09 May 2014

The September Script

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but one goal of mine for the 12 in 12 is to lean out of my comfort zone and try to write in different genres.  I didn't do that with the first script, Enumclaw, but I was more easing in to the challenge, wanting to feel like I knew what I was doing going into this.  But Standers is a contained thriller; The Education of Tobias Smith is a period Western; Greyhound 1170 is a dual-lead drama, probably using flashbacks/flash-sideways and such; the July script I can't say yet; and Skidmore Park is an ensemble piece -- none of those genres/sub-genres have I ever attempted in a feature screenplay.

T-N-T.  I'm dynamite.
I think stretching my legs into different genres can help me to figure out if I'm better at writing Type A movie versus Type B movie.  It's like, maybe I'm writing dramas, but it turns out I can really throw together a horror or comedy with adept skill and ease.  And then, having found my wheelhouse, I focus on that genre, pound out some worthy scripts, then by virtus et labor, my screenwriting career begins.  Well, begins more so.

So for September, I'm going to try my hand at a straight-forward action flick.  Okay, not exactly a straight-forward action flick, more of a psychological thriller mixed with an action flick.  Here's the basic premise I'm starting from:  
A veteran of the War in Afghanistan has visions of future terrorist attacks -- which come true.  She turns to the FBI for help, but instead becomes a suspect.  On the run from the government and the terrorist cell, she's forced to stop the devastation alone.
I like the irony of the protag being a suspect and the implication that her time in Afghanistan might be affecting her.  Which is why I'm tentatively calling the script PTSD.  I want to do a little exploring of what recent vets are dealing with and how they're working to overcome their traumatic experiences in Afghanistan (and Iraq), and then see how I can incorporate that into the story.  I know in the end, the script is going to be mostly an actioner, but I do want to get some reality woven into it and that there is hope to be had after war.  That's the plan anyway.

I don't know whether to go with PTSD or P.T.S.D. 
Both work, but I'd hate for people to start calling it PoTSeD.  Y'know, whatever that is...
The NFL Draft in 1965. 
Not too bad, looks good and all...
Like most of the scripts I'm writing, I have the general idea and plotline.  Most of the prep work is getting what's in my head on to paper and then finding the story and characters.  Anyone can toss the pieces into a bowl, but it takes finesse to get the mixture just right.  And that's what the prep and first draft is for.  I mean, yeah, I like the scripts I'm pumping out (mostly) and that my first drafts are getting better and stronger as I write more and more, but the thing is, they're still first drafts.

...but here's the Draft in 2014. 
Fifty drafts and now it's a huge four day event.
So early drafts are okay,
but more work is needed to get them to "event" status.
Anyhow, PTSD is a script I'm looking forward to but really dreading.  I've written only one other script, maybe two, that had any lengthy action sequences.  And I struggled with those sequences.  Dialogue comes quite easily for me and I can create interesting-enough characters, but action writing -- like actually chase and fight and shooting and escape scenes/sequences... writing set-pieces and the like:  I'm not as confident in that arena.

But that's why I'm going to write a script that calls for it.  You can't get better if you don't try and you have to try new things to better yourself.  So I'm gonna keep trying to better myself.

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