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.