in The Social Me

Yea, of course I have a screenplay.

Well, the nominal purpose of this blog was to give me a place to post some of my painting and drawings, in attempt to maybe actually sell something. But since I’m really just a dilettante at heart, I haven’t focused on the art quite yet and have been interested/distracted by issues surrounding visual arts, like ownership, copyright, and remix culture. I’ve always been a film geek and could probably spend most of my hours holed up in a theater, watching one movie after another — with friends, by myself, whatever.

This eventually led me to working for the on-campus student-run theater when I attended Tulane University (shout out to TUCP! and the always-in-my-heart McAllister Auditorium) and greatly contributed to me lack of interest in class, terrible grades, and eventual job at Canal Place in New Orleans, where I was pretty damn happy being a projectionist and staying out all night (low wages and long hours notwithstanding).

Anyway, my big hobby at the time was dreaming about making a movie. This was before the days of inexpensive HD-video cameras so I was focused on DIY filmmaking from top to bottom. Something I could film on the streets of New Orleans, on the cheap, with volunteers and begging. I was especially enamored with the look and feel of Lost Highway-era David Lynch and the multiple film stock aesthetic of Natural Born Killers and wanted to film in 8mm, 16mm, and video, then make my film in the editing room. I believed (and still do) that the difference between the amateurish DIY film and something I might see at a festival was the sound, because any visual style could work if the sound was done well. So, I’d focus on high-quality sound design, effects, and a simple score.

I wrote SEEMLESS, a cops-and-robbers detective story with a bit of weirdness. Since I intended to direct it, the script was heavy on stage direction and visual explanations – both supposedly no-nos in the scriptwriting world. I was very pleased with the beginning and end, but recognized that the 2nd act needed work and some of the diaologue was a bit flat. Anyway, it never came about (obviously).

The point of all of this…..? …that I had a handy-dandy script laying around with which to try out PLOTBOT, a nifty "web-based collaborative screenwriting application where you can write a screenplay with as many or as few people as you like…" (so they say).

Right from the start, I’m a little annoyed by the way elements are broken up into very small pieces, necessitating lots of mouse clicking as you go from dialogue to action to dialogue, etc. Perhaps I haven’t figured out the shortcuts or tricks yet. I can see how this might be very useful, however, to someone new to the screenwriting format or truly writing from scratch. My frustration comes from already haveing a mostly finished product, so I’m doing a lot of cutting and pasting. Plotbot truly shines, though, in how it illustrates the collaborative potential of a project.

Each script has it’s own home page, from which you can create an RSS feed to track changes, see the most recent activity, the writers involved, and even add background notes on the project. You can even learn about different levels of Creative Commons licensing for your project.

So, the verdict? I think it’s a very useful site, with plenty of potential for growth. Hopefully someone will come along and fix my 2nd act….

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