Saturday, January 29, 2011

The End of The Beginning

A lot of people have asked us how we are going to write our adaptation when we don’t even live in the same city. Distance isn't the only impediment; we don’t even write the same way! Marla writes it all in longhand and types it in later, while I just work on screen. But, though our processes are very different, our writing styles are not that dissimilar.

After a bit of discussion and false starts we just split the script in half. The worst part of this process is that we talk often and it’s really hard not to discuss what you’re doing and whatever changes you make “on the fly.” You still want to leave a few surprises for the other person. And all you can do is hope they’re well accepted. Since Marla and I started out as collaborators and then I reworked several of her scripts, we know and trust each other’s talent.

I am happy to report that our division of labor worked out spectacularly! We each finished our half of GREEN DARKNESS a.k.a. NOT THIS TIME a couple of days ago!

Now this is where it gets REALLY exciting!! I read Marla’s half and she in turn read mine. We made changes to each other’s work and then sent it back.

Our styles mesh really well! I would venture to say that it would be impossible to guess which of us wrote which part~~

We did so much work on the halves that we were able to glue the halves together into a whole. But wait! No laurels growing under these screenwriters’ feet. We went at the entire script AGAIN and made MORE changes!

Where did that get us—to the end of Draft 2—a month ahead of schedule!

What next? We’re sending it to a trusted screenwriting friend who is also a fan of the book. We’re asking her to give us feedback on whether we stayed true enough to the book to satisfy the fans.

Stay tuned~~

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Romantic Casting Considerations

Q: Are you writing for a specific actor(s) in mind that you see playing the character(s) in the book (GREEN DARKNESS)?

A: As we begin to write the script adaptation, we're trying to think more about who might play the part. We don’t yet have specific actors in mind, but we’re working on it. Here are the first few we came up with...

So far we’ve toyed with the Ryans (Gosling and Reynolds), Orlando Bloom, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ashton Kutcher (maybe with Demi Moore for another crucial part?). Paul Vandervort.

For the female characters: Amanda Seyfried, Carrey Mulligan, Michelle Trachtenberg, Gemma Arterton, Emma Stone or Emma Watson.

Of course we don’t get to choose and these actors may not be available.

Considering considerably more considerations…

Do you have any casting ideas? Please send them along.

Stay tuned~~

Angela and Marla

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The "Dragon of Dither" Roars

Anyone who has ever written, be it a novel, screenplay or even a shorter form of either of those, knows that moment of insecurity and wondering if you have what it takes. As writers, we can come up with all manner of tangents to feed the Dreaded Dragon of Dithering. Therefore, in our sincere effort to share the entire adaptation process, here come the warts:
Is a four-page, beat-form outline enough to start writing... anything...let alone a screenplay or a treatment? Or, do we keep tweaking, back and forthing, like a two-person Segway, spinning our wheels?
With that spinning comes the constant doubting of one’s ideas. The second-guessing of decisions we thought we’d already made about the adaptation. (Give in to this. It’s never-ending.)
I vote that the spinning stops. Let’s just dive into the writing pool. (First shot at the Dragon of D--a bull’s-eye.)
We’ve already got the logline whipped, snapped and pretzeled into a HIGH CONCEPT:
Newlyweds are thrust into a Karmic battle – either redeem their forbidden love from a past life or watch the tragedy unfold again.

Once the film is made, will list it as:  NOT THIS TIME --an adaptation of GREEN DARKNESS-- drama/thriller/romance/historical. (Step one accomplished. D of D is bleeding!)
Can we maintain that level of quality with a paragraph length synopsis? Something we would use in, say, a query letter to a production company, possibly on VPF (Virtual Pitch Fest).
But to be prepared for requests from production companies, at the minimum, we should have the treatment written. (Damn! D of D has opened an eye!)

A treatment can be anywhere from 3-10 pages depending on who you listen to. When we talked about a treatment for our adaptation with an IN-THE-KNOW EXPERT, ( an ally Dragon Slayer) he advised us to have copies of the book to send to the producers along with the treatment or script, whichever route we took with our marketing. After all, how could the production company see the quality of our adaptation without first having one of their readers actually read the novel; then, the treatment or script.
Note to selves: contact the publisher and see if we can get a number of copies at a reduced price.

That same Expert advised us to write ‘Act One’, ‘Act Two’, and ‘Act Three’ right in the format of the treatment. It would leave the producers with no doubt about which events were happening when, in case we were too succinct.
Tip number three from the Expert involved ending each paragraph in the treatment with a hook. Pull the reader through the treatment by sheer interest. “Put the ‘treat’ back into treatment.”
The clock started ticking down from 18 months on our option on Nov.30th… anybody taking bets on whether we can get a synopsis, treatment and script written and marketed during that time frame? (Was it my imagination or did the Dragon of Dither just snore?)

Eyeballs to the monitor, fingers to the keyboard…GO!

It's happening. Stay tuned~~ 
Angela and Marla