SCRIPT WRITING TIPS & TRICKS by KAREN GOELLER
Firstly, I would like to thank Red Dragon for the opportunity to share my experience and knowledge about writing, more specifically, script writing.
For a many years I wanted to write a script, but thought I was not creative enough and that I could not “speak” for a variety of characters. I just did not think I had it in me to write a script. I gave up on the idea and continued as an actor and script supervisor.
So, here is how my first script was initiated. I really was not planning to write a script. Something that someone said on the radio reminded me of how I was treated as a child. The host was talking about bullying. It brought back many memories of how I was tormented about being a gymnast and those memories sat in my head for a while. But then one day, I said to myself this could be a short film. I started thinking about a scene. That led to another scene, which then led to me sitting at the computer to start typing.
It flowed nicely each time I sat down to write and I ended up with a unique short film script, Missy’s Voice. Now what? My first thought was who can I share this with? Who can I get to help me make this happen?
I quickly realized that I could publish a children’s book faster than I could produce a film. So I did that, converted my story to a children’s book and published it. I let the short script sit in my computer as I focused on marketing the book. I gave many of my author copies away in the hopes of bringing awareness to the topic of bullying and the short film script.
I spoke to five producers, sent them the book and short script. Most of them were intrigued with the concept and recommended that I write a feature film. One mentioned it could be a TV series. I decided that writing a feature was good advice and extended the story. It took about 6 months to finish the first draft of the feature-length script. And so, Missy’s Voice was created. Now the audience will see Missy grow up, it is a more complete story, even more satisfying than the short.
I decided to make the lead character, Missy, a young singer and gave her a nice relationship with her aunt and her best friend. She was shy with the world, but shared everything with her friend and aunt. After completion, I realized that, not only do I have a good story; the three lead characters in this film are female and most of the supporting characters are also female.
It was not intentionally planned this way, but it happened and I am glad. Having so many female characters made this project even more special to me because it is very unique in the independent film industry. Being a member of NYWIFT, this makes me proud to have completed a project that is so inclusive.
So you see, the first step in your script endeavor, is to relax your mind and let the story come to you. Mine did and I bet yours will too. The story may happen in a dream, after you see something, during a relaxed conversation, or when a memory is triggered. Events, conversations, and memories happen daily. When you least expect it, something could end up igniting your mind.
It may begin with a loose concept or the ideas may flow so quickly that you feel you cannot type quickly enough. Either way, play around with the concept, and think about your lead character for a while. Who do you want them to be and what story are they telling, living. Allow your story to evolve in your head for some time before you give your characters specific lines.
The best ideas for scenes came to me as I was driving my dog to the park. They happened when my mind was relaxed and I was not expecting to create another scene. Many times I called a friend and shared my ideas. Each time I was filled with excitement because my story was coming together. The new scenes did not happen at home in front of my computer. They happened when I least expected them to happen. That is how I write, whether it is a book, article, or script.
Let the story happen naturally, with time and patience. It may not come to you if you force yourself to sit and write without knowing what you want to write. That to me is how you create writer’s block and frustration rather than a story. Relax. It will come together and you will write your script.
Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on script writing. Future topics may include formatting, grammar, loglines, character personalities, and maybe even pitching your script. I wish you the best of luck with your project. I hope this was an enjoyable and worthwhile read.
Authors Bio: Karen Goeller was born in Montreal, Canada in 1966 and was raised in Brooklyn, NY. She is the daughter of two hard-working parents and she has one sister. Karen Goeller is a member of NY Women in Film & TV. She has had a variety of scripted and improv roles on film, TV, commercials, and industrial films. Karen is most often cast as a wife, lawyer, detective, FBI Agent, teacher, doctor, or reporter. Since 2018, Karen has been working on the crew side of the camera as a Script Supervisor, She said her "work as a script supervisor has helped her become a better actor." Most recently, Karen completed two short film scripts and one feature-length script. Her feature-length script Missy's Voice, has won awards in film festivals including Best Drama Script in Gothamite and Best Debut Script Writer in Red Dragon as well as a logline contest award. Besides working in the film industry, Karen is the author of 20 books, a CSCS, and a long-time gymnastics coach. She has given presentations to professional groups including the NSCA, USA Gymnastics, and the Chamber of Commerce. Karen also enjoys being cast according to any of her special abilities which include Precision Driving, Ballroom Dance, Swimming, Strength Coach (CSCS), Gymnastics Coach, and Fitness Trainer. According to Karen, "It's always fun to bring your real-life experience to the screen." Karen is very well-spoken and college-educated. In the late 1980's, Karen spent a long time reducing her Brooklyn accent during her time with the NYPD. Karen has studied physical therapy, health sciences, business, and law in college. She has a BA Degree and a year of law school. Karen Goeller has been interviewed on TV and radio countless times and has many short podcasts on the internet. Karen welcomes new ideas for roles and collaboration on projects.
Read Karen's bio and film credits on IMDB at www.imdb.me/karengoeller
Reach out to me via LinkedIn, email, or phone.
Writer, Actor, Script Supervisor