John August & Craig Mazin of Scriptnotes are developing (or at least talking about) a new format for screenplays. They are not talking about a new file extension, they want to change they way screenplays look, feel and are read. I find the whole idea intriguing and I want to offer my two cents.
When trying to do something new, I always think about what exactly I want. So what do I want from a screenplay format.
– more control over how the screenplay looks
– easier way to convey movement and camera directions
– better way to handle a location changes within a scene or sequence
– more options when it comes to dialogue
Generally speaking, I want screenplays to be easier to write/format, to look prettier and I want ways to be less vague about my intentions without using to much words. I know parts of this are just being a good writer, but if the format helps who am I to say no to that.
Since most screenplays are read on a computer or a tablet, it is with considering adding a dynamic element to the format. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the format to turn into a design exercise but giving the reader options on how to read/experience the story could be fun. Maybe there’s a way to require an input before revealing something “worth revealing”. Or, page changes could indicate how something ist cut. ist it a “FADE IN” -the next page fades in; Hard CUT…you get the idea.
Or we just skip all that and focus on the words. Keep ist simple. This part of the screen/page is reserved to what we see, that part deals with the dialogue and other sounds and a third part is for comments and notes.
There are thousands of possibilities how this could turn out and I’m really interested in the outcome. Let’s hope it works out and maybe it will change the industry.
We got some interesting feedback. Some good, some not so good but in general we got what we were expecting.
We ordered two paid reads on the blcklst (the Blacklist) and received two very different reviews (so different that even the blcklst) thinks something is off). Even though they are very different the review pointed the same things out, one of the readers just thought our story has more potential and liked our execution better than the other one.
We are aware that “Saber Rider” is a hard sell but we are certain that (if executed correctly, including a lot of rewrites) it has the potential to be awesome and very lucrative.
So, what do we do now? Well, I have no idea. I agree with some of the weaknesses discussed but I strongly disagree with some other points both readers made. So how do I choose what to do and what to ignore? Sure, there’s “kill your darlings” but that can’t be the only answer. It’s probably one of these “the truth is in the middle” scenarios.
There was one point both readers raised and even though we deliberately decided not to go that route in the beginning it’s probably time to accept that we have to adhere to some conventions of the genre and fulfill some of the expectations the audience (or the reader) has. So we decided to rework the Saber Rider character. We had an interesting (but controversial) idea and I will implement the changes in the next couple of weeks.
Ian Glen as Saber Rider?
So, what is that idea? We decided to age Saber. I had the Idea while surfing the “interweb” and I came across a picture of Iain Glen, Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones.
For some reason I started to see him as an older Saber. So why would an older Saber be a good idea? Well, we think that an older Saber adds some depth to the character, his backstory gets more interesting and we can introduce him as a veteran of the first war who still has some unresolved issues that haunt him. We envision him as someone who lost his way but gets an opportunity to either loose of completely or get back on the horse and become the man we know and love. Some fans might not like the idea of an older (we are talking mid 50ies) Saber Rider but we hope that once Colt starts cracking jokes about Sabers age (which happens about 2 seconds after they meet for the first time) they’ll accept out version of the character.
An older Saber also adds some depth to Fireball. Saber knew Fireballs father with could lead/leads to some tension but also allows for some interesting character developments. As for April and Jesse, well they met Saber at the Academy. He trained them which makes it more natural that she trusts him and Jesse has even more reasons not to like him. But one question remains, why didn’t Saber have the great career he deserved? I don’t want to spoil too much but he suffers from survivors guilt.
Now I have definitely said enough. I need to get back to writing now. Check back in a few weeks.
So it has been a few days and I promised so here I am with an update. There is nothing new to report. We are still waiting for feedback on our Saber Rider script and The second batch of Skyscraper query letters is going out soon. We haven’t had any good news on that so far. I was turned down by a few agencies (the we are not looking right now) but Orlindo didn’t get any response from the production companies. Maybe they are still reading but I doubt it.
I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about all this. On the hand hand I’m glad that we didn’t get a message telling us how bad our script is but it on the other hand it would be nice to get at least something. I know there are a lot of people trying to to what we do but I really believe that pur work is good enough to compete on a professional level. Maybe we really have to refocus on the short film and try to get attention.
One thing we’ll definitely do is enter the Blacklist again. We got some good feedback there and I think that Saber Rider will find an audience there. At some point we’ll have to contact WEP but I doubt that they are interested in in pursuing it right now (with us).
So that’s it for the moment. I have to get back to tweak a few lines of dialogue but let me share with you another contender on our list….
Seems like we have a winner…well not really but we’ll get there. “Saber Rider” is making the rounds and so far (the little) feedback we got has been quite good.There seems to be a small group of people who really like the idea of a “Saber Rider” screenplay and they are really impressed that somebody took time (and was stupid enough) to actually write it. Hopefully they’ll still think this after they read it.
In other news…no news. We still haven’t heard anything about “Skyscraper” but we hope that will change soon. We are confident that we have a good script there and we are certain that someone will notice.
If not…I guess we have to write another screenplay…maybe this one…
Sorry, I did it again…I’ve neglected the blog but trust me, I was very busy.
As you all know, christmas time is not exactly the most productive time in the year but I managed to do some work. I completed the third draft of Saber Rider.
Orlindo gave me some great notes focusing on characters and dialogue and after a little back and forth we completed the new draft and we are quite happy with it. I know I should say stuff like that but it a great read. Somehow we just got the tone right, most of the jokes are funny and the pacing worked out great.
We are currently waiting for some feedback and the next step will probably be the online Blacklist. We know that a Saber Rider movie is a long shot even among long shots but we know we have a great writing sample and who knows what will come of it. if you want to read the current draft head over to whiteworms.com. We included a link in the project page. for Saber Rider.
Ok, I’m still here and I’m really happy with myself. I’m still posting (more than a week after the relaunch) and apparently I have something to say as well. Ok, there’s the slight problem that I don’t have any readers but that’s a minor detail.
So, what is going on? Well, the new “Saber Rider” draft came along great. I managed to get some good changes in and I’m currently waiting on some feedback. I still need to check the typing and have a look at some of the dialogue but other than that, the draft is done.
After that I’ll focus on an idea for a new animated short and I hope to spend some time on the “Passion of the Geek”. The animated short is something we’ve been working on for quite some time and after a few setbacks we’re finally in a place where we think we have an idea we can work with. It’s strange how many good ideas just don’t work out the way you intend them to work out. You start with something you really like and you work on it as good as you can but somehow you just never get it to work.
So this is a short one. I’m binge watching West Wing but I want to leave you with something to get you into the right mood for the holidays.