Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Update: What holiday?

Did we just have a holiday?  What I had was two weeks of near all-nighters broken up by two days in bed with the stomach flu.  Nice.


As a recap - I've been working on the outline (treatment) for 13 months.  From pitch, to short audition treatment, to finally getting the outline in shape to turn into a screenplay this process has taken  13 months.  It has included a week long research trip with my producer and executive producers,  probably 130 hours worth of deep script discussions, mainly taking place in the wee hours of the night because B.H.P. was on the other side of the globe shooting a Big Hollywood Movie.  We probably burned through three trees of notes.  At last count I wrote 45 plus drafts (I lost count).   Which I was happy to do because each step made it better.  Each version we got closer and I wanted to get closer.  And finally, we got there...

Today, I am starting to write the first draft.

The good news is that I am so happy with the work, I am in fact purely happy.   Somebody once said (it might have been Dorothy Parker, but I'm not sure), "I don't enjoy writing, I enjoy having written."

Well, YES.

The outline turned out to be a very detailed, single-spaced 37 pages.  So my first step is to put in the slug lines where they need to go, keeping the description as to what is happening in the scene underneath.  Then I will start at the top and crawl into each and every scene and breathe life.

Crawling in and breathing life.  That's my job.


The writers have finished draft one and we gave it out to get notes over the holiday.  We will collect feedback at the top of the month.  I'm also contacting the film commission where we want to shoot to see about getting help with a budget, locations and breakdowns.


I have been noodling a new spec.   (I have insomnia... you can get a lot done while everyone else you know is asleep)

I've also been contacted about a couple other writing assignments and possible sales of some of my old specs (which I've had long enough to be in the in flavor of the moment again.)

That's the update.  Soon I hope to move this blog to my official website - but priorities, priorities...

Until further notice...  I'm writing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Writing Tip Of The Week: When It Has To Get Done

Here's my brief writing tip of week:  When you're on a deadline and it has to be done, don't waste anytime doing anything else (like this blog post).

I'm in crunch mode.  After waiting for a week or so to get notes back from B.H.P.  the notes arrived just before Thanksgiving on my outline.  Which I still need the B.H.P. to sign off on so I can start writing the actual first draft.  (Which is due in the beginning of January - as in RIGHT-AROUND-THE-I'M-HYPERVENTILATING- CORNER!)

And by the way if you were wondering - HOLIDAYS DON'T EXIST when you are on a deadline.  So, even though I did take a day off to nibble turkey and two days off to take my 3 year old to Disneyland, my script is still due on the same day.   Nobody cares about your life.  This is the job.  Suck it up and get it done.

So I got a little nudge from the B.H.P. - consisting of an email which said literally:  Outline  ?

I affirmed that I would be done with the revisions by Friday so he could read over the weekend.

(By the way, all reading takes place over the weekend in Hollywood.  Execs, Producers, Agents and Managers lose the ability to read Monday through Friday.  Fact!  You can look it up.   Sight is miraculously restored each and every Saturday in time for the weekend read.  I can attest to this because way back in the day when I was working in development it happened to me.)

But, to my shock and horror I heard back  that the B.H.P. is flying somewhere and needs the new draft by mid-day Thursday....  Boy did I haul my butt off the golf course!  

I'm close and in this case if I hadn't heard from him I would have continued to tweak and probably over-write myself silly.  So, he nudged.  I'm nudged.

So, instead of waxing on here I'm going to be making my third act fabulous and  I give you  a recommendation to check out a screenwriting podcast that I listen to from time to time.

Script Notes:  A podcast by Craig Mazin and John August.  Two "A-Listers" who I imagine to be the Odd Couple meet Siskel and Ebert.   (Well, I guess if they didn't like and agree with each other so much.)

Find them: