Ha! Breakthrough!

You’d be amazed at how creatively inspiring folding laundry can be.

Sounds crazy, I know, but I was working on the outline, got stuck once again on how to have Lucy track down the bad guy, and I didn’t really want to sit and stare at the screen, hoping for some kind of answer.

So I stood up, stretched and realized I had a ton of laundry on the nearby drying rack to take care of.  The folding of shirts begins.  The whole time, I’m thinking “what could she do?  I know HOW I want her to get there, but what’s the set-up?”

Fold, fold, fold.

Previous attempts at a solution had proven futile.  And I was almost done with the shirts.

She has to find this guy.  It’s the spine of the story.

Last week I had rewritten the beginning, which suddenly offered a story point which would tie in very nicely with what led up to Lucy’s current predicament.


That was the spark I needed.  I knew what I wanted, typed out the basis of the idea, then folded the last of the shirts.

But I had to be sure this worked.  A quick jaunt to the DVD player to check how similar another well-known sequence might be.  Answer: a little, but nobody’s going to claim I ripped it off.

I had the answer I wanted.  I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t thought of it before.  It was perfect.  A little readjusting in some scenes beforehand, a burst of creativity in the handful of scenes following, including a reminder about her love interest, and there I was at page 45.

Oh so nice.

Tomorrow: the slog towards the Point of No Return continues!

Movie of the Moment: We DVR’d the last 3 CLONE WARS on Cartoon Network (something about a Dark Side trilogy, based on V’s description) and since tonight’s homework is done early, we may crash on the couch and watch all three (excluding commercials, of course).

Yessir, that girl is growin’ up right!


Today was pretty busy around the house, so I didn’t get any work done on the LUCY outline.  Drat.

But I said I’d read through Patrick Sweeney’s GHOST TRAIN again, and I did.

I sent him some comments, but the gist of the whole thing was that I was really impressed with it.  I’m a sucker for a good western, and this comes really close.  It’s a great premise (outlaw’s son goes after limitless riches on a train carrying the condemned to hell).  The writing is vivid, colorful and really holds your attention.  This would make a kickass movie.


I did have some questions about some parts of the story.  Some things weren’t exactly clear, hence my need for a second read.  I would read something, and it would stick in my mind as I tried to figure out if that’s what it was supposed to be read.

Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoyed it a lot, but it helps when I can fully grasp the rules of the world a script is portraying.  Makes it easier to follow the story.

When Patrick sent me the script, he said he was open to another draft.  Hopefully my questions will result in answers that clear up some of these problems.

Movie of the Moment:  FRIGHT NIGHT, based on the Filmsack podcast. It was okay.  Interesting to see how this was one of the earlier flicks to cash in on the vampire craze.  Roddy McDowall really helps elevate the material.  I know they’re remaking it with former Doctor Who David Tennant in that role, but this time as a Vegas magician instead of a TV host.

(BTW – Filmsack is free on iTunes and oh-so-worth-it.)

Highly doubtful I’ll see that in the theatre, but definitely out it into the Netflix queue.

Tomorrow:  back to work on LUCY!

Cowboys and soldiers are MY kind of crap

Through some miracle unbeknownst to me, my Adobe reader at work was up and running, so I was able to read through Patrick Sweeney’s GHOST TRAIN.  Due to time constraints, I got halfway through, then finished it at home.  I want to read it again because I’ve got some questions that a second read may answer.  Comments will be posted Monday.

In the meantime…

K is out of town for the week, so while it may mean the usual readjusting of child care and a slightly different menu (my dishes tend to run simpler when it’s just me and V), it also means I tear through the stuff I put on Netflix I know she won’t watch.

Which usually means westerns, WWII flicks and cheesy recent releases.  Not so much of the first two categories this week, but some of the stuff I’ll be watching over the next few days includes: GI JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA (which looks really, really stupid, but I can’t help myself), THE LOSERS (mixed reviews), and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (I read the book, but don’t have any desire to see the upcoming American remake).

I regret not being able to do much with LUCY this weekend, but this whole parenting thing is quite time-consuming.

Speaking of which, V got HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON for Hanukkah.  She loved it when we saw it in the theatres, but I think I’m more interested in watching it again than she is.  Which is okay.

She’s really into Miyazaki films lately.  HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE. KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE.  She wants to see MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO.  Tonight’s feature is CASTLE IN THE SKY.  I saw it when she was really little, but don’t mind having it in the house again.

I don’t know which is more fun to watch.  The movies or her reaction to watching them.

Someday she may even want to watch STEAMBOY, which is just wicked cool.  It was made by Katsuhiro Otomo, the same guy who did AKIRA.  While AKIRA is cool to look at, the story just gets too confusing.  At least for me.

What’s playing at your place?

Even better

Progress is coming along nicely. I was able to make some changes to the new beginning I worked on yesterday, and it really meshed with most of what I had written before.

And it also seems like it will only need some minor readjustments here and there to really bring it up to speed. Which means I can finally focus on moving forward.

Regarding one subplot of which I was very concerned, I realized I might be able to tie it in with another, thereby tying more of the whole thing together.

I like when this kind of serendipity happens.  Or is it?

-Regarding GHOST TRAIN, I didn’t get a chance to read it during those brief minutes between traffic reports because the Adobe Reader in my studio computer appears to not be working. Knowing this company the way I do, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been removed altogether.

So I’ll have to read it at home, and with K heading out of town, I’ll have plenty of spare time to do that.

As is typical of my scatterbrained nature, I also forgot about the remaining Black List scripts. Hopefully once the Adobe reader is working again in my studio, I can knock a few of those out of the way.

-I think I’ve mentioned Scriptshadow’s Amateur Friday before, but just in case you’ve forgotten, the site’s moderator chooses a script from those submitted by his readers (accompanied by a note explaining why he should pick this script), reviews about it and posts his comments. A lot of the time the script is made available to the rest of the readers as well.

I sent in DREAMSHIP and WOK & ROLL aka the Chinese restaurant script. I’ll be surprised if he picks either. But you never know.

-Movie of the Moment: a completely forgettable B Western called MAN IN THE SHADOW from 1957. It was on Encore’s Western channel, and the only reason I watched it was because Orson Welles is in it. He appears to be about 40 or 50 pounds shy of his TOUCH OF EVIL weight. This may also be around the time he appeared on an episode of I LOVE LUCY.

Apart from him, there’s nothing unique about the film. I’d heard Welles had been in a Western, purely in an acting capacity. Poor guy. His wunderkind days were far behind him and he probably needed the work to fund his own projects.

Can you imagine being the director on that film? I wonder if the guy ever asked Welles his opinion about how a shot looked. I guess that would be like coaching a community softball team with Tim Lincecum as your pitcher. (That’s the long-haired SF Giants pitching phenom, for you out-of-town baseball fans.)

Totally unexpected but much appreciated

After weeks of agonizing self-doubt and re-examining of whether or not the outline works, I may have stumbled onto the solution I’ve been looking for.

And I owe it all to a guy I’ve never met.

During some of my downtime earlier today, I was checking out some of the screenwriting blogs I like. Some of those led to links, which led to some I’ve checked out once in a while, to a few I’ve never seen.

This guy falls into the middle category.

Patrick Sweeney lives in the Sacramento area and runs the blog I Blame Ninjas.  He wrote a script called GHOST TRAIN, which is also a western-adventure, but apparently with a more supernatural bent.  I asked him if I could take a look and he sent it without hesitation.  I plan on reading it tomorrow.

I also asked him what his logline was.  He sent it.  It is totally kick-ass, and put mine to shame; anything that includes the phrase ‘a train carrying phantom gunslingers to Hell’ has to be good.  But instead of wallowing in self-pity, I realized mine could be almost as good.  So I tinkered.  Now I’m definitely closer to a better one than I was a few days ago.

It also got me thinking that my existing outline is NOT written in stone, and that I CAN make changes and take liberties and all that.

So I did.

Right now I’ve got a completely different beginning, which I like a lot.  I still need to work on the rest of it.

And by reading a script review on Scriptshadow, I also discovered what had really been holding me back before in terms of my antagonist: his motivation.  Why does he do what he does?  For now, it’s one of the two standards: money or revenge.  I’m not sure yet, but both have definite possibilities.  He can’t just be bad because it suits the script.

I also thought of introducing yet another subplot about a treasure map (to tie in with that whole ‘money’ motivation), but I don’t need any more headaches over this thing, so I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

No Movie of the Moment today, but I’ve been enjoying the risque anime MOUSE about a cat burglar and his three buxom assistants.  More or less PG-13 material, but typical Japanese sex humor and not for kids.  Unless you’re a teenaged boy who gets a big kick out of skits on Benny Hill.

Amazingly, I’m not the one who put this on our Netflix queue.  That honor goes to the lovely K.  But I’m really grateful she did.

Really grateful.