Monday, September 19, 2005

Read By Example

So I talked the other day about being a better reader in order to strengthen your writing. Mind you, it's not the only thing you need to do, but it's a start. What got me thinking about all of this was the fact I was purging old files, and I came across some old scripts that I had written before I really knew what a screenplay looked like.

(Sounds of pity echo across the scribosphere)

Yep, the scripts were that bad. So bad in fact I knew I had to get hold of a real one just so I could study it. Next thing you know I was at a comic convention in Columbia, SC and found a guy selling a few scripts. They were copies of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Not the Disney movie, but the Linda Hamilton, Ron Perlman TV show). Manna from heaven.

From there it progressed to buying script books and ordering copies via the mail. Now things are a lot simpler. I can log on, download a PDF of a particular script and go from there. All without killing any more trees than necessary.

So since I gave all of you homework for the rest of the year (at least reading homework, we haven't discussed viewing homework), I thought I would tell you what I'm going to be reading for the rest of the year:

FACE OFF by Mike Werb & Michael Colleary. Revision by Wesley Strick
ALIAS ("Doppelganger") by Daniel Arkin
LA FEMME NIKITA ("Pilot") by Cyrus Nowrasteh
SEVEN DAYS ("Run, Parker, Run") by Alphonse Ruggiero
LAS VEGAS ("Untitled Vegas Project") by Gary Scott Thompson
NOW AND AGAIN ("Origins") by Glenn Gordon Caron

I'm also going to be throwing in:

Any script I can get from 24

and any reference books I can get my hands on regarding real CIA tactics and dirty tricks. I may throw in some more action thrillers to get me "in the mood", but I haven't narrowed it down yet. Any suggestions?

I watched the TV show SPY again last night, and I'm really liking this reality show as it teaches these normal contestants how to be spies. Taking ordinary folks and putting them to work, lying for a living. That has a nice ring to it.

All of this reading is for me to deconstruct what makes these spy shows / thrillers work, and to help me avoid any pitfalls these shows may have fallen into. This is the gasoline that will power my spy thriller engine for the next month or so.

So what's going to be running your engine for the next few months?


Grubber said...

Not reading much for a while unless it has to do with what I am writing, have read a heap of screenplays this year, now for me, is time to write, and put my pen where my mouth is. So to speak!

Must say though reading scripts has been fun and informative. What else can you ask for?

CD said...

I'm in the middle (actually the beginning) of writing a comedy that's in the style of Old School, so I'm trying to read a few more comedy scripts. I'm reading the script for Dumb and Dumber right now, and I'll probably read a few more comedy scripts to make sure I know what "the funny" looks like on the page.

If anyone has any favorite comedy scripts, please recommend them.