Angela’s screenplays

 

angelaterga.comAngela Terga – writer, producer, director

Writing a screenplay takes a lot of time and effort. These are my flowers.
-Hybrid is a story within a story about how the future will judge us and creating an enlightened society.
-TNC is an international conspiracy to possess and manipulate the truth of Virgin’s Mary’s testimony to St. Luke.
-Sotru is non-other than the mother of all equal rights advocates and how truth sets us free.
-Isabel is a determined woman that gets what she wants in a future life.
-Robbie is a rock that holds the wisdom of the universe within accessible only to those with pure hearts.
I have another one coming soon. And there are others without graphics yet.
Stay tuned. 

 

 

Talking Screenplay

There is no such thing as a Script Bible.  There is a show bible, but that’s not what I am talking about.  I mean, there is not just one way of writing a screenplay. However, if we speak the same language, we will understand each other better as writers, and filmmakers.  Plumbers understand plumbing terminology and are understood by other plumbers all over the world.  If you’re going to write a script you must learn the language. Check Angela Terga’s Author Profile

The way a screenplay is written, each line, and line by line, accounts for each second in the screenplay. Each page is a minute long and when you shoot and come back to the editing house you can then cut it according to the script as a minute of the movie in order to stay within the minutes the movie is written for (90-120 pages is standard).  All the other abbreviations and terms in a script are part of the uniform language that helps writers and filmmakers speak the same language all over the world.  This is the way I write a script.  I start with notes.  These notes can be very useful, and organised in a logical way may prove to be the best way to achieve clarity in what you are going to write.  You can categorise your notes according to the need of the organic story’s genre.  If it is a biography you may want to make a page of notes for each period. That way when you research, you will place those notes under the right heading. If you are writing fiction and you have elements of mental health, fire rescue, or types of diseases, to mention a few, you can place your notes under these headings.

When researched for Isabel III, I did extensive reading on the Seminole wars, the Spanish sale of Florida, Ft. Mose, St. Augustine, Black Indians, the Lighthouse, bipolar disorder, Hollywood gossip, and more.  For Hybrid, I researched genetics, the Amazon, nuclear blasts, you get it. Under each heading, I place the notes that will help me understand the topic and manipulate it. So I ask Google specific questions about the matter, read books, watch youtube videos, you name it.    That’s research.  You can never do too much of it.  You become a demi expert on each of the subjects you have researched about. But the knowledge may not stay in your memory if you don’t keep on interacting with it.  That’s just the way we use our memory to learn.  Practice means you must keep talking about it, reading about it, staying on top of it. And that’s just too much information if you have another screenplay on the front burner and are now interested in learning other things.

Now the trick is to make the flow of the screenplay seem effortless.  Where do you go first, second, third and last? That’s all you need to know to write a screenplay.  First, the world of the protagonist, the setup, then inciting incident that launches the quest.  Imagine a hero that doesn’t accept the challenge and goes away! Could we make a funny movie about that? You bet!  Will fate find this unwilling, uncooperative hero so we can have STORY? You tell me. We could write a story in which the hero is not a hero and that makes him or her more likeable, more human.  Hybrid, the spiderwoman from the Amazon, her name is Taharai, meaning detached, is a non-hero hero who just wants to observe humanity at first and learn how to be more humanlike and less detached.  But then she ends up being a hero for the underdog when she finally becomes humanised and sees the world with compassion or non-judgement.

I think everyone that ever graduated from high school, or even just has a 5th grade education or less, knows that every story has a beginning, middle and end.  Acts, 1,2,3. The second act is where we can get lost in a quagmire swamp of events, and what leads one to another. Where we cut and who we decide to start each scene with determines the arc of the characters as well as the events. Not just the protagonist has an arc.  So the most important thing is to create a timeline of events or an outline to follow.  So I create the timeline and from there the Treatment and from there the script is written.  If I change something in one document I change it in the others and go on. But what about the characters?  Characters are described and have a profile so that we can show what their POV is by the way they react. That’s very important.  You want to show everyone’s side of the argument and argue intelligently, desperately, passionately or how ever you decide in favour or against something.  Some people may have more than 3 acts. If you divide the second act into two you would have 4, you can have 6 or 7 acts. Each act is its own story within the story that connects to the overall story and moves the action along.  We want things to move towards the climatic moment after all hell’s loose and either win or lose or both, or none.  So that we can have closure.

Some movies seem not to have closure and we wonder what happened next, that’s okay, too.  Anything and everything is possible.  Nowadays we see a lot of non-linearity in movies.  Stories are not told from beginning to end but as bursts of memory, parallel universes, in flashbacks, going back and forth in time.  I thought it was just me that couldn’t do the beginning to end thing but as  I learned from my workshop with Linda Aronson, there are lots more storytellers that think non-linearily than what I imagined.

My next screenplay, the one I am writing now is a big challenge for me.  I am a ghost writer and it is sometimes difficult to make myself understood. I may talk screenplay jargon not realising that the other person or main writer (the owner of the story) hasn’t learned that language and should not be required to either.  Instead, I must adapt to speaking in lay terms and not be overly excited about the little artistic nuances encountered in order to make the ebb and low as organic and exciting as possible.  I just see the story in screenplay writing terms and I must also see it as an engineer or a scientist might.  Well, challenges only have one way to go, you must face them. and here I am.

Also, one more thing I want to mention is that Hollywood did not invent screenplay writing or storytelling.  That’s just as old as mankind.  What Hollywood does have a handle on is how the average person understands the story.  But this knowledge comes from psychologists like Karl Jung and mythologists like Joseph Cambell whose books on the subject have been studied by dramaturgs to see that indeed, storytelling follows a natural flow, beginning, middle, end. Now how we want to start is up to us, where we want to go from there, too. The audience will put it all together if we do a good enough job of making the events flow in a synergistic way with whatever our imagination creates.

Happy writing everyone!  It’s Write of Die for me too as a woman in film taking flight.  image002

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Writing of SoTru, a biopic of social relevance today

Formerly known as “I Am Sojourner Truth” screenplay by Angela Terga and Lateef Calloway.

First the visionary structure. On October of 2016, you saw me fly across the Atlantic to attend Linda Aronson’s non linear script writing master class at Ealing Studios in London. The workshop added confidence to how we, the writers, chose to structure SoTru, the screenplay I’ve been working on since the summer of 2015 with Lateef Calloway, the young independent producer and director whose mission is to bring forth the ultimate icon of feminism and equality through the life and works of Sojourner Truth. The nature and relevance of her teachings are just as pertinent or more today than ever. More than a year later, at the beginning of 2017, Lateef and I plan to meet for several days when we will scrutinize the screenplay, compare it to the Treatment, take notes and then polish the diamond of a well crafted first draft.  SoTru, the script, must not only pass the ten page test, it must receive a first class production fund.

During out first meeting in 2015, Lateef and I crafted the structure of the biopic. Starting somewhere near the middle where her life appeared most exciting and then flashing back to her nativity for a tour of enduring heartache and pain with dignity and grace until the end. Once the journey’s vision was set, I proceeded to research, read, write and get into the spirit during my month-long visit to Battle Creek where I stayed at six generation descendant of the historical figure, Thomas McCliechy’s home. Thomas and I talked about “grandma” every day all day when he was around.  I would often ask him how he thought Sojourner would want me to write-in this or that occurrence stated in her Narrative’s editions.  I can see Thomas’ goatee moving up and down as he’d say, “tell the truth, that’s what she would have said. That’s what she stood for, and that’s why she changed her name to Sojourner Truth.”  In honoring that manifesto as a writer, I have encountered many forks on the road of writing SoTru. My greatest endeavor and hope is to show what the avenues present while not inflicting judgment on the path traveled. For truth, in my own definition, lacks judgment. Therefore, exposing the facts should be all one needs to come to a conclusion.  For instance, when Sojourner took it upon herself to travel the northeastern countryside instilling prudence and warning the hordes of wretched souls seeking enlightenment against the pitfalls of fanaticism, she exposed the truth before her, not just by her words but because those poor souls saw it and felt it in their hearts. Even the preachers urging them to extremism and delusion agreed with her common sensical arguments and so will audiences worldwide when they see and hear her coming to life on the screen. Is it not relevant today to warn our brothers and sisters of the perils of dogma?

The Writer’s responsibility. Besides sticking to the telling (showing) of the truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God, writers of figures such as Sojourner Truth have the delicate task of transforming historical speeches and events into everyday life AND keep you at the edge of your seat every minute of film’s hour.  I can just hear the critics say, “we were on the edge of our seats every step of SoTru’s way,” instead of “the dialogue was ridden with

self-importance.” Critiques apart, being able to convey feeling to the general public is the writer’s purest aspiration.  Will the audience cry and laugh and wonder and sing along and fear and cheer with our dearest hero? Only then, will our soul rest.  How do we best bring a character to life in the public’s heart and eye, for present and future generations? That’s our quest and you’re the judge of our success. So delicate a matter it is that we must exercise the most caution and care in the construction of every scene for no one set is irrelevant.

Words such as conflict, suspense, intrigue, fear, elation, sorrow, despair, grief, pain, sickness, delusion, courage, inspiration, revelation, endurance, hope, love, forgiveness, desire, determination, agitation, declaration, mobility, encouragement, count among some of the exciting circumstances surrounding the life of one of the most dynamic inspirational lecturers of all times on topics such as freedom and equality, Sojourner Truth. Her legacy is in our hands to inspire new generations to achieve a higher standing in the world through education and organization. In her own words, “agitate, agitate and get in the mix while it’s still stirring.” A legend in her own time, SoTru brings us a breath of fresh air in the form of hope and accomplishment while entertaining us with our hero’s wit and song.  So keep in mind the title “SoTru” soon to hit the box.

Relevance and Purpose. What makes this film relevant today is not just that talent shines no matter what and God has always and will always use some of us to create great waves of change, nor that this woman born Isabella Baumfree accomplished almost all her goals by mere faith and determination, self-reliance instead of fear using common sense, nor that she attained Buddhahood. What makes this film relevant today is that she showed us how we must find a way to love even our enemies so we can see truth for it is “on the shoulders of the black man that the civilization of the white man rests.”  I interpret this statement to mean that the black man civilizes the white. But what civilization is has different meaning to different people. To me it means the evolution of the species.  Evolving means peace, harmony, prosperity, health, water, resources, knowledge, justice, fairness, brotherhood, tolerance in the world towards one another.

SoTru was the first to win a court battle against a powerful white man and get her son out of slavery in the deep south. Nonetheless, she lost him to the festered social arena and mass incarceration of black youth in the city of New York soon after slaves were freed in 1828. In response, she changed her name and filled her heart with love, vowing to profess Truth on her Sojourn. Thereafter referring to herself as Sojourner Truth, councillor to her people and advisor to Presidents, pressing the issue of women’s rights, equal pay for equal work, equal education and penal reform. The same voices are being heard today across the world. Join us in acclaiming justice and equality from sea to shining sea. SoTru.