Boy, I should have done this a long time ago! I've already finished the three act structure/beat breakdown on the script I'm working on. I've also mostly finished the note card part (I'm kind of going out of order). Last night I started working on the character bios. At this rate, I'll have the script finished before the end of the month. That would be awesome!
I have to say that this script is based on a novel Micah and I are working on. It was actually his brilliant idea to begin with. I've helped him hone it and turn it into something workable. He came to me and said, "I've got this idea for a novel, but I can't write to save my life and I know you can. Can you help me?" Or words to that effect. Maybe he didn't say "to save my life". Maybe it was, "can't write worth beans"? I don't remember. Anyhow, the point is he asked me to help him.
Micah is an awesome storyteller. But when it comes to the written word, he scribbles out garbled prose that I suppose could pass for English, but more likely reveals that he has been taken over by a pod person who has control over his hands.
I told him to do write the novel, we would have to be on the same page about all the particulars. I had him come up with fairly basic character bios/history and we worked on those and refined those, as we brainstormed. Then I had him give me the bones of the story--the arc of what he thought should happen. We took that, and wrote up a chapter outline of events happening for each chapter. Then we brainstormed some more and elaborated on that, too. Now, I'm just writing, writing, writing. I made Micah go through all those other processes with me, because I wanted write what he had in mind. If we didn't see a character in the same way, I would end up writing the character in a way he doesn't like. Most of my inputs and ideas in the story he has liked and we have incorporated. And he has respected my input when I have had to shoot down some of his ideas and explained to him why they probably won't work. Overall, though, he had a solid idea with excellent potential to make a kick-ass story. I'm proud of him and I'm proud of our work together on this project so far. It's been fun!
Anyhow, all of this work we've put into the planning of the novel have really helped me when it came to my assignments for the script. It's made this process much faster, since I already know the characters and story so well. In some ways it's a little difficult though, because I have to figure out what to cut. Scripts can't have everything a novel does. It's the naked version of the novel. Already Micah is worried about certain things being cut, but he knows not everything can go in and it is bound to be different. I mean, how else do you pare down 300+ pages into 100?
So I'm looking forward to finishing the novel and especially the script. I'm hoping that I can make this process this easy for all my subsequent scripts. I'm in the process of doing research for my next script--a biopic--already. Whee!