On March 5, 2012 I signed up for Script Frenzy. Script Frenzy is an event ran by The Office of Letters and Light, which runs National Novel Writing Month. Script Frenzy is where writers are given the challenge to write a 100 page script over the 30 day period of April. The script can be written for Film, Television, Stage, or Comic Book/Graphic Novel, and since I am a movie guy, my script will be for the screen.
Similar to NaNoWriMo, once you sign up with Script Frenzy you can get sponsored to help bring donations to The Office of Letters and Lights and their mission. You get access to forums, and the ability to talk to people with in your region. You also get guides to script writing since writing for film, television, stage, and comics is different from writing a novel. It require you to be detailed enough that the reader knows what is going on yet sparse enough that you don’t choke the artistic freedom of the cast, crew, and director that will breathe life into your word.
To sign up for Script Frenzy go to their website, www.scriptfrenzy.org, and click on the Sign Up link on the upper right-hand corner of the screen page. The sign up process involves creating a usernamer, providing an e-mail, and picking what area you are writing in. You then get a password e-mailed to you to which you can then log in and start with your journey to write your script. Once you are in you can start updating your writing profile, releasing information on your script, post on the forums, and find friends for the support you will need.
And while the event requires that you write with in the month of April and not before or after that month, nothing can stop you from starting you plan your work.
Script Frenzy: Week 1
Even though I do not want to start writing my screenplay out of fairness, but that is not stopping me from think about what to write. I want to be as prepared as I can be so that once April comes around I can dive right in. At first I planned on re-writing a screenplay I started last summer and only got seven pages in. But then I decided to challenge myself a bit and start anew.
When starting a new script, I thought, it is always best to think of a pitch. In the business, the pitch of a film can break or make your film. Each pitch is different because every film is different, but there tends to be one cardinal rule. That rule is you must keep it short. It used to be that you had to describe your film in fifteen words or less. If you could not do that your film was less likely to get made. While I am sure that some companies still go by this rule, I doubt most adhere to it. One sentence should be enough, and this is something that applies to most medium.
This makes sense for multiple reasons. Writing a movie, television, or comic book script or a play is very different than writing a novel because you are writing for a visual art. A highly collaborative visual art in which many people will be interpreting as the product is getting made. As such, you are writing an outline, and having the ability to use a sentence (or a “log line.” for a more technical term) to tell everything about your story will show the potential producers your talent for by descriptive with minimum detail.
Another reason to use a log line is the fact that someone has to buy your script. In order to sell your script, you have to advertise it. Calling your script “A surrealist character study musical with comedic bit about a group of quirky adolescents taking part in a spelling bee” is going to get someone’s attention faster than “This story is about these quirky kids who take part in this outrageous spelling bee where on kid is a horny boy scout while another spells words with his foot and there is a counselor who is there because of his service hours…” You are going to lose potential buyers quickly if you cannot hook them immediately. This is made even more vital since the producer who is interested will probably be seeing many other potential buys outside of yours.
There are other reason for having a log line ready, such as giving you script focus, a mood to play with, and much more, but there are two other elements to having a pitch ready. One is the “My script is…” in which you use two films to describe your film. An example would be “My film is Up meets The Sixth Sense.” This shows that the story has elements of the two movies and depending on the log line the elements would be very visible. Another thing this does is compares you film to two or more other successful movies. Be careful when comparing movies to your film. Make sure you use movies that are either critically and commercially successful, just commercially successful, or considered classics, otherwise the film may not get picked up. The last thing to have for your pitch is a title. It does not have to be the actual title, but a title none the less. The buy may not ask what you are going to call your movie, but there is a good chance that they will. Having one ready shows that you are prepared for the journey ahead.
If you are an aspiring writer, especially if you are interested in writing for the visual and performance arts, Script Frenzy is the challenge that can get you in moving in the right direction. Again, sign up at www.scriptfrenzy.org, get friends involved and start planning.
The flooded coast of former Los Angeles. Two warring nations of North
America—the Republic and the Colonies.
Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles.
Born into the slums of the Republic’s Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother is murdered. And Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival while June tries desperately to avenge her brother’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together and the sinister lengths their country will go to in order to keep its secrets.”
(Synopsis from LegendTheSeries.com)
Lu has been recognized over the past year as having the potential to become the next Rowling or Meyer, even before the release of her first novel. Legend‘s potential has been recognized with other “YA Novel Giant” contenders, such as Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, whose movie trailer was recently released. And now with the support of movie producer Wyck Godfrey (who also produced the Twilight movies), Lu’s first book may also be a box office hit in the future.
But it’s not the potential celebrity status that Legend may bring that makes Lu so special; her approachability and kindness has not wavered since first stepping in the spotlight, and her artistic eagerness is an entirely relatable trait for other beginning writers. She has shared her publishing journey with her fans, freely giving advice and how-to’s for aspiring authors. But most importantly, she has shown as much dedication to the happiness of her fans as she has her work–and that is a rare and admirable quality not often seen attached to noteworthy names.
My time talking to Lu has been a complete and utter pleasure, and I hope the Unwound community appreciates and enjoys the following interview as much as I we did. Marie’s book is available now online or at a major bookstore near you!
UM: Thank you and welcome, Marie! First, tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing.
ML: I remember stapling together my very first “book” when I was five, and getting serious about novel writing when I was fourteen. It’s something I’ve always done, long before I even realized that a person could actually get published. I think the longest I’ve ever gone without writing any kind of fiction is four months.
UM: What kinds of things influence your writing? From what kind of resources do you pull?
ML: Everything influences me–life, traveling, people, movies, art, etc. For Legend in particular, I was inspired one afternoon while watching the movie version of Les Miserables, and then by a map I saw online of what the world would look like if the oceans rose 100 meters. I think inspiration just sort of hits you whenever you least expect it, and it can come from anywhere.
UM: What makes Legend a different kind of story from other books of its kind? How does the YA community (and/or the dystopian novel community) seem to be reacting to its impending arrival?
ML: I hope that Legend is a book that encourages readers to open their eyes to the society around them, to not take everything at face value, and to seek out the truth in their lives. That’s a big theme running through the novel, even though I hadn’t put it in there intentionally. As for the YA community–it is by far one of the best communities I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone is extremely encouraging toward one another, and I’ve gotten nothing but support.
UM: The book’s early concepts seem vastly different from its final product, first appearing to be more fantasy than dystopian, but Day’s character remained a driving force. What influenced you along the way to change, and what made you keep other elements?
ML: When I was in high school, I wrote a fantasy novel called The Glass Sonata that starred a young boy criminal named Day. That novel actually did get an agent and went on submission to publishers, but ultimately didn’t sell. That was probably for the best, because in looking back, it could have used some work! However, I still loved that main character. I really wanted a chance to put Day back into a novel, and find the right story for him. When I thought of the concept for Legend, I knew that this sci-fi world was a perfect fit for him. And that’s how he managed to make his way into Legend!
UM: So what about Day’s character inspired you to find that “perfect fit” for him? Why is his character so important to you to hold onto him through different stories?
ML: I’m not sure why Day stuck so much in my head. I think I’ve always been really attracted to fictional characters who are roguish and mischievous, characters that stay optimistic in spite of all the darkness in their lives.
UM: If you could go back to the beginning and write Legend all over again, what would you change?
ML: If it were up to me, I could probably edit my books until the end of time and still not be absolutely satisfied with them! But I do think that Legend is as good as I could have made it at the time I wrote it, and now I’m putting all my energy into making Legend 2 as good as I can. Hopefully I’m improving along the way!
UM: This being your first published novel, how would you describe your experience so far? How are you handling all of the attention from the media?
ML: The experience so far has been absolutely surreal! I still can’t quite believe that it’s all happening, and sometimes I have to pinch myself to remember that this is actually real. The media has been amazing. I’m by nature a rather shy person, but this experience is really training me to come out of my shell.
UM: Your book is being printed in other languages, too. How does it feel knowing that the international community will be reading your work?
ML: I remember squealing when we got our first international deal. It’s just amazing to know that so many people in the world will get to have access to Legend.
UM: Though it’s true that those living outside of the U.S. are fairly familiar with our country’s politics and history, do you think that they will have trouble visualizing Legend’s future America?
ML: The America in Legend is drastically different from modern-day America, and hopefully this means that Legend‘s America will feel every bit as strange to international readers as it will to U.S. readers.
UM: Do you think there are any tough politics or ideas in this new idea of America that you think can be applied to today’s world? What do you think will be your audience’s response to your vision of a possible future?
ML: Oh yes–I do think people will see some parallels between Legend‘s world and the state of our current United States, as well as the world at large. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, the middle class is dying out. Europe’s debt crisis, the U.S.’s troubled economy, the uprisings in the Arab nations….these are all examples of real-world turmoil that is very familiar in the Legend universe.
UM: Many sources have listed you in the running for being the next big YA author now that Harry Potter and Twilight are wrapping up. What are your thoughts on that?
ML: My reaction is always stunned amazement that I even get to be mentioned in the same sentence. I’m completely honored and very scared by it, because I’m not sure anyone can really fill the shoes of Harry Potter or Twilight or The Hunger Games. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that readers will enjoy Legend when it finally comes out!
UM: Here’s a big step in the future for Legend: it’s the M-word—movie! You’ve got a movie deal! That’s amazing news, and you found out a while before Legend was even released. You must have been very excited!
ML: Thank you so much! I didn’t even know to dream about a movie deal because it seemed so impossible, and I still can’t quite believe it.
UM: Got a dream cast in mind?
ML: I’m not sure who I would cast as the characters, but CBS Films and Temple Hill are so passionate about the book and I have absolute faith that whoever they ultimately cast in the roles will be the right fit.
UM: After Legend hits the shelves, what’s next? What can we expect for you as an author in the next year?
ML: Legend is a trilogy and one book will be released every year, so Book 2 will come out in 2012 and Book 3 will be out in 2013. After that, I’m not sure yet! I do have a new idea that I fiddle with when I’m not working on Legend‘s sequels, but that one is still in very early stages of development.
UM: Do we get any hints on what this new idea is all about?
ML: Haha–sorry, I can’t say much about the new ideas I’m working on after Legend, but I’m definitely excited about them and hopefully readers will be too!
UM: Oh well, at least we tried! Anyway, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us. It’s truly an honor. We’re very excited for you and your book, and I can’t wait to see how it’s received by your readers!
ML: Thank you so much! It was such a pleasure!
We hope you enjoyed this special interview! Don’t forget: pick up your order of Legend online or at any major bookstore today, and you can also find out more about Marie Lu and Legend at marielu.org and legendtheseries.com.
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