Saturday, September 12, 2009

In the cards

Bill Martell, in a recent blog but also in his Script Secrets, talks about one of his writing techniques when it comes to writing features: having got the story idea, setting and main characters sorted out he writes ideas for scenes on index cards.

He doesn't write the ideas in any particular order, he just writes out lots and lots of scene ideas - things that could happen in the story. Doesn't even matter if they are self-contradictory, the key point is to just write out lots of scenes - more than you need.

Having done that he starts to organise them into the film structure. He uses the cards so he can shift them around easily. There will be cards that he doesn't use at all in the end. (As an additional factor he likes to have something cool in each scene - doesn't have to be a big cool thing, it can be a little cool thing - but always something.)

So I thought, for Clones, I would try it. But I used Celtx instead, which has an Index Card facility.

I wrote scene ideas, one in each card and just kept adding. After about 20 minutes I had everything I could think of for the first Clones episode, in no particular order. Then I spent another 20 minutes putting them into an order that felt right. Threw some away, and added some others to link between the ones I had.

Then I read it through and added detail. Finally compiled it into a single text document (manually, there's no feature for that) and I had the skeleton of the treatment for the first episode. In just one hour.


What's on the turntable? "Souvenir from China" by Jean Michel Jarre from "Aero" (courtesy of Spotify)


Chris David Richards said...

Interesting. Anything that summarises an episode into a neat list is always good. It shows the flab to throw out and the cool bits to keep. I'll have to do more of it.

Eleanor said...

Groovy. :)
Celtx looks quite useful I may have to investigate.
Have you found any problem areas with it?

Adaddinsane said...

Yes, but nothing critical and version 2 was a huge improvement (I've used it for two years now).

Plus, for £5 month you can store your scripts on their servers as well as your own, so a fatal crash on your machine won't lose your work. (But you don't have to pay that if you don't want to.)

Plus, the team that developed it are incredibly helpful if you do have a technical problem.

Plus, it's far more than just a writing package.

I should get paid for this :-)