DON’T BE AFRAID OF PAGE ONE
I sat down last week to write a couple scenes I may include in a feature I’ve been working on the last little while. The idea blossomed into a short screenplay idea that could serve as a sequel for the story. It was an interesting take on the the concept I created but the more I developed it, the more it didn’t fit with the overall style I wanted to achieve.
Still, the character is both interesting and tragic so I wanted to write the short. It’s one of those stories that, if done right, could be cool. However, there is a fine line between cool and cheesy in this case so I had to be careful. That was last week.
I still haven’t written the short.
A part of me hesitated because I hadn’t really broken ground on this new world I’m exploring. My feature is still a month or so away from PAGE ONE but still I found myself intimidated. Even though the current story is a short that’s merely set in the world of my feature, I still wanted it to be perfect.
It was my first opportunity to nail an introduction to a reality I’m very excited to write about. I’ve stared at the blank page on a number of occasions trying to figure out the best way to get going. I think a lot of writer’s find themselves stuck on page one because you desperately want it to be amazing. That first paragraph is written, deleted, written, erased, written, overwritten, overridden, deleted again and restarted. At least in my case it is…
I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to the opening sentence. It sets the tone for your script. True, I’m only working on a short screenplay but the FIRST sentence is crucial especially since every sentence is crucial.
The same thing happens to me every time I start a new script. I shouldn’t be surprised by now. I know PAGE ONE is coming. Even if I ignore it and walk away. It’s still going to be waiting for me when I get back.
So I decided to try something else.
JUST LIKE A BAND AID… RIGHT OFF!
Why wait? Clearly my feature screenplay is influencing this ‘prequel’ idea so why not write the first page of my feature? If I’m so worried about how the universe will be introduced then why not write it.
That’s when my imagination really fired up and I felt inspired. I was about to start my new feature. Officially. I hadn’t planned on starting it until well into the summer but there I was writing my first sentence, my first line of dialogue, my first page.
When I finished the scene, I immediately felt like it could be better but the idea was there. At this early stage, it’s the IDEA that takes priority. I can improve the language as the screenplay evolves. That first page also gave me a fresh take on the short I want to write. Suddenly, it all made sense. Maybe this short screenplay idea has a place in my feature after all? Maybe it fits. Sometimes, working on a separate idea will feed another.
That was my first hint that my new world is coming to life and that’s a pretty exciting feeling.
We shall see after I get passed PAGE ONE.