misc One page challenge

Was on DISCORD today checking out some fun activities for screenwriters and thought it would be cool to have
similar activities here. They don't have to be the same activities but anything that inspires creativity might be cool!

For example, One page challenge!

The idea is the poster presents some elements that must be present within a screenplay page and
the members vote on the best page.

For example, this weeks entry at DISCORD was the following:

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I think it's a great way to sharpen one's creativity and have some fun!

Here was my entry for the above challenge although I went passed the 1 page limit lol:
 

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although I went passed the 1 page limit
Use a smaller font ... :seeya:

I like these kinds of challenges, although they do require a certain level of minimum energy/input. In the last couple of months, I've found that missing from just about all the internet spaces I visit. On another forum, the "monthly photo challenge" I take part in hasn't even been updated since February ... :tear:
 
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I think people are either too busy or feel they are not getting benefit out of the exercise. As a learning device, I think they are great! One of the things impressed upon me from Unknown Screenwriter was "less is more" and the one page challenge is a great way of forcing the writer to tell his story and cut away everything but the bare essentials and "still" tell it in a compelling way.

Another exercise might be a "CUT THE DIALOGUE" challenge where the poster presents a situation and the exercise is to convey it thru subtext and minimum dialogue.

Another exercise can be related to world and character building where an image is presented and the exercise is to present it in the form of an introduction to a screenplay where the writer is tasked with introducing a character in a given scene with just enough description appropriate for a spec script..

These give very real and practical examples of how to improve one's craft, I think while still being fun to do!
 
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Yes, indeed - there are endless possibilities in this kind of exercise, but I find the results are always best when there's either a vigorous competitive or collaborative energy involved. This is what seems to me to have disappeared in recent months - in all the spheres of life that I visit!

As it happens, though, it's something that I am seriously considering incorporating into the project to which I've made occasional passing references. More info to follow in due course. :coffee:
 
mlesemann, I think many writers may be hesitant to respond to other people's material because they feel their skills are not at a level that they feel adds any value or worse, the suggestions they offer are detrimental.

The neat thing about such exercises is it gets people thinking and trying out stuff for fun with some competitive or collaborative elements to it. One exercise I would really think is useful is how to cut down on excessive dialogue by providing common situational scenes and then get different perspectives on how to script them.

After reading a few "highly regarded" scripts, I am quite amazed at how many different methods there are to convey the goings on within a scene and thoughts in peoples heads without reverting to "narration".

For me dialogue is by far the toughest part in screen writing.
 
I have this complex where as I am writing dramatic or romantic scenes + dialogue, I feel as though others are reading it and being reminded of "The Room' by Tommy Wiseau... "You're tearing me apart Lisa!"
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I have this complex where as I am writing dramatic or romantic scenes + dialogue, I feel as though others are reading it and being reminded of "The Room' by Tommy Wiseau... "You're tearing me apart Lisa!"

IMO Acting classes will help you with dialogue.
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
I'm a big believer in eavesdropping in order to become better at writing dialogue.

You can hear the way people talking differently with those they're close to vs casual/business acquaintances.
Also it substantiates one of my pet peeves in how beginning screenwriters do dialogue: people rarely address each other by name.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I'm a big believer in eavesdropping in order to become better at writing dialogue.

You can hear the way people talking differently with those they're close to vs casual/business acquaintances.
Also it substantiates one of my pet peeves in how beginning screenwriters do dialogue: people rarely address each other by name.
the thing i question about this is .. i've never been out at a diner and hear people talking like they're in a tarintino movie ya know?
I don't think people in movies talk like people in real life. its way more concise and poignant and much less, like, you know, rambly, like, with crap, like, stuff like, like, that would annoy the hell out of audiences to listen to for hours straight.
 
There's so much to dialogue that it's almost impossible to get "just right". In my short time as a writer I am starting to realize that the more dialogue I write, the more I leave myself exposed to mistakes. In fact, I now ask myself if there's any way to convey communication between characters in a scene without any dialogue at all!

Sometimes no dialogue in key points of a conversation can be quite a powerful device, especially if paired with key action lines that describe the context of the situation.
 
the thing i question about this is .. i've never been out at a diner and hear people talking like they're in a tarintino movie ya know?
I don't think people in movies talk like people in real life. its way more concise and poignant and much less, like, you know, rambly, like, with crap, like, stuff like, like, that would annoy the hell out of audiences to listen to for hours straight.
I think what she means is ... when you are listening in on a conversation and there's something being said that you want to listen more...that's the good stuff...Analyze WHY its so captivating that you want to hear more of it. Also, it helps to avoid the writers voice taking over all of the characters in the script. Finding individuality in dialogue is easier if you just listen to how others speak
 
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mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
the thing i question about this is .. i've never been out at a diner and hear people talking like they're in a tarintino movie ya know?
I don't think people in movies talk like people in real life. its way more concise and poignant and much less, like, you know, rambly, like, with crap, like, stuff like, like, that would annoy the hell out of audiences to listen to for hours straight.
I'm not saying to copy it exactly - just for general guidelines. Very few dialogue that I read in screenplays (and I read A LOT of them by new writers) sound at all realistic.

But YRMV
 
One trick I have used to maintain individuality in my characters is to establish if he or she is visual, auditory, kinesthetic or cerebral and stick with that idea in their actions and thoughts ....

For example

I think that sounds great (Cerebral)
Sounds great (Auditory)
That looks about right (Visual)
I feel like I'm not getting through to you (Kinesthetic)

And in the actions, people might follow that up with things that match those traits...touchy feely people, vs someone with headphones on all the time or people who prefer books to multimedia , or the character hums a lot

By watching and listening to others, you may be able to see what sort of person they are and allow them to teach you their language (otherwise it may be totally alien to you if you are not naturally that type of person)
 
One trick I have used to maintain individuality in my characters is to establish if he or she is visual, auditory, kinesthetic or cerebral and stick with that idea in their actions and thoughts ....

For example

I think that sounds great (Cerebral)
Sounds great (Auditory)
That looks about right (Visual)
I feel like I'm not getting through to you (Kinesthetic)

And in the actions, people might follow that up with things that match those traits...touchy feely people, vs someone with headphones on all the time or people who prefer books to multimedia , or the character hums a lot

By watching and listening to others, you may be able to see what sort of person they are and allow them to teach you their language (otherwise it may be totally alien to you if you are not naturally that type of person)
This was actually one of the homework exercises for one of my screenwriting classes. We also used zodiac and Myers-Briggs.
 
I'm a big believer in eavesdropping in order to become better at writing dialogue.

You can hear the way people talking differently with those they're close to vs casual/business acquaintances.
Also it substantiates one of my pet peeves in how beginning screenwriters do dialogue: people rarely address each other by name.
That's why I write at my local coffee shop... Although, it's been DEAD here since Covid as I'm the only one allowed inside. LOL. Outside in the front is open so I do occasionally go out there to eavesdrop but the conversations aren't nearly as dramatic as they used to be. Maybe when and if things ever get back to NORMAL.
 
I'm a big believer in eavesdropping in order to become better at writing dialogue.

You can hear the way people talking differently with those they're close to vs casual/business acquaintances.
Also it substantiates one of my pet peeves in how beginning screenwriters do dialogue: people rarely address each other by name.
And in fact... As a new or beginning screenwriter, you can almost ALWAYS cut that crap out with one pass of the script. The dialogue will be less formal and feel snappier, giving the reader a faster read. I personally believe, the faster the read, the less the reader will want to put it down.
 
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