Friday, February 09, 2007

Act Breaks...

The problem was that I was writing a five act drama for television, and we don't write five act dramas for television at UCLA. We don't write television drama scripts at UCLA, period. So I had to, like a mechanic used to working on V8 engines and suddenly presented with a Ferrari V12, use my smarts, example scripts from current show, advice from working television writers, and hunches to figure it all out.

Now, I had the first draft as a template, but it had inherent issues. I tend to write very passive characters with passive actions in my first drafts. I don't know why, but I think it's my brain sort of getting to know the people in the script. Like when you come to a party where you only know the host, but everyone else knows each other. You get a drink, sit by the wall, and sort of survey the scene versus getting into a conversation with people you don't know.

After I met with Krystal, we went over some ways to make the second draft better. She made great points, but we did something that stymied me for a long while. There's an event in the first draft that is big, sort of an inciting incident. She wanted to put it almost first, within the first five pages, and as I kept trying to hammer out this draft, it didn't work. It then dawned on me that this event was an act break rather than an event simply within ACT I.

Well, after that, the script began to make sense. I'm still working on it, but the rest of the act breaks are harder, more satisfying, and propel the story forward (as all good scenes should). I also realized that my main character needed a defining moment for herself in those first five pages, and that gives us a sense of who she is. So I write on. Hopefully, the full second draft will be done by the end of tomorrow.

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