a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Writing a Script is Like Building a House... and so is Building a House

So I spent today doing something that I've always wanted to do, but which I had never taken the step to actually doing myself until now.

I did volunteer work, helping Habitat For Humanity build a house.

My wife's job set up a thing for their employees to volunteer, and though not many of them did, me and my lovely brude went over to the site (in Port Hueneme, about 40 miles northwest) and spent the day busting our humps for a good cause.

Today, that amounted to installing insulation in the ceiling, then helping awkwardly move (in two adjacent houses) over 100 pieces of fairly heavy drywall up a staircase to the second floor. Then we helped fill in a ditch over a pipe.

For someone like me who spends the bulk of their week sitting around reading scripts and writing coverage, just getting out and being active with other people is nice. Breaking a sweat to help a family get one step closer to a house to live in? Even better.

I loved every minute. I may pop back over in early December, just to hammer some of that drywall in.

Anyone who wants to join me, let me know.


At 10:50 PM, Blogger Chesher Cat said...

Sounds like hard work...and fun.

Call me.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Lucy said...

Volunteering really does give you a sense of well-being that cannot be beaten. The idea that by giving just some of your time can really make a difference is unreal. I've never volunteered in a manual sense like this because I'm such a tiny little weakling, but over here in the UK we have a variety of initiatives in which people can donate their time and I've done so on a number of occasions, usually talking to school kids about the creative arts and doing workshops with them. I got an email last year from one teenage girl who's gone to university she says as a direct result of a workshop I did at her school about three years ago and that was a fantastic feeling. Keep up the good work - Nice one, Scott!

At 3:22 PM, Blogger S. A. Petrich said...

It's not just volounteering, it's the sense of actually doing something with your own hands, as opposed to strictly intellectual work us writers are used to.

A couple weeks ago I was helping my dad out clear out his atelier so that photographer guy could take pictures of his work (over 40 years of it) for a book. A couple days dusting, scrubbing, fixing cracks in walls, lifting heavy things and putting them back down. It was hard work, but in the end I felt more content than I am when I finish a script.

I felt the same with the movie I starred in and co-directed today. But that's another story.

It's all about being active.

At 5:00 AM, Blogger Steve Axelrod said...

Actually, you screw in dry wall. And remember: factory edge to factory edge! As a writer who has spent every day, from six to seven days a week as a painting contractor, fixing bad dry wall jobs as well as refinishing floors, glazing windows and spraying new houses, I can tell you that the novelty wears off quickly. Not so with volunteering, however. And if you do enough of it, you may find that it actually complements your thought process. A day of rolling ceilings gives me some lower back pain -- but quite often, it also provides the story point I had been searching for uselessly at my desk. I sometimes think that if I ever succeeeded as a writer, I'd have to do volunteer paint jobs, just to keep the ideas coming. It would give charity an ironic edge ... some poor family thanking me for all the extra hours I put in, getting their Habitat house ready ... and I'm thinking wooo-yah! I nailed my second act reverse. I guess I'd probably keep that to myself, though ...

At 3:37 PM, Blogger Systemaddict said...

Nice man, good work. I used to Frame for a living, though never really thought of how it applies to screenwriting...though it really does.

I'd join you if I were South...sadly, I'm stuck in the rain.

Let me know how the houses go.


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