The climax in my latest story in the First World Universe involves a pivotal speech from President Colton. While it was a speech to cover a particular event in 2015 it also had to speak to certain moments in the film that reflect a bit of double messaging. These can be challenging to write as many bases need to be covered in a short period of time. Yesterday, I finally finished a draft of this speech so I can continue, and finish, the story.
To get motivated and energized to write these types of speeches there are two American Presidents I look to – President Kennedy and President Reagan. In addition to having great speechwriters, both these Presidents knew how to deliver a speech and captivate an audience. The goal of any President is to appeal to a wide audience not a narrow one. Kennedy is perhaps best remembered for “We choose to go to the Moon,” while with Reagan I remember the “Challenger Disaster” as I watched it on TV.
Now with this section of the script written, I should have a first draft completed in a couple of weeks. I do realize, however, that I’ve written a mini-series with this latest installment or probably two scripts. Whenever I set out to write a story, I aim to have the beginning and end already in mind. I let the rest sort itself out as the characters and moments almost start to write themselves. For me, I’d rather have more story than less when I reach the end.
By example I recently watched the 1979 version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that ran as a seven-part drama on BBC (315 min). I loved the depth of story. However, I also greatly enjoyed the 2011 film of the same name (127 min). For me so many contemporary films shortchange the audience in story and character development because they focus on special effects. One recent exception to this I feel was Dune. With an exceptional story that was beautifully photographed, I think it hit all the marks of a great film.
Authoring an original story is not easy. From the characters to world building, everything must be created. For me sometimes a new story just explodes on to the page (Justice Is Mind) while others take a bit of time to think out (First Signal). There’s no right or wrong process in the creation of an original story, but the craft should never be rushed; e.g. when I think of the number of times a new bit of dialogue came to mind after I let some copy sit for a couple of days. But speak to a hundred writers and you’ll get two hundred opinions on their process!
Creating a new screenplay from scratch is a process. While I have the latest installment of the “First World Universe” in title, logline and ending, coming up with a beginning and letting the characters “talk” to me while I create their world is not easy. But as I just passed the page 15 mark, the story is starting to nicely unfold.
This story takes place a year after the events in First Signal and a year before the events in First Launch. What I’m already seeing in the story is just how interwoven all these characters are in society. Although President Colton and General Reager are larger than life figures, their respective humanity comes through to understand why they do what they do. Likewise, we will see what truly drives this reporter. It’s not just to get a story. Then we see how an alien presence on Earth just actually does integrate itself among the population.
From a production point of view, this story will be larger than First Signal but smaller in scope than First Launch (which truly does require a multi-million-dollar budget). I’m writing this particular story with the aim of producing it myself. It will mean securing the right locations for believability and impact but having been down this route with two features and other projects I know it’s doable.
What’s exciting from a writing perspective, because I’ve seen certain of these characters come to life in First Signal, it does make it easier to write them as their motivations have largely already been seen. But then there are always those areas of character that have yet to be explored and discovered. I’m molding the Reporter character from a few real-life reporters I have known personally. One is obsessed at getting the story and will literally call and knock on every door to get it. Another is more methodical. To achieve their goal, each step is well thought out, researched and investigated. Finally, there is the one that is looking for fame—hopefully with a strong set of ethics as a guiding hand.
After so many years of work the “First World Universe” is no longer a dream, it’s a reality with the launch of First Signal this past March. As First Signal continues its distribution and marketing plan, another story unfolds.
“These, whatever they are, started at the G-7 last year. Her daily intelligence meetings are well documented along with other state matters. But these blocks of time just aren’t explained.” Kate Cloverton, The Washington Herald