Screenwriting : Ever get hung up on stupid technicalities? by Steven Seidman

Steven Seidman

Ever get hung up on stupid technicalities?

In my feature I'm working on I'm hung up on a stupid technicality preventing me from furthering my story. Which is how and where does my Hero find the info he needs. Does he get told in an office or the lobby or does he see it on TV or the Computer. Anyone else get hung up like this?

Heather Greig

If you want, I'll take a look at what you've got so far and let you know what I think. It's hard to suggest a plot point when you don't know the plot!

Steven Seidman

I wouldn't have a problem showing it, except no one sees it till it's finished and copyrighted.

Jolene Marie Nickerson

It's boring on screen, usually, to watch someone look up information online or see it on TV. Plus, it's cliche. I think it's better to have him hear the info from a real person.

Steven Seidman

Well I meant from like a news clip, not reading an article.

Jolene Marie Nickerson

I think the news clip thing is even more cliche. Just my opinion, but I think hearing it out loud from an unexpected source in a creative way is better.

Rebekah Hay

Yeah, I run into this kinda thing. For me, the best way to get past it is just to write the next scene as if he already has the info, and come back andfill in the 'how' later.

Sam Vanivray

The Hero should see the information written on the bathroom wall of a dive bar.

Annelie Wendeberg

I find background research and little technical details very useful since it always makes my story richer and more believable. Sometimes my story takes unexpected turns due to new data.

Darren Wiesner

One thing I always look for in films is, show don't tell. It's a more creative way of presenting information. eg. Your son is in an accident, he needs a blood transfusion. The doctor tells you you're not a match. Your suspicions of your wife's past infidelities are confirmed.

Frank Wood

Another way to present expository information is by upstaging the information with a simultaneous event more entertaining than the expository itself. In this way, the necessary information becomes incidental to the scene itself.

Darren Wiesner

Could you provide an example? I am curious. Also, if its considered necessary information, shouldn't there be some focus on it?

Frank Wood

in Stephen J. Cannell's lecture series (writerswrite.com/screenwriting/lecture4.htm), he gives a great example. He created the character "Angel Martin" solely to spice up an otherwise boring expolitory. As angel, a former cell mate of Rockford, dishes out the info, he keeps changing the subject, asking Rockford if he was really guilty of the crime for which he was sent to prison. This banter becomes the main focus of the scene, but the expository information, the main focus of the plot, is surreptitiously exposed.

Ray Anthony Martinez

This is what STAGE32 is all about! I love hearing (reading) everyone's comments! It's great that everyone here is so friendly! With that being said, I don't have anything to add that isn't already posted! Good luck!

Ray Anthony Martinez

I think the reason you may be getting stumped is because in another post, you stated that you are a "cold" writer. A lot of screenwriters underestimate the power of an outline. It doesn't have to be too detailed, unless you want it to be. By outlining, you are able to answer those questions before you sit down to write the script. For example, I started a feature length script 2 weeks ago and I'm page 78, however; it took me about 3 months to research and outline.

Steven Seidman

I do write "cold" and only do an outline of the section of the story I'm writing. I never really physically plan all my moves because I like my Characters to be the ones driving the story. I do not underestimate outlining though. I normally do it for new projects and of course on projects when I work with other people.

Ray Anthony Martinez

Hey Steven, have you thought about using the 12 steps of the Hero's Journey? That may solve your problem?

Leon de Masi

A couple times in my case, especially since my fan project is trying to fit in to an existing continuity... But usually when I get stuck, I leave the script alone for a few days, then go back to it. A lot of times I focus so intently on the problem that I can't come up with a solution. If that doesn't work, though, I usually write everything out on a piece of paper, and I mean everything, no matter how ridiculous. Like in your case, with listing ways your hero can gain the information he needs, but absolutely every idea down you've come up with, even the completely insane ones that you know won't work. Sometimes, when I do this, I'm able to work out a combination of two possibilities that could work for the story.

Steven Seidman

Funny you mention that Ray, I use the Heroes Journey and Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet.

L.A. Eide

I've never used Blake Snyder's B.S. but I am fan of Truby's 22 story-step method, although I never use all 22 steps (very, very few movies do). I attended a Truby seminar in NYC. The first script I wrote after finishing the seminar was, at that time, the best one I'd ever done -- "Stone's Throw From Hell" -- using the Truby method. I find it helps keep my story writing more focused and structured than if I just wrote.

L.A. Eide

1 more thing -- I would just pretend your hero found the info and keep writing the rest of the story. By the time you finish the story, you'll probably have figured out the best way for the m/c to have found the info and then you can go back to fill in the details. The key is that the way the hero finds the info should flow naturally from his/her essential nature that you've hopefully portrayed in the script. If the hero is a savvy techny type, finding it on their computer would be appropriate. But if they're a chatty Kathy type who loves to chitchat, obtaining info from a coworker/friend would be better.

Richard "RB" Botto

What a great thread...Some tremendous information here. This is what the true spirit of Stage 32 is all about. I thank you all for being so active and helpful.

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