I can only do so much

I got a follow-up email from the writer looking for help with their rewrite.  They had implemented some of my recommendations, but for the most part hadn’t really changed that much.

They stated they had not done a huge rewrite,which in my opinion was their first mistake.  This thing needs a major, page-one overhaul, complete with a well-developed outline.  I’d be happy to consult on that, but that’s not why I was contacted.

All I had to do was take my suggestions on how to make it better and put them in where necessary.  Simple things.  Like establishing who the main character was, or having conflict in each scene, and so on.  That’s a much bigger job than this person realizes.

You can’t fix a lousy script with little fixes here and there.  Screenwriters just starting out usually hear the metaphor that the script is the blueprint for your building.  If the blueprint isn’t solid, the building will come crashing down.  Same thing applies to screenwriting.  Lousy script, lousy movie.

I can’t tell if this person is impatient or just doesn’t want to go to the trouble of actually fine-tuning a good concept into a solid script.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how miserable I would have been working on this.  So I politely said thanks, but no thanks.  It was the right choice.  The proverbial weight on my shoulders has been lifted.

On a positive note, I’m starting on a new freelance project next week and waiting to hear about another one, so in my spare time I can get back to the rewrite, which I’ve really been looking forward to.

Good times are ahead and getting closer.

The writing gods are testing me. Again.

I got an email from the person who had me ‘rewrite’ their script last month.

They want to know if I could look at the latest draft and ‘make any necessary changes,’ but ‘without drastically changing the direction of the story.’

Now, I’m always up for a good project, but the last I saw, this script really needed a lot of work.  Basically, a page one rewrite was in order.

That was a month ago, so I don’t know how much progress, if any, has been made on subsequent drafts. I’m happy to help out, but if I see that none of my suggestions have been implemented, I may have to be a little more harsh in my critiquing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting I’m the end-all and be-all when it comes to screenwriting.  I just think I have a pretty firm grasp on the basics, or at least a little more than some.

Such as knowing who the main character is supposed to be.  Things like that.

Just to be on the safe side, I sent them the plot point breakdown sheet I always use. Hopefully they’ll apply it to their script with positive results.

It’ll be interesting to see how this works out.

The only downside to helping somebody else is less time for my own stuff.  I haven’t been able to do anything on DREAMSHIP in at least a week, maybe more, and it’s driving me crazy.

But I’m not scheduled to work any extra hours this week, which gives me some more time to work on their script and mine.  But I’m also in the process of lining up some freelance (non-script) writing projects, so that also takes away from working on my stuff.

Somehow, I will work my way through all of this and come out triumphant (and possibly well-compensated).  At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

No Movie of the Moment. I’ve been too frikkin’ busy.

Darn my sense of parental responsibility

I can honestly say I have done practically NO writing in the past couple of days. Not because I didn’t want to, but just couldn’t.

I was busy being a good dad.

With school out and the budget tight, we opted to have V spend her first week of summer vacation at what we call Mom and Dad Camp. She went to K’s office on Tuesday, got dropped off at my office late yesterday morning, and has been with me since 4:15AM this morning.

Side note – I get up at 3:15AM in order to be at work by 4:30, including the bike ride.  V’s been coming in with me every once in a while since she was 3, which usually involves a ride from K or in a taxi.  She loves it because for 4 hours she can sit in the conference room and watch DVDs, or lately, play with her iTouch, and even better, has started reading.

But I digress.

I enjoy having quality father-daughter time, but that feeling of not working on a script always nags at me.  Then I realize she won’t always be this age, or willing to be seen in public with her dad, so I should treasure days like this while I can, and worry about the writing later.

Part of today’s agenda was going to see KUNG FU PANDA 2.  It was a little different from the first one; much more action-y.  Basically, the idea is ‘gunpowder comes to China’.  There’s also a nice b-story about Po needing to overcome his demons and find inner peace.

V seemed to enjoy it, especially the more slapstick-y parts, and I liked the subplot about Po trying to find his roots.  Fortunately, there was only one time she asked about a joke; I didn’t have time to explain anyway.

Since last year’s LAST AIRBENDER debacle, I’ve tried to steer us clear from seeing films in 3-D.  It doesn’t seem necessary.  There were some scenes in KFP2 that appeared designed specifically for it, but seeing it in 2-D didn’t take anything away from it.

V heads out of town next week with K’s sister, so I’m already planning to catch THOR (if it’s still around), and K is still on the fence about SUPER 8.  X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and GREEN LANTERN are also possibilities.

My inner movie geek loves the summer.

Re-charged

It’s been a busy couple of days.  School’s out. It was Memorial Day weekend. I’ve been working a lot of extra hours.

Moving ahead with the rewrite has been slower than I had hoped, but it’s coming along.  I got to the halfway point yesterday, so I’m still working on being completely done just before the annual trek to the in-laws in late June.

In some ways, the rewrite has been really cathartic.  Changing or completely cutting something I had previously thought untouchable feels so…liberating.  I’m no longer hindered by second-guessing myself, and now feel like I can really make this thing work.

Even better, story ideas or subplot points I thought would be necessary have been easily removed, thereby streamlining the overall story. I like when I can do that.  Having good writing days does wonders for the self-esteem and confidence levels.

I had a great time writing DREAMSHIP the first time around, and am fortunate enough to have recaptured that feeling for the rewrite.  At least so far.

-Movie of the Moment.  A double bill of French.

Since we watched THE ILLUSIONIST last week, we followed it up with THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, also by Sylvain Chomet.  Highly recommended.

The second film, viewed only by myself, was RICKY, written and directed by Francois Ozon, who was also responsible for SWIMMING POOL and UNDER THE SAND.

The story about a working-class single mom who has a fling with a co-worker, resulting in a baby boy who for some inexplicable reason, grows a pair of working bird-like wings.  At times heart-breaking (especially from the perspective of her daughter, who craves her mother’s love), and with a lot less comedy and light-hearted moments than I was led to believe (which makes it definitely French in nature), overall, just kind of okay.