Flip or Flop: Write a movie script in a week

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My co-director, junior Brandon Woods, helped me balance out work planning the feature film. Since we both got lost in work for the film, we gave each other reminders to do simple things like drink water and take a snack break. (Photo/Bella Ramirez)

After many years of staring at the silver screen, I finally felt the need to make a production of my own back in eighth grade. Now, fast forward two years of me giving up, getting lazy and losing hope of ever having a real screenplay career. After all, who was freshman-year me to think I could pull off an entire movie without even fully knowing how to use the record setting on my Nikon? Luckily, after joining WAHS news this year, my knowledge of cinematography grew over the past year and with it my hopes for creating a film. So Dec. 5, 2018 I asked junior Brandon Woods to help me co-direct and film a superhero comedy. I dusted off the old screenplay I gave up on in May 2018 and got to typing. Within one week I wrote a 100-page script. Here are my takeaways.

Writing is fun. One thing I realized quickly though, is in order to meet your personal deadlines you need to act as if writer’s block doesn’t exist and remember that writing is fun. To keep with my rigorous writing schedule, I wrote the scenes I felt I needed to write, scenes I enjoyed. Sometimes it was a drama scene, other times, just exposition, either way, I wrote what I knew I had the heart to write. Most importantly, I did not go back to edit. Going back to edit would mean I would second guess everything I did. Instead of worrying about editing while writing, I saved editing for the end. To this day, the screenplay is still going through edits. However, while writing a screenplay, I quickly learned that your rough draft is going to be exactly as it sounds— rough— so let that be tomorrow’s problem, while today’s problem is getting all the ideas down.

By the time I was halfway through, it became a struggle to remember my motto. Writing is my passion,; I really enjoy doing it. However, the more I wrote, the higher the film budget got and the more film permits we needed. As one of the directors for the film, I became obsessed with the logistics behind each word and had a hard time getting lost in the passage like I used to. Now I needed to learn the cool superhero effects, figure out which scene would be used to cast actors, know whether this much special effects could be managed on a film day. I needed to separate my jobs as writer and director. Once I realized this, I was able to write with smoother flow. Everything moved cleaner, and I fell in love with the characters once more.

Once I finished the screenplay, I found my mantra etched into my brain on a gold pedestal. Writing a screenplay in a week was one of the hardest things I’ve done. That being said, it was also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever accomplished. Every day I’m greeted with the pleasure of knowing I was able to accomplish my goal. Even with bumps in the road, months of doubt and years of second guessing, I finally did it (and in one week). If you want to join me on the rest of my movie-making journey, you can audition for the movie’s orchestra or cast at tampafmovie.wix.com/film, or if you’re interested in being crew you can email tampafmovie@gmail.com. Until then, catch the movie in August 2019 and more articles about my flip or flop movie experience in the future. Obviously, screenwriting changed my life and perhaps, opened the door to a new creative beginning.

Verdict: Flip

Bella Ramirez, junior, is a Marvel fanatic and hardworking leader. You can find her panicking over deadlines for her four publications (Pressing the Future, Patriot Post, French Newspaper and WAHS) or planning presentations for Key Club most days. When she’s not working then, well, she’s always working. Beyond journalism, she pursues film through directing, producing and writing. She’s excited to present her first feature film in 2019 and its sequel in 2020.

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