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Old 02-18-2017, 09:46 PM   #1
JaiseTIGTV
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Question I Can't Write a Spec Script

So, I'm trying to write a screenplay (I consider it an adaptation, but since I'll most likely never publish it and it's based on a pre-existing franchise, it's basically a glorified fanfiction), but I've done what any beginner screenwriter shouldn't do: I'm going way too long and way too in-depth.

I started off trying to write a basic spec script, but I just can't bring myself to stick to that. I'd like to think I'm a visionary director at heart, and as customary for visionary directors, I think about the visuals first. I've been writing down every little detail that I think is the slightest bit important, every action and word spoken, every extra interacted with, and every single "important" camera angle and long-take action shot (which there's a lot of).

At times, I feel like I need to bring someone in after I've written this monstrously thick shooting script of 200 pages (so far) to slim it down by a hundred pages to make it more presentable. How do I get around this when visuals are the main thing I think about? Should I bring someone else in more focused on a story and what's really important when writing for other people?
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:03 AM   #2
mlesemann
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Quote:
Originally posted by JaiseTIGTV: I think about the visuals first. I've been writing down every little detail that I think is the slightest bit important, every action and word spoken, every extra interacted with, and every single "important" camera angle and long-take action shot (which there's a lot of).
A spec script is written to be sold, not for you to make it. It should not have ANY visuals, camera angles, etc. in it at all.

I'd suggest that you start to train yourself to write that way by working first on a short screenplay.
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Old 02-19-2017, 02:14 PM   #3
JaiseTIGTV
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Originally Posted by mlesemann View Post
A spec script is written to be sold, not for you to make it. It should not have ANY visuals, camera angles, etc. in it at all.

I'd suggest that you start to train yourself to write that way by working first on a short screenplay.
I appreciate the advice, but the main issue is that my brain doesn't work on a small scale, which I'm aware is generally a large issue when it comes to filmmaking.
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Old 02-19-2017, 02:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by JaiseTIGTV View Post
... but the main issue is that my brain doesn't work on a small scale, which I'm aware is generally a large issue when it comes to filmmaking.
So you know the challenge you have to overcome.

Go ahead and write the rest of your script. Get it all out, understanding that it's way too much. Save a copy (second draft) and remove all the visuals, leaving dialog and minimal direction as per a traditional screenplay. Now, save a third draft and start paring down the dialog as necessary.

Writing is a process, and you have to customize that process to your own habits and tendencies, at least at first. The rest of the process, editing, is part of training yourself to simplify your screenplays. And, as mlesemann suggests, you should start with shorter projects to learn this process.
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Old 02-19-2017, 03:25 PM   #5
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Do what Acoustic said above or finish writing your screenplay and then team up with someone that knows how to write spec scripts and they'll re-write it in proper spec format/delivery. Just be prepared for that person to trim your lines and lines of exposition, camera angles, etc. down to one or two lines and simplify it.
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Old 02-19-2017, 04:37 PM   #6
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Caution

I second both the other user's suggestions.

I think it is important to get your first draft on paper and then edit down.

Here is a checklist I found to help you turn it into a spec-script: http://www.scriptmag.com/features/me...ng-spec-script

I wouldn't call these rules, more guidelines.
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Old 02-19-2017, 05:35 PM   #7
JaiseTIGTV
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Originally Posted by AcousticAl View Post
So you know the challenge you have to overcome.

Go ahead and write the rest of your script. Get it all out, understanding that it's way too much. Save a copy (second draft) and remove all the visuals, leaving dialog and minimal direction as per a traditional screenplay. Now, save a third draft and start paring down the dialog as necessary.

Writing is a process, and you have to customize that process to your own habits and tendencies, at least at first. The rest of the process, editing, is part of training yourself to simplify your screenplays. And, as mlesemann suggests, you should start with shorter projects to learn this process.
Actually, yeah. That's a really good idea.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:34 AM   #8
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The world is full of visionaries. People that have the willingness and ability to get a concrete job done in a concrete manner on time is what is in demand and short supply.
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Old 02-20-2017, 06:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by UneducatedFan View Post
Do what Acoustic said above or finish writing your screenplay and then team up with someone that knows how to write spec scripts and they'll re-write it in proper spec format/delivery. Just be prepared for that person to trim your lines and lines of exposition, camera angles, etc. down to one or two lines and simplify it.
Finding that person may be somewhat difficult though, especially as I'm sure that whoever it was would expect to be paid pretty well for their time. If the rewrite would need to be as massive as the OP seems to be implying, the person who does the rewrite would most likely want significant credit for their work; a job that it seems the OP actually want to be doing themselves.

JaiseTIGTV - I'd recommend learning how to write to the industry standard. Sure, load you first draft with as many details as you can come up with, then remove as much as you possibly can, while still telling your story. You need to be pretty brutal. If you're struggling, there's plenty of people here (myself included) who will happily take a look at what you've got so far and give you pointer on how to correct it.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:58 PM   #10
JaiseTIGTV
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Originally Posted by mad_hatter View Post
Finding that person may be somewhat difficult though, especially as I'm sure that whoever it was would expect to be paid pretty well for their time. If the rewrite would need to be as massive as the OP seems to be implying, the person who does the rewrite would most likely want significant credit for their work; a job that it seems the OP actually want to be doing themselves.

JaiseTIGTV - I'd recommend learning how to write to the industry standard. Sure, load you first draft with as many details as you can come up with, then remove as much as you possibly can, while still telling your story. You need to be pretty brutal. If you're struggling, there's plenty of people here (myself included) who will happily take a look at what you've got so far and give you pointer on how to correct it.
Actually, none of the story needs to be fixed. I mainly just want someone to take out anything that should be left to the director. Also, (I know you're being helpful, so don't take this as me being passive aggressive, since that's not the intent) I know how to write in the industry standard. It's mainly the amount of detail I'm obsessed with putting in. At heart, I'm more of a director than a writer, which may be one of my issues.
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