Have you no imagination?

"You'd have turned down Gone With The Wind." "No, that was me. I said, "Who wants to see a Civil War picture?""
“You’d have turned down Gone With The Wind.” “No, that was me. I said, “Who wants to see a Civil War picture?””

It’s still an uphill climb with a few gaps here and there, but the overall story for the low-budget comedy is coming together.

I’m making a point of not rushing through it and being extra careful – almost to the point of meticulous – about how all the pieces interconnect.  The more I work on it, the more the phrase “French farce” comes to mind, so lots of interweaving storylines, the intersecting of character paths, and the ramifications of each character’s actions on the others. At least that’s my interpretation.

A challenge, to say the least, but it’s been a fun ride so far.

A last-minute surprise factor was this response to the logline on an online forum:  “It’s so straightforward now it’s hard to believe you could sustain interest through 100 pages.”

I’d like to thank that person for throwing down the gauntlet in making me work even harder than I already was. Never underestimate the motivational power of “Oh yeah? Just you wait and see what I can do.”

But back to the bigger issue. Statements like these always make me wonder about the person who says/writes them.

I never cared for the “I don’t see how this could be a story” line of reasoning.  That tells me you lack vision and creativity. Just because you think it won’t work doesn’t mean it won’t. Nobody thought GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY would do well and look what happened.

Side note – My western received a handful of reader responses along the lines of “This isn’t factually or historically accurate, so I just couldn’t get into it.” They’re entitled to their opinions, but I feel bad about their inability to just sit back and enjoy an old-fashioned ripping yarn. Although one person was gracious enough to admit at the end of their comments “It would be better if you just ignore everything I’ve just said.” Consider it done.

Always remember the sage advice of William Goldman: Nobody knows anything.

I’m all for encouraging other writers. If your idea interests or excites me, I’ll tell you. If it doesn’t, I’ll explain why not and make suggestions of potential fixes. The last thing I want to do is discourage you or give you a lecture, and you sure as hell don’t want to hear one.

My criteria is pretty simple: If I read somebody’s logline or hear their story pitch and can instantly imagine the potential within that story, and more importantly, if it sounds like something I would want to see, then they’ve succeeded and gotten over the first hurdle.

Of course, having the actual script live up to or possibly even surpass expectations is another thing.


Two non-writerly questions for you

Inquiring minds want to know
Inquiring minds want to know

1. Seen anything good lately?

Thanks to Netflix for finally updating some of their content. I’ve been working my way through Season 3 of THE WALKING DEAD (phenomenal, of course) and Season 1 of ARROW (better than expected, a little cliched here and there, but still fun). Next up – second half of Season 7 of DOCTOR WHO, followed by either BREAKING BAD, MAD MEN or finally getting around to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

-Watched SHARKNADO (2013) – so bad, it’s extremely bad – and THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC (2010) – a live-action adaptation of a French comic book that started out charming and strong, but lost its footing in the second half.

2. How’s your latest project coming along?

As chronicled here, my 3 projects are all moving ahead slowly, with confidence levels gradually increasing for each.

That’s me. Now you.


It’s been a busy couple of days.  School’s out. It was Memorial Day weekend. I’ve been working a lot of extra hours.

Moving ahead with the rewrite has been slower than I had hoped, but it’s coming along.  I got to the halfway point yesterday, so I’m still working on being completely done just before the annual trek to the in-laws in late June.

In some ways, the rewrite has been really cathartic.  Changing or completely cutting something I had previously thought untouchable feels so…liberating.  I’m no longer hindered by second-guessing myself, and now feel like I can really make this thing work.

Even better, story ideas or subplot points I thought would be necessary have been easily removed, thereby streamlining the overall story. I like when I can do that.  Having good writing days does wonders for the self-esteem and confidence levels.

I had a great time writing DREAMSHIP the first time around, and am fortunate enough to have recaptured that feeling for the rewrite.  At least so far.

-Movie of the Moment.  A double bill of French.

Since we watched THE ILLUSIONIST last week, we followed it up with THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, also by Sylvain Chomet.  Highly recommended.

The second film, viewed only by myself, was RICKY, written and directed by Francois Ozon, who was also responsible for SWIMMING POOL and UNDER THE SAND.

The story about a working-class single mom who has a fling with a co-worker, resulting in a baby boy who for some inexplicable reason, grows a pair of working bird-like wings.  At times heart-breaking (especially from the perspective of her daughter, who craves her mother’s love), and with a lot less comedy and light-hearted moments than I was led to believe (which makes it definitely French in nature), overall, just kind of okay.

The end is that much closer now

Yet another milestone has been reached: I got to the end of Act 2. And I like how it ended. Stakes are raised. Subplots are beginning to tie together. Outcomes are in doubt. Thrilling stuff indeed.

Surprisingly, I’m not as concerned about Act 3. I know how the thing is going to end. A lot of elements I originally thought of are still in play. I’m fairly certain I can keep things edge-of-your-seat exciting and still wrap it all up in a satisfying manner. The brainstorming and outlining has begun. My self-imposed Wondercon deadline has been set, and I’ll do my best to make it. If not, I can take comfort in knowing that the end if somewhat near.

Movie of the Moment: Another two-fer.

We finished watching Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s MICMACS (still no idea what it means), an utterly charming French film about the takedown of two arms manufacturers. There’s a definite sense of whimsy throughout that it could be considered almost fantasy-like.

It’s a shame more American films don’t take this kind of approach, but I think Terry Gilliam may come closest.

-On a whim, I pulled out a copy of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN that K got me years ago. Good God, this movie is 51 YEARS OLD!

I love THE SEVEN SAMURAI and am so grateful Hollywood got its version right. It may not be possible to watch this and not feel extra manly. A double-feature of this and THE GREAT ESCAPE would be dripping with testosterone.

As I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for a good western and this definitely falls into that category.