Made it to class on Monday. Was my first day to train in two weeks. I’m pretty much over the sinus/head cold, but I felt weak and very lethargic. Now, a couple days later, my hips flexors, thighs and calves are KILLING ME. I’m so fat and out of shape at this point, it’s like starting over from a fitness perspective.
I’ll be able to get back to class on Friday. Tonight, I’m on baby duty. Goal this week is to get in three times, which I can make if I manage to get to Sunday’s class as well.
ScriptFrenzy starts in two days, so after work, and after class, I’ll be settling in to write at least the first four pages of the script. I need to average at least 3 1/3rd pages per day to stay on track. I don’t see that as being a big obstacle, as long as I know what I need to write. I’ve learned a lot about the process of writing a screenplay over the last week. I’m sure we’ve all referred to a movie as being a “formula movie.” Honestly, though, I had no idea how formulaic the process of writing a screenplay really is. My impression now is that a screenplay has more to do with a closed form poem than a book.
Step one: Write a logline. A logline, as best as I can tell, is a single sentence that summarizes the essential plot of the movie. The exact structure of a logline varies depending upon the source, but what is consistent is that it needs to be relatively short (under 37 words), summarize the essential plot while simultaneously distinguishing that plot from every other similar idea in existence.
Step two: Write a plot summary. Longer than a logline, the plot summary is, I’ve come to learn, supposed to be one or two short paragraphs that synopsize the story.
Step three: Write a 15 point beat sheet. This is the formula. It’s eerie how many movies of all genres fit this formula almost to the minute.
Step four: Map out the scenes. According to someone named Blake Snyder (no idea who he was, but his name pops up all over the interweb on this subject), a movie has 40 scenes. So, at this step, you get out the 3×5 cards and summarize the scenes based on the beat sheet, and then put them in order.
Step five: Finally, write the damned script.
Step five point five: Drink a beer or two. Or 10.
Step six: Force every friend you have to read your script. Get honest feedback from at least one of them.
And it goes on from here.
All that having been said, here’s what I have so far. For your reading pleasure, my logline and my summary:
In the Game:
Years after his divorce, an aging martial artist struggles to reconnect with his teenage son while training for the largest Jiu Jitsu tournament in the world.
Mike Jenkins is an out of shape, depressed, 30-something who’s spent the better part of the last decade trying hopelessly to repair his relationship with his ex-wife and his son. His ex-wife, Sue, uses her custody of their son like a weapon, and uses Mike like a free, on-call babysitter. His son, Dave, considers Mike a loser, aimless and alone.
When Mike sees a group of older boys harassing his son, he intervenes, using Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills he’d learned long ago. Instead of being the hero, Dave’s embarrassment at being rescued by his dad only makes the situation worse. Mike returns to the mat and begins training again in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu hoping to compete in the sport he loves. Along the way, he discovers that to be the father he wants to be and earn the respect of his teenage son, he must first learn to respect himself.
Yes, I’m going to incorporate BJJ as a backdrop to the story, because, what the hell? I like BJJ and it’s an awesome sport. But the emphasis of the story will be in the relationship between the father, Mike, and his son, Dave. That’s the point. We’ll see how bad it sucks as the month presses on. Stay tuned.