DIY Movie in a Weekend

So, writing a movie in a weekend sounds like no planning at all**. Which is sort of true.  We aren’t going to be plotting at all this week. But our weekends are usually spent doing laundry, cleaning the house, grocery shopping and getting prepped for another week.  So entirely devoting those hours to a writing project requires just a little forethought.  Here’s what we’ve determined we need:

  1. A partner you can both argue with and concede to without ruining the relationship
  2. A clean house to work in
  3. Food to eat
  4. A solid plan of attack
  5. A working knowledge of all chosen genres
  6. Working knowledge and experience in story telling

1 and 6 are just things Forrest and I are lucky enough to just have.   2 is a slog, but doable, it just means I need to leave work at a reasonable hour on Thursday, and instead of veging out, dedicating myself to clean up.  3 takes a little more brain power.  Both Forrest and I have the tendency to just not eat unless something reminds us to do so.  This results in severe crankiness, and undue arguing.  As this is not conducive to streamlined work mode, I have a schedule of when and what we are eating, with the accompanying grocery list.

4 and 5 are where the actual planning comes in.   Forrest and I first sat down and decided to tackle number 5.

We decided out of hand that any drama would be too difficult to build well in a weekend.  No biopics, no historically accurate things, even a scifi drama would take too much forethought for world building, and a personal/familial drama is a difficult razor’s edge to walk even when you have years of building the script and personal life experience.  Dramas were off the table.  So then we came with four capital g Genres to work within:

  • Action
  • Comedy
  • Thriller
  • Teen

Those felt a little too generic to grab onto, so we decided to break down those four Genres into subgenres.  I like symmetry, so we said each of the four genres would get four subgenres, meaning we will have 16 ideas in the hat on Friday night.  Here is what we decided:

  • Action
    1. Sci-fi
    2. Political
    3. 1 vs World
    4. Creature Feature
  • Comedy
    1. Romantic
    2. Buddy
    3. Action
    4. Period
  • Thriller
    1. Psychological
    2. Sexual
    3. Political
    4. Action
  • Teen
    1. Comedy
    2. Drama
    3. Thriller
    4. Sci-fi/ Fantasy

We felt we could build worlds, characters and plots within each of these subgenres, and do them justice in just 60 hours.  Most of them are staples of the “grind ‘em out” counter studio pictures of yore.  We’re pretty confident we haven’t set ourselves up for failure.  We are also pretty confident we won’t be sad to pull any of these at 6pm on the 10th (you will note the absence of both horror and westerns – horror because I am a big scaredy cat, and can’t read/watch those scripts, and westerns because we just haven’t spent enough man hours dissecting them to rebuild one quickly)

From there, I made a distinct plan of action, with benchmarks for progress.  I also scheduled in eating, sleeping, and showering, so we remembered to do those things.  You can check out the schedule in the attached photo.   Please note the benchmarks we will be sharing with you, gentle audience:

3/10 6pm – Pulling the Genre

3/10 8:30pm – Posting a logline

3/11 2am – Announcing a title

3/12 12 pm – Dramatic reading of a scene chosen at random

3/13 6am – Posting the script.

Thanks for keeping us on track, great void of the internet.

Until later,

–A

 

** This is kind of a dauntingly exciting experiment for me personally.  If we come out with even a marginally passable script, it will totally upend my current script –writing model, which consists of about 30% actually spending time writing, 50% “percolating” while staring at a blank screen, watching/reading scripts I think will be useful, or working out problems while puzzling. (Yes, I am a grown human who does puzzles for fun.  No I am not secretly 95 years old.) But that leaves a solid 20% of time that I have carved out spent NOT doing what I carved out the time for.  Time that is already preciously saved from working at my day job, and working reading scripts for money, and keeping up with industry standards by reading/watching about what is in the theatres.  All that is just saying that if I can actually devote 50% of my time to planning, and 50% of my time to writing, it could seriously increase my output, but also gives me way less room to cut myself the slack I am wont to cut.

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