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  1. #11
    Rihak
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    How difficult is it to convert novel to screenplay? I think my novels would do well as movie.



  2. #12
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    It's an entirely different format.

    You've got 125 pages max with a screenplay (for a beginning writer). So, you have to pare it down quite a bit.

    I suggest you read some screenplays. It's fun, and you'll see what you have to do.

  3. #13
    Rihak
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    Thanks I do this.

  4. #14
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    I don't think that just reading screenplays is sufficient to coming to understand the difference between prose writing and screenwriting.

    It's more than just the length. It's a different form of storytelling - movies are visual - so screenplays must be as well. You have to tell the story through character action and visual descriptions as much as you do through character dialogue.

    Only things that someone watching the movie can see on the screen or hear should be in the descriptions - which should be short but still paint a picture for the reader of what's happening.

    You can't rely on the narration to communicate what the character is thinking so internal conflicts are much more challenging to convey.

  5. #15
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    I don't think that just reading screenplays is sufficient to coming to understand the difference between prose writing and screenwriting.

    Of course it isn't. But it can't hurt to read them. We all start somewhere.

    That's how I started. I read a lot of very successful screenplays, and it was a great first step.

    I always suggest that people who are considering screenwriting read a few screenplays. It is an easy way to figure out if they have enough interest in writing them to learn the rest of what they need to know.
    Last edited by leslee; 02-24-2012 at 05:48 PM.

  6. #16
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    [QUOTE=leslee;1347211]Of course it isn't. But it can't hurt to read them. We all start somewhere.


    I never said it was a bad idea to read screenplays, I just said that it wasn't enough just to read them. And you didn't suggest anything else but reading them as a way to learn. You also only mentioned the difference in length when as I pointed out there are many other differences.

    As for reading screenplays as a place to start learning, as someone whose and coached a lot aspiring screenwriters and read hundreds of scripts written by them, many of whom relied solely on reading screenplays before attempting their first script, it's my opinion that for most writer's it's more beneficial to learn a bit about the craft by taking classes, seminars, reading a book on screenwriting, etc. and then read scripts to see how other writers execute what you've learned about in theory. Without understanding the theory, many writers are just treading water by reading scripts and not actually learning the craft. You may be the exception to the rule, but that doesn't mean the rule doesn't exist.

  7. #17
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    Good grief.

    You go right ahead and be the reigning authority on all things screenplay, Simon. Fine with me.

    I'm not required to list everything in my posts that you might include in yours. I answered the way I answered. And will continue to do so.

  8. #18
    Liza B.
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    Reading tons of scripts was how I learned screenplay writing. I think those who have talent will intuitively learn what they need to about structure and storytelling by reading screenplays and watching films, and others need Robert McKee-type workshops that teach traditional, dull, color-by-numbers structuring. Not for me, and I believe such workshops/seminars can be dangerous because they stifle creativity.
    Last edited by Liza B.; 02-24-2012 at 07:45 PM.

  9. #19
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    @Liza

    Have you ever taken one of those seminars? I've taken several and that was after I received a degree from a top tier film program. I continue to take them on occasion. I'm not saying that everything I've learned has been helpful - some of it's been pure crap, but it doesn't hurt to have additional tools to add to your toolbox or different ways of looking at structure, character, etc. that can help you approach something in a fresh way - especially when you're stuck. Taking a class or seminar or reading a book about screenwriting (and there are many good ones) can accelerate the learning process. I know this because I've taught structure to novice writers.

    You sound like a snob who thinks if you don't know it innately then you have no talent, which is not necessarily the case. A number of writers I've worked with do have innate talent, but they didn't understand story, structure, character, how to show rather than tell and learning what they needed to know helped them channel their talent successfully. Reading scripts did not teach them that, nor did writing them. Ironically, I was a born storyteller, who could naturally develop conflict and story and structure, but studying the craft has made me a significantly better writer. I know many successful screenwriters who continue to learn and make a conscious and concerted effort to improve their writing in the areas they feel they are weak. Not by reading scripts, but by pursuing some sort of education - i.e. taking seminars - in fact the Writers Guild of America - you know that union for professional screenwriters offers such seminars to their members.

    As for the idea that using a paradigm of some sort leads to dull, color-by-numbers structuring - structure in itself cannot be dull - it's what you do within the structure that will or will not be fresh and fabulous.

    I don't think everybody needs to take classes or follow McKee's template, but using some sort of structure template to help you build a foundation, does NOT stifle creativity. Actually my experience is that it just does the opposite, it can unleash creativity because you don't have to focus on building the parameters, you are free to play and create within them.


    @ leslee,

    I found your post to be incomplete. I gave what i felt was a more complete answer to what some of the differences are because I thought it would be more helpful to the original poster, not because I wanted to attack you. Sorry if you felt attacked. Not my intention.

    And while I'm not seeking to be the reigning authority on anything here or anywhere else I do think I may very well have a better understanding of what is helpful to other writers because I not only have my own experiences as a professional screenwriter - now with more than a 1/2 dozen paid assignments under my belt, but I've also worked with hundreds of other writers as a writing coach, script consultant and development executive. I've worked with complete novices as well as successful professionals. I don't give information based solely on my experiences as a writer, but what I've seen from working with all these other writers.

    Everybody is different and each person's experience and creative process is different, but when you've worked with as many writers as I have, you discover patterns and similarities and get a sense of where a majority of writers need help or lack understanding and learn what things are more helpful than others to more writers. And what I've seen is that most writers need more than just reading scripts to truly comprehend the craft. Not all, but most.

    I'm not suggesting that either of you take a seminar or class or read a book or anything like that. But I am suggesting that the original poster may want to consider it.

  10. #20
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    Like I said.

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