I've been developing Genesis for a long time. By "developing", I tend to mean lots of thinking about the story, which in turn requires a huge amount of introspection. I've a lot of notes, several false starts of scripts, and still really no idea of what the story is actually about. Lots of character stuff, but no real structure. A beginning, an end, but not so much in between. When I've started coming up with the driving force to get into the story, the "main plot" before it develops in to the character piece, I've been adding more complexity but, again, little structure.
I've recently started having another crack at the script. After a few writers, with the unfortunate job of writing a very personal story for me, I felt I should at least have a crack at it myself. I'm not sure why exactly I was sure I couldn't do it previously, something to do with some people saying, "You're not a writer Matt." I never claimed differently, but in truth you shouldn't actually listen to people unless they're at a different "level" for you. So until Shane Black gives me a call and says, "Matt, really dude, give it the fuck up and get in a proper writer" I may as well give it a try. If nothing else, we'd get a first draft script with all the elements I want in it. Even if it is garbage. I'm sure Phil will let me know, when the time comes
So there I was, writing away. Turns out I need to do this in the daytime, not at the end of the day. Nothing sends me to sleep faster than writing. Literally 5 minutes in the evening and my eyes go. Must remember that next time I'm suffering from insomnia.
I got to 26 pages. I have the same opening sequence I've had for nearly 3 years now (well it's a little different, but the same principle); the same ending, with just a few embellishments (got to keep myself interested). New characters, new ideas, new themes. Too many themes actually, possibly trying to cram too much into one film; though I figure if I'm only ever going to get one film made, I may as well give it all I've got.
Those 26 pages though, lacked any direction. The structure is forming, but really, I was piecing things together on the fly and it wasn't going to end wel. At best it would be an almighty re-write at the end to get something readable.
I needed a new approach, and I think I've found it. Mind Mapping. Never used it before, but a few hours of looking at various free programs, and I've settled on XMind. I sat down with the latest notebook and hundred odd post-it notes, and moved it all into XMind.
Now, I have a monster piece of virtual paper where I can randomly add ideas, draw links between themes, and importantly tie them into where they need to occur in the movie. I can space peaks and troughs, highs and lows, and hit plot points where needed. I have concerns I'm approaching the writing from a technical, almost mechanical, perspective. Guess we'll see how it ends up.
If nothing else, for the first time since Genesis begun, I'm feeling confident that I can get the story on paper. With so many themes and ideas, things were getting lost, getting missed out, getting misjudged. I now have an overview, I can make sure I relate everything. I have a story taking place over 6 days. I figure 20 pages a [story] day, give or take, and that may break down to between 4 to 8 scenes a day. I've been watching a lot of Kubrick and Leone recently to understand how long, almost drawn out, patient scenes work, so I'm not afraid of scenes lasting 5, 10 minutes, if that's what they need. I'm not afraid of silence, if it's mood inducing.
So yes, I'm feeling pretty good now. I'll probably end up re-writing the script itself from scratch. First though, I'm going to nail this structure and the story, tie everything together, give it a flow. I even have a column called Trajectory in my mind map
The only downside is it's back to real-life tomorrow and paid work. Have to keep pressing on with Genesis in my free time, rather than full time.