It’s April 29. For those of you in the audience that have not been following along at home, here’s the story: I signed up for the Script Frenzy challenge (www.scriptfrenzy.org) to write a 100 page script in the month of April.
I took as my topic a fantasy screenplay with the intent of writing a better Dungeons and Dragons style movie than the actual D&D movie that hit the theaters. I like attainable goals.
Yesterday, I finished the script. I ran the formatting utility that set it into standard screenplay format. It was exactly 99 pages.
Now if the story is good and tight and complete at 99 pages, then that would be the place to stop. But I know this is only a first draft.
So I went back over it, thinking about what I could do better. One of the things that was weak was the character development arc for my lead. He started out strong and skilled and honorable. I didn’t want a story in which he got worse. That left the question about how he was going to change or improve. Who goes on a quest in order to stay exactly the same?
Now the major thing that happens over the course of the movie is that our team of heroes is assembled. When I wrote the end, I had them laughing and joking together, being friends.
I looked back at the very start of my script, which I wrote on April 2. I had established my hero, Jon Warder, and his home village, but I hadn’t paid much attention to whether he had any real friends there.
So I went back, 25 days later, and rewrote the opening to show a distance between Jon and the farmers under his care. To show that he didn’t really have friends.
Then I rewrote the ending to make the final scene with the laughing and joking a little stronger.
And now Jon at least has something he didn’t have before his quest started. It sounds backwards and contrived when I explain it this way, but remember, the audience only sees it in the correct order, with the problem before the solution.