Tribulations of Screenwriting

Hello, my fellow Screenwriters!

Long time, no hear. Didn’t realize until now, how long it’s been since my last post.  I’ve been busy with the primary job (Technical Writing), downsizing into an apartment and enjoying the birth of another Grandson. Tribulations may not be the proper word for my current situation, but I do feel that Writes block has

“Tribulations” may not be the proper word for my current situation, but I do feel Writer’s Block has crept into my life. I’m dealing with it by keeping active in honing my craft and reading screenplays.

My current project, “Confession In A Bottle” is a murder mystery where a mother loses her daughter to a tragic accident and as she grieves, discovers a note in a bottle on the beach ([nsert “I Dream of Jeannie” joke here]. The note, a decades old murder confession, entices the mother to investigate the murder to possibly heal herself by solving this crime.

As I developed this story, the direction and intensity have changed over the last year, but I’m almost finished with the first draft. As long as I can work through this writer’s block and let my characters evolve the storyline, I should be fine.

I promise to write more often.

“Keep writing and fighting. Never stop dreaming of that one story; a story the world needs to hear. ”

JC

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Tools! Tools! Screenwriting Tools!

Hey, all!

Just a quick line today. Been really busy. Had a 4-day weekend to spend with two of my granddaughters; Makayla and Megan. (My Cheer Girls Champions!).

They have the tools to cheer, tumble, and throw themselves into painfully contorted positions. We addicted screenwriters need our tools of the trade as well.

I subscribed to Screencraft.org many months ago and pleased with some of the screenwriting advice and links. If you haven’t checked them out, click the link.

I recommend this article below. This is how I learned to pre-plan my first screenplay. Hope you get some use out of it.

Keep writing!

JC

https://screencraft.org/2016/11/28/the-simplest-tool-for-fast-fun-screenwriting/

What Happens Next? The Scene Mashup

Image result for what happens next?

Source: http://todayilaughed.com

Hello,  Screenwriters and Readers alike!

So, I’m in a creative mood, right? Fingers dancin’ with the keyboard as the creativity flows through my Mt. Dew-fed veins.

Then it hits me.! A scene out of the blue. In my head. And it doesn’t tie into my current project. Where did this come from?

So I remind myself to always capture the moment.  I hastily open a new project in Final Draft and go to work in the Index cards layout. For the next 30-45 minutes I’m puking out a funny scene (read below) that could be used anywhere, but what’s interesting is the characters created themselves. All I had to do was ask them “What happens next?”

What starts out as a simple house delivery, turns into something more long-winded.

And I would love for my followers or readers to comment and help me determine “What Happen’s Next.” If I get a bunch of good ideas, you never know, this could be the next comedy. So all you prankster’s out there, this is the time to give me some funny ideas.

Right now, I’m capturing them in my Scene Mashup file.

Thank so much for reading,

JC Leach

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

EXT. HOUSE – DAY

A Flower delivery man walks up to the front door, rings the bell, waits.  A dog barks from inside the house.

INT./EXT. HOUSE – DAY

TAD MARKEL (40s), sporting extra tonnage. yells at the barking dog, scratches himself, as he shuffles in his slippers and soiled white undershirt to the front door.

He checks the peephole,. sees flowers hiding some guys face, opens the door

The DELIVERY GUY (20s), not his dream job, struggles to read the name on the tag.

DELIVERY GUY

“Delivery for Thad–de–us Markel?”

Tad grimaces at the guy who butchers his name.

TAD MARKEL

It’s Tad. Silent H and shorten it.

DELIVERY GUY

Mom must have been pissed at you, man.

TAD MARKEL

Does insulting my heritage cost extra? Cus’ you can keep that shit.

The Delivery Guy. shuts up, reads the delivery receipt.

DELIVERY GUY

Says you MUST read the gift card C-O-D. Says here sixty bucks and change. Delivery tip expected, but not included.

Delivery Guy hands over bouquet, Tad reads the attached note.

TAD MARKEL

“Happy Birthday, brother! I’ve been down on my luck at the Casino lately, but I just wanted to wish you the best today. Can you pay the delivery guy? I’ll get you back. — Tom.”

Tad is stunned, glances at the Delivery Guy, gets irate, rips off the card.

TAD MARKEL (CONT’D)

Sure he will.

(to Delivery guy)

Wait right here.

Tad backs up with the vase in his hand.

ALISHA MARKEL (O.C.)

Baby, who is it?

Tad turns and closes the door on the Delivery Guy’s face.

DELIVERY GUY

Dude, what about my sixty bucks and the tip?

TAD MARKEL (O.C.)

My brother sent flowers for my birthday.

ALISHA MARKEL (O.C.)

Aw.w How nice was that?

TAD MARKEL (O.C.)

C-O-D.

ALISHA MARKEL (O. C.)

C-O-D? Cash. You’re kidding, right? Is he–

ALISHA MARKEL (40s), a hot vixen, opens the front door to a confused Delivery Guy. Tad stands behind her unsure of what to do.

ALISHA MARKEL (CONT’D)

…crazy?

Alisha stares at the Delivery guy, examines the vase in Tad’s hands, makes a deduction.

ALISHA MARKEL (CONT’D)

Your brother Tom has some imagination. And a screw loose. Funny though, I’ll give him that. I’ll take these.

Alisha holds her laughter, smiles instead, revokes the vase, pats Tad’s chest, and locks eyes.

ALISHA MARKEL (CONT’D)

Making you pay C-O-D on your birthday? Classic dick move. When are you and Tom gonna stop this? Pay the man.

Head down, eyes closed in defeat, Tad cracks a wryly smile as he reaches back for his wallet.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Father Time – New Project

Father Time - Source: WikiCommons

Father Time – Source: WikiCommons

Hello all,

After listening to a ballad from rock guitarist “Father Time” by Richie Sambora, I was intrigued by the lyrics. The song is about the loss of a loved one.

As a father myself, I had to reflect how one deals with this event. So I’m putting together (and I quote my supporting wife) a “Doom and Gloom” story. Regardless of the genre, the overall goal for any screenwriter is to instill “emotional response” from the audience. Good, bad, or both.

With terminal illness prevalent in our society today, I’m sure this hits home for everyone.

As I pondered this project, I noted the title “Father Time” could have at least two distinct meanings:

  1. Father Time – The old man, manager of life and time depicted in so many literary readings of our days, or
  2. Father-Time – Time spent with the male parent in our lives. Father-Time—the precious human memories we get so few of in our limited time upon this planet.

So, I took both of those contexts and mashed them into my writing “Father Time.”

Logline:  “A terminally ill widower begs Father Time to repair his lost relationship with his daughter who blames him for her mother’s death. Unfortunately, he’s talking to the wrong person..”

Stay tuned for a synopsis. I’ll keep my readers updated as the project unfolds.

JC

 

Collaboration – The meeting of the Minds

Hey all,

Just wanted to drop a blog to let you all know  that I am in deep collaboration with one of my fellow film makers who has caught the screenwriting “bug”.

I’ve been hassling him to spew forth his creative side, so after serious prodding over hot wings (which we truly love and also share for our ritual Friday lunch), he committed himself to providing me his “story”.

So in this Collaboration the roles are similar to what I have read that other successful collaborators do: 1) Share scene development, and 2) each write and provide a catalyst to the story development.

It works really well. He provides me his thoughts, and I, being the screenwriter/formatting GURU/Editor put his thoughts into my screenwriting program.

I then PDF the scene (s) back to him and we discuss it at our next hot wing feast. Then we repeat the above process.

This will eventually get us to the rough draft.

We are not going to analyze, edit, or rearrange scenes at this time. The object here is to get the scenes down first.

One thing we didn’t do at this time is outline the whole story first. We are being creative in letting the “story develop itself”. Some say this is Taboo, some say it creates a more realistic outcome. Only time will tell.

The part that I love the most is after years of missteps with co-writer websites, I have kept it close to home, with someone I trust and enjoy working with.

So we shall see how this new project develops, but so far I am optimistic.

Stay tuned for more.

Keep Writing Screenwriters–Life is short! Eat your Dessert first!

JC

 

 

“Poverty Island” Synopsis

poverty02

Logline

Genre – Action/Adventure

Pursuing a 150-year old mystery, treasure hunters confront thieves to honor a heartbroken man while they protect the truth behind the legend of Poverty Island gold.

Synopsis

In 1863, a legend exists where money desperate Confederates manage to get a loan from the French. The French ship, carrying chests of gold, allegedly sinks near Poverty Island, Michigan. To this day the gold has never been found.

In Act I, treasure hunters Buck Spencer and Jeremy Razey (Protagonists), arrive at Washington Island, south of Poverty Island. Their goal—cultivate information from Carl Jackson (Mentor) – the only person who may have last seen the Poverty Island gold. Buck gets help from Carl’s friend, niece Grace (Love interest), and newspaper clippings on the legend and untimely death of Carl’s girlfriend. Carl struggles to deal with the loss, but opens up to Buck and reveals how Jessica died, but not much about the Legend.

Buck and Jeremy dig up empty gold chests and harass other nefarious treasure hunters who want in on the find. In turn, one of the nefarious hunters shoots Carl dead.

In Act II, Grace inherits Carl’s estate and safe deposit box, where she finds more clues, a letter about Jessica’s death, and a gold coin. Grace, Buck, and Jeremy team up. After finding a big clue and map, they suspect the gold is in the lighthouse. In a covert night operation, they search the lighthouse but have to deceive Carl’s friend (Antagonist) who has followed them by boat with another treasure hunter.

After hacking through a wall, they find hidden sacks of gold, hurry to get it off the island, but run out of time. By now, Andy is pissed after Buck sank their dive boat, returns to the lighthouse by dinghy, and takes hostages at gunpoint. Jeremy overpowers the other hunter and sneaks up to put Andy under gunpoint.

Buck leaves Andy with their own dinghy, extra gas, and ultimatum to live or die, but without the gold.

In Act III, the State of Michigan grants Gracie the gold to rebuild the lighthouse—as Carl and Jessica wanted. Buck gives Gracie a parting gift – a letter and ring from Jessica to her fiancée he found in the wall. It professes to Carl how much she truly loved him and looked forward to a long life with him.  Lovely words Carl never heard.

Dead Hand

Hello all, just wanted to drop you a line about one my many screenplays. This one is a Cold War thriller. “Bridge of Spies” stuff. Cloak and dagger.

If you are interested in reading the screenplay, give me a shout. More to follow.

Logline:

Dead Hand – Historical Action – “When a rogue Russian General takes over a secret Doomsday system, the scientist who built it risks allegiance, family, and friends to avert nuclear Armageddon.”

Synopsis:

Dead Hand is the name of a doomsday system that the Russian Federation has not publicly acknowledged. This system allows Russian nuclear missiles to be launched after a decapitation strike on the Russian ministry. The system works when conditions consistent with a nuclear blast occur along with the loss of communication with the Russian High Command. If these conditions are met, communication rockets then launch and transmit the launch codes to the rest of the nuclear missiles in their silos.

During this story, Dmitri Yarynich (Protagonist), the developer of Dead Hand, struggles with the horrible death of his wife, his decision to send his daughter way, the economic strife of his Cold War country, and Dead Hand’s secrecy. His goal is to make Dead Hand public to halt nuclear weapons development.

General Koslov (Antagonist), a Rocket forces commander, has other nefarious intentions:  Acquire Dead Hand and keep it secret, control the nuclear arsenal so he can avenge his Chechen brother’s death at the hands of the Russian military, and kill anyone who stands in his way.

To do this Koslov and his band of militants kidnap Dmitri’s daughter (Zina) for information. Dmitri retorts by revealing Dead Hand to a CIA Agent friend in exchange for help to recover his daughter.

In the showdown, Dmitri relinquishes Dead Hand to Koslov after Zina is about to be shot. In a crazy turn of events, Zina is released, but turns on her father for the “cause”, as she has been brainwashed by the militants.

Koslov launches the communications missiles and attempts to leave when Special Forces intervene and take down Koslov’s thugs.

Zina finally accepts that Koslov killed her mother and militants killed her best friend. She goes on a maniacal killing spree to save her father.

Dmitri and Zina are granted asylum in the United States and catch-up on their relationship. Their efforts pay off as the two countries agree to reduce nuclear weapons, as history goes.

Dead Hand, or “Perimeter”, by its popular name, has never been publicly acknowledged.