Screenwriting and other things that happened this weekend

I went to a screenwriting workshop this weekend. Actually, I accompanied Fourteen (that’s Junior High Kid’s new name now that he’s not in junior high anymore) because HE wanted to go. I’ve been to LOTS of writing workshops over the years, but I’ve never been to a screenwriting workshop. The first thing I noticed was it was mostly MEN. Sure, there were some women there, but we were definitely in the minority. As a children’s book author, I’m used to seeing mostly WOMEN at workshops I attend.

It was an interesting workshop…I’d never really thought about trying to write a screenplay before, but I was intrigued. Intrigued enough that I actually took notes. The lecturer quoted somebody (I forget who) who believes the screenplay is closest to the short story in terms of writing form, but she disagrees. She thinks it’s more like poetry. Personally, I would have to disagree with both of them. I think a screenplay is most like a children’s book. I could make a case for either the picture book (which has to be visual like a screenplay) or the middle grade novel (which is generally about the same number of pages as a screenplay). In fact, even though I’d never thought about writing a screenplay myself, I actually own a number of reference books on screenwriting. I bought them because the advice contained is applicable to any kind of storytelling.

I’ve lost track of how many kids have written to me to tell me Do You Know the Monkey Man should be a movie. And a School Library Journal reviewer said that it read like a Disney movie (which may not actually have been a compliment). Hmm…maybe I should try writing the story as a screenplay? I am under absolutely no delusions that such a thing would ever actually get produced…I wouldn’t even know what to do with it when/if I ever finished it. But it might be fun to try. One thing I could do with it is enter it in next year’s film festival screenplay competition.

The film festival was fabulous, by the way! Fourteen and I saw a little bit of everything…narratives, shorts, animations, documentaries. We both loved this narrative short/mockumentary called Collecting Canada, which was about two towns in Idaho that were competing to bring in tourists from every province in Canada so they could win the title, “The Welcome Mat of Idaho!” It was HILARIOUS! It won first prize in its category, too.

I think Fourteen and I are going to be on the screening committee for next year’s festival (a friend of mine is on it, so she can get us on it, too, if we’re really interested). I think I’m going to do it…still debating about whether or not to let Fourteen do it with me because there is the potential we’d see things that I may not want a fourteen-year-old to see. It’s an INDEPENDENT film festival, so we could see absolutely ANYTHING during the pre-screening process. Fourteen is still pretty sure I’ll give in (and I probably will..)…as he told College Student (yes, College Student came home this weekend! YAY!!!!), “she let me read Christopher Moore this summer, so now she’ll let me do ANYTHING.” (Not necessarily ANYTHING, Fourteen…)

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