February 14th, 2021On this day in different years


Index Cards, and devoting your creativity to structure outline

As screenwriting how-to sites go, the endless tips and samples obtained can be discouraging as your manuscript continue to go nowhere. Oddly enough, the dispiriting affect of hearing the same thing site after site while you, as writer, adopts such theories come to the realization that more time is being spent surfing the web for screenwriting advice that deter your focus in the wrong way for the scene/sequence you're trying to hack out. I'm a fan of the Save the cat series because of the detailed explanation of each page of a screenplay manuscript:

  1. Opening Image (1)
  2. Set-up (1-5)
  3. Theme Stated (5)
  4. Catalyst (12)
  5. Debate (12-25)
  6. Break Into Two (25)
  7. B-Story (30)
  8. moreCollapse )

    Because I've been using a manual typewriter to hash out my scenes, my writing style is less structural and more impulsive. Like the popular social media sites that sponsor Vloggers for short, funny anecdotes, when I find myself visualizing a scene, I approach writing by describing my ideas into action/descriptive narration and dialog. I write this because I like the way it looks on paper. It may be easier to do on screenwriting software, but I like to share my ideas with like-minded writers and I decided long ago that html-ing my original scenes was an impossible task (although I may be wrong as the <pre> tag seems to do the trick with .pdf file outputs.)

    As it goes with my learning process, hands-on practice and repetition is the only way things stick. Now it's time to move on from the beginner's screenplay format obstacle of scene headers, descriptive writing, capitalizations and indentations to outlining. While this may sound backwards, it works for maintaining my interest in screenwriting rather than story writing. As it happens, even screenplays possess some characteristics of plot and story so I decided to look up Index Cards and I found a short explanation from Go into the story.

    Screenwriting Tip: Index Cards | by Scott Myers | Go Into The Story

    BTW you will notice many writers use different color cards. Typically that%u2019s about tracking various subplots: White for the Plotline, blue for this subplot, yellow for that subplot, and so on. This is helpful because you can visually tell how you are cross-cutting between storylines which can help in terms of pace, transitions, etc.

    I know some of you will chime in and suggest a variety of software programs that replicate index cards. And if that works for you, fine. But at the risk of sounding like an old farting Luddite, allow me to praise the simple 3x5" index card.

    Everybody's heard of the blog Go into the story. The page–by–page breakdown, as published in the Blake Snyder books, is just a reminder of how far I tried to get in my own original screenplay before I decided to stop and focus on outlining this project. When I'm done decorating my wall with color–coded cards, I plan to finalize #tmtwngm project with effective dialog and character development.𓅱

Prompt - working with index cards

No matter how bad these first 40 cards may be, the show must go on.
Your challenge is to create ten cards for each act. Act 1, Act 2, Act
2-½, and Act 3. Total=40 index cards.

And I’m only looking for the index cards titles, not the description.
At least not yet. I just want something I can pin up to the wall.
Filling the content of the cards will follow.
WARNING! the first ten are the easiest. I drew up a map that I’m
calling brainstorming #tmtwngm as I’m reusing bits and pieces from my
last failed projects (#highschool, #dialog, #typewriter,
#screenwriting, and #outlines )

Come to think of it, I believe this is what I was trying to do when I
began writing a few scenes where dialog is completely interrupted by
background noise of extra characters conversing, talking, phoning,
going about their business in which everything is quite relevant. In
other words, things happen for a reason. Even though it’s context
spoken in the background, if you miss it, bettr watch the movie again
kind-of-thing. This manner of thinking may have something to do with
trying to conceptualize emulating what it must be like seeing thru the
eyes of an insect and how compound eyes can be interpreted as multiple
VIP images (am I saying that right? when one creates a pop-up screen
within a TV screen so they can watch the news AND their favorite
sports event at the same time.) My brain was getting fried trying to
pull off a movie in which multiple scenes are taking place
simultaneously but you can’t really make out what’s going on because
there’s more boxed scenes than the Brady Bunch opening credits

Whew! what a relief. Now I can just pretend I’m the catalyst every
time I step back to see the cork board and how things are flowing.

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