Now, we’re at the 9th draft. It took me two years to have it click: to understand how to combine my imagination and my unique story with the rules of good visual storytelling. I finally know, after two years of writing this, how to write a great screenplay.
Right now—well not RIGHT now: right this very second I’m writing a blog and the hour before I took a procrastination break to read The Actors List—I’m going through an exercise to lay out every scene in my film. For each of 132 scenes, I will:
- Define, in Meisner terms, which character has the need and which the activity. This is to make sure the scenes are dynamic and playable. Nobody wants to go to the movies and watch water boil.
- State the “value” (emotional state” of the protagonist at the beginning and end of the scene. Meredith, my screenwriting partner, says not to do this.
- say what the purported conflict is
- say what the subtext is
- say whether the characters each succeed or fail in their intentions during the scene
I am not an experienced writer and I need to fiddle with the words in many ways before I get text that works.