Tag: screenwriting

The 6th Seal, or…Whatever

It’s funny how, once upon a time with a deadline, I could manage roughly 6 pages a day, or more.  Now, my first and only six pages seem to sit there, staring…and judging.

Even so, I am not going to begrudge myself a small start, because at least it is A start.  I have finally, at long EFFIN LAST, committed to a (general, mosty-developed-but-open-to-minor-change) plot that I like, with characters I believe, and DAMN if that doesn’t feel good.

Sure, I may “waste” 5 hours at a time looking at pictures on Google of friendship necklaces, and junker camper vans, and tourist sites for my locations, but if that helps me to know what the hell I’m doing later, it is time well…spent? Well wasted?  Either way, Well Done, Me.

Though I am surprised to find myself struggling to find my footing after the beast of a script last time around (it maxed at 122 pages), I am not discouraged.  It was last May that I handed in my last script, and since then the idea of writing a second has been just that…an idea.

Maybe it’s because I have zero experience spec writing, though I am familiar with what it entails. Maybe it’s because I am so boooored with a lot of what I see that I haven’t been inspired.  Mostly, it’s because I am of the mindset that if I don’t want to watch something, I don’t want to write it…so I had to take my time to figure out what I’d want to see on screen that someone with my style of writing could pull off.

That, at least, sounds more impressive (albeit 100x more pretentious than) the cold, hard facts.  When it comes to my own writing (narrative or for the screen), I have a terrible habit of procrastination when lacking the mind-numbing terror that comes from having a looming deadline.

Without the horror of facing failure should I fail to produce a complete script in 16 weeks (…I did it in 12. UNF…), I just…drag my feet.  I get lost in the dangerous habit of putting it off “til tomorrow,” or getting caught up in “research” (looking at pretty pictures and drawing terrible stick-figure thumbnails).

All this to say, judgmental inner screenwriter be damned.  Those 6 pages may not be my most impressive page count, but it is more than I’ve managed since last May, so I’m counting that as a win.

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Hello? Was it ME you were looking For?

Yeah, so…this is going to be the second post in a day, because I feel silly that I had this big “I’m NOT dead and SO DOING THIS” post, and then disappeared…again.

Anyway, I finally have my characters and my scenario, so it will be a matter of balancing the Real Life with kicking my own arse and DOING THIS THING.

The one thing I have noticed is that as much as I flailed and stressed and whined about my homework and deadlines and blahblah, that pressure really ensured I got stuff done.  It has been, what, since June or July since I have been planning on writing again, and now it is late January and I have done all of 1 1/2 character profiles and JUST finalized my script synopsis.

To be honest, that’s a bit embarrassing.  I could say it was because I wanted to be a perfectionist and make sure I got it right the first time, but that would be only sorta-true.

I DID have another idea for a while, and about 5 pages of script, but I just…wasn’t feeling it.  At all.  It wasn’t bad, per se, but just something I couldn’t work on FIRST.

Thus, I went to square one, and here I am.  I have my characters (though not finalized on paper), and my scenario, but I am REALLY missing my glorious Muse of all things writing.  She had this amazing ability to read through my script and point out EXACTLY the bit that was troubling me, without me saying a word, and offer a vague suggestion that lead to pure magic.

I knew she was brilliant, but I guess I hadn’t realized how much I needed a sounding board.  So, this may be a good test to see if I can do this without someone right there who can be that sounding board for me.  Who knows.

So, all this to say, I really AM working on another script…I just never expected for it to take this long just to START.

Screenwriting: Breaking That 100 Page Barrier

It may seem odd that this is such a big thing, but it really really is.  Yes, it is roughly a minute per page, with every change of location being a new scene, so it makes it easier.

Still.  As somebody who leaped straight from short stories, or short chaptered stories, into script writing, this is a big deal.  Yes, I have a bit more to go, but this is the final stretch, and it feels incredible.  The ideas are coming together, the shit is about to hit the fan, and all the loose ends  that I’ve chosen to tie up are going to be tied up.

Yes, of course there are re-reads and edits to do, but that doesn’t lessen my excitement over surpassing my goal and nearing the end.  I enjoy doing this far too much to ever feel like complaining about the necessary drudgery.

Screenwriting: Tip-Toe Through the Tulips Towards Triumph

I am getting closer, and closer, and closer towards finishing this script.  Not only is that making me incredibly happy, but it feels amazing.  What is doubly amazing is that I still have quite a few scenes to go, and am already at page 94.  So, yes. It is safe to say that this will max out much, much longer than originally anticipated.

I know that Brevity is the Soul of Wit, and all that, according to some schools of thought, but I say PFFFFFTTTT.

Why would I ever, ever, h-eevvver (…can you hear Dr. Cox’s voice, because I can…) sacrifice a cohesive story and well-rounded characters for the sake of a shorter story/script?  That would just be crazy.  I know I’m already a bit a CrayCray, as most creative types can be, but not enough to sabotage myself or my story.

So, yes.  I may have planned for 75 pages, but will happily take my 100 or so pages that I will end up with. 🙂

Screenwriting: Collaboration, the Gift that Keeps Giving

I am incredibly, stupendously lucky to have such gifted, inspirational friends who are willing to sit back for hours, drink tea, and chat about writing.  The words flowed like Earl Gray, and, in the end, culminated in 6 pages of brilliance.

Seriously, I enjoy getting lost in my own world and writing, but it is incredibly helpful to have someone willing and able to bounce ideas back and forth.  Not only do you figure out where you are missing something, you also figure out really quickly whether or not you’re on the right track.

So, I guess the Lesson Learned (or, Re-Learned) Today would be that you should never be afraid to reach out.  There is a wealth of ideas and interesting perspectives just waiting to be explored.

Screenwriting: The Final Streeeeeetch

I’m not sure if it is just that I am in The Writing Zone, or if it is the fact that I am in the final haul, but the Final Stretch of my script is feeling less like a stretch, and more like a leisurely stroll after a pleasant, incredibly satisfying jaunt.  Though I managed only 6 pages today (and look at me, saying “only” as if it were a bad thing), but those were six pages leading towards the inevitable confrontation that leads to the Glorious Finale.

A body was discovered, a point of contention was readdressed, Chekov’s Gun is cocked and loaded (and waiting patiently on the mantelpiece).  All in all, things are coming together in a way that is most satisfying.

I will, of course, be tweaking for dialogue, details, and general anal retentiveness to the last minute, but still.  The stage is set and the shot is fired.  All that’s left now is that last sprint to the Finish Line…and perhaps, a lot of paranoid, last minute research.

Even so.

This has been, and continues to be, one hell of a ride.

Screenwriting: Tweaking Takes Time

I am forever thankful for my lovely, glorious friends who are willing to let me interrupt them with endless questions and shove my new scenes in front of their faces for a second opinion.  This has probably saved me hours of brainstorming later, trying to figure out what was wrong/missing.  Well, there is no probably about it.  This HAS saved me several hours of pulling my hair out and giving myself ulcers.

Honestly, I have a good idea of where I’m going for the final part of my script, but thanks to the little inserts, tweaks and feedback, I am sure that the journey there will be a lot smoother (for me, not my characters).  I knew beforehand how important having a second, third, or fourth pair of eyes was in the creative process, but I never appreciated it quite as much as I do now, especially with the possibility of actually seeing my baby produced.

I think what I’ve learned from this is that you should never underestimate the value of a friend who isn’t afraid to point out where your writing is falling short, but who does it in a way that’s actually constructive.