A new beginning?

Well, I finally got to take part in a new writing group last night. It was great. There were 5 other people, and then me.

It’s even semi-organized, which was pretty impressive. They start with the check-in, where everybody gives a little status report of what they’ve been up since the last meeting, writing-wise. Two of the women are working on shorts, one guy is sidetracking and working on a novel, and another woman is working with a producer. Cool.

I gave them a thumbnail sketch about myself. I think it helped.

After the check-in, two people offer their materials up for review. They arrange this at the end of the previous session, then email said materials to everybody a few days before the upcoming session to give them time to look it over and evaluate them.

First we started with one woman’s script for a short. It was okay, but my ruthless proofreader’s pen couldn’t stop noticing the problems with spelling, grammar and format/structure.

Once I got past those, we talked about the characters and story. There was definitely some good material in there, but some things needed to be changed to make it more effective.

I did my best to NOT come across as a know-it-all, tempted as I was at times. There were some things I had to mention, but I tried hard to make it sound friendly and encouraging.

I think I scored points with my suggestion of changing one of the characters from an aunt to a daughter, mostly because the author said she already had an actress cast for that part. Everybody seemed to think it was a really effective change and could greatly benefit the story, as well as changing it’s overall dynamic. I felt so vindicated.

Then we read the first 15 pages of the script being done with a producer. I liked it, but as with all early drafts, there were lots of questions from all of us.

We wrapped up a little later than I thought we would, but it was still okay. I talked with the second writer on the way out. Her ‘manager’ is more of a teacher, but it sounds like he also has lots o connections. Nice. She also mentioned an agent she knows in Sacramento(?!), who’s looking for clients. That could be something worth pursuing.

I volunteered to both host and offer my materials for next time, which means I have to get my ass in gear and cranknout at least the first 10-15 pages of Baby Likes Jazz. AND since I’m also working the midday shift all this coming week, there will no doubt be lots time split between those pages, the rest of the outline and those time-consuming traffic reports every 10 minutes. At least I’ll be getting paid for the latter while dealing with the first two.

Someday that will be revised.

Wow!

I got a totally unexpected email yesterday. The assistant of the agent I was really close to signing with sent a response to an email I sent at the beginning of the month.

It had been approximately a year since I last tried contacting her. She had vanished in the summer of 2008, when I was supposed to be working with her on fixing DREAMSHIP.

Weeks passed, which turned into months, which eventually became a year. Then two. During that time, I would drop the occasional email inquiring about her health and well-being. Responses were non-existent.

But lo and behold, an answer! Turns out she is currently out of the country and doing well. Interpret that how you will.

I made no mention of the industry, and hope that if/when she comes back, we can still work together. That would be nice.

Could this be it?

Got an invite to a new writing group from my compatriot. They’re meeting later this week, and everybody is said to be experienced. Which is good. I wrote to the organizer and said it might be better for me to be an observer, rather than just jumping in, handing out my stuff and saying “What do you think?”

I also heard back from the fine folks at the Nicholl. They got approximately 6300 entries, and mine is 4967. While it would be nice to advance – scratch that. It would be great, even phenomenal to advance, but even if I don’t make it past this first round, I’m not going to be disheartened. I really like how the rewrite came together, and I can really focus on getting this dreaded outline done.

My compatriot had nice things to say about what I’ve got so far in the outline, which is always encouraging. As I said to her, if I can get past those scenes between the midpoint and Twist #2, then the rest shouldn’t be that hard. That’s 10-12 scenes, more or less. Right now, they’re seeming very formidable. But I’m sure I’ll get past them. Eventually.

I’ve also put it out of my mind about the logline-based contest, which is how the rewrite came to be in the first place. The deadline for another contest came and went this weekend. I thought about entering, but then I reminded myself – “You don’t have to enter ALL of them.” I guess I’d rather focus on the outline and getting this script in order before thinking about more contests.
But for now, I’ve got to get back in the habit of writing every day. Not doing so makes me feel like I’m missing out on getting closer to the goal of a finished script.

And a finished script is exactly what I want.

Da Latest!

Unless you count ‘thinking about it’ as writing, then I have failed to accomplish the primary rule of writing:  I haven’t been able to write every day.

I like to think it’s not out of laziness; it’ s more of the opportunity to do so. There have been split shifts at work, sudden childcare issues, and so on.

It also doesn’t help that I’m working on that group of scenes between the midpoint and Twist #2.  Right now I have approximately 10 scenes in there,  but I really need at least 12.  I’m hoping to get some kind of feedback from the other member of my group, but that’s a wait-and-see kind of thing.

She also told me about a writing group that has actual writers in it! Or at least, people who have written scripts before.  We had to submit a short bio about ourselves; I guess in order for them to gauge how ‘serious’ our dedication to the craft is.  That will be interesting, to say the least.

Following my DREAMSHIP rewrite for the contest a few weeks ago, I decided I liked it enough to enter the Nicholl.  I sent it in with a few hours to spare.  I have no idea how I’ll do, but I’m trying hard to put it out of my mind and work on this damned outline.

I like the idea of entering other contests, but it adds up and sometimes the prizes leave a little to be desired.  I like the ones where you make connections within the industry.  But again, I’d rather be writing.