Sunday, April 02, 2006

Chronicles 2 - Research, Research, Research

Research, research, research

So, the idea was conceived in the:

Summer of 2000

I have some sort of half-baked, mutant, treatment/script/idea file thing dated:

12th September 2000

I also have another script-ment,(a fusion of a script and a treatment) dated:

17th April 2001

Then another script/treatment from:

13th June 2001

This one seems to have a lot more research source material in it. That probably means I was close to writing a first draft. This continues. I have a Final Draft document dated:

19th July 2001

This Final Draft document is over 230 pages long! This is where I went through every book, magazine and Internet source that I'd read and copied/pasted all the marked and bookmarked passages into the Final Draft document.

This process continues until:

September 6th 2001

I send off an almost finished first draft to the WGA for registration.

September 9th 2001

Whoo-hoo! This is the first, complete draft from FADE IN to FADE OUT. It comes in at a whopping 160 pages. The world's first epic romantic comedy!

Okay let's back-track here for a second. The idea for this romantic comedy was conceived in the summer of 2000 and I didn't finish my first draft until September 2001! Jeez. What the hell was I doing all that time?

Well, as I recall I was reading the likes of Tatler, W, Harpers and Queen as well as various novels/non-fiction books on aristocracy, the lives of the rich and famous etc. as well as not 'giving up my the day job' which involved flying around Europe on a weekly basis.

During this phase I gathered up an ideas file. A collection of scene, character, plot ideas that I just dumped into a Final Draft doc. Whilst researching I marked various pages in books, ripped out magazine articles, downloaded various stuff off the Internet, watched lots of rom-coms, relevant TV programmes etc. When I felt that I'd finally read enough I went through the stack of material I had and wrote down all the sections I'd underlined and dumped this into my ideas file in Final Draft.

Essentially what I was doing was trying to collect an excess of material. I didn't want to be under-researched. My aim was to have a generous collection of scenes that I could re-arrange into some sort of a screenplay outline. I ended up, intentionally, with far too many scenes for a 110 page screenplay than was necessary, but that was good. It meant that I had a rich source of material that I could edit and hone later in a Darwinian, may-the-strongest-scenes-survive-type way. I tried as much as I could in this phase to also think of visual scenes, so that theoretically when I gathered this rag-tag collection of ideas together I could see the silent movie in my head. Film being, as rumour has it, a visual medium 'n' all that ;-).

It's worth mentioning here that the research phase wasn't just a passive absorption of information. During this phase I was, through delving into research, generating ideas for scenes, characters etc. I was also mentally putting this film together in my head.

So, first draft is done. See Chronicles 1