The Screenplay: Final Prep & Day One

During the month of August I'm working through the book "How to Write a Movie in 21 Days."  I'm almost done with required the prep work, so today I can actually start on the screenplay.

Last bit of prep: write a blurb.  The sort of blurb that would go on a website or the back of a DVD.  Let's look at the IMDB blurb for Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate "Captain" Jack Sparrow to save his love, the governor's daughter, from Jack's former pirate allies, who are now undead.

No offense, IMDB, but that's an awful bit of writing.  Maybe Amazon has a better synopsis:

Join the adventures of Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Captain Barbossa.

Captain.  Captain Jack Sparrow.  Surely I can do better than this, although it's hard to write a quick summary of a movie that doesn't yet exist:

AN ARTIFICIAL FIRE

For centuries the Family of Magic has guarded the city, though their enemies have long since dwindled into children's stories.  Now, when the Family’s secret is revealed, their house will crumble...

And the city will be left defenseless.

It's not a brilliant summary but it will do for now.

Moving on to today's assignment: write ten pages of screenplay in two hours.  The point of this assignment is to write badly.  To rattle out ten pages without stopping to think if it's good or bad or staggeringly awful.

...

Two hours after I typed the above, I've written my ten pages.  And most of it is awful.  Sometimes I didn't know what to write so I threw in some death and kissing, because it's ITALIAN.  And there's lots of death and kissing in Italy, right?  Or so all the operas say.

I sort of dread re-reading my ten pages of awfulness tomorrow.

Read Screenplay Preparation: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.