Friday, April 30, 2010

Thoughts on writing from a great Writer

Russell T Davies, when asked about how he writes the different companions on Doctor Who:

"That's tricky. I don't type 'DONNA' and then think, now, how would she say this...? The fact that I've typed 'DONNA' means that she already has something to say. You can worry too much about speech patterns, about imposing different styles on the words, one for Rose, one for Donna, one for Martha, one for Sarah Jane. They're all women, on the side of good, in a sci-fi world, so their speeches aren't going to be radically different. It's not so much what they say, as why they say it and when.

"But I suppose there's a basic characteristic that I bear in mind. An essence. Rose is open, honest, heartfelt, to the point of being selfish, wonderfully selfish. Martha is clever, calm, but rarely says what she's really thinking. Donna is blunt, precise, unfiltered, but with a big heart beneath all the banter. But we come back to what I was saying ages ago about 'turning' characters. If Rose can be selfish, then her finest moments will come when she's selfless. If Martha keeps quiet, then her moments of revelation - like her goodbye to the Doctor in Last of the Time Lords, or stuck with Milo and Cheen in Gridlock - make her fly. Donna is magnificently self-centered - not selfish, but she pivots everything around herself, as we all do - so when she opens up and hears the Ood song, or begs for Caecilius' family to be saved, then she's wonderful."

- from "The Writer's Tale",

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Writing Again

I'm working on a new script. Well, it's been in the brainstorming stages, and I've just recently begun actually putting words on the page. It's a story about mystery, intrigue, and suspense - with a little action and adventure thrown in - and all done in the style of the classic 60s spy movies.

As I've been working with Josh, who is co-writing with me, we've come up with multiple ways of picturing the characters. We've found a few quotes that seem to describe our two main characters quite well, and just for fun, I've decided to share them with you:

"He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which."
-- Douglas Adams

"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles."
-- Audrey Hepburn

Just some insight into the early stages of screenwriting. It's always useful as a writer to have as many angles of looking at something as possible. That way, if you get stuck from one angle, you can try another. Sometimes these angles are images, or quotes, or inspired by real people. Sometimes it's just a mood, or an atmosphere... or a song.

He always runs while others walk,
He acts while other men just talk,
He looks at this world and wants it all,
So he strikes like Thunderball.

He knows the meaning of success,
His needs are more so he gives less,
They call him the winner who takes all,
And he strikes like Thunderball.

Any woman he wants he'll get
He will break any heart without regret.

His days of asking are all gone,
His fight goes on and on and on,
But he thinks that the fight is worth it all,
So he strikes like THUNDERBALL...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Impossible Dream

Tomorrow, everyone's gonna know me better,
and tomorrow, everyone's gonna drink my wine.
And tomorrow, everyone's gonna read my letter,
and my story of love and a love that could never be mine...
-- The brothers Gibb

I took part in a discussion last night that led to some intriguing thoughts. In the interest of further pondering, I am writing them here. So... Superman wants to bring about peace on earth. Batman wants to stop crime in Gotham. What's the problem with this? Those things are NEVER going to happen. Once you think about it, almost every hero has some sort of impossible goal. Even if it's as simple as stopping evil, you know these heroes are never going to achieve it. As soon as you crush an arch-nemesis, evil will always spring from somewhere else, it's just the way the world works.

...And isn't the definition of insanity 'doing something over and over again and expecting different results'? Our heroes will NEVER achieve what it is they strive for - couldn't that be seen as foolish? I can think of one other literary figure who seems strikingly similar to these examples... Don Quixote. If Batman and Quixote are so similar, what's the difference between being a hero and being a fool?

To dream the impossible dream...
To fight the unbeatable foe...
To bear with unbearable sorrow...
To run where the brave dare not go...
To right the unrightable wrong...
To love pure and chaste from afar...
To try when your arms are too weary...
To reach the unreachable star...
-- The Man of La Mancha