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.

Taking back control

Super-busy this afternoon, so not much time to work on LUCY.  I did, however, discover a solution to a problem that has been bothering me for a few days.

I can’t remember exactly how it goes, but there’s this screenwriting tenet that basically advises the writer to not let the characters take over how the story progresses.  It’s up to me to steer things the way they’re supposed to go.

And when I was working on the handful of scenes I developed yesterday, I wasn’t the one in charge.  After I wrote out my little 1-2-sentence scene description, something felt…slightly off.  How would I get Lucy out of this set-up and closer to where I want/need her to be?  And didn’t we just finish up a thrilling action sequence?  There needs to be time to let the audience catch their breath.  I’m not Michael Bay, storming from one hard-to-tell-what’s-going-on sequence to the next.

I was NOT driving this bus, so to speak.

Although I was busy doing other stuff today, I used every chance I had to think about where I left off in the story and what was wrong with it.  It took a while, but I realized why I was stuck.

I had too much going on.  The story needed to slow down.  And since another screenwriting tenet is “kill your darlings,” that’s what I’m going to have to do with the couple of scenes I worked on yesterday.  While the idea of Lucy joining up with a wagon train of Mormons may seem brilliant now, I want to avoid falling into the trap of “then this happens, and then this, then this and then this…” and work more on making it “this happens, which leads to this, which leads to this, etc.”

Much as I dislike Robert McKee, he’s got a valid point with his rule that one scene should lead into the next; don’t just have things happen at random.

That’s what I need to focus on for the time being.  I’ve got a lot of ideas and potential happenings ready for this script, but I want it to flow along…organically.

Like no other scene could follow that one EXCEPT the one coming up next.

My work is so cut out for me.

Movie of the Moment:  It seems like HBO is running AVATAR every 5 minutes.  I saw it in the theatres and came out thinking DANCES WITH ALIENS.  Same plot, but very good in execution.  I turned it on today as the military is flying in to destroy the giant electric weeping willow.

Since she has no desire to see it, I briefly explained to K what was going on.  While the story was a bit on the familiar side, I really give Cameron credit for making it look fantastic.  It was fun playing ‘real or cg?’

It was also a little evident that this was made for 3-D.  There are lots of obligatory “in your face” shots, but watching it today I was reminded of how he uses it to make everything seem real.  The little floaty glow-in-the-dark mushroom/dandelion things.  Particles of dust in the air.  The 3-D is there to emphasize the scene, not cash in on a hopefully-dying trend.

Which could be why when you see ‘in 3-D” at the end of a trailer, chances are fairly high the audience will let out a collective groan.

Studios take note: 3-D only when necessary!

Oh, and original stories of interesting characters that don’t treat the audience like idiots.   Yeah, I know. Dream on, kid.