This post was written by Tana Tymesen, a mentor in the Digital Media Mentoring Program, who participated in the Visual Narratives Screenwriting Dorkshop.
Writing dialogue is a tricky endeavor. It follows, then, that adapting a narrative scene into one that is mostly dialogue can be overwhelming. The Visual Narratives Screenwriting Dorkshop served as both a reminder of what I love about writing dialogue, and a vast learning experience with HTML and Photoshop.
Happily, our group facilitators were there to walk us through each step. Where, in the scenes we’d already written, was the point of tension? What were our characters’ motivations? What drove them, and how did they change? The key is to act as though you’re going to a party: arrive late, and leave early. Even though I concentrated in Creative Writing in college, I have to confess, this is one tactic I’d forgotten. With that reminder, my scene shifted drastically.
Before we zeroed in on actually building out our scenes, we broke into small groups to examine a scene from one of three popular movies alongside a line of gifs created from that scene and discuss the ways in which the gifs were able to convey the action taking place.
The time to write was upon us, and I was excited! As I typed out my characters’ exchange, I’d already begun thinking of the visuals behind their interaction. Dorm rooms, rivaling college campuses with rivaling ambitions and ethics. Closeups on side-eyes or rolling-eyes. The options to present this situation in the abstract were endless!
Over the course of the next couple of hours, we learned to convert a static image into a gif, embed video from YouTube and Vimeo into our websites, and how to enhance our work with typography through the use of Google fonts.
It’d be an understatement to say we covered a lot of ground in the Visual Narratives: Screenwriting Dorkshop. Working online and with images, and knowing the process behind creating certain kinds of images, though, opened a door. By the end of the Dorkshop, my mind was swimming with ideas, and I could see my original scene expanding into a much more detailed short story. This was the apex of our Dorkshops; the one where it all came together.