>Insert diabolical laughter here<

Followed immediately by this. Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

 

I vowed to get to the end of Act Two, and by gosh, I did. And then some. This really is the “all seems lost” moment for my protagonist. I had to make sure it seemed like she has no way whatsoever of reaching her goal, and that’s how it’s playing out so far.  How in the world is she going to get out of this exceptionally insurmountable situation? Which is exactly what I want you to think.

(Actually, you should be thinking that in every scenario for anybody’s script.)

While it’s fun to put the whole story together, I get a certain joy from devising what kind of obstacles to keep throwing into the mix. Taking this one step further, after I come up with the problem, I have to figure out how my hero gets out of each scrape. And since this is a Western, there’s a whole lot to choose from.

Those who know me personally would not hesitate to call me a nice person. “Still a boy scout,” even. But when it comes to developing the bad guys? Hello, dark side! From somewhere deep within the far reaches of my mind, I’m able to conjure up actions and characters most sinister.  The harder I make the conditions for my hero, the more interesting the story gets.

I want my hero to succeed, right? Then they have to go through hell in order to do that. And it’s up to me as the creator of this particular world to devise every hellish detail and solution.

If the prospect of doing this doesn’t make you giddy, then you’re in the wrong business.

Next up: keeping you on the edge of your seat while wrapping it all up in Act Three.

Making the most of reverse engineering

They started with “How can we make a phone look like this?”

The past few days have been spent figuring my way through a handful of scenes, maybe 3 to 4 at the most. But these all lead up to the end of Act Two, which is supposed to be when “all seems lost” for our hero. He/she is so far away from achieving their goal, it’s scary. You can’t help but wonder “how in the world are they gonna get out of this?”

Way back when I was setting up the important plot points, I knew what the end of Act Two was going to be. As always, getting there is the biggest obstacle.  I tried different scenarios, but none of them seemed to fit.

Then it hit me. Go backwards. Since I know the end result, what would make the most sense to happen right before it?  And what happens before that? Repeat as necessary. All the while keeping in mind that each scene should also be advancing not only the story, but the theme and character’s development as well.  This can be more productive than you realize. It’s a good exercise in writing, but also helps develop your creativity.

End result – that much closer to finishing, and hoping to have a pretty solid outline by the end of the month.

Teach me, o wise feline

I swear I’m not trying to copy Emily Blake

With a sigh of relief, I’m managing to work my way through the end of Act Two. As has been the case before, it wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be. This seems to happen a lot. I stress out over how hard I think something’s going to be, then it isn’t. Why do I keep torturing myself like this?  Must be part of the writer’s genetic imprint.

Fortunately, not as much stress about Act Three. I scribbled out a rough version a few months ago and should be able to use that as a foundation. Further proof why you should never throw anything away.

Speaking of holding on to things…

I have about a dozen books on screenwriting. Some were worth the purchase, some not (looking at you, Mr McKee). Then there’s Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CAT! This may actually be the last one I bought, probably a year or so after it originally came out. Honestly, I don’t remember much about it. Something about ‘fun & games’, but that’s about it.

But I’ve heard it mentioned more than a few times lately, and thought maybe it was worth a second read.  So I dug it off the shelf, blew off the dust and dove right in.

Chapter One was interesting. If I’m reading it correctly, it asks the question “Is your story irresistible?” This includes the title, the logline and whether or not it’s high concept. Anything that makes somebody not just want, but NEED to read it. While I figure out my answers as they apply to this story, it’s inspired me to try a kind of experiment:  while I work on this script, I’m going to take the rules/guidelines as interpreted by this book and apply them to my writing process.

What will be the end result?  Hell if I know. I’m not expecting any kind of major breakthrough or eye-opening revelation. Maybe it’ll make it easier to figure things out, or give me a better idea of how to guide things along.

Details as they evolve.

-Movie of the Moment. SHERLOCK (2012). The one from the BBC. Not necessarily a movie, but fantastic examples of incredible and smart writing. These DO NOT treat the viewer as an idiot, and force you to pay attention, making for an even more satisfying viewing experience as the stories unfold.

Even better, you don’t have to be a fan of the original material to enjoy them. If you are, it’s a thrill to watch how the stories have been adapted for the present. People will claim Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett make for definitive Holmes, but Benedict Cumberbatch is certainly worthy to be added to that list.

Stumped!

At least it gives me a place to sit and think…

There’s this one line of dialogue that’s giving me a lot of trouble. Actually, I hate it. The way it’s written now is too much tell, and not enough show, rather than the other way around.

I know what I want the line to say, but coming up with exactly the right words is proving to be quite the challenge. This line is pretty important on several levels, so it really has to pack a punch.

Time once again to step back, take a breath and not think about it. That usually helps the solution present itself. Not time for panic mode yet.

Despite this minor setback, this summer is still off to a pretty good start.

Putting an even more positive spin on this, while part of my creativeness figures this one out, the other part can get back on track and resume the fine-tuning of the western-adventure outline.

Thank you, gods of creativity – surefire hit #2!

Do you know how hard it is to find a picture of these guys looking badass?

After the debacle that was the recent THREE STOOGES feature, I’m not holding my breath for the studios to come a-runnin’ and embrace my much, much better idea.

But my muse has once more slapped me upside the head, resulting in…

A Disney cartoon version of DIE HARD set in the Magic Kingdom.  I know!  Brilliant, right?

Initial thoughts: The traditional Disney villains, tired of always losing, have taken over the park, and it’s up to Mickey, Donald and Goofy to save the day. Mickey as the John McClane-ish hero, Donald as his Justin Long-type sidekick (but without the whole computer angle), and Goofy as the Reginald VelJohnson cop.

Tell me the public wouldn’t flock to this. The possibilities are endless!

Why hasn’t anybody thought of this before?  It practically screams “MONEY-MAKING MACHINE!”

Disney execs, you know how to reach me.