Reading Screenplays, Inside AND Out

Inside OutAs an English professor, I LOVE analyzing literature. And I especially love analyzing a novel with a class full of freshmen who really have no idea how to tackle a novel: mapping plots, evaluating characters, determining the role of setting, deconstructing the language, discerning themes. But I have not worked with my classes on reading scripts (except Shakespearean plays, of course!).

Since I am fairly unfamiliar with screenwriting, I have been downloading and reading as many screenplays as I can find in my genre. Then someone gave me a flyer about a group that reads and discusses screenplays, Screenplay Development Group. When I saw this month’s choice was Inside Out, I knew I had to sign up! Not only is this movie in my genre, but I saw it with my 19-year-old daughter, and we both absolutely loved it. For $35, they mailed me a copy of the screenplay, and I joined about 40 people to discuss the writing.

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Learning from the Pros

south_park1

Here’s a great clip I came across last night from the brilliant writers of South Park (my son’s favorite writers – he’s a smart kid!). It’s a bit old, but I thought I would share. You can bet I will be looking at my screenplay this afternoon before the Superbowl!

Matt Stone and Trey Parker

Thanks to AFW.

 

Medium Mocha Frappuccino with Whipped Cream

starbucksSo this screenplay is not my first foray into the world of writing. I have written (and had published) dozens of articles, served as a regular columnist for a magazine, and written two books before this.

Well, partially written two books. One was a complete book proposal and about 50 random pages before I abandoned it. It was a great book, but I was not getting much encouragement from publishers and agents. And unfortunately, this was long enough ago that self-publishing still had a pretty large stigma. If I was writing it today, I am certain I would self-publish it. The other book simply had no ending! So frustrating! It was 90% complete, but I could not come up with a satisfactory ending. That is still safely tucked away in my external hard drive, just in case I have a flash of inspiration. I’m still hopeful…

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Reminder: Don’t Do This Ever Again!

screenplayHuge lesson today. And I should have known better.

Here it is: Don’t let friends or family read your screenplay.

There. And don’t forget it.

I have been very private with this screenplay. Actually, I am private with all my writing, now that I think about it. I guess the difference is that with all of my other writing, I KNEW when I had something good. I didn’t need to go to anyone for their opinion or feedback. I was pretty good at giving myself my own feedback.

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