So I’m working on this treatment at the moment and it’s all going well, I know what I want to write and am making good progress … but there’s little nagging thought: I’m missing a couple of scenes.
Basically, there are scenes I want to include between a guy and a girl which I haven’t found space for yet; and every time I look for space I can’t find it because each scene moves logically and seamlessly onto the next one. I could randomly stick them in, but that’s not screen writing – that’s just a fucking mess and my number seven complaint about bad scripts: if the scenes don’t flow into each other, it’s not a movie – it’s just a random collection of scenes.
So there’s no space for these scenes, which I assume means they’re not important because it’s not a romance and the girl is neither protagonist, antagonist nor love interest. As eminent brain care specialist, Gag Halfrunt might say: she’s just this girl, you know?
I leave out the scenes and I carry on, ploughing steadily through the treatment towards the end of act two when … oh shit.
I’ve reached the point in the treatment where I need to end act two (somewhere on page 8, if you’re interested – this is based on 1 page of treatment = 10 pages of script or screentime) and there is no way to hit the planned end of act two.
Did I say ‘Oh shit?’
But hang on, maybe this isn’t a bad thing? Maybe there’s a whole new way to end the second act which either still leads into the planned third act or, even better, leads to a completely new third act which trumps the old one and immeasurably improves the story?
As far as I can tell, the best that can happen from here until the end is it will ramble on for a bit and then stop. Not exactly thrilling.
So what’s gone wrong? Why have I come out of the dense thicket of act two in the wrong place? Why can’t I see the finish line, the prize, the treasure … the end?
Obviously, it must have something to do with those scenes between the girl and the guy – something about the things I wanted them to say to each other must steer the guy towards the correct end of act two. But if that’s true, which I suspect it is since it’s beginning to dawn on me the girl embodies the reasons the guy is making the wrong decisions, then why don’t they fit anywhere in the story? Why is the sequence of scenes seamless without the vital scenes needed to keep it on course?
And there’s the answer.
The girl keeps the guy on course, and therefore the story too. Without her input, he’s making the wrong decisions and will continue to make the wrong decisions until the film runs out of time and just stops. Now I know this, I can trace the story back to the point where it goes wrong. Now I can see half of the seamless scenes are actually seamless in the wrong direction.
Oh, I said that did I?
I’m pretty sure I’ve never said that before.
So where does that leave me? It leaves me leaning on the delete key and rushing perilously back towards page 4 and the point the story began to meander. It does still cross the mid-point at the bottom of page 5 and for a moment I think I maybe able to stop the word-slaughter there, but then I realise it crosses it in the wrong direction so all that has to go too.
Back to page 4.
I, like the treatment, am gutted.