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Discussion Starter #1
Wondered if anyone was working on screenplay or TV script of their book and had any advice/experience to share?

I'm discovering it's really a very different piece of work, like nothing is set in stone.
 

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I had a go. Took me a year, I think! I realised that screen writing is very, very different from novel writing, so bought some books and spent some time experimenting. My natural writing style is 3rd person very up-close-and-personal with a lot of internal thought, which doesn't translate well to the visual medium of screen-writing.

I sent it to the (UK) BBC Writers Room and got some really good feedback. It needs a lot more work, but so many readers have said my books would make really good tv dramas, that I might have another go. But really I'd far rather somebody like Jimmy McGovern adapted them. I think I should work on the six degrees of separation and find a connection to the man!
 

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Hi Deb, my experience is very similar!

A lot of readers have said the books would make a great TV series a few have said movie. The series is first person, present tense so it seemed like it would be straightforward. I've learned that's not he case! I too went through BBC writersroom script submission but only got through the first cut so encouraging but no detailed feedback. I've been following the same process as you and love the idea of getting into indie film making even at the most basic level.
 

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Pelagios said:
Jimmy McGovern is a god. That is all.
I remember being so terrified watching some of the Cracker stories, I think it was the storyline with Robert Carlyle as the guy they were after. The Lakes series were excellent too. He seems to get the best actors.
 

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Another good way to learn the form is to read all the scripts you can find in your particular genre.

Don't get the shooting script, try and find the actual script as it was first handed in by the writer. And see the movie.

One great site with all kinds of great info is http://www.wordplayer.com/ by Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
m p said:
Another good way to learn the form is to read all the scripts you can find in your particular genre.

Don't get the shooting script, try and find the actual script as it was first handed in by the writer. And see the movie.

One great site with all kinds of great info is http://www.wordplayer.com/ by Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot.
Thanks, wordplayer look good.
 

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I've sent stuff to the BBC writersroom in the past, but never even got through the first sifting. Although that may be because the title was the best thing about it. I do wonder about trying again with them, now that I've got a bit more experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Lydniz said:
I've sent stuff to the BBC writersroom in the past, but never even got through the first sifting. Although that may be because the title was the best thing about it. I do wonder about trying again with them, now that I've got a bit more experience.
Experience is the thing and just a lot of writing, reworking and generating ideas I think. It's so different to novel writing but I find it exciting and would just love to have the experience of seeing/working as a screenplay is filmed.
 

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Julia M said:
Experience is the thing and just a lot of writing, reworking and generating ideas I think. It's so different to novel writing but I find it exciting and would just love to have the experience of seeing/working as a screenplay is filmed.
Yes, I did think for a while that I'd like to get into screenwriting as I love writing dialogue. But you don't just need to be able to write good dialogue. You have to be good at creating tension and drama too, and that's where I fall down at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Lydniz said:
Yes, I did think for a while that I'd like to get into screenwriting as I love writing dialogue. But you don't just need to be able to write good dialogue. You have to be good at creating tension and drama too, and that's where I fall down at the moment.
Yes, and the other thing I'm coming to understand is that you have to create so much through pictures and silence. I see my writing as it unfolds but for the screen what's shown and said really has to hit the mark.
 

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I tried the BBC Writersroom, too, as well as some TV Production Companies after I dramatised the first in my series, but even though one or two of the Prod Cos liked it and liked the humour, they didn't like it enough to spring for production.

So much is visual in TV and my books have a lot of internal dialogue, so probably not such a great fit, even though plenty of people have said they'd make great television.

I've studied a number of books about writing for TV, but I think the yearning has gone off me. I'm used to working alone; not sure if I could stand having to work to order any more.

But I could be persuaded . . . !
 

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I guess I've had the reverse experience of everyone else that's replied so far.

I started out as a screenwriter and didn't decide to switch to novels until I was in my late twenties. It took me years of hitting myself in the face with a shovel before I could get the hang of writing narrative. Even now, dialogue is everything with me and narrative is still a struggle.

I am adapting See You, but only for my own personal reasons. I've gotten a lot of reviews that mention it would make a great movie, but no one's beating down my door. :) I just miss screenwriting and I miss the story. The screenplay is currently taking a back seat to getting my second book out in March, but I'm really looking forward to it.
 

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Not that it's easy, but to make the process a little easier and to give your script every chance possible to be taken seriously, you need to use standard formats for the words on the page. Motion picture and television formats are not identical.

To help with this, I would strongly suggest purchasing a program called "Final Draft." It is pretty much what everybody (a lot of people) in the business uses to compose their scripts. It is not cheap. It lists for $300 but Amazon has it as either a disk or download for about $175. (I always go for disks when I can, for those "just in case" happenings.)

It comes with templates for all sorts of scripts, including stage plays. You might want to think about it, and look to see if there is a trial (non-printing) version somewhere. Check their web site.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
DawnLee said:
I guess I've had the reverse experience of everyone else that's replied so far.

I started out as a screenwriter and didn't decide to switch to novels until I was in my late twenties. It took me years of hitting myself in the face with a shovel before I could get the hang of writing narrative. Even now, dialogue is everything with me and narrative is still a struggle.

I am adapting See You, but only for my own personal reasons. I've gotten a lot of reviews that mention it would make a great movie, but no one's beating down my door. :) I just miss screenwriting and I miss the story. The screenplay is currently taking a back seat to getting my second book out in March, but I'm really looking forward to it.
Yes, I can get that narrative would be hard coming across from screenwriting. My thing going the other way is internal narrative, my first person character says/explains a lot in his head.

Did you go to film school? This seems to be a great way to make contacts that you work with in future.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've heard that it's really important to format correctly. So far I've used Celtx due to the cost implications.
 

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Peter Spenser said:
Not that it's easy, but to make the process a little easier and to give your script every chance possible to be taken seriously, you need to use standard formats for the words on the page. Motion picture and television formats are not identical.

To help with this, I would strongly suggest purchasing a program called "Final Draft." It is pretty much what everybody (a lot of people) in the business uses to compose their scripts. It is not cheap. It lists for $300 but Amazon has it as either a disk or download for about $175. (I always go for disks when I can, for those "just in case" happenings.)

It comes with templates for all sorts of scripts, including stage plays. You might want to think about it, and look to see if there is a trial (non-printing) version somewhere. Check their web site.
Scrivener has a basic scriptwriting template too.
 

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The BBC Writers Room used to have a set of word templates, but they're not there anymore. Don't know why - maybe formats have changed? I have to admit, I don't know what the definitive template/style is for different scripts, so I'd have no way of knowing whether what I was using was actually correct.
 

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Julia M said:
My thing going the other way is internal narrative, my first person character says/explains a lot in his head.
Me too. I use a lot of italicised 1st-person thoughts. Kind of hard to get that across in a script without resorting to adding camera directions, which I was told is a complete no-no!
 
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