Rather apropos for today

laughing crowd
Go ahead. Make me laugh.

Feedback is starting to trickle in for the latest draft of the comedy spec. So far, reviews are favorable. It’s still very rough around the edges, but confidence is running high heading into the next rewrite.

It’s very encouraging to have more than one person tell you “I actually laughed out loud. More than once!” That counts as a win in my book.

So in keeping with the comedy theme, here’s a question for you:

Someone asks for your recommendation for an underrated comedy. Preferably one they’ve never heard of.

I’d go with GOON. Quite a nice surprise. Bonus points if you know anything about or have an appreciation of hockey.

What’s your pick?

Gimme a few seconds to catch my breath

I'll get back to work in a minute. Promise.
I’ll get back to work in a minute. Promise.

Hokey smokes, am I exhausted. But it’s a good exhausted because there’s just so darned much going on in my universe.

First and foremost, the churning-out of pages continues. It’s a good thing I know how to edit, because it’s really going to be necessary. Basically, my scene-to-page ratio is rapidly becoming misproportioned. A scene originally intended as half a page ends up being one, one and a quarter pages, so I’ll have to figure out how to cut it down to the absolute bare bones and make it, say, a quarter of a page. Challenging, yes, but doable.

In some ways, the transition from outline to pages at first seemed rash and premature. But since I think my writing is a lot stronger than it was before, it doesn’t bother me as much. As a result, I can crank out 1-2 pages a day with confidence, and be as equally confident that the inevitable editing phase will be just as effective.

What’s also cool is being able to write while V takes part in her many after-school activities.  I find a nice, quiet spot and type away. Productive and makes the time fly by. Even better if there’s free wifi (loves me that Pandora!).

-Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve become more active within the online community Stage 32, which connects all type of creative folks from around the world. I’ve made some great connections, including the sharing and critiquing of pages, as well as somebody who read my script and offered to forward it to an associate with a ‘highly recommend’ label attached.  Nice.

-I haven’t been able to run as much as I’d like to, but I make sure to get a good one in on weekends. This past Saturday, I did 12.44 miles in 1:50 and change, for a pace of about 8:45. It felt great, and boosted my hope of breaking 1:55 at the Oakland Half-marathon on March 24th.

Not sure if it’s my shoes or just me getting old, but lately my right heel has been getting really sore after I run. It seems to hit a few hours later, and originally lasted for about a day, but the length of time and intensity of pain have each been shrinking. My retired-doctor father says it’s bursitis. K thinks it’s the shoes, which are about a year old. Knowing me, it’s probably both.

-Movie of the Moment – GOON (2011) If you like hockey, you’re going to love this.  I don’t even remember if it was released in theatres, but it’s on Netflix streaming now. Seann William Scott plays completely against type and is very effective as a soft-spoken, nice guy thrust into the ragtag world of Canadian minor-league hockey.  A lot of fun, but knowing something about hockey will definitely increase your enjoyment.

This would be work if I wasn’t enjoying it

A good example of a solid multi-tasker

It ain’t easy being a multimedia superstar. Okay, maybe bi-media is more applicable. Just radio and the internets.

Since it’s only me putting together The Script Adventurer! show, each week involves gathering subject material and lining up that week’s guest.  This coming Monday, I’ll be talking to Scott Myers of Go Into The Story. If you have any interest in developing your screenwriting skills, this is definitely a site you should read on a regular basis.

*Shameless self-promotion: The Script Adventurer! Show live on your computer, 1-2PM PST Mondays via www.radioslot.com.  (Just click on link #1 – Best Mix – Listen Now – LIVE.)  And if you miss it, you can catch it again on Sundays from 7-8PM PST.

I’d contacted Leonard Maltin about being on the show. I knew it was a long shot, but what did I have to lose?  He was very interested, but had to decline due to an overwhelming number of deadlines.  Understandable, but too bad.  That would have been a great conversation. Fortunately, my list of potential other guests continues to grow.

Despite the exhausting process of assembling the show, I’ve made a point of trying to write each day. Some days it may be a page; others might yield three to four. I’m just glad to be making progress.

Within the last week or so, I’ve made the startling discovery that I can actually get a fair amount of work done at the ice rink while V has hockey practice.  It seems to even have an unexpected positive effect on my creativity.  After realizing that one of the characters was basically standing around doing nothing during a pivotal sequence, I thought of something for her to do that was integral to the plot AND upped the stakes for the characters involved.  While I’d love to go back and tinker with it, the focus now is to keep moving forward.

I’m up to page 77, and figure about another 35-40 to go before the end.  A completed draft by the end of March would be nice, and is becoming more realistic each day. Nice.

Title? We don’t need no stinkin’ title!

Okay.  I’m back from a rousing hockey tournament at Lake Tahoe, where V’s team came in 3rd out of 6, including their 2 wins with her in goal.  In fact, she was awarded the MVP puck for their 8-1 victory on Saturday night.  Overall, it was very exciting.  Cold, but exciting.

Just before we left, I was introduced to Triggerstreet.com, a screenwriting review/forum website (Kevin Spacey is one of the founders). Part of the way they work is having members review other members’ scripts.  I haven’t submitted anything yet, but plan to in the near future.

But it was the forum that especially intrigued me.  I decided to take the plunge and posted a question about my logline for LUCY.  I did that on Thursday afternoon.  By the evening, I had a few responses and something like 75 views.  What’s cool about the set-up is that you can opt to get an email notification that somebody’s responded to your post.  A lot of the drive up to Tahoe was spent checking them out.

I have to say I got some really good feedback, and even better, got what I feel is a stronger logline for the story.  I thought about posting that 3 Stooges one just to see what people think, but I’ll hold off for a little while.

Speaking of which, I sent in the old LUCY logline and the 3 Stooges one to the logline contest.  Neither one won, but honestly, I don’t really think that much of some recent winners.  I may try again with the new LUCY one.  It’s a wait-and-see situation.

-As much as I thought/hoped it might happen this weekend, I didn’t get a lot of work done on the outline.

So now that I’ve got an outline I like much better, I felt I had to start over with it, albeit with a few minor changes.  But as I was looking it over, there didn’t seem to be much I thought had to come out.  There are still a few places where I may have to make some slight readjustments, but it may not be as daunting a project as I originally thought.

And I may have stumbled onto a solution for moving the story along.  All I have to do now is figure out how to incorporate it into the story. Which I think I can do

Movie of the Moment:  A few to go over. First the original BAD NEWS BEARS. The other girl on V’s hockey team owns this, and we watched it on Saturday afternoon.  Watching it now as a parent is a lot different than when I was a lot closer to the age of a lot of the cast.  It was really weird watching Walter Matthau, especially since I’ve seen more of his work in recent years.

But the story and the writing still hold up.  Some good jokes sprinkled around here and there, but more would have been nice.  It’s also really weird to have a PG movie from the mid-70s have so much mild cursing in it.  From a writing point of view, the character development is strictly textbook, but effective.  What was also clever was that only a handful of scenes are set inside; a majority are set at the ball field.  And you get to know almost all of the kids on the team; just a handful don’t serve much purpose.  I know they made a remake with Billy Bob Thornton a few years ago, but I don’t see the point.

The other movie was LOST IN SPACE, only because it was on TV today while I was working.  I saw this in the theater back in 1998, and enjoyed it.  Not a lot, but worth the $6 for the matinee.  Incidentally, this would be a great choice for the Filmsack guys.

But looking at it today, it really drags in some places and the dialogue doesn’t really do much for me.  I still don’t understand why they didn’t just kill Gary Oldman’s Dr Smith.  He tried to sabotage their mission and they still let him live?  Ridiculous.  And don’t get me started on the cgi monkey alien.  Lame.

Akiva Goldsman, who wrote it (as well as BATMAN & ROBIN, but also A BEAUTIFUL MIND – go figure), has become more of a producer and has thankfully let his writing career diminish.  While I love the concept of the movie, this one just felt forced and could have been a little shorter.  Still, to me it’s one of the slightly better 60s-TV-show-based films, as opposed to that big ol’ chunk of cinematic Velveeta known as WILD WILD WEST.

Now just try to get that gigantic steampunk spider-tank out of your mind.

You’re welcome.

Is this uphill climb getting steeper?

So I got to around page 22 or so today on the outline.  It’s slightly different than the previous version, but something still seems…off.  I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but it’s like you know there’s something important you have to do, but can’t remember what.

I still like the way the story is developing, but since I’m essentially eliminating one of the subplots (for now), it makes moving ahead a bit harder.

I also seem to keep going back to the previous draft, and that may not be helping.  Especially since that’s what I’m trying to move away from.  That may become more evident as this draft advances.

It also doesn’t help that I’m not plotting ahead enough, so to speak.  I don’t like just taking a stab in the dark and seeing what could work.  I really need to figure out where things are going and how to get there.  I already developed the plot points, and now need to fill in the blanks between them.

Surprisingly, the only version of the previous draft I have is a hard copy from about 2 months ago.  This was the super-detailed one, where each scene breakdown was about 4-5 sentences long.  Even though I won’t be using all of them, some of them I had completely forgotten about, so seeing all that detail and characterization was quite the pleasant surprise.

And even better, I may be able to salvage some of those for this latest draft.  Which would be cool.

V has a hockey tournament up at Lake Tahoe this weekend, so what I’m hoping is that during some of the downtime, I’m able to make some good progress.  Because Lord knows, I don’t plan on being outside if I can help it. A high of 30 degrees?  Are you kidding?

As long as I come home with all my extremities intact and functional, I’ll be fine.