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

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Taking Stock

So despite being in a screenwriting group, which is keeping me semi-honest writing-wise, I've been slacking off the screenwriting thing the last few months.

Yesterday, I decided to re-dedicate myself. At least an hour a day, every day.

It's something I'm hoping to stick to as long as possible. Maybe I'll even keep a running tally here, to keep myself honest.

Consecutive days writing at least one hour: 1.

I'm in an odd situation right now, because I have a bunch of things that I've worked on semi-substantially, only to abandon somewhere along the way. This never used to be a problem for me -- I would almost always take an idea, and see it through to a completed draft (or 20).

Before this year, I have only two scripts that I ever stopped in the middle, and didn't go back to.

Right now, I have a lot, and it's time to think about what priority they are going to get.

THE TV SERIES SPEC. This is what I have been sort-of working on the last few months, which basically means that I keep rewriting the first 27 pages and bringing it back into group. The good news is, those 27 pages are getting pretty solid. But now it's time to write the second half. I did a little work on it yesterday. I want to get this done and off my desk, because even though it'll be nice to have a TV spec, it's derailing my other stuff.

THE QUIRKY LOW-BUDGET THRILLER. This has gotten the most exposure in group, and the first 50 pages are done and fairly solid, while the second half is pretty much plotted out. The one problem with group is that because of deadlines to bring pages in, rather than slogging through a words-on-paper draft, it has put me into the habit of writing scripts in 25-page chunks, then reworking those same pages. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. It would probably work better if I wrote more often.

THE HIGH-CONCEPT COMEDY. I need to write this, because it may be the most commercial thing in my arsenal. I plotted it out late last year, and knocked out 14 pages, and then I abandoned it, though I'm not sure why. I reread the 14 pages the other day, and there's some good stuff there.

THE FANTASY THRILLER. This was the first thing I brought into group, the first 25 pages, early this year, and they tore it apart, justifiably so. I had plotted out a lot of it, and there are some interesting ideas in it, but it needs some major brainstorming and reworking, and I'm not excited enough about it to put it at the top of the pile at this point.

THE HORROR SCRIPT. Last year - or maybe the year before, time is starting to bleed into itself -- I plotted this out, and started writing it in odd fashion, basically just hammering out all the scenes containing sex and violence (which there were a disturbing amount of). But I was starting to creep myself out, so it went on the back-burner, with probably 40-50 random pages written.

THE TEEN COMEDY. This is 85% plotted out on index cards somewhere, and sometime I'll write it, maybe. Of course, if Superbad hits big (and it'll probably do pretty well), this is a completed script I'll probably wish I had ready now.

At least an hour a day, every day. Hopefully I'll start finishing drafts.

Join me. I'm throwing down the gauntlet.


At 12:41 PM, Blogger Christian M. Howell said...

I know the feeling. I was down for a few days working out some issues with a fantasy comedy.

I let my action/adventure go during this time and i like to work concurrently when I have the sequence maps done.

I'm definitely with you everyday SHOULD be a writing day.

Hopefully I'll get a nice bonus and raise next month to alleviate some of the cost of this.

Then I can take a week off and raid a pitch fest or two.

At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Joel said...

Writing groups have a down side: Nothing is good enough. My writing group has this problem. We freeze and reboot every project brought into group, to the point where the only writers who finish projects are the writers who ignore notes. My last script benefited immensely from group, but at a certain point, I had to ignore group and write it anyway. It's a Nicholl Quarterfinalist now. FYI: notes are a bell curve. They're usefullness drops to zero eventually. Stop taking it to group if you have to and finish. Love your blog, by the way!

At 1:31 PM, Blogger Lucy said...

I agree. There has to be a point that, no matter how good coverage is, you have to say: "I'm finishing this draft." It's a leap of faith and sometimes you're not always right and sometimes you are right, but everyone else has to catch up. But that's what leaps of faith are all about.

At 6:17 PM, Blogger Josh said...

I'm rooting for you to stick with your hour a day thing. My writing partner and I finished a pilot in May and haven't been able to get any traction in our writing since then.

Started plotting a Battlestar spec--abandoned it when we found out the show is only on one more year.

Started plotting a Dexter spec--abandoned it for the time.

Started plotting an animated feature...and now seem to be sort of halfway abandoning it for now because we're more excited about another pilot idea.

I'd be more worried if we hadn't completed three specs and a pilot over the past year, but it's still frustrating for both of us.

At 6:36 PM, Blogger E.C. Henry said...

Scott, glad to see you've got a lot of works in progress, that's exciting. You're a muti-tasker. Wish I could write like that, but I'm finding in my own life that writting is so engrossing, that I can only do justice to one plot at a time.

All your ideas sound like winners. Hope you manage to sell some them. And like you, I too strive to put in (at least) an hour a day writing.

I'm with ya on "Superbad." Any show that has Van Hallen's "Panama" in it's soundtrack merrits a look. Will see Judd Apatow's latest masterpeice this weekend for sure. Who knows maybe it will inspire me to plot a teen comedy I want to write in honor of my brother, Derek. My brother is like the charcter they forgot to put in "Wild America."

- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Yeah, stick to it. That's how I finished Laid.

With Superbad approaching (Laid has a similiar tone I'm sure), I knew I had to complete as soon as I could.

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in, sir. I've been too focused on developing other people's projects and shooting shorts. It's time to get dedicated.


At 11:10 AM, Blogger japhy99 said...

Can I just copy this post and paste it onto my blog?

We are the same.

I'd have to change some details of the projects you mention, but overall? Same.

Kick ass.

Maybe that'll inspire me to.


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