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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Grist for the Mill » Screenplays

Author Topic: Screenplays
Member # 10173

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My audio visual company has undertaken a number of short screenplays to develop from the ground up.

I won't go into details, but it's a mockumentary in the style of The Office and Parks and Recreation.

I would appreciate any advice or wisdom from the folks on this forum, whether you have extensive experience in the field, or not.

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Robert Nowall
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I tried a little of the form in my Internet Fan Fiction days. Not precisely screenplays, inasmuch as these were always meant to be read and never meant to be produced. Found they were relatively easy to write, dialog and a few comments on the settings.

Try to keep costs down; keep things simple, maybe use just pre-existing sets, if any.

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Disgruntled Peony
Member # 10416

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It costs money, but if you're serious about writing screenplays you might want to invest in Final Draft because the program does all the formatting for you (and TRUST ME, there's a lot of formatting). If you'd rather not shell out what may be obscene amounts of money (my mom bought that program waaaaaay back in the day and I have no idea how much it actually costs), this formatting guide should help.

Aaaaand I just realized upon re-reading your post that you're probably already getting the screenplays from elsewhere. The formatting guide still may be useful, though. I know little about the production side of things other than the fact that one page is roughly equal to one minute of screentime. I hope things go well for you, though! [Smile]

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Member # 10173

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Definitely a ton of formatting, but keyboard shortcuts are my bread and butter.

It looks like the run time of each piece will only by five minutes, so the investment in Final Draft might not be worth it immediately.

We've also secured a location for filming that matches the setting. Not a sound stage, but we have the equipment to make it a sterile sound environment.

There are, of course, ninety other projects we're working on, but we have a few outlines finished.

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Member # 8019

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"Mockumentary" emulates the documentary form and uses parody, satire, and sarcasm, usually ironically, to mock and ridicule formal and informal social institutions, to expose human vice and folly of social settings, and parody to imitate staid documentary forms for comic effect.

Multiple five-minute film clips appears to be an episodic format; therefore, picaresque as well -- episodic adventures of a roguish agonist that expose customary social settings' vice and folly.

To me, then, the organization of the segments and their unifying facet, as well as individual and overall structural arcs are key considerations.

A first segment, for example, could or should be an exposition -- the denotative meaning thereof: introductions of the overall theme and meaning of the whole, pivotal agonist, pivotal setting, pivotal event, pivotal complication and conflict, and pivotal emotional development -- all focused on one central, unifying theme of the moral human condition. The Office's corporate and Parks and Recreation's government workplace motifs orient around a theme of the hubris of pride in vocational social settings. The workplace as social life and all its inherent vices and follies.

Narrow the project's theme like that and the organization will follow: form follows function. Of course, too, a Postmodern approach could subvert that form-function causality proverb, show function exceptionally follows form. Workplace social settings, an appealing and ready-made example of social function follows workplace form, further parodies the documentary form and possibly parodies mockumentary itself.

[ September 28, 2015, 04:01 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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