Some beginning thoughts on screenwriting…

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In starting my first screenplay, I’ve notice that there’s not that much difference in writing a screenplay than playwriting–a bit of necessary script-structure entailing and mostly, however, formatting. There is a difference; yet what I’ve noticed more in screenwriting is the cohesiveness with storytelling and that the format is obviously different. Screenwriting, contextually, at this point, seems much easier, and when I read other people’s work and see the difference in texts, it’s obvious. Addressed format inscriptions are much more easily detectable in screenwriting. Writing a screenplay isn’t that challenging–contextualizing it, that is; playwriting, for me, it seems, has been more challenging, yet it’s getting much easier working in and out of the characters and sticking to what it is that makes them tick and the reasons for why they do what they do. The same is true for characters in a screenplay, at least a concern for me is their intent and/or their plan or motivation for doing what they are doing and trying to justify or not justify why they did what they did. It’s challenging–or can be, playwriting, and even screenwriting. At least, in my experience, the way I like working with “story” is with and within a subtext–and I have found this to be true in playwriting. So not only is organization key, to a certain extent, but the acceptance of being eccentric and the ability to configure it and not just synthesize it is important. What’s interesting is that I’ve learned that screenwriting is pretty easy; it just a matter of learning how to properly work with the format that’s needed. Parenthetical vs. general/story-like, conversational lines and/or descriptive lines used are more easily detected in screenwriting–and you feel, at least I do, like I’m already inside a comfortable shoe. Playwriting directions, stage directions, are not that difficult to follow, or, perhaps, write; it’s just a matter of practicing and revising until you get to where you want the play to go–of course, readings and workshops help.

For a first screenplay, I’m thinking of a character as sportswriter who commits a crime or is involved indirectly with a crime. I can’t decide yet if the main character with be female or male based; however, intriguingly enough is working toward, perhaps, drafting a female character for starters and seeing where it takes me and the additional characters. I’m starting to research for it–and I’m liking what I’m finding. I haven’t yet also decided on the type of sport I’m thinking of working with. I haven’t yet explored football but baseball seems
like a pretty good start. I’ll see what I find. Onward! 🙂

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Something about songwriting…

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The one genre that centers me–and seems to bring me back into focus is poetry. About three years ago, I started thinking more about writing songs: lyrics. I don’t play an instrument; and I can’t sing. But I really like writing and music; so I started thinking about writing songs more seriously. And dabbled. I didn’t expect much to come from writing songs, but from the four poems that took a U-turn on me, one was accepted at a recording studio/music publishing company. I hadn’t written any songs before, so it was shot-in-the-dark. Interestingly enough, however, songwriting is like poetry. I need to work more on separating, though, structure, even in diverse poetry and just let the lyrics develop as they develop. The song that was accepted is called “What I Want to Say;” and although it needs to be re-mixed, it has some potential. Music is also key to inspiring me to write–whether it’s a novel, a play, drafting poetry, a screenplay, or simply under-painting and painting in whatever medium that I feel. Perhaps, music, itself, is what drove me to attempt to even want to write songs in the first place. Writing is essential; and what songwriting has taught me, in terms of being newly introduced to songwriting, is how very intimate and vulnerable it makes me feel, but, at the same time, it doesn’t make me vulnerable with focusing on what can be intimately fearful but positively necessary and imaginable. I’m looking forward to writing more songs and the drafting process of songwriting.

Benefits of short play readings…

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I got the opportunity to attend short play readings a few evenings ago, and what continues to drive playwriting, and I’m sure for most playwrights, is the availability of listening to reading of writers’ plays–seeing and listening to the many different takes and perspectives on subjects/topics: the eccentricities of people’s work and the convention of non-formulated tradition. I had the opportunity to attend readings on ten-minute plays at Playwrights Collaborative at The California Stage Theatre in Sacramento, and it helped me see more the interest in cohesively managing ideas and themes, sub-textually, in those short plays–even though I also have an interest in full-length plays. Readings, whether rough or previously read-through, I can see the necessary needed development and I’m able to provide some insight on a scene’s, perhaps, projected pathway even though my perspective maybe more original than anticipated. A few plays from the four that were read, Gail Hensley’s “Mean Streak” and Matt Hanf’s “Paradigm Shift,” were plays meriting what’s provocative in the sense that there was in “Mean Streak” a mix of an eccentric-sitting of characters reminding me of a psyche-ward session that begged more of the story behind the eccentricity in that I wanted to learn more about the scene and the characters–a very humorous musical-chairs-type of occurrence that was fun and comical. “Paradigm Shift” showed a lot of promise in viewing relationships in a less than conventional but sustainable essence that made for me wanting to find out more about the relationship(s) and where it or they were headed.

Happenstance-subtlety…

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What’s interestingly intricate working with landscape are features that make up relationship, character, and land. In reading, Manuel Munoz’s Zigzagger, I have found that family-evasions are one of the highlights within the beginning of the book. Much subtlety is provided between family members; and I noticed the more subtle the work the more involved the family members. Mothers play a predominant role in fiction–the relationship between mother and daughter and mother and son, though I have not yet explored in depth the mother-son relationship. Landscape is and isn’t a negative space, working within a novel’s setting–at least in working with my novel and many locations prevalent and subtle are obsolete or configurative. Nothing happenstance is within a rural landscape or an urban landscape-architecture. Family-evasions, those most commonplace within an immediate family, aren’t happenstance; they happen for a reason. Much fiction happens for a reason. What’s colorful in working within the theme of the family dynamic isn’t wide open or narrow-principled but an imaginative world encompassed by a reality that isn’t perhaps a reality–but a reality that takes the shape of reality.
Subtlety, too, I’ve noticed in Munoz’s work, at least, insofar, with Zigzagger is the quickness and not so much swiftness in learning about how characters take shape within their own independent, intrinsic self-landscape. They begin to define and re-define for one another their purpose and place in the text, but, at the same time, they do and don’t yet define their purpose, which is a good thing. Much, too, is left for the imagination. The purpose, if left for the reader, even at just the onset of beginning reading his work, is magnetic to a character’s life, his/her daily life and how he/she is able to live life, which determines how people, even fiction-characters treat one another. I write quite a bit about landscape, its fruition with a character’s life or setting’s life. Landscape-in-fiction, self-identity in fiction, and a determination in finding one’s self in the process of a family’s dysfunction is best capitalized on the subtleties and nuances of those subtleties. I’m looking forward to reading more of Munoz’s work.