I did it.

After seemingly endless hours slaving away on the thrilling story of a gutsy female train engineer in post-Civil War America, today I got to type those two magic words: “The End.”

Rapture.  And…breathe.

Now I put it aside to focus on rewriting DREAMSHIP for more-than-likely entry into the Nicholl, then on May 2nd, dig out LUCY and start that rewrite.  I’ve already got some ideas on how to improve it.

I really do love doing this, and hope someday I get to do it all the time (with pay and everything!).  That would be definitely be awesome.

I’m feeling pretty good right now.

Not so fast

Well, crap.

I got to do exactly zero work today because I was busy doing dad stuff.  Not necessarily that I mind, but I was hoping to get more done on the outline.

I’m going to have to bring my creative hat with me to work tomorrow.

Movie of the Moment: THE SPY NEXT DOOR. Oh, Jackie Chan. The Drunken Master has been reduced to mega-crappy family comedy. But V liked it, and again, that’s the important part.

Also got to finish watching SALT. I liked the first half better.  How exactly would this have been different with planned original lead Tom Cruise?  really glad I did this on Netflix.

Into the home stretch!

Where have I been these past few days?  Why, making tremendous progress on LUCY, that’s where. I managed to get through the high-action parts of Act 3 and wrapped up yesterday with the death of my bad guy.  No big spoiler there; if you read the story, you know it’s inevitable.

All that remains now is the resolution and denouement, then going back and tightening a few things up, including a recent idea for a small subplot.  I may actually make my self-imposed pre-Wondercon deadline by a few days.  Nice.

I hadn’t looked at it as a whole for almost a week, so I had forgotten how big and imposing it seems at first glance.  Once this draft is finished, I’ll probably go through and hack it down. More darlings may be killed, but I’m willing to sacrifice a sequence like the buffalo stampede rather than keep the whole thing bloated.

I have to keep reassuring myself this is just a first draft and the end result may be extremely different.  Lucas’ original draft of Star Wars about Luke Starkiller is a good example of the benefit of rewrites.

Movie of the Moment: SALT. I’d heard it was a good, fast-paced thriller clocking in at 90+ minutes.  Pretty accurate so far. I can’t remember the last Angelina Jolie movie I saw where she wasn’t utilizing an accent.  Some of the movie requires much suspension of disbelief (freeway chase, assassination of Russian president), but it really moves and keeps you wondering how she’s going to get out of each particular situation.  I also find it amazing that any piece of clothing she steals fits her perfectly.

V is off for spring break this week, so there’s a lot of TV and Wii going on at our place (more than I’d like there to be, but that’s another story).  I took a break from the outline yesterday so we could watch ALADDIN.  I’m fairly certain this was from the tail end of Disney’s “animated Broadway show” period.  I didn’t realize two of the four credited writers were Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio, future writers of the SHREK and PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN series.  A quick check of IMDB shows that there were 19(!) writers connected to this.  Further proof that story is everything.

It’s still a fun movie, especially the Robin Williams/Genie scenes.  Talk about perfect casting.  V really liked some of those parts.  Although it was a little sad to see some of the very dated pop culture references such as the William F Buckley and Arsenio Hall impressions.  I suspected she’d like it, but I’m not holding out for THE LITTLE MERMAID.  All that girly stuff just ain’t her thing.

Oh. That.

Nicholl winners 2010

No LUCY progress today.  Extended workday.  Too much rain.  Picking up V from school because she has a hockey game.  They say a writer can make time to write, but it ain’t easy when you got a lot of other stuff going on.

I got an email a few days ago from the Nicholl people, officially announcing last year’s winners.  It was a good wake-up call.

It had completely slipped my mind that the deadline is fast approaching (May 2nd). My original goal was to do a rewrite on DREAMSHIP.  I even have the great notes I got from the fine folks at ScriptQuack.

Then the idea for LUCY hit, and I haven’t looked back.  No regrets whatsoever.

But now I’ve got another idea.

I’m still planning on finishing the LUCY outline by the end of next week, which would then give me about a month to work on DREAMSHIP and get it in before the deadline.  It’s doable.

I just have to brush the dust off the DREAMSHIP notes first.

Why here, not there

Nice progress on LUCY’s third act so far. There’s still a gap between where I am now and the end, but it’s slowly shrinking.  I’m making sure not to rush it.  Confidence still relatively high.

This morning I read the latest of several interviews with people still getting their careers underway.  Just about all of them moved to LA from somewhere else, worked their asses off and are making some headway.  Good for them.

Many of my friends and co-workers ask “If you want to write movies, why don’t you live in LA?”

Because I don’t want to.

Yes, it’s where the industry is based.  Where opportunities are plentiful.  Where the magic happens, etc, etc.

I’ve been there many times, and for my taste, I don’t really care for it.  I’m sure it’s a great place to live, but given the choice between San Francisco and Los Angeles, I’ll take Fog City.

Besides, I can write anywhere.  And once I get a career going, it’s a one-hour flight from SFO to LAX.  I could probably spend the same amount of time getting there as some people do on the 405.

When K and I were getting ready to leave school, we knew we wanted to be in a metropolitan area.  After going through our list of criteria, San Francisco was at the top of the list.  We haven’t regretted the choice ever since.

I’ve been to screenwriting expos and weekend seminars.  At least half of the people are local, the rest are from the rest of the world.  Movies may be made in LA, but you don’t have to live there to write one.  Like I’m always hearing, if the script is good enough, they’ll come to you.

Which is what I’m working on.