A couple bloggers that I follow have been posting recently about trying their hand at screenwriting. Which I, for one, think is AWESOME.
While I was in college – well, let me explain a little more detail about my college. I went to a liberal arts university (great experience, ouch on the wallet though) that ran a 4-1-4 schedule. The 1 was a separate term in January.
The January term (aptly called J-Term), was where students could either do a trip abroad, do a month-long internship, or you could take one seminar.
So, while I was in college, I used my J-Terms to just take classes. I had 2 jobs to work, thus no time for an internship or trip abroad.
Each year, I pretty much took a different variation of the same class – something that involved creative writing AND screenwriting.
Freshman year was called Flash: Short Forms of Literature and Film
Sophomore year was called Double Trouble: Texts and Films
Junior year was called Next Episode: TV as a Narrative Text
Senior year (my favorite) was called Writing the TV Sitcom
Sense a trend? LOL
I’ll tell y’all — I LOVE screenwriting. It’s perfect for me. I don’t personally enjoy writing tons of description for things. I occasionally have the tendency (in first drafts) to write talking heads. You know, characters who just talk, but have no other action to them. That doesn’t work in fiction writing, but in screenwriting, you’re leaving lots of interpretation up to the director and the actors! Directors don’t like being told what their characters should be doing.
In high school, I participated in Script Frenzy. I believe that year, the goal was 20,000 words, and I successfully hit the word count goal and completed a screenplay about a group of terrorists who destroy the world’s chocolate supply and four teenage friends who rectify the situation. I sooo wish I would have saved it, but alas, I only backed up on Celtx’s website, and they deleted their archives a couple years ago. I never competed again, and today I unfortunately discovered that it no longer exists! 😦
Other completed projects I have: Two classmates and I wrote a pilot script to a TV show about college RAs titled “Not my Hall, Not My Problem”, a short film rendition of Alice Munroe’s “Runaway”, and I’ve written a spec script for the TV show New Girl. (<– This is a link to G-docs where you can read my script. Note that in the process of exporting from Celtx, it is possible the formatting is messed up.)
Part of me wonders why I haven’t continued writing scripts. I do really enjoy it! Sometimes more than writing fiction.
I guess the problem I see is that the goal for lots of us writers is for our writing to become profitable someday. And (maybe I’m wrong, but) I don’t think you can make a job out of screenwriting unless you live in Los Angeles or New York City (maybe). And I have no interest in living in either of those places. I’m no city girl. I was born and raised in the country! Besides that, one of my roommates from college lives in LA, and hearing about her 2 hour commutes to work sometimes makes me so not jealous.
Said roommate is also trying to make something of her screenplay she wrote as her creative thesis, entering it into any contest she can find (she was a finalist once, no wins yet). I’m just not one to rely on contests to get my break. Hollywood is where people use favors to make it. That’s not me.
I guess in retrospect though, not every hobby we may pick up over our lives should only be for profit. I guess that’s something I need to wake up and realize.
I think what also really got me thinking about screenwriting again was when I finished the series finale of Parenthood a couple hours ago. I cried through about 85% of the last episode, plus for about another 20-30 minutes afterwards (I cry a lot, but really. This show was AH-MAZING).
I just kind of think about how great it would be to write something that makes people feel that way. Something longer than a book, that your loyal followers stick around for for 6 years (or more, or less, who knows?).
I mean, I can only imagine how the writers of that show must feel, knowing that millions of people watched that show until the very end, how devastated those fans were when the show was canceled. And those writers, they created that!
And I want to do that too! You know, I’m going to keep working on the novel-writing thing for now. But I think while writing this blog post, I’ve hit an aha! moment in my life. I’m going to do some research on things. Explore some options. Aahhh, y’all. My mind is spinning right now.
Right now, I’m pretty focused on Where I Belong. I want so bad to finally finish a draft of that baby. I’ll start posting excerpts soon (maybe WIP Wednesday will be my new weekly blog feature?). But perhaps when I finish it and give it some space, I can pick up screenwriting again. You never know what could come out of it, right?
Have you written/do you write screenplays? Tell me about it!