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11/24/2003 - Totallywrite review...

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Well... I totally explored the users guide as well as listened to the three hour seminar, which I had to buy separately, and I have to say that the program is useful to an extent.

First of all the program is divided into four distinct sections:

1. Development Paradigm -- This is the outlining tool with the fourty four steps to Nirvana.

2. Idea Shoebox -- This is a place for you to store ideas that you have for upcoming scripts you may or may not write.

3. Project Tracker -- This is a tool which allows you to keep track of all your projects. When you finished each draft, who you sent it to and when, etc.

4. Random Thoughts -- Just a little place for you to put cool snippets of dialog, ideas for scenes, or whatever your heart desires.

Now let's talk about this paradigm for a second. It seems like these days everybody is coming up with their own structure paradigm. We have Truby, Dramatica, Syd Field, Vogler and a handful of others out there, ready to take our money. While I'm sure all of them work to some extent, if you can understand them, the whole point is whether or not the program is useful to you as an individual. That's something for you to decide on your own. But, I'll still tell you a little bit of what to expect in the program.

The paradigm consists of 44 steps. The first 12 of these steps are very specific, and for me to list them here would be a violation of copyright. Needless to say, each one of the 12 steps is a very easy to answer question, which usually leads you to the next question. By the time you get to the end of these 12 steps, you know what the main conflict of your story is. Basically, that's the end of act one.

Now here is where things get a little bit foggy. From here on out, most of the questions/steps are very, very, very vague yes/no's. But they're not even questions at all. They stipulate that in the second act of all movies, your main character gets close to the goal, or achieves something positive, then immediately something happens to push him/her back a step. Two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. And that continues through the rest of the paradigm, for the most part.

The first 12 steps are very helpful getting you to the end of the first act. After that, you're pretty much on your own. By the way, if you are going to buy the software, don't bother buying the audio course because it really doesn't add anything that you can't find in the user guide, or the four templates included -- Star Wars, Liar Liar, American Beauty and Brink, The Sixth Sense, and The Other Me.

I barely recommend that you buy this program, simply because a hundred bucks is a lot of money. However, it practically writes the first act for you and lets you know if you have all the elements you need for a real movie, so you don't waste your time. It's a hell of a lot more useful than Dramatica or Writers Dreamkit, for sure. With those two, you literally need to learn a new language from scratch.

Ridiculous. No wonder some of these people aren't selling screenplays, they're too busy developing languages.

Next week...

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