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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Quik-E-Structure Check

Well, the voting on the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot competition has been highly entertaining to watch! Our 3 finalists must be biting their nails watching the percentages go up and down!

I thought I'd take this opportunity to give Wavers a quick way to check under the hood to see if the structure of your script is solid. So put on your grease-stained jumper, stick your wrench in your backpocket, turn your hat sideways and let's put your script up on the rack:

Take your script and turn to page 10. Write down any significant event that occurred thereabouts (two pages before or after is okay too)

Go to page 30 and do it again. Again, you are looking for a significant event.

Go to page 50 and do likewise, and then again at page 75ish.

Now look at the events you wrote down. They should be the most significant turning points, reversals and complications in your story - upon which the entire plot turns. You should be able to look at these events separately, without the window dressing of the scenes in-between. And they should still work from a bird's eye view of your script.

Well - how do the events you wrote down look? Pretty exciting? Does each one hinge on the last? Are the events causal, compelling and escalating in nature?

Sometimes when your script has made it into the "maybe" pile at a competition, a judge will glimpse at the synopsis of the prior reader and simply thumb through your script - to those significant act breaks, looking for exciting set pieces and turning points. Believe it or not - I've seen this done. One competition called it "the page 50 test".

So go on ahead and test your own script by checking these turning point pages. See anything good?

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4 comments:

Christian M. Howell said...

I guess I'm doing pretty good. My baby (Page 10) has two girls beating up a drunk guy at a party and a rape.

Page 30 has an attempted rape.

Page 50 has a secret exposed and a big argument in a lecture hall. We also see evidence of a secret drug dealing group.

Page 75 has a suitor in the final stages of grief after his grand plan got shot down. He nearly beats up a friend for besmirching the protag.

Page 90 shows a secret group get caught spiking drinks with Ecstasy, which is also the internal point of realization for the protag.

Page 100 shows the protag finally beating the antag - with Judo she learned.

Page 113 sees her swept off her feet.

In between all of that there are violent lesbians, secret groups fighting over the protag, some hot dancing, a women's group and beautiful clothes and hairdos and a few fights.

Maybe that's too much.

Fun Joel said...

A good quick-and-easy tip! Well done.

Fun Joel said...

And I'm guessing here that Christian's film is a broad comedy. What do you think?

Christian M. Howell said...

Well, it does have lines like:

Don't you have any friends?
Yes but they're all ugly.

AND

Do you have ADHD or something?
No you have all my attention.

AND

Don't do anything I wouldn't.
We won't have enough time.