Saturday, January 8, 2011

The "Dragon of Dither" Roars

Anyone who has ever written, be it a novel, screenplay or even a shorter form of either of those, knows that moment of insecurity and wondering if you have what it takes. As writers, we can come up with all manner of tangents to feed the Dreaded Dragon of Dithering. Therefore, in our sincere effort to share the entire adaptation process, here come the warts:
Is a four-page, beat-form outline enough to start writing... anything...let alone a screenplay or a treatment? Or, do we keep tweaking, back and forthing, like a two-person Segway, spinning our wheels?
With that spinning comes the constant doubting of one’s ideas. The second-guessing of decisions we thought we’d already made about the adaptation. (Give in to this. It’s never-ending.)
I vote that the spinning stops. Let’s just dive into the writing pool. (First shot at the Dragon of D--a bull’s-eye.)
We’ve already got the logline whipped, snapped and pretzeled into a HIGH CONCEPT:
Newlyweds are thrust into a Karmic battle – either redeem their forbidden love from a past life or watch the tragedy unfold again.

Once the film is made, will list it as:  NOT THIS TIME --an adaptation of GREEN DARKNESS-- drama/thriller/romance/historical. (Step one accomplished. D of D is bleeding!)
Can we maintain that level of quality with a paragraph length synopsis? Something we would use in, say, a query letter to a production company, possibly on VPF (Virtual Pitch Fest).
But to be prepared for requests from production companies, at the minimum, we should have the treatment written. (Damn! D of D has opened an eye!)

A treatment can be anywhere from 3-10 pages depending on who you listen to. When we talked about a treatment for our adaptation with an IN-THE-KNOW EXPERT, ( an ally Dragon Slayer) he advised us to have copies of the book to send to the producers along with the treatment or script, whichever route we took with our marketing. After all, how could the production company see the quality of our adaptation without first having one of their readers actually read the novel; then, the treatment or script.
Note to selves: contact the publisher and see if we can get a number of copies at a reduced price.

That same Expert advised us to write ‘Act One’, ‘Act Two’, and ‘Act Three’ right in the format of the treatment. It would leave the producers with no doubt about which events were happening when, in case we were too succinct.
Tip number three from the Expert involved ending each paragraph in the treatment with a hook. Pull the reader through the treatment by sheer interest. “Put the ‘treat’ back into treatment.”
The clock started ticking down from 18 months on our option on Nov.30th… anybody taking bets on whether we can get a synopsis, treatment and script written and marketed during that time frame? (Was it my imagination or did the Dragon of Dither just snore?)

Eyeballs to the monitor, fingers to the keyboard…GO!

It's happening. Stay tuned~~ 
Angela and Marla

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