Friday, January 30, 2009

Tron's Girlfriend is Whack

I guess it was a good day.  Something-something-something AK.

About half of the Post-it wall was replaced this morning -- pulled out some flabby bits, tightened up the intro.  I also got rid of a cheesy subplot involving kidnapping and figured some things out about the conditioning process (hereafter to be referred to as "Training").  Jiyoung has been a willing sounding board, and after chatting with her for a while last night, a lot of things started falling into place.  She's being really, really patient with me.  This movie is just about all I ever talk about: in the shower, at breakfast, when we go for walks.  I should probably be paying her as a consultant.  Wait, no.

The afternoon was spent rewriting the second half of the story document in Google Docs.  My first-pass dialogue is always horrible.  I guess there's a similarity there with drawing -- first you sketch, then you make your final drawing.  I hadn't understood that sketching was something you could do with words, too.  Things are pretty sketchy right now.

I'm looking into getting a copy of Final Draft, a word-processing program designed specifically for screenwriting.  Yes, I've finally recognized that I have to write a script, in traditional script-format.  Go ahead.  Laugh.  I thought I could just skip straight to storyboarding.  Like I said, this is supposed to be a learning experience.  Anyway, if anybody out there in netland has used Final Draft, or wants to recommend another application, your input would be appreciated!

I'm now reading a chapter in Story about genre.  This is one useful book.  So many times, I've been vaguely alienated by a film without understanding why.  It turns out that viewers bring a catalogue of genre conventions with them, and they won't settle into your story until they know what kind of story you intend to tell.  Bending and mixing the conventions is all good, but ignoring them will hurt your story.  McKee points out that Shakespeare went out of his way to spell out genres for his audiences, even in the titles of his plays: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, All's Well That Ends Well.  It was important to him that his audience be able to get itself into the proper frame of mind even before the actors hit the stage.

As for Gordon and the Stareater, it appears to be a combination of a love story, adventure story, coming-of-age story, and fantasy story.  Not necessarily in that order.  According to Story, hybrid genre treatments are totally in-bounds.  Thank God.  

I saw Tron last night, and was immediately stricken by how bad the writing was.  The pacing was double plus bad.  Still, it's totally rad-looking.  Especially the vehicle design.  The Light Cycles, the tanks, the Sailship ... for some reason, whenever I look back on that film I only remember how cool it looked.  I forget about the thirty-minute story desert you have to endure at the beginning.  I've probably rented that movie every four years for the last sixteen years, and I keep forgetting how bad it is.  I guess that's a testament to the power of good production design!  Also, it proves the coolness of Jeff Bridges.

Tron's girlfriend is a total floozy.  She thinks he's dead and she's macking on Flynn in less than a minute.  And then when Tron comes back, she's all over him again.  

Damn, woman.


  1. The software that you really, really want is only available on the Mac.

    It's also cheaper than Final Draft. And creates Final Draft formatted screenplays.

    Anyway, I've been playing with Scrivener a bit, and it has a cork board where you can organize and rearrange thoughts, it tracks characters, it basically does everything your notebook does. You can also drag other docs and pictures into it as a repository of info.

  2. Maybe this would work for you:

  3. Ooh, this is the Open Source freeware version of Scrivener:

    It looks sorta ghetto compared to Scrivener. I mean, it's nice to write in a pretty environment.

  4. Wow! This is all great stuff, Steve! Scrivener looks especially neat, which makes sense, since I don't have a Mac. Man, it looks cool. If anybody out there has a Mac, they should definitely pick this thing up. Celtx has some neat functionality, too. I love that you can link individual words in the script to media files. I've played around with it a bit. We'll see if it turns out to be intuitive.

    Thanks again for the leads! You're awesome!

  5. I have to say, I hate Final Draft. I thought it was awesome, despite all the bugs, when I was first writing. Then I started to pull my hair out with it. Then I knew I wasn't the only one when I stumbled across this:

    Final Draft is the industry standard but I love MMS. And while FD is the official software of the WGA-West, WGA-East officially endorses MMS. And now that I'm using a trial version of FD while I sort out my laptop bs, I'm reminded of HOW MUCH it sucks.

    I'm going to go find my MMS CD and call them today to get my software switched over to my interim laptop. All the bugs in the newest(!) version of FD are really starting to make me crazy when I'm in the middle of a writing groove.

  6. In case you don't read the link first, MMS means Movie Magic Screenwriting. I heart it.

  7. I'm gonna check MMS out today. Thanks for the heads-up!

  8. And I had already discovered that Final Draft wasn't going to be useful for authoring. I'm just writing everything out in list form on Google Docs, and then copying-and-pasting into FD. So if MMS is intuitive, it could be a huge help.

  9. "McKee points out that Shakespeare went out of his way to spell out genres for his audiences, even in the titles of his plays: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, All's Well That Ends Well."

    So do old epic poems like The Iliad, they spell the core of the story on the first few verses:

    "Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans.

    Many a brave soul did it send hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a
    prey to dogs and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first fell out with one another."

  10. Felipe - Dude, spoiler alert! What an interesting convention that is. It seems that the audience wants to know quite a bit, but not too much, about what they're going to witness. Too much mystery and you lose them. Too much information and there's no more tension. Fascinating. Thanks for classing this place up with some literature!

    1. Could this mean that audiences were equally interested in experiencing fine writing and performances - over and over - as they were in the story? This would give the piece lasting power.

  11. Saw the new Tron...yeah Jeff Bridges is still awesome....Damn

    anyways...there are several films that suffer from that boring intro a lot them are really slow in establishing things...the original Tron does indeed fall in that category.