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

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


For whatever reason, the script ideas seem to be flowing for me. I'm not complaining, but it is creating a logjam.

I've never been a big start-a-script-then-back-burner-it guy. I'm more of a rewrite-the-same-script-endless-times kind of guy.

Anyhow, last fall I had an amusing idea for a comedy, that I brainstormed a lot, and then knocked out about 15 pages off, before getting bogged down in actual work stuff.

Then I came up with an idea for a dark comedy fantasy thriller, and put the comedy to the side to work on that. I came up with a rough storyline, started knocking it out, and even got 25 pages in pretty good shape for my screenwriting group, where they tore it apart, but in a way that made it clear that there was something to the idea. Cool.

But then, a little over a week ago, I started pondering the idea of writing something that can be done for a low budget. Not that I have any desire to direct it myself (I don't), but it seems like everyone is always looking for genre scripts that can be filmed relatively inexpensively, and yet everything I tend to write has something to it that it going to require special effects or at least a butt-load of locations.

So I started pondering what story I could tell, that had minimal locations and only a few characters. And I came up with an idea. And then I thought about it some more, and expanded it, and then came up with a cool twist. And then the ideas started really flowing.

The capper was on Sunday, when I drove up north with my wife; we noodled around the back roads up to Solvang, turned aroud, and came home. And on the drive back, I pitched her the story.

If you can't tell your story to a rapt audience in a car, your story doesn't work yet.

This time it did. I hooked her, she loved the twists, she wanted me to write it. Which isn't something that often happens.

So the other script has been moved to the back-burner; I will finish it someday. But I've got a new obsession.

Stay tuned.


At 1:05 PM, Blogger Queen Kellee said...

See, I'm the opposite. I'm the backburner Queen.

This is perhaps my biggest screenwriting problem. I get excited about an idea, get started on it...then something distracts me (day job) or I get stuck...then another idea comes and I'm off working on the new one, never really finishing anything. And sometimes I go through a period for a week or two where all I do is come up with new ideas, jot down loglines and a few notes and then another, and another and another...

I'm a commitment-phobe. I'm actively working to change this bad habit.

But I have found a few benefits: it's good brainstorming practice. And that ego-boost that can make an idea seem OhSoGreat has greatly dissolved away, allowing me to identify the problems and find crafty solutions.

This sounds like I'm justifying -- guilty. My plan for change is forcing myself to finish my most recent crush. I don't even care if it sucks (probably the fear driving the problem).

Cheers to balance :) And good luck on your script(s).

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Scribe LA said...

Neat, Scott!!
Words to live by: "If you can't tell your story to a rapt audience in a car, your story doesn't work yet."

At 7:13 PM, Blogger japhy99 said...

Ah yes, the pitch-to-the-wife.

It always works for me.

Thank all that is holy for cold water in the face.

Bravo man~~

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

I'm the king of the backburner. Between my hardrive & random disks, Christ, I've probably got 40+ scripts that are backburnered. Some are only like 3-5 pages, but some are 20+ and I've got one in the 50s.

But i gotta keep writing whatever is inspirng me, and hope one day i'll get back to those other ones.

Right now though, I'm pretty focused on my comedy, UNION, and I plan to solely work on that. Then again, I could work on that dark drama that I started, or the high concept romantic comedy, ah fuck..............

At 5:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

when you did your pitch were you waving your arms all over the place like an Italian semaphore signal instructor, wiping spittle off your chin and blinking faster than a hummingbird's heart rate... or does that just happen to me

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous George said...

Yippee! This is very, very good news for me, since I have right of first refusal to all your scripts. You may not recall, but you signed a contract to such effect. Well, actually I forged your signature and no court of law will be able to tell the difference. Finally, all these years of practicing my screenwriting friends' signatures will pay off!

At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Roger Taylor said...

Hm. I've had the exact same "problem" the last few months. I think it's been a bit more intentional on my part -- I keep coming up with new ideas because I don't want to have to finish my main project -- but still, not the worst position to be in. The "backburner" cooking analogies frighten me because I'm pretty sure if I keep starting new scripts, something's going to catch on fire and I don't even know how to work my fire extinguisher.


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