Screenplay Explorer header image 4

Writing Screenplays and Dreams

May 21st, 2009 · Comments Off on Writing Screenplays and Dreams

By Raisy Roo

No one really knows where dreams come from. There are lots of differing books and theories on the subject, but one idea they all seem to agree on is that dreams are made up of symbols. Every character, item and detail in your dream represents something, and if it didn’t, it could not exist. It must serve purpose, and then be intricately linked and interwoven into every aspect of the plot that’s playing out.

You know that dream where you’re wandering the school hall in your underwear? Well, down the corridor, past all the leering students, beyond the mortified teacher and beside that kid holding the raccoon, is a locker. And on that locker is a number. That number cannot exist in your dream unless it has significant meaning and purpose. Talk about back story!

Your dream can’t simply write ‘INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY – DAY’. Instead it must account for every minute detail in order to pull the story off. Can you imagine the processing power needed to structure a scene like that? God forbid you’re shooting outside! Every blade of grass would need to be written, rewrote, polished and tweaked – instantaneously.

I personally don’t believe that sort of processing power exists anywhere in the universe. I have a sneaking suspicion that dreams are not “processed” at all, but rather emanated. Like mist spraying from a waterfall, dreams emanate from your very essence, spawning a story about you. After all, every person in your dream is actually you.

I have a challenge. As you lay your weary head down after a long day of writing, try to pay attention to the images that continue to flash across your mind’s eye. They are always there; it just takes some practice to become aware of them. Some say it’s just the dream cycle ramping up for the nights show, others believe it’s a form of remote viewing.

I believe it’s the place where screenplays come from.

Tags: · , ,

I Can’t Afford to Write Screenplays

May 21st, 2009 · Comments Off on I Can’t Afford to Write Screenplays

By Poor Literate Writer

Not long ago I took a break from writing to market a service to screenwriters – I won’t go into details about the service since it failed miserably and left me for broke – but I did do some homework at the time to find out who my potential customers really were. Turns out aspiring screenwriters are loaded, at least according to a subscriber survey conducted by Creative Screenwriting magazine about eight years ago.

They concluded the average Creative Screenwriting reader was a wealthy, highly educated adult making a hundred grand a year. And half of the subscribers held a Master’s Degree or Ph.D.

So, forget about that image of the poor sap scribbling dialogue down in the boiler room, screenplays are written by lawyers, doctors, bankers and professors. No wonder I can’t sell anything. I wish someone would have told me I had no business writing screenplays at my level of income. I guess no one told Diablo Cody, or David Benioff, or Joe Eszterhas either. If they had, these folks could still be dancing, teaching, and stealing cars instead of writing screenplays for a living.  🙂

Tags: · ,

Writing Screenplays for Free

May 20th, 2009 · 3 Comments

By Gullible Gus

Am I a gullible sap for writing screenplays for free?

More than once (three times, actually) I’ve worked with production companies who were interested in my screenplays. Each time (well at least the first two – still in the process on the third) I’ve spent months rewriting, polishing and tweaking before I could even get the companies to commit to an option – for pennies I might add.

Many aspiring writers have the idea that once a production company expresses an interest in their screenplay, it’s all glory. They’ll pay you a chunk of cash for the option or outright purchase, then pay you for a rewrite, and then pay you some more for a polish. The reality is, at least for me, that doesn’t happen. Now granted, the companies I’ve worked with were smaller, but they did have some impressive projects under their belt.

I suspect the reality is, just like my spec screenplay, the film industry itself is a speculative business. Lots of sweat equity goes into projects in hopes of a payoff, by writers and producers. I can’t help but wonder though, if my time would be better invested seeking an agent rather than working directly with production companies.

I actually do enjoy working with producers. It’s exciting to have others geeked about my work, and they all seemed quite bright… just not bright enough to help me quit my day job.

I did get some press once in the Hollywood Reporter. They were at Cannes interviewing the production company I was working with at the time. The guys were gracious enough to mention me as a “hot new writer. “ I still have the framed printed edition in a box in the basement, somewhere. There were even rumors that HBO was looking for me after reading the article. They haven’t found me yet. I don’t understand – all they need to do is Google “Gullible Gus.”

For now, I guess I’ll just keep writing screenplays for free.

Tags: · ,