Writing for fun and others...
With Part One of War of the Worlds coming out this Friday (all being well), I am driven to think about how we approach writing for others, as opposed to ourselves.
For writing my own scripts, I tend to go very very light on the stage directions, mainly because a) I'm a lazy sod and can't be bothered to write it down :P, b) I find it distracting from the flow of the story and dialogue and c) unnecessary.
Ignoring A) as a personal failing (:P), let's look at B). For me, the story, characters and plot are the most important things. I'll occasionally have a blast of inspiration and visualise a scene I want to try and shoot, but that tends to get jotted in CeltX's scratchpad or on a scrap of paper or Word doc rather than entered into the script.
Because I find the worst thing to be interruption of the story flow. I've lost count of the number of times I've completely banjaxed my efforts for the evening by suddenly breaking the flow of my muse and jotting down some pretty much irrelevant technical guff halfway through a scene, then got stuck when I've turned back to it to complete it.
So, I don't do it any more. Purely because, when I shoot, I follow the flow of the dialogue and use whatever scene I feel fits the particular mood of the scene (which is the reason for C)).
Now, of course, writing for others is different. I try, wherever possible, just to concentrate on the story and allow the director to get on and visualise the writing as they desire. I have to admit, though, when doing WotW, I got pretty stubborn with Chris on a couple of points, mainly because it's one of my favourite sci-fi classics, a great book in it's own right and I had particular ideas about how I wanted certain scenes to look (wherever possible). Of course, there comes a point when you have to "put the gun down and back away", so to speak; too much interference from the writer gets in the way of the director's creative process, so I've had to force myself to let him get on with it HIS way... it is, after all, HIS movie, not mine! :)
That said, adaption of the original novel and album was a hard slog in places, and it's not over yet. Wherever possible, I've tried to stay true to the "spirit" of the story, even though it's ended up being updated and given a more "international" feel than the original.
In order to comply with the "brief", I had to split the "narration" up between the original journalist character and the new character of Max Forrester (points if you know where the name of this guy came from :P), which wasn't too hard. I tried to keep in the "familiar" and famous scenes wherever possible, but have had to tweak them a bit here and there to follow the revised narrative (and the limitations of what is possible with the software we had available).
Other than the first 10 mins of rough footage, I've not seen the completed film yet (length-wise, Part One has had to be split into 2 pieces, purely because (as usual :P), the dialogue has needed to be given room to work. Other than some observations and requests on this, I've had little input into the finished work; much as I have chafed at the bit to do so, I've tried to stay "hands off" as much as I can... as said above, it's Chris' movie, and it has to be HIS interpretation of the script that comes to the screen if he's to have enjoyed making it.
Hopefully, the finished product will be well received, and I have fingers crossed that it will come out well.