If only you could eat a bad script

pineapple upside down cake
Let the metaphors commence!

Before we get to the gist of today’s post, let’s address the elephant in the room: my western did not advance to the quarterfinals of the PAGE contest.

Honestly, I was a little surprised; I thought it would have done better. After a brief wallow in disappointment, I shrugged my shoulders and moved on. It’s just another one of those things over which I have no control. I still have a ton of confidence in this script and might submit again next year. Also waiting to see how it fares in Austin and the Nicholl.

True, it was a rather lousy way to start the weekend, but over the next couple of days, I managed to redirect my focus, which included a nice long run that involved traversing the Golden Gate Bridge, and attempting something I’ve always wanted to try:

Making a pineapple upside-down cake (from scratch, naturally).

Guests were coming over for dinner, and I’d made pies for them before. But this time,  I wanted to try something entirely new and preferably a little challenging. I’d say this falls into both categories.

I scoured the internet for an ideal recipe, found one to my satisfaction, and followed the directions to the letter. The result? It looked like it was supposed to, and that’s where the similarities end. A little too sweet and the center was still kind of goopy. Nevertheless, my guests still liked it, and K & I split the last piece after they left. Not bad for a first attempt.

Why did it not turn out the way I expected? A lot of reasons. The oven’s a piece of junk. It didn’t bake long enough. The ingredients and the amount of them probably need to be tweaked. No matter what, I know now that I can adjust all of these next time and get closer to the results I seek.

Except for the oven. It will forever remain a piece of junk until it dies. Which can’t happen soon enough. But I digress.

Notice all of the comparisons you could make between baking and writing a script? Trying something new and long-sought-after. Seeking advice and guidance. Following the guidelines. Doing what I was supposed to. An okay-but-was-hoping-for-better initial result. Planning ahead on what to fix/adjust for next time.

If a less-than-determined baker ended up with the cake I made, they’d probably denounce the whole process, give up entirely and probably buy pre-made stuff at the supermarket. But we’re made of sterner stuff. We hit a snag or some kind of unforeseen development, and we compensate as best we can. We learn what not to do next time. Sometimes you end up with something jaw-droppingly amazing, and sometimes you end up with something totally inedible.

With this whole experience behind me, I can now focus on projects of the immediate future, which includes another round of editing and revising a script, and making a pie or two for a dinner party this coming weekend.

It’s my intention to have the results of both of these undertakings be totally and utterly irresistible when they’re done and ready to serve.

9 thoughts on “If only you could eat a bad script

  1. Aw, Paul! Thanks for sharing. I admire your perseverance, determination and staying power – well done! You’re a true inspiration. Still, that up-side down pineapple pie looks pretty tempting, even if not “perfect” by “the master’s”) standards!
    Myself? I’m always nervous about making pies/tarts – a short history in making one flop after the other severely dented my baking confidence! You’re right. Nowadays I rather go buy the pre-prepared version from the supermarket. I excepted that I’m not a (good) baker, and also I don’t enjoy the whole (messy) process! And screenwriting then? Oh, I still keep going, because I can’t go and buy the prepared product from the Supermarket!!! LOL

  2. Paul, Wonderful comparison. I don’t bake but I cook, so I understand how we adjust our recipes as we rewrite a script. Perhaps your script didn’t go further because of a prejudice these days against westerns. Your script is good but I’ve had some producers say they are not interested in westerns & maybe the readers for contests are aware of that & didn’t give your script a fair reading. Oh, and my computer is like your oven, it turns out scripts that aren’t perfect. Write on. Jim

  3. Paul, wonderful comparison. I don’t bake but I cook & we refine our recipes as we rewrite our scripts. Of course, as cooks, bakers & writers we can’t please everyone and maybe a western was not palatable to the contest reader who went over your script. Write on.

  4. Sorry to hear about the Western. Learn all you can from it; you’ve got a lot of time invested in it.

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