Writing/Screenwriting Scenes

by
Donald L. Vasicek

Award-Winning Writer Donald L. Vasicek - Jenny's Lake - Grand Teton Park


When writing scripts, always think of movies and how
they transition from scene-to-scene. This is imperative.
This approach gives you more of a director’s
“eye.” In turn, the visual dynamics of writing visually
become more prominent the more you do it.
This gives a rhythm and movement to the entire script
that binds it more tightly together. It also helps you
avoid writer’s block. “Stepping” back and
looking at a scene that you’ve written with the idea of
looking at it like it is already a movie, when your mind
is blocking out, will improve your visual writing dynamics
and the scene. Step into the scene and become your
character.

For example, you have a character coming into a room.
How should you write that? Step back and look at it
as though you’re watching a movie? Think of a movie,
or movies that you have seen with this kind of action
with respect to the genre and kind of character you’re
writing. How is the character coming into the room done?

You will find that most good movies always cut-to-the-chase
with each scene. They do not mess around with details
that hinder the movement of the movie. If a character has
to be thrown into the room because she is a prisoner of
terrorists, then, throw her into the room. If a character simply
has to walk into the room, then, cut-to-the-chase. Get her
into the room as quickly as possible. Just make sure that
it is consistent with the rhythm and movement of the entire
story/script/movie/character.

For example, a character in your story is mild-mannered.
She loves daisies and brandy. She reads James Joyce.
She is a certified public accountant for a large accounting
firm. Everything she does has a place. How would you write
her entering a room? She would enter the room with
grace. She would smoothly take in everything in the
room. She would then proceed with the reason she is
entering the room.

Making scenes sparkle like this enhances the screenwriter’s
ability to excel in their craft.

Donald L. Vasicek
The Zen of Writing
http://www.donvasicek.com
dvasicek@earthlink.net
303-903-2103

“The Naked Writer’s How to Get Movement in Talky Scenes”

When you create movement in a scene for the mere sake of moving characters about in talky scenes, it is very likely the scene comes off just as that on the screen, creating movement for the sake of creating movement. Every movement in every scene should orchestrate and expand the character(s), the theme and the story.

For example, instead of having two characters walk in a park and talk to give them movement and us story information, have one of them riding a bicycle and the other using a pogo stick, you see different sides of who they are. Let’s pretend the theme is health. Maybe the bicycle rider is unable to walk or run for distance because of a serious knee injury he sustained in college. This disability will come suspensefully into play later when the character has to save the other character from the villain before he kills him. When his knee fails him, he hops on a bike and saves the day.

Simultaneously, the pogo sticker is pogo sticking because walking doesn’t move him along rapidly enough and riding a bicycle is boring for him. He is a Type A personality. His impatience causes him to be disabled by the villain. He uses pogo sticks to escape unaware that to slow down would save himself because his friend is chasing the villain on a bad knee.

It all culminates when his friend comes to the rescue just as he is slowing his pace because of exhaustion. He learns that speed is not always the quickest way to success.

It is obvious by this example how much the story is embellished and the characters fleshed out by not only giving the characters movement in talky scenes, but giving them dimension as well. In turn, this dimensionalizes the story and makes for more depth in the film.

“Hollywood Openings”

by

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
Writing/Filmmaking/Consulting
http://www.donvasicek.com
dvasicek@earthlink.net

In order to write, sell, and get your screenplays produced
in Hollywood, you need to write openings that Hollywood
utilizes to attract audiences. When you watch movies
produced by studios and mainstream production companies
and producers, what do you usually see in the opening?
If you’re stumped, the first thing you usually see is
movement.

This could be movement across a body of water with the
POV of the camera aimed at a skyline of a city, or someone
walking, someone running, a moving vehicle, etc. Images of
movement help pull the audience into the movie in order to
get them into the movie, like they’re really in the movie, to
make them feel like they’re part of what is going on in the
movie.

Openings also include a metaphor that defines what
the main theme of the movie is going to be, introduces the
main character, defines the character’s main problem to solve
in the movie, of his/her goal, and the setting. And this should
all be accomplished on page one of the screenplay.

In my produced screenplay, “Born to Win”, the opening shows
a butterfly fluttering away from a headstone. A boy cleans
the headstone. He weeps. He rubs the headstone with a cloth
beyond that of cleaning it. The movement is the butterfly
moving away. It shows the defining theme of the movie, which
is “letting go.” The main character, the boy, is holding onto his
dead mother. The setting of scene, a cemetery, exacerbates the
theme of letting go. This movement also shows the metaphor
for the movie of letting go.

The boy must let go before he can move on with his life
regarding his mother’s untimely death and he does
it by driving his mother’s race car in a race to win $25,000 for
an operation to save his Gramps’ life. In the end, it’s either
let go of his Gramps, or continuing his fatal flaw of holding
onto to something that he should no longer hold onto.

When you write screenplays that you want to sell and get
produced, study openings of movies that Hollywood produces.
You will see that the most successful of these movies (box
office, DVD and rental sales, Internet streaming, etc.) contain
elements which include movement, metaphor, defining theme,
main character, and setting. Craft these elements into your
screenplays, and you’re off to a great start with writing
screenplays that you sell and get produced.

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
Writing/Filmmaking/Consulting
http://www.donvasicek.com
dvasicek@earthlink.net