Round peg, square hole, etc

Fit, damn you!

I honestly didn’t expect rewriting the first ten pages to be this frustrating.  Trying to set up the whole story in a different way than the previous version, which is more or less solidly planted in my mind, is much harder than I originally anticipated.

I jotted down some potential scenes that would work with how I want things to go. Some of them seem pretty good, but after I write them down, I wonder what the hell I was thinking.

It’s also an effort to try to incorporate story elements into these scenes that will pay off later. Always important.

Once I come up with scenes that I not only like, but feel best show the sequence of events, I’m really hoping the rest of it falls into place.  But for now, I still work on setting the whole thing up.

It’ll happen.  I’m just impatient about wanting to move on.

-Movie of the Moment – 13 ASSASSINS by Takashi Miike. Imagine the Seven Samurai (plus six) assigned with the top secret mission of liquidating the Shogun’s psychotic brother.

Not as gory as I’d been led to believe, especially considering Miike’s background, but a genuinely rousing samurai adventure story.

My only complaint – a little hard keeping track of some of the title characters. A few are more prominent than the others, so it’s easy to follow their stories. The rest? Not so much.

Apart from that, just a lot of fun. Apparently his next film is called NINJA KIDS, about pre-tweens learning how to be ninjas. I hope it’s family-friendly. V would probably love it.

Probably a good thing

It has been crazy-busy around our house the past few days, so writing activity was basically nil.

But even though I got the first three pages done since earlier this week, I noticed something rather important: they’re not what I need.

Since the story revolves around this one character, the way the story’s written now, it focuses on somebody else. Not the way I want it to go.

Imagine BACK TO THE FUTURE starting with scenes about Doc, rather than Marty. Sure, Doc plays an important part of the story, but the story ISN’T ABOUT HIM.

So now it’s back to the drawing board to at least reset the way it starts. It shouldn’t be that hard.

Then I get back to moving forward.

Hard-workin’ guy

Real quick script update: Got to page 3. Like what I have so far. Nice feedback from fellow writer/other remaining member of previous writing group.  I really need to relax and have fun while I write; helps make it an easier experience.

I can officially add a new work thing to my resume: on-camera personality.

There was a listing on craigslist around the end of May looking for screenwriters.  I applied and got an offer to come in for an interview.

Turns out it had nothing to do with screenwriting whatsoever.  They’re a small startup looking to provide short narrated videos; such potential subjects are Top 5 lists, real estate listings, the SPCA and so on.  The writing would be putting together the scripts; about 10-20 a week. A lot of work for not much pay, but I didn’t mind.

I had asked about the narration and was asked if I wanted to audition.  Sure; why not?  It could have gone better – I was faster than the teleprompter, but kept a good attitude.

Two weeks pass and I hear nothing.  Ah well. Back to combing the internets. Then I get an email congratulating me on being selected as one of their on-camera narrators!

Boy, they must have thought my writing really sucked.

A date to film some samples was arranged.  I ride out to the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. One I had heard of, but never been to.

Their studio is a converted basement in a house. Very low-tech, but work is work.

It takes me a while to get used to the iPad-based teleprompter, but it goes well.  I also learn that this is considered my second audition, and that the writing has been put on hold for now.

After that first day, I hadn’t heard anything from them for almost two weeks. I dash off a quick-yet-tactful email asking what’s going on, but hear nothing.

Is it over before it began?

Yesterday, I get an email saying my payment for the previous session had gone through. Literally five minutes later, the producer calls, asking if I’m available to come in today for another session. You bet!

I wasn’t n my A-game today. Lots of flubs, but easily corrected.

When it’s a wrap, I ask if I passed the latest round of auditions.  Most definitely is the response.  I also learn that one of my writing samples is the highest-viewed video for their YouTube channel.  (I offer no explanation for the guy reading it) My on-camera one – okay, but there’s me in all my dorkiness.

But that’s okay.  This is occasional, semi-steady work that can only yield positive results.

-Movie of the Moment – finished IP MAN. Loved it. Phenomenal martial arts sequences, complete with several jaw-dropping moments.  Slightly more inclined to watch the sequel.

-Regarding Netflix price gouge/increase. Understandable, but 60 percent?  Couldn’t 20 or 25 worked?  We’re opting for the 1-disk/streaming combo. I suspect we’ll be watching a lot more on streaming in the coming months.

That’s right, I CAN do that

One of my heroes

I didn’t have a lot of time to write today, so I made a point of finishing the first two scenes.

It may not sound like much, but I had discovered after almost finishing the first one that I had completely ignored its original intent and done a slight revamping of an earlier draft.

That’s when the light bulb went off.

I had the complete and utter freedom to write whatever I damn well felt was best for the scene this time around, and didn’t have to refer back to earlier drafts.

I erased about half the scene and started anew. I also realized I could put in, or at least hint at some exposition here, which would save me from trying to cram it all in later. I could spread it around accordingly.

It felt great. I’ll have a little more time tomorrow, so with luck I can maybe get to page 5 or so. Which would be very nice.

-Jeffrey Wells, the brains behind Hollywood Elsewhere, was in town yesterday and today to check out something at Dolby. I suspect he left earlier today, but I passed his hotel around 9:30am. Couldn’t help but slow down to see if he might be around. Given the opportunity to meet him, I’d just tell him I really enjoy his work. Nothing too overly gushy.

While I don’t always agree with his reviews, he’s a great writer about a great many other things. Definitely not one to pull his punches. One of a handful of blog/sites I check daily.

-Movie of the Moment: IP MAN, a thrilling martial arts flick set at the outbreak of WWII. I’m only 35 minutes into it, but some of the fight scenes have been phenomenal.

I heard about it through Ain’t It Cool, which is not exactly the most objective of sites. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of it. Have to think about whether or not to see the sequel.

As always, recommendations for any film, any genre, are welcome.

Off and running

Well, look what I found...

After much deliberation whether or not to keep tinkering with the outline, I opted to just delve right in.

I typed ‘Fade In’, and about half a page worth of the opening scene before having to deal with family stuff.  Better to get a little written than none at all.

I’m always guilty of too much self-editing, so I may try to just steamroll through this draft without looking back until I type ‘Fade Out’.

The key word here is ‘try’.  Sometimes I get too caught up in rewriting during the rewrite.  We’ll see.

Still feeling confident about the whole thing. Check back in a week or two to see if that’s still the case.

-I save each script on my hard drive, and have a backup on a flash drive.  I dug up the flash the previous draft was on (having since erased all previous drafts a while ago) and noticed there was a file marked ‘Story Ideas’. This was from about five years ago.  In fact one of them was five years and a day. Wow.

Each one was the super-basic outline of a different story. I remember coming up with one or two of them, but the rest were totally new.  It was amazing to see how much I had written. While one may have just been a logline and five single-word subplot ideas, another was three solid pages of potential scenes.

Again, I couldn’t remember writing some of these whatsoever.  In fact, I wasn’t even sure I was the original author of one of them (which I was).  I thought it was an outline, but it was a lot of possible scenes.

Basically, this was a quite a nice surprise I had provided for myself. When I’m not working on pages, I’ll have to remind myself to put together a folder of hard copies of the ones worth keeping.

No Movie of the Moment today, but I finished EATING RAOUL. Loved it.