Continuing the Screenwriting Process

Osiyo, dohiju? Hey, welcome back.

Up to this point, we’ve discussed basic characters, the plot, and some items that we’d like to see in the script. I’ve not given many details about my own script. I think, at this time, we should delve into different aspects and give the script something to think about. Basically, I’m going to work through a story, plot, some basic characters, and what I’d like to see in a script. This isn’t the script I’m currently working on. This will be a script that’s just for these exercises.

I want to continue with some kind of Action-Comedy. I’ll keep the character types the same with Ryan Reynolds, Bob Newhart, Denzel Washington, Nathan Fillion, Steve Zahn, Sam Rockwell, Afton Williamson, Karan Soni, Jewel Staite, Lucy Liu, Portia DeRossi, and Judy Dench. These are actors and actresses, not characters. I’ll build characters off of each actor and have a character type. As I said before I like to envision the actor or actress playing a part even if they’re not going to be a part of the movie. It makes it easier for my brain to visualize the entire process. Sometimes, I’ll go so far as to write the characters with those actors and actresses names to start and then later when the characters transition to their own I’ll change the names. With that, we have our main actors and actresses. Now to define their role or character type.

Let’s start with Ryan Reynolds. He’ll be the main character. I’ll make Bob Newhart his dad. I don’t know why, yet. I just like it so I’m going with that. Once I have some basic characters I’ll figure out what those characters’ professions are or what the story should be. Again, this makes it easier. I normally have a story already thought of and I think about what I’d like to see. I’m doing this a bit different for this exercise. Judy Dench is classy. So while Bob Newhart might be the messy part of the odd couple, she could be the classy part of the odd couple – the Tony Randall. I could also switch it up so they’re backward giving a different role and element that might produce more comedic effect. I like the idea of having Nathan Fillion and Steve Zahn as brothers to Ryan Reynolds. Jewel Staite as maybe Steve Zahn’s girlfriend. Afton Williamson and Sam Rockwell together. I think they’ll play off each other nicely. Then Lucy Liu and Portia DeRossi as friends to Afton Williamson – maybe one of them might be dating or married to someone in the group, maybe they date or are married to each other. I don’t know yet. Denzel I’d like to be a love interest to someone. It could be Ryan Reynolds or one of the other characters – or maybe a character I’ve not thought of yet. I don’t know. I always loved Sidney Potier in Lilies of the Field – I mean I love all of his work, however, that movie was the first movie I saw with him in it and I loved the comedy in it.

Ok with the characters kind of set up I need to figure out the story. What are all of these characters going to do together? I said some are related, some are friends. What can I do to work with that? I want something pretty outrageous. Not a family of conmen or that robs banks or something – that’s been done. Family of spies has been done but might be interesting if you change it from the movie Killers, Meet the Fockers, or even True Lies so I’ll skip this for now. What else is there that’s action-y? I don’t want something controversial like gun-running or drugs. Maybe go a different direction from the spies but still in the same category. Like hackers? Ethical hackers? Security consultants? Get paid to break into places? Not the worst at it, just not the best. Let’s go with that. A family business of security consultants that do pen(etration) testing on companies. I like it. It has possibilities for amped-up tension and comedic prowess.

With the basic premise set, I don’t want to have a cliche – like they’re hired to do a job and they’re set up. Or they see that they’re going to be set up and are one step ahead of the bad guys. I want something cleaner. Something that gives us a direct route to the end and provides entertainment. I want to avoid them hacking a system and finding something they weren’t supposed to. Maybe, when they hack one system they happen to have access to another server that houses data for a different set of individuals that are bad guys? That’s kind of been done, maybe there’s something there to work with. It gives tension and some comedic elements like Sneakers. Let’s start here. There could be a twist like maybe the dad has been storing stuff he’s found over the years of pen-testing on his own server. He didn’t have a concept of cloud computing so had no idea that it’d be housed in a server farm next to a client that they were hacking? That sounds plausible. We’ll skip the details of this for now. We’ve got a basic premise and something of a plot – there’s no story yet but it’s getting there. Let’s add a little twist. Dad has been storing stuff on the servers for many years – The stuff isn’t just stuff found on pen tested servers and sites. This stuff is for friends that wanted to hide things from their families. We’ll assume, for the purposes of this script, that if there’s anything illegal it’s just blackmail or alternate ledgers. Maybe dad also runs one of the largest porn sites for a friend? that could bring up some interesting discussions as Bob Newhart fumbles through explaining them.

Let’s start here and see where it goes in the next post.

Until next time. Dodadagohvi.

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