Sunday, June 10, 2007

When we finish writing a film, we don't go shopping around for other people's money. Instead, we produce it ourselves, out of our own pockets. Because of this, we don't follow screenplay format exactly; rather, we tweak the format for our own purposes.

The biggest example of this is the division of the screenplay into chapters or "sequences" of between four and fifteen pages, a device popular with the screenplays of the thirties and forties which has since fallen by the wayside. At the end of each sequence, we insert a page break, so that each new sequence starts at the beginning of a new page.

One reason why we do this is to facilitate understanding. To group scenes and shots together so that the actors understand that these parts should flow and work together, and this part is a change of pace.

Another good reason for doing this is to facilitate re-writes. If a sequence isn't working, we can rewrite that sequence and print up copies of that sequence. If we stuck to traditional modern-day screenplay format, a couple of small changes might move everything in the script down a few lines. Which would necessitate a reprinting of a huge chunk of script.

By cordoning off the sequences, it saves us time, paper, and, ultimately, money.

We mention this because we're currently rewriting Sequence F, our pentultimate sequence. The Man Who Loved is not plotted like most films-- exposition, rising action, climaxes and denounement. No false crisis or inciting incidents. It follows, instead, the structure of music-- a progression of ideas and emotions, with changes of pace and counterpoints.

That being said, Sequence F, coming right before the finale, is somewhat lacking in the necessary tension. The emphasises of the sequence-- the strained relationship of the young couple, George and Sarah; Sarah trying to fight her depression; George pulling towards his other friends, Ryan and Sue-- were clouded and unclear. And so, in order to increase the emotional tension and clarify what's going on, we're currently rewriting that sequence.

After all, what is a story but an appeal to the emotions? And what is film but a way to communicate?

Perhaps later on we'll post the older and newer versions so that you can compare and contrast, and get a better idea of the process.

1 comment:

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