Category Archives: screenwriting

I ain’t no screenwriter….

….and occasionally the universe rears up and smacks me across the face with the wet mackerel of reminder about that fact.

Progress on Princess of Fire appears to be coming in fits and starts at this point– one day I’ll do a thousand words, and the next I’ll do two hundred, which wouldn’t be so bad, except the day after that I’ll do nothing. Picture an icebreaker in Antarctica….

Yesterday while I was not writing Fire I started doodling on a synopsis of a screenplay idea I’ve had for some time, and was pleased that I resolved a piece of action that had been hanging me up. When complete, this synopsis– which, in my innocence, I have dared to call a “treatment”– may be about six pages long.

That’s when I made a big mistake– I googled “film treatment”, found the Wikipedia article on the subject, and discovered that James Cameron’s original treatment for Terminator is available for free online. I downloaded it.

It makes my effort look like a first-grader’s mud-pie.

We’re talking forty-eight pages of awesome. Camera directions. Scene settings. Dialogue. Even in the treatment the unforgiving pace that makes watching Terminator an activity that requires a safety harness comes through.

My synopsis doesn’t do that. It sorta flops over and lies there, gasping.

Sigh. I should have known better– I love film, but I have no training in screenwriting, and it shows. I’ve made one or two efforts at writing a screenplay– I’ve even got a copy of Final Draft– but my efforts are weak tea, at best. I seem to do better with prose. Not incredibly better, but some.

Is there a moral in this? I don’t want to go on record telling people they shouldn’t work at something outside their comfort zone. Absolutely do so if there is something you’re burning to achieve. But it is a reminder for me that I should not dissipate my energy on things that have little chance of success– I don’t have enough time left on this Earth to be engaged in the pursuit of non-domesticated water-fowl.

Besides, that film idea would probably make a dandy novel…hmm.

Later.