Thursday, March 19, 2009

Research


Starting a new script means research. Unless you're writing an autobiographical number, which nobody should ever do EVER unless your name is Antoine Fisher, you're gonna need to look some stuff up.

I wrote a script once about these brothers who were all thieves and they had to pick locks and crack safes. I tried to find as much info as I could but it's some very technical stuff and I'm not so good at technical stuff. And then I wrote about three brothers but I don't actually have any brothers, so I really didn't know what the hell I was writing about. I tried to write another script about an assassin for the mob but I don't know anything about that and I tried to research but it's pretty hard to find anything accurate about being a hitman. I read this one book that claimed to be accurate but I'm not so sure, so most of what I know comes from other movies. And we all know what happens when you base a movie on other movies.

Not Dead Yet worked because I needed to research only one thing: the Great Lakes. I put most of my events in familiar settings, but the route my characters had to take to get from one place to another was not one I have taken. So I met with Ex Boyfriend at the now defunct Doughboys and we went carefully over how canal locks work and what cities are on the route my characters needed to take and whatnot.

And because I took the time to make certain I knew what I was writing about the story was easy. It was sort of an epiphany of common sense. Hey, there, if you know what the characters know you can probably write them better.

Lucky for me, my new script is on a subject in which my mother is an expert, so when she visited I plopped down on the couch with her and got out my notebook. I explained my story and she immediately jumped into action. A little too immediately. She practically wrote my whole story and now she's probably going to sue me for story credit.

Now I'm just going to read this book I got from Amazon and let the rest of the story jump out at me as I read. And as soon as I feel 100% confident with my level of knowledge on the subject, that's when I know it's time to crank that sucker out.

4 comments:

  1. I really want to write an action screenplay, but it's kind of hard because I've never been involved with illegal activities that involve fast cars, explosions, and dynamites, but I'm trying to IMAGINE it. I guess I can do "research" on that, but it's kind of hard, yeah.

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  2. I've never been in a Kung Fu fight, but I've taken some lessons on basic fighting moves and I watch a shitload of UFC. I've never been in a shootout but I have shot guns at a range.

    I think a little research can go a long way. You should try blowing something up just to see what happens.

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  3. Research is a very general. It means from being online for hours reading, watching a reality show to see how a drug attic reacts, i mean anything.
    i actually have a similar post on my blog if you want to check it out: http://www.screenwritersplace.com it's my last post anyways

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  4. I love the research process because I start writing the script as I research.

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