Thursday, April 06, 2006

Missing Story Beats

WFAA reporter Bert Lozano didn't miss a beat when a Streaker ran in front of the camera during his live report from The Colony. He barely blinked as a man in the buff blew past him, flopping in the breeze and honking a boat horn.

The reminder here for me, as a screenwriter, is to not allow unforeseen distractions to pull me off task to the point where I miss a beat -- a story beat. I'm easily distracted during the first draft if things don't work the way I planned in my outline -- things like potential side streets, clarifications, details that need expanding, character inconsistencies, potential plot holes, and stuff that just needs to be axed. My response is to immediately stop and deal with the problem right then and there.

Shame on me.

I should trust my outline. If not, I need to write a better outline.

Not only do interruptions disengage me from the story, but by extinguishing little fires, I'm likely starting one somewhere else in the story. The better approach for me is to make notes along the way and deal with the unforeseen once the primary objective of completing the rough draft is done. Then I can take a holistic look at the story and save myself a lot of grief.

May not work. But, that's my plan.

I have no doubt that the moment the camera was off, Bert either erupted in laughter or said something like "Hey, dude, nice evening for a brisk walk!" Whatever he said or did was AFTER he'd completed his report and he didn't let it shift his focus. Well done, Bert.


ScriptWeaver said...

You know you're a true screenwriter when you see a streaker and only think of screenwriting! Not "I wonder if he was cold," or "I wonder what my ex-boyfriend Reggie is up to" but "how can I relate that to screenwriting?!"

By the way - tag! You're it!

MaryAn Batchellor said...

That's just rather sad, isn't it? Life application from a streaker. Pity me, people!