Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Its an exerscise in story telling is what it is. Because you don't get a really good script in thirty days now do you. The whole philosophy behind this exercise, thought up by a genius friend of mine, is to produce something that WILL suck! Then once written-the hardest part being over- you put on your anyliizing cap and get to work picking it apart and editing it and revising it and adding new scenes and taking others out, etc, etc, etc for five to ten years until you have something really good.

So there are rules- devised by my genius friend- that to write a thirty day script you need to
1. have a story that has not been previously worked on. ie written down in anywya. thought about is okay.

2. 90 pgs minimum up to 120 or more. Thats three pgs a day for 30 days minimum to get it done.

3. start at scene one pg one and continue until you reach "the end" straight ahead story telling. No stopping and going back to fix something no spell check. Keep writing until you finish-then if you have time go back and edit and spell check.

WHY???? Thats crazy Mark what the hell would you do that for. One reason- not to think too much. If you start with an idea then do an out line then a treatment then a scriptment you can get caught up in the details before you actually write the script. This EXERSCISE ( for tose who believe I'm saying to write a script this way) is designed to get to the outcome and then go back and refine from there the bulk of the work already being done you can while away the hours picking your story apart and sculpting the details. Broad strokes first.

The other thing thats interesting about this EXESCISE is that when you write straight ahead you-the writer- are the audience. You have no idea where this story is going, you may suspect but something could happen and you're going off another direction. its awesome.

So there the 30 day script challenge. I've done it four times now. Its a blast. So here are some exerpts from scripts I have done. And yes they are registered with the WGA. Enjoy.



Jeronimo stabs the mop into the bucket incensed, cleaning the floor of the hall. A few more perturbed strokes and he’s finished. He pulls his shirt from the wall pegs and puts it on.
Saviolo enters and examines the job.


Jeronimo glares at him as he laces his shirt. Saviolo strolls the hall a furtive eye inspecting.

Fine fine. You must be hungry. Go, eat... No. You are not finished.

Jeronimo stops mid stride to the kitchen exasperated.

This will not do Jeronimo. It must be clean. Look dust, dirt--

What does it matter? What does it matter!? I clean and clean and clean. Its never good enough. You always fine something that goes beyond my noticing. What does it matter?

Saviolo stares at Jeronimo blankly. An answer doesn’t come.

As you wish!

Jeronimo grabs the bucket the mop and marches over to the area in question and begins to clean again slamming down the mop with a echoing thump. His motions frantic. Saviolo regards him compassionately seeing Jeronimo does not grasp a deeper purpose for his toil. Saviolo reaches out and Jeronimo jerks away.

Get away from me!

You do not understand--

I understand. I am just your servant?! That’s all you want me to be. Florio made it entirely clear to me. Said that I could learn from you, that you would be my mentor and I the protege. But that I had to prove myself. Do as you ask. Serve! You embarrass me all day long playing the fool-- I can beat everyone of those silk laced baffoons you cater to. Then make me work all night long. And for what? Gratitude?!! Well enough! You hear me enough? Enough!

Jeronimo throws down the mop and marches across the hall.

Do your legs hurt?


Do your legs ache? Are they sore? Does moping the floor tire you?

No. I can do the stupid mopping all night.

You can? Why?

I’ve done it every night. Night after night.

A knowing grin stretches across Saviolo’s face.

Stamina. A fight could end quickly against a lesser opponent, one of these silk laced buffoons perchance. But a skilled sword? Attrition would be your only weapon. Will against will body against body. Wear him out wear him down, one tends to make mistakes when tired. One gets tired if one is without...


Jeronimo realizes he’s just been schooled.

We improve only when challenged. You would not drill with half so much energy if I plainly asked it of you. I know you dislike me. I am aware of it, your contempt hurts me not. So I make you work. Work in ways which you are challenged but do not see. I apologize for such measures but believe me they are not conducted out of spite or arrogance or even ego. This is how I learned. This is how you will learn. I know no other way. These means are devised only to prepare you.


The General leads the line of men up the pitch black doorway and is the first one to step through. One by one they pass through the threshold. Duncan and Ortiz are the last to step through. It is a weird sensation. At first they are in the grotto and as if passing through a curtain of nothingness they emerge into another world.


The troops are already spread out and scanning for hostiles.

Down father, down.

Ortiz directs Duncan to take cover. They squat behind a reddish boulder next to Tomas and his trooper.

Look at the sky.

Duncan looks up to see nothing but and ink red black sky that swirls like a liquid. Duncan sniffs the air and looks confused.

What is it?

There’s no smell. Not putrid, acrid, nothing.

Duncan scoops up a handful of dirt and takes a whiff.

Doesn’t smell like sulfur doesn’t even smell like dirt.

Maybe we’ll find the brimstone further in.

Through the COM in the helmet everyone hears the Generals command.

Move out.

Lets go.

Ortiz gets Duncan up as the line of troopers move down the rocks trail towards the city sprawl below.

Those structures look similar to ones in the middle east, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Jerusalem.

Are you saying what were looking at is still on earth?

That door may be some sort of gateway, but short of the sky being red as blood this does not seem like some fantastical dimension to me. There is the possibility that we may just be in some podunk village in butt-fuck Egypt. Having a secret door right into their back yard would peak the Pentagon’s interest very much.

The GPS is off line General. If we were on earth we’d know it.

The column reaches the outskirts of the city and the troopers spread and get into cover fire formations slowly moving down the narrow street. Duncan and Tomas stick close to the wall. Duncan looks at the wall and goes white.


Duncan directs Tomas’ attention to the walls. The bricks that form the walls are compacted humans. Mashed and packed into the size of a brick and used to construct the dwellings. Tomas looks closely at one brick seeing an eye. It blinks, sending Tomas falling back onto his ass.

They’re alive! They’re still alive!

Duncan rushes to Tomas and helps calm him getting him back on his feet. The scene gets the rest of the parties attention.

They’re not alive, they’re souls understand? Souls. They’re already dead. Its just some form of punishment for their sins. Don’t touch anything!

The General storms back to the end of the line.

Goddamn it! We’re in a hostile environment we cant afford to compromise our position every time we see something as fucked up as that.

And we’re going to see more strange things. So if Father Tomas or anyone else looses it for an instant I’d let it go, okay. We’re fine. We’re not soldiers, we don’t know the rules so back off a little.

I cant afford any fuck ups. We’re as strong as our weakest link.

Don’t worry about us.

I should have left you behind. Ortiz! These two on you.


Listen this is the birth place of the most horrifying things any one can think up. Prepare yourselves.

Everybody copy? Move out!

Sorry Duncan.

Don’t worry about it. At least you didn’t wet yourself.

Tomas shakes his head and smirks at Duncan’s ability to disarm any situation. Duncan stays by Tomas’ side as they move down the street. The point man slowly peers around the end of a building as the side street opens up into the...


A wide open area that five streets pour into. Dominating the center is a large stone platform with horrible high wheels protruding from every corner. Atop the wheels are mutilated bodies moaning. At the center of the platform is a large chopping block with a large rotund bloated butcher covered in opened slashes poorly stitched shut.
A large bloody pile of parts is steadily growing while some deformed fish like midgets drag up another naked body from a wagon full of naked bodies. The trooper turns bone white.

We got a situation.

The Butcher looks over at the Trooper, the trooper raises his gun....the Butcher stares, then, unconcerned it goes back to work.

What is it trooper?

I got...I got....

The General and Mason maneuver to the other side of the street to get a better look. They gawk at what they see. Some mutated bastard choppin’ up bodies


Father Ross!

Duncan dashes across the street escorted by Ortiz taking positions right next to the General.

Explain this?

I have no idea.

You’re the expert.

And I’m telling you I have no idea.

Look what it’s doing to those people...

Souls corporal, souls. They’re already dead.

Still that’s some fucked up shit.

Why isn’t it doing anything. Its like it has no concern about our presence.

Of course it doesn’t, it probably perceives us like we’re just damned souls and it will get to us eventually.

It’s grossly misconceived. However we can’t afford to let it alert anything else about or presence. Mason, I’ve seen enough.

Mason raises his rifle and....The flash from the rifle shoots out six feet and turns the Butcher to spatter along with its minions and pulverizes the platform and peppers the surrounding buildings. SKREEEEEETCHHHH!!!!! A banshee howl pierces the air. The troopers look up and watch as a twelve foot tall winged demon lands on what was left of the square.
It scans the area and spots the troopers. It cranes its neck and hisses at them and brandishes a black flaming sword. Two more demons swoop in from above and land. One can’t help itself and takes a bite out of one of the naked corpses.

General we’re in big trouble!

Fall back! Suppressing fire!

The Troopers open fire as they move backwards down the street. The demons are torn to ribbons easily.
A few more demons dive at the retreating troopers from above. They too are eliminated.
In the midst of the firing a swollen grotesque form staggers out from the shadows of an alley reaching out to one of the troopers. The trooper turns at the last moment and sees the pitiful thing. Its fingers graze his armored shoulder just before the trooper blows it to a fine fleshy spray. The fleeting touch was enough the Troopers eyes turn black as he is instantly possessed. He turns his weapon on one of his own. Sparks fly off the armor as it is ripped to shreds. Everyone turns, startled in disbelief.


That trooper is blown away. Everyone dives for cover as the possessed trooper fires randomly, his face expressionless.
Duncan and Ortiz stay low watching in disbelief.

What’s he doing?!

Stepping out from one of the buildings reaching out towards a handful of troopers taking cover comes another Undead.

Look! Stop that thing!

Ortiz bears down on the thing and smears it across the wall. The troopers point their guns at Ortiz and Duncan thinking they are now possessed too.

Behind you.

The troopers turn seeing more zombies spilling out from a building behind them. They start firing.
The General stands and gets the possessed troopers attention. Before the trooper can pull the trigger the General fires and kills him with a controlled bursts that obliterates the troopers head. Duncan scans the street and sees more zombies approaching some troopers. He is to late to warn them and those troopers are possessed and start firing into their other men. The situation is worsening rapidly.


Blogger Jeremy Spears said...

this is a great idea!
I wrote a fifteen page scipt on a busride once..."The ATTACK of the GIANT CHICKEN" it was highly satisfying...I just went with it. My ideas get bogged down when they are thought over too much and not just written down (or drawn out). I will have to try it! Are you a fan of LOST. Those writers I believe wrote out the story very a week or something and now they just keep adding and editing. Good Show


8:33 AM  
Blogger Mr. Scribbles said...

IIIIIiiinteresting! I think I may just have to try this! Looks like fun. I always have the energy to start a script, but not the endurance to finish one, but I really plan myself into a corner sometimes. Going straight ahead might just be what I need to get push it to the end. Great idea!

2:54 PM  
Blogger MANDREWS said...

jeremy spears---- i am a fan of 'Lost' yeah they started with a wild concept and great characters and its working great. Theres an organic sensibility about it thats very refreshing. you cant guess whats going to happen next- because we the audience doesnt understand whats really happening.

edog----Thats it exactly, preventing you from planningyourself into a corner or getting in such detail so early you give up becaus eit over whelms you.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Rohit Iyer said...

Hi Mark--

I LOVE this idea. That's how I usually try to execute ideas that I'm not able to plan.

There are times, when I start structuring stories and the whole essence is just lost.

Usually, when I think of a story, I'm too lazy to put it into words immediately.

But then when someone asks me how things are coming along... I'm forced to write it down quickly and spontaneously JUST to describe it to them.

The amazing thing is that while doing that, you discover so many things that you never had thought of before.

It's immensely satisfying.

Great post!

1:17 AM  
Blogger Thomas Huxley said...

This is a great idea! Your genius friend is really a genius! I am definitly going to give it a go.
Lost is a great show. I never knew that is how they came up with the story!

/me gets to work on his story

10:00 PM  
Blogger Man of the House said...

I've tried it. Painful as hell but ultimately satisfying. Ray Bradbury alway said that he would take quantity over quality because you can always go back and fix things. But if you spend all your time noodling you will never know about the ideas you missed.


12:42 AM  
Blogger murrayb said...

Have you ever tried that Syd Field "scene card" thing? where you write all the scenes you have in your head for the story on index cards with a sharpie; e.g.
"Mark goes to the diner to tell Rosie about losing his job, he leaves inspired"
then you lay'em out in logical sequence, then try shifting them around, or losing redundant ones. Its kinda like a storyboard in that way. Each "scene card" is 2-6 pages of script.You can color code juicy scenes with yellow cards, and see how they fit in the flow. It's a VERY quick way to hash out a story, albeit slightly formula inducing.It's perfect for TV 3 act structure.Scene cards are almost the opposite of what you suggested, because it kills most of the suprise during writing, but it gets it "on paper".

1:43 PM  
Blogger Jorge said...

Definately a great method your buddy's come up with.
I usually start with a random sentence, and brain storm from there, but this seems a lot more interesting. I'm going to have to give it a try!

10:23 AM  
Blogger MANDREWS said...

murrayb---- no I haven't tried that myself. its something Ive done as a story artist, fixing a broken story. Its the quickest way to see the whole story all up at once. It really illustrates double beats if you have any, redundant info and you allows you to plot the character arc and wether info is being dolled out in a timely and interesting manner. But as for spontenaiety or surprise. no good.


thats my motto

Mandrews out

10:20 PM  
Blogger OV! said...

hey Mark,
what if i just download a bad screenplay, say..."Glitter" and then try and fix that? i get the feeling ill be working REALLY hard to fix it.

also, im trying to figure out who this "genius" person, guy, thing, it is you keep mentioning. hmmmmmm...


10:51 PM  
Blogger MANDREWS said...

OV!----- no downloading a BAD script is not the goal because you already know how to fix it. This is to make something of your own that bad and then fix it. I don't want to drop names-Stu Maschwitz- but suffice it to say -Stu Maschwitz- the "genius " is a good friend of mine and -Stu Maschwitz- always has great ideas. But i dont want to say who the "genius" is because its private.

Mandrews out

8:26 PM  
Blogger OV! said...

haha, gotcha.


3:00 AM  
Blogger Kelsey said...

I think you’re on to something. Sean Connery said something like this in Finding Forrester. He said write the first draft from your heart and the second from your head. I'm sure this wasn't where the idea originated, but it's a great simplification of the theory.

This seems like a controlled form of automatic writing. Allowing your subconscious to work it's magic.

I'm definitely going to try this.

Thanks Marc!

Oh, and kick ass. Metaphorically speaking. That is unless you’re a black belt or something, in which case you actually do kick ass.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Kelsey said...

Mar"c" or Mar"k"? Mark, right?

I'm an idiot.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Meesimo said...

Good exercise for creating pretty much anything, especially if you have the time to do the editing or fixing. Kirby and Lee come to mind, in regards to their monthly deadlines from way back(FF, Early X-men, Avengers, etc.) Churning out work at this rate yielded some classics. Course, Kirby may have been a genius from the's a Great exercise in many a medium!
"Sharpens the sword"...

8:23 PM  
Blogger josh said...

Hey Mark, do your ideas for comics flow like this also? Do you rough out the whole thing from start to end, or do you outline it and fill in details. I've seen you draw & talk at the same time without even slowing down. You must have two brains in your head :)

4:35 PM  
Blogger MANDREWS said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. 30 day script is a fantastic exercise. Helps develop your story sense an keeps that 'editor' out of your head at the begining of the process

JOSH---- as for comics Colossus was straight ahead. I did it a page at a time. Id rough 1 -5 pgs at a go then clean 'em up until i was done. Its a crazy way to work cause sometime you throw stuff out or get yourself into story corners like- how the hell am i going to pull this ending off???? Or where the hell is this story going???

But it turned out alright. Once i was finished I realized there was story missing so I added another 124 pgs and now its complete.

ANd i do have two brains. Its the only way I can draw and talk at the same time.

KELSEY--- yes mark with a 'K'

Mandrews out

11:36 PM  
Blogger Antimatty said...

dude, this is a pretty awesome idea! i think i'll try it out. i like your "mission:hell" thing, any plans to post any more?

10:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That's reallly coool!

8:27 AM  
Blogger John S. said...

Mark! Thanks for the tip!! I have all of these ideas I want to write, but the fear of doing a bad script has kept me from starting. Stream of conciousness straight ahead writing is just the thing I need to do! I can do that! I started to today!! Woo hoo!

1:19 PM  
Blogger MANDREWS said...

antimatty----- Possibly. got some art for that one too. heh heh

Alina Chau---- thanks

RoboTaeKwon-Z----- You go man!!!! whats most important is getting it out good or not. making it good only comes from doing draft after draft. I think there is too much focus in schools and teaching in "getting it right" the first time instead of cultivating imagination and risk. So " be bold" only good things come from taking risks.

Mandrews out

7:43 AM  
Blogger jackd up productions said...

There can be only one. Mark you work is incredable, I really like the new
Dartangion stuff, the aireal move where he chops off the arm is the coolest thing ive seen in a long time.
I am in mike tracy's class, you worked with him on iron giant. I have him for background and layout. I was wondering if from time to time i can ask you some advice on drawing, i need it. i have finished two years of school now one more to go.

3:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home