If you’re like me, procrastination always rears its ugly head when I’m about to start writing or doing my preliminary research. In fact, if you search online for “procrastination” and “screenwriters” you’ll receive pages of links with suggestions to help overcome whatever is causing your procrastination or writers’ block. I’m sure being a novice, fresh out of college, screenwriter doesn’t help things either. In order to overcome the procrastination, I use a few apps that push me in the right direction.
The other day I talked about using Character Generator by Michelle Ran to help me name my characters. It works surprisingly well, even though it takes a few rounds to get a satisfying name that fits the character. One danger is to avoid the entertaining aspect of randomly generating names – it almost feels like playing slots! If you stay focused on the concept for your script, it does serve as a helpful tool for character creation.
Once I had my list of characters, I wanted to start developing their personalities and traits to make them more believable. I started using Wonder Unit’s Characterizer to see how it would help with character development. I will start out with saying that I may have jumped the gun starting out with this software. Not to say there is anything wrong with it; in fact, it has a very specific purpose that I initially didn’t understand. Characterizer can be described as a “values mapping system” to help you understand why a character would do something. Github has a really thorough review of what it specifically does. The example below shows the “Value Training” tab where you have to pick an answer to the choice given, in 5 seconds or less, 2000 times per character. It’s estimated to take about 2.5 hours per character to really understand their values system. I started using it for about 15 minutes but realized I was getting a little bit ahead of myself when I didn’t even have the basics down of who they were. I will most likely come back to this software once my story and characters are further developed.
In researching writer’s tools, I came across this software called Bibisco that serves as novel writing software. Despite being geared towards the novelist rather than the screenwriter, the built-in toolset delves into the tiniest of details regarding your characters and story that I find it an invaluable tool in my story and character development. Here are a couple of screenshots displaying the type of in-depth details it seeks from you to develop your story and characters:
I have to admit that I am blown away by the functionality of this software and how much of it actually applies to screenwriting. It feels like the software developers took every great idea from their novel writing textbooks and applied it to this software. I’m very excited to continue working in Bibisco during my script development phase so that I have a strong foundation to start writing. Oh, and did I mention this software is cross-platform and open-source? Yes, it’s free and it’s a no-brainer. It may be the best thing to happen in my writing world since the word processor replaced the typewriter. Yes, it’s that big of a deal to me.
Well, I’m getting back to work on my screenplay development now. I’ll catch you next blog. Cheers!