Yesterday with Steve Coombes


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As a part of preparation and development towards our story-telling project, we are so lucky to have writer Steve Coombes as lecturer a few days the next couple of weeks. This is a golden opportunity, where Steve himself will be looking at our drafts and provide us with comments on it, to help us to improve our stories.

Steve Coombes have been a professional screenwriter for about 25 years, and holds so much experience and knowledge when it comes to writing screenplays for tv- and film. I feel very lucky to be in the position where I can harvest from his knowledge, and to hopefully, be able to develop my writing-skills.

Here is a summary of what we went through with Steve yesterday.
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- Put as many moments as you can into your screenplay, if you have at least five moments, you then have a screenplay. 
- SHOW DONT TELL, you have to show your story, not tell it. This is why it is a "showbiz" not a "saybizz".
- The audience is who decides if its good or not. 

The six steps 
from idea to the final script = production of the film or television show

1. Pitch
2. Treatment
3. Bible - 70 pages long
4. First draft script - 60 pages long
5. Green light - start shooting
6. Writing the script


The moments in a screenplay are key to a good story.
It is important to have moments you can label, and know where they are in your story. A good idea is to use your own moments, and think of them as you create your idea.

TV- history

- Hill Street Blues, changed the tv industry, it was the first good series in America.
And worked as a revolution where they went from bad programs like boxing, porn etc. who no one watched. To good programs.
- In America the shows are run by the writers, whereas in Britain did not have that revolution and the shows were run, and still are by executives.

- HBO - American cable channel
- Had a lot of money, but wasn't going anywhere, or doing any good.
- HBO had become known for having hardcore porn and boxing.
- They wanted to use their money to improve their name and reputation.
- Their first good show was the Sopranos.
- The next good show HBO did is called "The Wire".

Good to know

A story is like a ball. In the end you have to catch it. Use as many balls as you are capable of throwing in the air at the same time, as long as you can catch them by the end of the script.

- Entropy - Complete chaos
  A story has to have a risk.

When it comes to structure of the story, you need a beginning, middle and end. Usually it is smart to know your ending, because you will then always be able to catch the ball in the end. But you also need to choose a timescale. Does the story go over hours, days, weeks, months a.s.o?

- Be careful of going into detail about the characters backstory.
  Tell what happens next, not what has been. The audience wants to be able to form their own opinions of the characters. Dont tell, show.

POV - Point of view - Find out which point of view the story is being told from. One point of view, or several points of view?

Scene - should have the same setup as a joke. Beginning, a bit in the middle, punchline and end.

Act - A "stolen" term from theatre, where in tv this means, "a commercial break".

Plot - What happens

Story - What is significant

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After the lecture with Steve, I feel like I got the last bit of information to be able to sit down and start my planning fully. We had already gone through the setup of a story in our unit-brief, but all the other information were like the last pieces to the puzzle. Now I feel prepared and ready to make the "puzzle" complete thanks to all the little pieces of information and briefing we have gone through the last two weeks. 

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