing what we start.
            This is a little like a writer’s group so it’s energizing :)

          • TajRoy Duane Calhoun

            Same. I mean, I love all my ideas, but the other two—one is “cooler” to me, while the other appeals straight to my passions as an animator and animation lover. But yeah, I think I’mma pivot to this one for the sake of this challenge, doing something that a lot of people find appealing—I mean, that was kind of the point of this two week logline focus.

    • hickeyyy

      The Immigrant, without a doubt. That’s an awesome idea.

    • scrimshaw

      The Immigrant

    • Comma

      the immigrant! Who is the main character? The witchdoctor?

      • TajRoy Duane Calhoun

        I’m still kind of iffy on that. I kind of want to build an aura of mystique around him. Without a doubt he is a/the central figure, but I’m debating if the kind of “POV” character should be someone else.

        • hickeyyy

          I agree. I think the Witch Doctor hype should rise throughout the entire thing. His entrance might make an awesome midpoint if he throws shit off the rails.

          • TajRoy Duane Calhoun

            Mhmm, that’s what I was thinking too!! You don’t think its too late introducing him at the midpoint though? That was my first thought but I was worried it’d be too late.

            I do plan for his entrance to be big.

    • Stephjones

      the Immigrant.

  • Frankie Hollywood

    “So what are you waiting for???”

    My logline reviews.

    • crazedwriter

      Carson clearly stated to not wait on it, because at this point you may not get it. I think I good writer ultimately has to rely on his gut for what he thinks will make a good story; not some overworked blogger.

    • fragglewriter

      Post them here in the community. I did yesterday and received great feedback.

      • Frankie Hollywood

        I’m just being a bitch. I’m 21 pages into my next pilot, so I’ll be sticking with that. I was just thinking about writing a feature next—change of pace from writing 3 pilots in a row. BUT, if one of my loglines had scored 8+ I might’ve put the pilot on hold and joined the challenge.

        Good luck to everyone. EXTREMELY curious to see how many completed scripts there are at the end of 90 days.

        • fragglewriter

          That’s good for three pilots in a row. I though about writing a pilot, but I didn’t have a strong enough storyline/concept to last past season 1 LOL

          I’m accepting the challenge as I need writing structure.

    • Magga

      Results from the last big thing on the site

  • Comma

    Hello, I’ve reworked a little my loglines according to your comment, trying to clarify what was confusing, now I’d like to share the rates I’ve just received from Carson – it seems like my loglines are not really viables! Feel free to comment! Thanks.

    1. The Script

    When a disenchanted ‘love story’ author, seeking a new turn in her career, attends a horror movie workshop, a sadistic guru sets the rules for a deadly writing game where only the best writer will survive. 3

    2. The Sentence

    In a future where criminals are punished with instant aging, a young ex-convict -turned 70- has a week to break in the maximum security lab where his youth can be restored before the process becomes irreversible. 3

    3. Dr. Foulashop

    When a shopaholic journalist is institutionalized in an experimental addiction treatment center, he finds out that the eccentric clinical director is involved in a conspiracy meant to enslave the masses through induced consumerism. He will need to fight his own shop-addiction, if he wants to sabotage the experiment and save the world. 2

    4. Brain Drain

    When the bodyless talking brains of the most brilliant scientists hires him to leave the country, a simple minded smuggler must pass the frontier before the government or the rebels get their hands on them. 2

    5. Dreamshare Inc.

    A rigid executive has subscribed to a dream-streamer, a professional dreamer who rents his dreams to her. When he stops sharing his dreams because of a dreamer’s block, she must help him dream again or face her own nightmares and lose her temper just before the most important contract of her life. 4 (but at least it’s unique!)

    • Jarrean

      Too little of concepts. Would you expect audiences to pay $20 to see these films?

      The Sentence seems like the only workable one, but even the. It’s a 70-year old playing an action hero. Not that exciting.

    • TajRoy Duane Calhoun

      I kind of do/kind of don’t see eye-to-eye with Carson’s reviews. Like Jarrean commented, I can see these being hard to sell. On the other hand, I love the shameless creativity. Like Dreamshare Inc. — I think the “plot” of that story needs some reworking and finetuning, but I love the world idea in general. And maybe its the writer in me, but I really love The Script. It honestly feels like the story of an alternative comic or seinen manga— this off-the-wall to the point of humorous idea but with the potential of being really serious and even scary.

  • Lironah

    I outline in 2 stages; first by hand in a notebook, then into Scrivener. My final never follows the outline as written, though–I never find my real ending until the second draft. xD

  • scriptfeels

    So may 5 is day 1? so may 12 i finish character bios and outline right? I’ll most likely post my outlines and character bios in a shared google docs page when i want feedback. Looking forward to the journey…

  • Mr. Blonde

    Well, I will say that while I completely detest outlining, it has been going by pretty quickly (at least, act 1 is. I know, I know, that’s not the difficult act, but still…) so far. Getting the purpose of each scene is pretty straightforward.

    One of the biggest issues I have with outlines, though, is that they make the script very paint-by-numbers. You know that you have to get from A to B, but that leaves out “fun” scenes that maybe aren’t plot relevant, but are still awesome.

    I’ll give you an example (one of my favorite scenes of all time): the drug deal scene in “Boogie Nights”. The reason for that scene is money. Marky Mark needs it to fix his Corvette (which was damaged in a deleted scene, so it’s now unnecessary for him), John C. Reilly needs money for… no reason. Thomas Jane wants to rob Alfred Molina. Still, it’s just because. It’s not plot relevant, it’s just something thrown in there to move Marky Mark back to Burt Reynolds.

    Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me say that this would not nearly be as good of a movie without that scene. I know it’s P.T. Anderson and his scripts love to meander (for better or worse. Mostly better) but it makes you wonder if, perhaps sometimes, a detour could be allowed in scripts, regardless of its necessity to the story.

    • Kirk Diggler

      As you can tell by my avatar, i hate Boogie Nights.

      Just a comment or two: The corvette fixing is still motivation for Dirk in that scene. Yes, they cut the scene where he crashes the vette, but Dirk still mentions that he can ‘get the vette fixed’ in the ‘nice little bit of hustle bustle’ scene in the motel with Thomas Jane’s character. So there is still external motivation there.

      Plus, P.T. uses a SUPER right before the start of the scene where they plan the robbery. It you remember, it reads, “Long Way Down (One Last Thing)”.

      So internally, there is motivation for the scene to show just how far Dirk (Eddie Adams) has fallen from where he began to where he is now. The fact that Anderson felt the need to point this out shows that he once had a sense of humor before he started to take himself so damn seriously.

      When Dirk himself suggests they leave and not go through with the robbery, well for me that’s what truly makes the scene shine from a character perspective. He was basically a nice kid from Torrance and he realizes just how far he’s fallen.

      And yeah it’s one of the great scenes ever. Any scene that can make you see Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” in a totally different light than the arena power ballad pablum it once was, well that’s just great filmmaking!

      • Mr. Blonde

        But, is it necessary? For a writer/director who specializes in character pieces, how is it, for a sequence upon which the movie hinges, does the sole motivation go to the least important character on the protagonists’ side? And, I do find it funny. All we really get to learn about John C. Reilly is that he likes working out, does jackknifes (jackknives? I don’t know) and loves magic.

        The crux of my question boils down to the scene prior. Dirk has already fallen past the point of where he started. He was happy (ish) jerking off for $10 back in 1977. But, in that scene, he realizes how badly he messed up and it could have gone straight back to them reconciling. In an outline for this movie, it probably would have.

        I suppose the question really is, is it ever okay for a scene to actually not mean anything to the script? For the script to have not really changed without it? I know a lot of hard-liners who would say no. I mean, you can add stakes to any scene in any movie, plot relevant or not (in order to try and make it feel relevant), but that doesn’t make a scene necessary.

        I’m sure you’ve heard this before: killing your babies. A director will cut their best scene if it’s not necessary to the movie. I just don’t believe that, but I know there are people out there who do. I suppose I’m just curious what people out there’s take on this is.

        Well, the entire 17-minute segment (from the start of Dirk masturbating to Roller Girl’s performance in the limo then with the donut store robbery then the drug deal) is among the best long-set sequences of all time. The really ironic part is that it’s not even the best long sequence Anderson has ever done (that goes to the entire sequence in Daniel Plainview’s house to end “There Will Be Blood”.

        And, one last thing, you’re killing me, Kirk. It’s “nifty”, man. “Nifty little bit of hustle bustle”.

        • Kirk Diggler

          Nifty? Shit, so close.

          Is the scene necessary? No. As you point out, Dirk gets beaten up pretty bad by the surfer punks. But while that was bad, it didn’t really allow for any self-reflection of the kind we see in the Rahad Jackson scene (which also had the benefit of being loosely based on the Wonderland murders). That thousand yard stare Dirk does as the firecrackers are going off and Reed’s whispering in his ear is just such a great character moment.

          Necessary? No. Self-indulgent? A little. Beautifully cinematic? Totally. Good thing he didn’t kill his darlings, right?

          • Mr. Blonde

            I’m so glad you bring that up. Dirk’s trance state was not intentional. Anderson had kept the three of them awake for two days before filming and Marky Mark spaced out and forgot his line. So, even that wasn’t reflective (although it can be argued, I suppose, that it could be viewed that way). Yeah, Reed kept looking over, “Mark, you remember your line? Mark?… Are you awake?…”

            Oh, P.T. Anderson, he’s probably the Prince of Self Indulgence (going back to Magnolia and way more so, lately).

            P.S. Funny story, I used to put videos up on YouTube. Once, I put up two versions of the Drug Deal: the normal version and the one with the music audio track removed. The one with the music removed was awful to watch and hilarious at the same time. The scene felt so long (especially with Marky Mark spacing out) but it was great because it felt less like a movie drug deal and more like a real one. Crazy Rahad running around and singing to songs that no one else can hear. And, it’s funny, really faintly in the background, you can hear Rahad singing the songs throughout the whole scene, not just during the time he sings them loud.

          • Kirk Diggler

            “So, even that wasn’t reflective (although it can be argued, I suppose, that it could be viewed that way)”

            The fact that Anderson left the scene in means that’s what he wanted. If it was a happy accident it doesn’t detract from how the scene is interpreted by the viewer.

            I also think it’s important not to emphasize form over function. Ultimately, we both agree the scene works wonderfully whether it’s needed by the ‘plot’ or not.

            Is the Rahad Jackson scene without the soundtrack still on Youtube? That sounds really fascinating.

          • Mr. Blonde

            Fair point. After all, happy accidents in filmmaking happen more often than you’d expect.

            No, it isn’t. Having that scene up twice is actually what got that account banned. This was back in ’08-’09.

  • ASAbrams

    Good luck, everybody!

    Did anyone bring an apple with a rapping worm in it for the teacher?

    Yah…this is going to be super weird for me. The first thing I do with an idea is to make sure it’s got all the elements for a story…not outline it and write character bios. I mean, I have to figure out who the main characters are and which ones work well together (as in, don’t work well together). I mean, what if I don’t know the ending? How am I going to outline the beginning?

    And uh, I’m assuming we can go a bit further with the character bios, right? Besides number 1, those are all about characterization, not character. I have to know who likes ‘em, who “mehs” ‘em, who hates ‘em, and who loves ‘em. I got to know who they have unresolved issues with. I got to know their way of thinking, their worldview. Are we going from the outside in? Cuz I usually go from the inside out. And I kind of build the people around my main character based on who rubs her the wrong way most.

    But anyways, it’s all good. I’m writing two screenplay ideas: one for public rejection and one for private rejection. I’ll be committing to all the steps whether I agree to them or not for the public one. The other one I’m doing my own thing on, and right now I’m working on the scene list. It might be a little bit ahead now, but I do a lot of developing so I’m thinking it won’t go as fast for that one.

    Will y’all be sharing your outlines?

  • crazedwriter

    I imagine it will be hard to write one quality screenplay in 90 days, let alone two good ones.

  • crazedwriter

    Carson, thanks for the step-by-step screenwriting tutorial! You rock for lighting a fire under us all and giving us the tools needed to actually get something finished!

  • Ana

    I’m on it!! Good luck everybody :)

    OT: The wicker man!!!! :)..the original one, not the Nicolas Cage thing…

  • Midnight Luck

    Yesterday would’ve been a great day to start,
    Carson could’ve given everyone an excited:

    “May the Fourth be with you!”

    as they set off on their adventure.

    Instead everyone will just be out getting drunk all day today for Cinco de Mayo.

    • Scott Serradell

      Hemingway would approve!

      • brenkilco

        Didja know Hemngway wrote standing up? Worth a try. And he refused numerous offers over the years to write screenplays. Smart guy.

        • Scott Serradell

          I did know he wrote standing up, as did Thomas Wolfe. I tried it myself, sorta: I write on an elevated artists desk and, when the feeling gets me, I can easily kick the chair away and rock it freestyle as it were. But for long stretches, no; the mechanics are just too foreign. Have you tried it? Success?

          As for the screenwriting thing, it makes sense. From what little I know of him he didn’t seem a movie-goer. And his books sold well enough I don’t the money would’ve enticed him.

          • brenkilco

            Have never tried writing standing up. If I’m going to be uncreative I may as well be comfortable.

            Hemingway was one of the few big guns who resisted Hollywood. Steinbeck, Faulkner, Fitzgerald all gave it a crack. Probably just as well. His much vaunted ‘realistic’ dialogue.,was artificially terse and repetitive, The rhythms worked well on the page but as Ben Hecht and other adapters observed sounded idiotic when spoken aloud.

        • Midnight Luck

          yet here is the main pic of him on Wiki (sitting at a typewriter):
          and another, lounging with a cigarette:

      • Midnight Luck

        a fantastic quote from Hem:

        “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life. Organizations for writers palliate the writer’s loneliness but I doubt if they improve his writing. He grows in public stature as he sheds his loneliness and often his work deteriorates. For he does his work alone and if he is a good enough writer he must face eternity, or the lack of it, each day.”

        • Scott Serradell

          Jesus! That last sentence just drills into the heart…

          • Midnight Luck

            yep, it is a lonely, desolate, painful endeavor; punctuated with flashes of intense wonder, pleasure and thrills.

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          Great quote. True, to a point, also.

    • Erica

      Awe, but today is…

      • Thaddeus Arnold

        “Revenge Of The Sixth” seems more appropriate. That meme needs a rewrite. Get me Joss Whedon!

      • Caivu

        Cinco de Star Wars, as Red Letter Media calls it.

        • Midnight Luck

          Cinco de Cuatro, as Lucille Bluth calls it on Arrested Development

    • Thaddeus Arnold

      As if anyone needed an excuse to get drunk.

      Its St. Patrick’s Day. We’re all Irish today! Let’s get drunk!
      It’s Fat Tuesday. We’re all Catholic today! Let’s get drunk!
      It’s Cinco de Mayo. We’re all Mexicans today! Let’s get drunk!

      • Midnight Luck

        Yay it’s Friday, let’s get drunk!
        Oh god it is Monday, let’s get drunk.
        It’s humpday, let’s get drunk!
        Damn, It’s only Tuesday, let’s get drunk!
        It’s finally the weekend the / playoffs / final four / cricket day / Indy 500 / WWF day / Heavyweight / Olympics / Bowling / Marathon / Cycling / knitting playoffs are on, let’s drink!
        Oh man, it is Sunday, the day of doing nothing, well first Church for many, then, well, time to relax and have a beer, or three. Then barbecue, and more drinking!

        So I guess that leaves Thursday to write!
        No Thursday is Thirstday! Crap, let’s get drinking!

        next week for sure…..when i’m sober

        • Erica

          Drunk? I haven’t had a drink since breakfast.

        • Thaddeus Arnold

          Call me when you’re sober. We’ll get drunk!

    • smishsmosh22

      phew, thanks for reminding me it’s my mom’s bday today!!!

      • Midnight Luck

        a good day to start drinking!
        or eating cake!

  • Erica

    So much for getting any real work done at work for the next 3 months. Who am I kidding, like that matters. Time to write.

  • Thaddeus Arnold

    This is an awesome idea, Carson! I know it will help me get moving!

  • klmn

    Something has been bugging me about this, and I just realized what it is – it’s too mechanical. Like this process is somehow going to result in a good screenplay.

    There are two things missing from this discussion – theme and voice. I wish Grendl was here to comment.

    • http://soundcloud.com/the-colonel-mc The Colonel

      “Like this process is somehow going to result in a good screenplay.”

      I think the process is meant to result in a screenplay, period. Just getting a final screenplay under our belts is an amazing achievement for many of us.

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

        All about that achievement, boss.

      • Eddie Panta

        Yo!
        You’ve got to do an AMERICAN JUGGALO horror screenplay.
        Built in audience to say the least.

    • Thaddeus Arnold

      This is just to get the ball rolling. I’m sure those things will be addressed during the second draft. The first draft is just to get it done.

    • Daivon Stuckey

      Yup. After the concept and the main character, theme is the thing I have to come up with first. Sometimes even before the main character because they can’t exist without one another.

  • Mayhem Jones

    LMAO! Did anyone else notice that Carson pretty much said what you were thinking as you were reading the article?

    Me: “Well I don’t do it that way! I do it a different way!”
    SS article: “Tough. This is about trying something new. It’s about going outside of your comfort zone so you can grow.”

    Well C, here’s your….TOUCHE!!!!!!

    Me: “But I just want to start writing it!”
    SS article: “TOUGH.”

    Me: “Oh God, I ha–”
    SS article: “I know. You HATE CHARACTER BIOS.”
    Me: “GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!!”

    • Erica

      Well played,

  • Scott Serradell

    Just wanted to throw something out there for those (like me) who have outlining issues (I’m certainly not stepping on Carson’s toes or purporting to be Mr. Know-It-All. I’m just offering an alternative route to the same destination…)

    Something helpful I stole from the Coen Brothers (who stole it from Stanley Kubrick) is the idea of the “non-submersible unit” (NSU from here on out.) Basically it’s a fundamental story sequence where all the non-essential elements have been stripped away. Plainly put it’s the same outline prescription Carson mentions above BUT, to get there, its putting aside any thoughts of narrative or linear story-telling (for the time being.) It’s spit-balling as target practice!

    For me what I struggled against was approaching any story from the beginning and working in a logical way to its end. Try as I might I simply cannot think that way. So what a NSU does is forces me outside the narrative, outside of any linear/time constraints, and has me focus on the concept as a WHOLE; it’s a clear view of your story’s shape from the stratosphere. The concept already tells me the general arc; roughly I know where I’m going and the conclusions that will prevail…

    So now, in looking at my concept via bird’s eye, I start asking: What do I fill it with? Then the ideas start flying and I’m not worried about hitting marks or beats (not yet anyway.) Anything you think is compelling, expectant of the genre, character actions, theme related, sights/smells/sensations… Anything you FEEL it part of the story and should be FELT in the experience of the story. More importantly I am not afraid of any idea at this stage; all of it’s fair game. ANYTHING related to the material I put in. Doesn’t matter…

    Then like a good French sauce I reduce it down. I’ve had up to a hundred ideas/details for a single story. Then I look at the map (the story’s shape) and begin to fill in the territory. This is where NSU comes in. I try for 8 (it’s a nice number; do what you feel is necessary) and slowly 8 points of my story start forming. A hundreds ideas put into 8 categories. Some will survive or not, some will change; some will end up in the background, some as action or dialogue. The junk is junked and good stuff is developed. The point is it’s all flexible: It can go anywhere and be changed into anything.

    The thing is: Any story ALREADY starts when the shit hits the fan; that’s why there’s a story in the first place. But for me, once upon a time, I would sit for hours in front of the computer in agonizing constipation: “Inciting incident! I need a fucking INCITING INCIDENT!!” And eventually one would be forced out, but then what? I still have the rest of a story to tell and I have LITTLE idea where it’s going! So one day took out a big sheet of paper and drew an arc: The Beginning, to the End. And I just filled it out bit by bit and when it was done I had a mess… But a mess I could SEE and WORK WITH…

    And lo and behold! There’s the inciting incident and the second act turn! It was there the whole time (like magic!) And if I now want to punch it up, make it sexy and all, I can do it. But now, at least, there’s an organic flow to the whole thing, a sequence of events that feels natural.

    Again, just putting out a different route if the road you’re on is kicking your ass. Everyone finds their own method and this helped me out. But just remember: The only real secret to all this is hard work. Good luck everyone!

    • ABHews

      Great post.

    • Midnight Luck

      Very good thoughts.

      I think we all have looked to others to see what they do, try to find ideas on how to write, when to write, etc.
      There are some great nuggets out there from amazing writers. Some of the guidance works, some doesn’t.
      I wrote about this before, at some point along the journey I came across a book that was a bunch of interviews of different successful screenwriters, one of the best books on screenwriting i’ve ever read, and one of the writers said the best thing he ever did was write as much as he wanted during that day, and then STOP in the MIDDLE of a sentence without finishing it, without a period or any punctuation. That way, when he comes back to writing the next day, he is already in MID-THOUGHT and doesn’t have to begin from a stopped place.
      I am telling you, it changed my life. It was BRILLIANT.

      Another great bit of advice came from Diablo Cody, who said, she wakes up and IMMEDIATELY picks up her notepad or computer and starts writing. If she doesn’t, she gets sidetracked by every single thing in life and finds it impossible to set herself down to write.
      Again, changed my writing life, it is so true, and was a brilliant observation.

      In the end, I find, there are all these “rules” everyone spouts when it comes to writing, and pretty much they are all bunk. There are no rules. Some Good in certain situations, great for certain writers, but on the whole, worthless for each person in their individual lives and worlds.

      I’ve written outlines that were bullet points 3 words long laying out the entire story.
      I’ve written outlines that were pages and pages of free flow thought.
      I’ve written outlines that were nonsensical thoughts with no timeline or organization.
      I’ve written no outline.

      In the end, my one and only bit of wisdom is:

      “Do WHATEVER gets you writing”

      everything else, is secondary.

  • hickeyyy

    My question: what the hell do we do with this stuff? Are we just writing along together and submitting a script at the end? Or are we supposed to put it on here somewhere throughout the process to “prove” we are in this contest?

  • hickeyyy

    Another note: is there a fancy, flashy name for this contest? The SS250 was a sharp name and had a cool logo. Don’t worry, Carson – I’ve got this under control:

    http://imgur.com/bWx63dJ

    • Scott Serradell

      Nicely done. Maybe a little more cowbell…

      • hickeyyy

        Great idea! How about now?

        http://i.imgur.com/JDNMOOE.png

        • Scott Serradell

          Great! And good incentive too: The sooner we finish our script the sooner Carson stops banging that in our ears.

    • Midnight Luck

      1 day a week…..
      ……for 13 weeks……
      This Is The……SS.90D…….

      • hickeyyy

        That sounds like a workout plan.

        • Midnight Luck

          It does, doesn’t it.
          I remember when
          “The 4 Hour Body” came out.
          I browsed through it. So ridiculous.
          He ate donuts and multiple pizzas and whatever else he wanted once a week. The rest of the week I think he starved himself. The workout part was just as idiotic if I remember correctly.
          It was an offshoot of his mega popular “4 Hour Work Week” book.

          • hickeyyy

            Yeah I think that’s a ludicrous idea. You don’t get to eat pizza and donuts and retain your weight. Why starve yourself to enjoy your one day? Why not just eat a more healthy diet??

            Alas, I say this to myself as I eat like a fatty every day and continue to grow.

  • brenkilco

    Character bios may not be fun. But you’ll thank me for them later.

    Just a way for you to truly know and understand your characters, to become one with them. Conveniently for me my protagonist is the kind of guy who thinks character bios are crap.

  • K David

    First act turn, mid point twist, early second act twist, character flaw. Ugh. Just tell me a good story.

    • Caivu

      Are those not potential components of one?

      • K David

        There’s probably some validity in a good script containing those elements. But I don’t think you can tell a good story by checking off boxes and compartmentalizing every aspect of you story with those elements. I just don’t see how you can be a good storyteller when your story revolves around certain benchmarks.

        • Caivu

          But it’s pretty much impossible to tell a good story without at least a couple of those things. They don’t all have to be present, but if none of them are, there’s probably not much of a story there.

    • Kirk Diggler

      There is a critical difference between following a formula and being formulaic. The formula is structure, it’s your friend.

      Becoming formulaic within that structure is your enemy.

  • Poe_Serling

    I’ve been waiting in line all day… and I still can’t see the front entrance to ScriptShadow.

    I’m stuck between an IHOP (I Have Outlines aPlenty ) and Character Bio Warehouse (by the way – they have a Create One Get One Sale going on).

    Oh well…

    ;-)

    I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s AF. You don’t see all that many Lovecraft projects in this neck of the woods.

    Catch y’all on the flip side.

    • garrett_h

      Can’t wait for AF either. Love Lovecraft (that kinda sounds weird out loud lol). Missed the AOW Saturday so I’ll try to give it a read tonight/tomorrow. Sounds like a good one!

      No “Let’s Write a F’in Screenplay” for you, Poe?

      • Poe_Serling

        I’m just finishing one… so I want to focus on that for now. ;-)

        • klmn

          Will you be submitting to AOW?

          You’ve been such a big help here, I’d like to see you get a shot.

          • Poe_Serling

            Personally, I’ve always had mix feelings about the whole AOW/AF process… it has its share of upsides and downsides… depending
            on the the mood of the crowd on any given week. ;-)

          • klmn

            I’m thinking about submitting my Western, although there is a downside. Carson might still dislike it – the story played out over a period of years, rather than the compressed time frame that C likes.

            I’m trying to think if he ever liked a script that takes place over time – not counting time travel. We all know he likes that.

          • Billie B

            The Ends of the Earth played out over many years and is one of C’s faves.

          • klmn

            Thanks for reminding me. I’ll look it up and reread his review.

  • Lucid Walk

    And with all the power escaped from the dream-catcher, the real world could slowly be disintegrating, turning itself into the dream world. There’s the urgency.

  • BoSoxBoy

    Following is an argument against outlining from Guy Gallo (Columbia U), which I personally follow, but I recognize isn’t for everyone.

    “This process of constantly arguing with your story and risking the wasted time of the blind alley and false lead will maximize the chances that you will, eventually, after the hard work of composition and recomposition, create a uniquely voiced and logically self consistent fictional universe.It will maximize the chances of what I call the happy accident of writing. Of true writing that includes discovery and risk, and the surprising reward of writing what you did not plan on writing. Of truly channeling the truth of your story and your characters.”

    • Jaco

      No. He was not arguing against outlining.

      As Prof. Gallo says later on in his book:

      “I am not saying do not outline. I am suggesting that in the early stages of composition your goal is to get just enough of a sense of the story’s shape, to hear just enough of the characters’ voices, to begin writing scenes.

      So, yes, start an outline. Don’t be surprised if the events and chronology of Act I and II are a whole lot thicker than Act III. Don’t fret. Just jot down what you know as you learn it.

      An outline should reflect what you know about your story at any given moment. It should contain the landmarks that you know will be in the finished screenplay. It should get filled in as you learn more. You should think of it as a tool. It is not for public consumption (any more than your notes and research are for others to read).”

      — From “Screenwriter’s Compass: Character as True North”

      • BoSoxBoy

        I probably phrased my lead-in incorrectly. I don’t think he was saying don’t outline, but rather don’t think you must outline. He’s not alone in that argument.

  • Billie B

    Going to try something completely f#&%ing nuts and write TWO screenplays in 3 months… simultaneously. Which might cancel each other out and leave me with zero. But I’m hungry.

    • ASAbrams

      Yay! Hungry buddies!

      Write on…

      • Billie B

        You up for two, too? Yes! Let’s do this :)

        • ASAbrams

          Yass!

        • klmn

          I’ll be lucky if I get one done. I just found four more books I have to go through and try to mine.

    • BigDeskPictures

      And away we go…

      • BigDeskPictures

        I trained my cat to write for me…

        • BigDeskPictures

          Okay. Last one, I promise.
          For those who plan to write at work…

          • Billie B

            LMAO

      • Billie B

        Love it! Ha ha. And for me to emulate Kermy, here, I need to majorly limit my internet access for 3 months!
        I used an internet blocker a few years back and got 3 scripts written in a year. they were all shite, but still. 3 scripts closer to gold ;)
        I think the app was called ‘Stop procrastinating’ LOL but I’ve heard ‘Self Control’ is a popular one, too.

        • Billie B

          FYI: Not trying to be cute… these are actual apps if anyone is interested!:
          http://www.stopprocrastinatingapp.com/
          https://selfcontrolapp.com/

        • BigDeskPictures

          Yes, I need some form of internet block. Good job on completing 3, which is better than none. I’ve actually gone back this past year and re-wrote several of my poor scripts and have throughly enjoyed it. Took as much time to re-write as it did to write them. Time to start on a fresh one, though.

          I know you realize I’m not mocking you with these gifs. I actually admire you (and ASAbrams). Maybe I should push for two in 90 days.

          • Billie B

            You can do it! [but in Rob Schneider voice]

          • Midnight Luck

            Maybe try 3. One a Month. Is Doable.
            Choose the most straightforward and simplest storylines.
            No huge end twist. No complex interweaving storylines, no studying on topics you don’t know about.

          • ASAbrams

            Whoops. But both my stories have, like, all of the above. *Flails*

            *moves closer to a typewriter to get some writing done*

            I guess it’ll be up to Billie B!

      • Erica

        I love it, so I just re did it to the first piece of music that popped into my head (no poop this time Midnight Luck)

        • BigDeskPictures

          LOL! Benny Hill used this music in some of his dialogue free sketches.

      • smishsmosh22

        ….

    • Dreaming in Celluloid

      I like that passion. Thinking about doing the same thing!

      • smishsmosh22

        definitely the newt movie. you should write that!

        • Dreaming in Celluloid

          I always did like it even if it did seem similar to the movie Rio and two portions of the story from the movie ants. I had many ideas based on the artwork they did so far for the movie, Amish like Cults that worship the blue footed newt. Are there creatures that want to help him and others that want to hinder and destroy him as a meal for themselves. I see the character as sort of a mix between Jason Bateman, Harrison Ford, and tony haile I don’t want all into one kind Akaki, kind of shy and scared, but tries to make up some stronger than he is but in the end knows how to protect the person he falls in love with and get back to the lab.

          I’m not actually going to write that now but that is one that is I deafly want to write soon and finish with the hopes that this dead property from Pixar, can we be a weekend based on a screenplay I w i’m not actually going to write that now but that is one that is I deafly want to write soon and finish with the hopes that this dead property from Pixar, can we be a weekend based on a screenplay I wrote for them.

          • Dreaming in Celluloid

            A wealthy exec who loses his job and is forced to sell cosmetics door to door, while planning and going through a kidnapping of their daughter on the week of her wedding day to prevent her from making the same mistake they did – in romance and career.

            A crime drama about an older boxing trainer and fight fixer who befriends a detective and boxing enthusiast. Together they are dragged into the hunt down for a serial killer, known as the “Ice-Hunter AKA the ICE HARVESTER”, and gang owned by the Vegas mob who quarries them as their next target. Together they hit the road, pursued by the mobsters.

            a soldier who returns, bitter, broken and lost. After beating a man nearly to death he is sentence to either prison or working at the mara vira Half Way house, a home for the mentally impaired and handy capped. He finds out about himself and learns to love and help others.

            The best and oldest assassin, trained from a young age by his father and a special secret operation to be the best in the world, is placed in a nursing home after a nearly disabling stroke. As he heals from the aftermath of the stroke, he beings to have nightmares about an assassin that looks like him but is British. He decides to go and find out more about him. Come to the truth, he was cloned, and made to believe he was worse off then he is…With the younger clone sent to hunt him down, he has to find out how to survive and stop himself, what he finds out if beyond his wildest dreams. making himself look back on his past such as the elite group of spies he was part of (solving the toughest intelligence problems) And The woman he left everything for that he was sent to spy on – supposedly working to overthrow the government.. His issue is that because he was created to do crucial top-secret work no ordinary human could do, he doesn’t believe he has the right to question his destiny. He finds himself drawn to her in an unsettling way he doesn’t understand, which causes him to question everything he’s been told–ever. He soon begins to suspect that she isn’t trying to overthrow his government. Now he must decide whether to finish the job or leave his training and his security behind and open the door to something much more messy, confusing and satisfying. Because nearly 20 years since his wife’s death, things she put away are starting to come in to play and now with the clone after him he must fight back, and save his life to live out the last years he has.

            A swordsmen of Mexican and Irish origins fights for justice and truth in 17/1800s. During his many captures and eventual escapes, he is given peace by the many people who come to visit him before his “Hangings” especially the various woman who want to sleep with him. Many years on as an older man, with many children from the various one night stands, he must deal with the children and woman who have raised them in his absence. He must deal with fatherhood, woman’s wrath and the training of the next generation of young swordsmen.

            A baggage handler, Martin, who works at O’Hare airport. He takes luggage tags from places he’s never been, as he unloads bags. Not very self confident, which had lead to many missed opportunities in his life. Nearing forty, wifeless and nearly friendless other than his coworker. One day, he finds a $60 million van Gogh painting in some one’s luggage that’s been lost. Being a righteous man, he takes his unused vacation days and heads off. Planning to find a woman by the name of Penelope Swanson, who turns out to be a beautiful art historian as well that the painting in question was stolen by Japanese Yakuza. Through acts of mistaken identity, and being on the run, a Japanese art thief, Baggage handler and thief smitten with one another in spite of themselves. The two come to truly befriend each other thus after all of it they get back to the museum, where the painting originally resigned. They find way to return it back in to safety. As they kiss and walk off as the cops and other are after the thieves trying to steal more art in the museum, Penelope reveals she is a bounty hunter/private detective as well as art historian, but not a hunter of people but lost art. And together they get ready for their next mission.

      • brenkilco

        The smoke jumpers idea has potential. A bit wary of the soap opera vibe. But the introduction of new controversial tactics into firefighting and the dangers the jumpers would be facing with their rudimentary tech and knowledge of fire behavior could make for good drama and action. Research Intensive.

        Turn of the Century Vienna? That’s 20th century. How well do you know it and its society? Watched an Ophuls movie once and read something by Schnitzler? Very research intensive.

        The young girl with a fortune story is similar to about a million other gothic-noir tales.

        Aged Bond vs. villainous Q is a cute idea. Not sure how commercial it is.

        Not quite getting the monster idea

        Have never and probably will never will watch a Pixar movie. But you seem most in love with this idea. So good luck.

        • Dreaming in Celluloid

          The bond vs q idea is fun, true not sure how commercial it is.
          Who thought RED would do good but it did made its way to have a sequel as well as a 3rd film is supposed to becoming down the pike.

          The monster idea is actually, the original concept, of MONSTER’S inc that I liked and wanted to find something to do with it.

          The turn of the century story, will need research as I have not watched an Ophuls film or read anything by Schnitzler (least doesn’t ring a bell). It is mainly a dramadey.

          Why don’t you like Pixar?

          Smoke jumpers is actually inspired by one of the fake films from the show entourage.

    • smishsmosh22

      I so so want to do that too, as I really love 2 (actually, 3) of my concepts – but I just don’t think I could do them all justice with everything else on my plate (rewrite city). I envy you!

      • Billie B

        I hear you. And there’s a good chance it waters down my end result, but I love the challenge of a good rewrite or three ;) And these ideas have been swimming around in my head and getting the occasional ‘Starbucks napkin outline’ over the past 6 months… so I think once I commit to this it’ll all come fairly fluidly. Or not. ha ha ha. We’ll see ;)

        • Midnight Luck

          I have said it a hundred times before, but there are tons of good reasons to be writing two scripts simultaneously.

          Sometimes we need a break in our stuck thought patterns.
          It is best if the two stories are completely different.
          The actual act of switching gears to work on the second one can open your mind to possibilities on the first one.
          Seriously, the mind doesn’t work as well when it is being pushed hard, just flogging material. It needs open space, air to breathe.

          Say you are writing a dark violent horror story (Saw), and on the other hand writing a 4 quadrant family friendly children’s story (Toy Story). As you switch from one to the other, you cannot use the mentality you used in one when you are in the other. You must slow it down and shift into a different unused gear. Then you start that one up, rev it, give it some gas, and away you go.
          Thing is, as you use this other vehicle, this other gear, it starts your subconscious moving on the other story and the problems you are struggling with. So while you work on one, your subconscious works at fixing the other.
          Then when you switch back, 9 out of 10 times you have an *aha!* moment and you wonder where it came from, it is resolved.
          If you slave away only on the one story, you beat yourself down, you break it apart, put it back together, rearrange and try to force pegs into holes they don’t fit, and nothing works. The constant frustration and pressure doesn’t help anything.

          Switch gears, try something new.
          That is my strategy.

          • Billie B

            Yes! You just perfectly nailed my reasoning for doing this.
            I’ve always worked better with 2 (or even 3) projects on the go at once. But usually they’re staggered— Outlining one, rewriting one, vomit-drafting one— and it does exactly as you say. Instead of falling into writer’s block, you switch gears on another project, and when you come back to it it’s like answers have appeared out of nowhere to previous problems.
            I just wonder how alternating between 2 scripts at the same place, will be, as I always thought it was the change in pace (bullet point outlining, then switching to vomiting words on the page, or editing etc…) that worked the magic. But maybe it’s just anything that gets your conscious mind off the project so your subconscious can get to work on the hard stuff.

          • smishsmosh22

            yup, I do this and it helps majorly. I wrote 2 family films and 1 raunchy comedy all at the same time. Wasn’t sure at the time if it was the right way to go about things but sometimes I wake up and I just don’t FEEL like writing one of them. So I switch to another. And I am always writing. One cool benefit of this is when you suddenly complete 2 or 3 first drafts all in the same 1-2 week period. Pretty rad feeling.

    • Mokka Bo

      Sounds like a plan, I always work on more than one story at a time. But I usually only write the actual screenplay for one of them, whilst outlining or rewriting another. I’ve never tried to write two screenplays from scratch at the same time. Good luck!

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        Yeah, same here. One process always inspires the other. I tried writing two scripts at the same time and it was a total nightmare so I’m definitely not doing that again.
        Good luck with your own writing :)

    • Lisa Chapman

      I was thinking about trying that and had the same concerns, but now you’ve inspired me to give it a try!

  • Billie B

    I’m sure he just missed it… but for me, everything after “year twenty-eighty” makes zero sense. How would multiple personality disorder help them ‘pilot spacecrafts in resistance of an attack on Earth.”?
    Also a ‘resistance of an attack” is far too passive for a logline IMO. Maybe ‘to save Earth from Alien attack’, or just ‘to STOP an attack on Earth’?

    • Mallet

      Maybe the aliens use mind control, and having multiple personality disorder makes these people/pilots immune to being taken over?

  • Andrew Parker

    Since no one else responded… they’re all too long. A logline should be one or two sentences at most. I was able to read all of them in Movie Trailer Guy’s voice because you’re basically narrating a trailer for what happens.

    As for the ideas, LAST OF THE DAMNED sounds like an already filmed movie called KITCHEN SINK. SUPERFAN could probably work as a Hallmark or kid’s movie. SEVEN SWANS A SWIMMING seems really arbitrary in its rules, but could be fun to write a la GROUNDHOG DAY when he tries to kill himself. TEDDY BEAR seems like an OK contained thriller with some interesting familial dynamics, though I’m not the right audience for it. WHAT COMES AROUND I couldn’t follow.

  • Midnight Luck

    Trust me, it works brilliantly.
    It also has the added effect of keeping you writing. When you think “oh should I stop here in this thought?” You decide not to because you really want to finish your thought, or get to a certain place, etc. So it keeps you going further into your writing.
    At some point I always just throw in the towel by standing up and walking away.
    I think “I can finish it tomorrow”, and I do.
    It truly helps. Even if you have words on the page, it actually feels typically like you are staring at a blank white page when you pick it up the next day and your thoughts ideas and text end in a period.
    Having that mid-thought break really helps the brain begin again where it left off.

  • WhoDat225

    Please keep the feedback coming. It’s very helpful.

    As for What Comes Around. There definitely seems to be a problem with the clarity of the logline. Basically it’s a slasher film that uses the Groundhod Doy repeating time hook, but the twist is whichever way the heroine kills the slasher, that’s how he kills the next go round. Basically, she’s creating his new origin story every time she kills him. If she throws him in an oven, he comes back burned and kills with fire. And so on.

    Looking forward to hearing more feedback. Thanks again.

    • Andrew Parker

      The problem with that logic is how does anyone ultimately die if they just keep coming back? The hook seems a little cutesy — like the whole movie exists to justify the hook.

  • Erica

    Oh I love it when I finally get a breakthrough in my concept and now pieces are starting to fall into place!

  • brenkilco

    Tough to tell without more. Is the first assignment given early and is it the second that really creates the conflict and gets the story rolling? Or is the first assignment given at about what would be the half hour mark, in which case the second would be a second act complication?

    • Pro Cynic

      At the moment, they are given an impossible task on about page 20. They are then immediately kidnapped and given the same impossible task by a different person.

      So all impossible task giving is completed by page 30.

      • brenkilco

        OK, as of page thirty the protag has to do a job but two competing groups are each expecting the benefit and he is caught in the middle. So that’s the end of your first act. Not much for plot labels but as a for instance, planning for the job constitutes the first half of the second act. At the midpoint the nature of the job or what we know about it somehow turned inside out. He carries but ultimately is faced with an impediment he didn’t forsee. He gets past this final hurdle, secures the widget. And the third act is the competing gangs descending on him as he somehow pits them against each other and avoids getting killed. The End. One possible skeletal plot that employs Carson’s rigid template.

        • Pro Cynic

          Thanks for that comment.

          That outline is pretty much it. Although the protag has to balance the demands of Boss 1, Boss 2, a Super Boss, a Minor Boss, his partner who betrayed him, the Police and an event that will help him escape this life once and for all.

          Too much?

          • brenkilco

            All depends on your ending. You’re going to have a lot of plates in the air. If you bring em all down on cue, If the reader is left feeling wow, that was neat the way he did that, you’ve succeeded. If the reader is left asking who the hell are all these people and what the hell are they doing then you’ve failed.

  • Wes Mantooth

    Year 28? How’s that work? The multiple personality disorder thing makes no sense at all if you’re looking for pilots. You need to clarify that.

  • Garrett

    Haha, Grendl! I couldn’t help but laugh at your last line (in all sincerity). I didn’t know he was censoring you… but that’s another issue entirely.
    I really like what you said here, which shows your deeper appreciation for what narrative and telling stories is all about.
    I fear though that not many people really care or are really invested in learning why a story works the way it works. Why do perspectives clash to create meaning? Why do all great stories typically have a character who faces his or her fears and changes, or looks at them and cowers away and remains steadfast? All good questions. If you’re asking them. :-)

  • Jonathan Soens

    Ooh, that’s dark.

    What if it’s a pregnant woman, so every day that passes without reversing the drug, she ages a little more (and starts veering into territory where it’s not really advisable to have a pregnancy) so it’s slowly killing her fetus?

    That’s one dark ticking clock. And more concrete, as stakes go, than a theoretical pregnancy that might happen.

  • John Bradley

    Not sure if it is fair for me to qualify, but I am starting a Page 1 rewrite of a script I already did. Next to nothing will be the same, so even if I don’t enter it into the gauntlet, I can still attempt to keep pace and follow the challenge. My (rough) logline is,

    “After the zombie apocalypse strikes, twin vampires fight for survival against the undead and a vengeful master vampire, whom they have betrayed, as they race to save their estranged parents from certain death.”

    Yes, I know, zombies and vampires in the same script. Hopefully I can give the story some heart and put together some unique set pieces.

    • Dutch Patrick

      Zombies and vampires in the same script AKA zombies wiping out the blood supply (humans) of the vampires. Now that is what I call irony. Or is humanity already extinct in your script?

      • John Bradley

        The story starts at the beginning of the outbreak, so plenty of people. The food supply thing is definitely in play.

  • Comma

    I like Last of the damned because of the original angle. I see it as a kid-horror version of the wizard of oz.
    The basic idea of Superfan is interesting but you should include in the logline the main source of conflict (in general your loglines tease too much).

  • brenkilco

    This is what I’m hearing. But the line must be even more clear.

    Facing an alien attack on the earth, the government must find and train spacecraft pilots possessing(insert unique quality) even though they also (insert dangerous psch disorder)

  • Erica

    So I don’t know if others do this but one thing I like to do while researching my idea is to look up similar movies or gene on IMDb. Then I read the comments about why people like or disliked the movie. I take those notes and try and use them in my story. Of course if they are applicable.

    One of the issue’s I’ve come across lately while working on mine is; what is this movie suppose to be? Is it a horror? A sci Fi? A comedy? A slasher? A romance? In one movie in particular, this was one of the resounding comments that kept coming back. Along with everything in the movie was so cliche, The commenters asked, what was the point of that movie, seen it a million times before?

    This is one of the things Carson always says, if your going to tell a story, it better damn well be different then what we’ve seen before. Know what your movie is before writing it. If it’s suppose to be about Alien abductions, then look up what people are expecting in that genre, deliver it but in a unique way. Don’t promise a horror movie and deliver a Romance in which everyone dies in the end. The audience walks away angry and confused.

    And with this post, Carson should be posting a new topic… He’s out to get me I tell you! I think he’s afraid of Phobe’s ;)

    • Malibo Jackk

      Keep in mind that there’s a difference between the script that you need to write to
      get noticed and the movies (by established people) that you see at the theater.

  • Dreaming in Celluloid

    RED BARCHETTA

    An introverted woman and her family must drive an ancient Ferrari through

    an alien-infested wasteland to save an old family heirloom

    I’d watch that.

    THE LITTLE BOAT CAPER

    In a future where cars have been outlawed, an old diplomat sides with a

    rag tag band of factory workers to smuggle a collection of vintage cars

    out of the country.

    Heard a story of something like this, I think it had to do with the Goldfinger car Bond drove being stolen….but I’d see it.

    • Comma

      I like the Little Boat Caper (original storyworld).
      Red Barchetta: a quite conventional structure but there’s still room for another movie in the genre (expecially with a beautiful car). You should add originality in the wasteland or find an original tone for the movie. For exemple the new take on zombie holocaust in Battery (I loved that movie).

      (I don’t like the mexican 18th century staff)

  • ShiroKabocha

    Mr Sweet Talk (not a fan of the title) and Grave Rollin’ are the best loglines. I’d definitely watch those movies :)

    The stakes in the other loglines are too vague and the characters don’t pop out (Red Barchetta and The Little Boat Caper seem more interested in the cars than the people).

    • Vic in a Box

      Yep, my votes exactly. MR SWEET TALK and GRAVE ROLLIN.

      @Sant:disqus
      If MR SWEET TALK is a twist-upon-twist psychological thriller, I’m in! Tix bought thru Fandango.

      And if GRAVE ROLLIN is the supernatural horror guy-with-a-secret-hunted-by-ghosts that I think it is, awesome!

      Good luck!

  • Comma

    I like the Little Boat Caper (original storyworld).

    Red Barchetta: a quite conventional structure but there’s still room for another movie in the genre (expecially with a beautiful car). You should add originality in the wasteland or find an original tone for the movie. For exemple the new take on zombie holocaust in Battery (I loved that movie).

    (I don’t like the mexican 18th century staff)

  • Dreaming in Celluloid

    So I’m planning two scripts that I’d like to write both of which are setups or at least one of the projects is/was planned as setup for a trilogy project. How is it best to go about planning a script to be both standalone as well as leave enough room to head towards a sequel(s).

    One is based on a fantasy charater that’s been around in plays and books for more than a hundred years. And the other is a mix of Star Wars, Blade Runner, Alien/aliens and unused ideas for alien III, metropolis (1927), Mad Max, And a script talked about here for a female mad max type story, combined into one three hour project.

  • Dreaming in Celluloid

    Because they are still trying to find the damn thing LOL, I’d love to see both a documentary and fictional heist films made about it.

  • Dreaming in Celluloid

    An idea: a film like all across the universe, but set to prince’s catalogs of music.

  • jbird669

    I offer this counterpoint to the creating bios:

    http://www.scriptreaderpro.com/character-bio/