It’s either optimism or hypothermia

Luckily for me, it doesn't snow here
Luckily for me, it doesn’t snow here

My bike ride to work is an enjoyable 6-mile pre-dawn journey across most of San Francisco. The temperature when I left the house just after 4 this morning was 43 degrees, so by the time I got to work 40 minutes later, some of my outer extremities were a bit chilled and are taking longer than I’d like to thoroughly thaw.  Especially my feet. They’re still cold.

But looking back today at how this year developed for me combined with what I’m hoping to make happen in 2013 make for that warm glow of satisfaction.

-My writing has definitely improved. Several drafts later, DREAMSHIP is much stronger now, and I’m feeling really confident about it. While a sale would be fantastic, I’ll focus on getting representation for now.

-Because of the feedback I’d received on DREAMSHIP, the outlining process for LUCY is working out much, much smoother. Once the outline is ready, and it almost is, I’m really looking forward to getting started on pages.

-I didn’t get to read as many scripts as I’d wanted to, so setting a weekly goal of at least 2 seems pretty doable.

-I had a blast doing The Script Adventurer!, and am that much closer to bringing it back as a podcast. Still planning on a January launch. This is becoming a real learning process, and is actually kind of exciting.

-I did three half-marathons, finally breaking 2:00. I plan on doing at least three more this year, hopefully adding 1-2 more into the mix. Once again, the objective is to break 1:55.

-Since the running took care of my lower body, 2013 will also see more attention to upper body. Hoping for bigger arms and flatter abs. First up – the 100 Pushups program.

-I made a lot of pies this year. So many that they’re now strongly requested when friends invite us over for dinner. Pie-making will continue, but baklava remains at the top of the “I really want to make this” list. (This is not necessarily counter-productive to the previous item – it’s all about moderation)

-I’ll try to keep posting on a semi-regular basis. As always, my appreciation and gratitude for those of you willing to endure my ramblings continues to be limitless.  I hope 2012 saw good things happen for you, and that 2013 is even better.

Happy New Year, and see you on the other side.

But I look so good in jodhpurs

And a beret, too
And a beret, too

I’ve been poring over the notes I’ve received, and included within were a few suggestions for improvements, including cutting back on the use of CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis.  In fact, it was recommended I cut them out altogether.

I always thought doing that really got the point across, especially for really active verbs. Add that to the list of things to consider/investigate.

It was also mentioned that I could cut about 4-5 pages if I eliminated my ‘directing the action’ in so many scenes.

Directing? Me?

I looked over some of the pages in question, and wouldn’t you know it? They were right.

This isn’t about camera angles or more technical aspects.  I put in too much detailed description of the action between lines of dialogue, or give too much of a suggestion how a line should be delivered.

Apparently I do it a lot, not even realizing I was doing it.

I’ve always made an effort to avoid an excessive use of adverbs and parentheticals, but this really is something new.  While it’s something I’ll definitely need to work on in the future, making the appropriate fixes this time around doesn’t seem to be too challenging.

At least for now.

Teaching myself to not do this seems a little daunting at first, but the person who pointed this out to me added that he’s been a working screenwriter for 30 years and is still learning.

So there may be hope for me yet.

Just wondering – has there ever been something about your writing that was pointed out to you that completely caught you by surprise?

-This post was written during a very quiet Christmas morning shift at work. Hope you made watching a movie part of your day. Happy holidays!  One of my gifts was the COMEDY FILM NERDS GUIDE TO MOVIES, which comes from the always-entertaining and incredibly hilarious podcast of the same name. Definitely worth subscribing to. Please note the very apt ‘explicit’ tag on iTunes.

My jets can cool no longer

Oh, how I love visual jokes
Oh how I love sight gags

I had it all planned out. The rewrite’s done, but I won’t be able to send it out for professional notes until after January 1st, so until then, I’d have plenty of time to research the best places to query and work on my western outline.

It was nice to think that.

But as is usually the case, things have changed a bit.

A trusted colleague sent some extremely helpful notes, and more are due from another.

*side note – I connected with both through social media and networking. Proof it has benefits!

It would seem a short rewrite session is in my immediate future.

I welcome these latest developments.  They contribute to making the script as strong as it can be, and that’s what counts the most.

Added bonus: a lot of this first set of notes deals more with format, rather than story, so fixing them won’t be too difficult.

Even better added bonus: the notes ended with the words every writer lives to hear: “I wish I wrote this.”

If that ain’t a confidence-building good omen, I don’t know what is.

-Winter break begins this weekend at our house. Hoping to take V to see THE HOBBIT and LES MISERABLES during that time. Anything a parent should be concerned about with either? (She hasn’t seen LOTR, but seems eager to catch HOBBIT)

The Sinestro Effect -OR- Seeking my inner Hal Jordan

Not necessarily my internal struggle, but you get the idea...
Not necessarily my internal struggle, but you get the idea…

(If you have absolutely no idea who either of these guys are, go here.)

The rewrite’s done, and all of a sudden, I’m nervous. Like, ridiculously so.

I’ve sent scripts out before, but this time something is making it a lot different.

A fear of failure.  Of rejection.

What if nobody likes it?

What writer hasn’t gone through this?

But as I tell K every once in a while – the only way I could fail is if I stopped trying, and I don’t plan on doing that either.

It may be that after all this time, the idea of possibly being that much closer to actually achieving my goal is kind of overwhelming.  This is where that internal voice kicks in.

Do I have what it takes? Is the script just about ready to be sent out?

Damn straight. I’ve got a lot of confidence in this script and my writing ability.

I can and will do what it takes to make this work.

Three to get ready…

Yeah, it kind of feels like that…

It took a while, but the initial editing phase is complete.  There aren’t a lot of significant changes to be made, but almost every page has something that requires some kind of fix. Fortunately, most of them are very minor, like changing a verb or rearranging the way a scene is described.

There are at least 3, maybe 4 scenes where something needs a little more attention, so I circle it and write my standard “Work on this”.

So all that’s left is one or two thorough typing sessions, one more read-through, a little feedback (professional and trusted colleague), and then diving headfirst into the fray and getting the script out there. (which reminds me I really need to get on the ball and get back to the research phase)

And honestly? I’m getting a little nervous.  But in a good way.

This is what I’ve been working towards, and now it feels like it’s just about here.

Is it wrong for me to think there could possibly be a good chance of something happening?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not expecting a million-dollar sale.  Although selling a script would be fantastic, I’d much rather get representation and take some meetings that result in steady projects.  That would be phenomenal.

For some reason, I’m flashing back to a meeting I had about 11 years ago with a professional writer. I’d written 2 scripts and he read both of them purely as a favor.  When we met, the first thing he said was that I was a good writer. I had the talent, but really needed to keep writing in order to get better.

Which is exactly what I’ve been trying to do ever since.

Keep in mind that like everybody else, my first efforts were incredibly lousy (at least compared to my current stuff), so either he was being kind or he actually meant what he said. I really hope it was the latter.

For now, this remains an ongoing process. I’ve said many times it’s all been an absolute blast, and that still holds true.

And something deep inside tells me there’s bigger and better things ahead.