Since everyone is a writer nowadays, I decided to join the next logical trend called “everyone is a screenwriter.” In this new venture your kooky author is writing a dark comedy about: brain damage, cancer, and family. It’s based off of my experiences with my mom ─ of course!
What screenwriter hasn’t done that?!
I mean, we’re all supposed to write what we know. And so many people suffer from the mental illness of imagining they’re in a movie lately, so why not join them?
Okay I don’t actually imagine I’m honestly living in a movie, but at least once a day I have to stop and laugh at life. “This would be a great dark comedy,” comes out of my mouth too often. The thing is, what makes me laugh often upsets people, so maybe this will get slapped with the drama label… IDK.
What I DO know is that writing a script isn’t anything like novel writing or essays. It requires a different font, format, and approach. Dialogue HAS to be spot on.
Having been a theatre kid (who went to LA for my big break with some vampiric entertainment company for singing–and was told I should act instead—because although my voice is “amazing” I can cry on command…#stupid #notfun) dialogue is kinda my thing. It’s always been the easiest part of writing. Whether for fiction or quotes for nonfiction, I remember and understand language and all its little quirks.
I’ve been warned to NEVER (that means not EVER) go over 120 pages–but less gets more reads–and try not to go too far under 90 for a full length feature.
I have no idea what I’m doing, and doubt anything will ever come of this, but it’s a great coping mechanism for my mom’s cancer. (Did I mention she was diagnosed with throat cancer over the summer and is going through chemo and radiation?)
There just aren’t enough comedies about cancer. My mom and I need to laugh. We don’t want to sit around crying about this or that.
Her neck is super fried right now and she’s in a lot of pain. She’s trying not to think about it and serious dramas just don’t help. I keep going back to the Norm Macdonald bits where he jokes about his uncle’s cancer. Now that he’s gone, we all know he was actually joking about his own cancer, and was one hell of a man to keep his health problems to himself for 9 whole years. What a freaking legend!
Nobody does that. I bet very few people actually could do it. It’s exceptionally admirable and the jokes he told soften the blows.
So yeah, comedy. Man. I’m not a funny person. I’m too silly. So translating that into laughter on a page that should be acted out is tough. But it’s a challenge that’s giving me insight and a new creative endeavor to swim in. I’m about halfway through this one and I’m already thinking about starting another.
I love writing articles and books, but once you’ve done that for 10 years or so you kind of need to branch out more. Don’t worry, the books are still being written as well. I’m super organized and crazy about finishing what I start. That’s what separates writers from authors; those of us who can actually do the work, get it finished, and accept changes and edits will always find work. Everyone else… good luck?
And because screenwriting is new to me, I feel like a kid wandering around unseen, so here are some resources I’ve found to offer a little guidance along the way. I’m still digging. There will be a lot of mistakes and frustrations. But it’s all part of the fun.