That’s almost that

Reaching my goal seems a little closer now

It took me longer than I wanted, but I finally finished the DREAMSHIP rewrite. 116 pages, which isn’t too bad. Now begins the editing phase, primarily of the second half.  I managed to trim about 7 pages for the first half, and hope to cut at least 4-5 this time around.

It bothers me that it won’t be ready for the Nicholl, but I’ve accepted it and moved on.

I’m also exploring the idea of sending it to a couple of professional script analysis firms. One of them might be ScriptQuack, especially since this rewrite was based on their suggestions for the previous draft.  I like the idea of getting some solid feedback, but I don’t know if I have it in me to go through another rewrite.  I like the idea of doing what I can with this and moving on, since LUCY is still waiting.

There’s something that’s been gnawing away at me inside for the past few weeks. I’ve noticed a unique writing style in a lot of recent scripts I’ve read; a lot of it really good.  My writing may not necessarily be as vivid as others, but it gets the point across. I try to use a little flair, but not enough so it distracts you from the story.  I’d rather let the story do its job than wow you with fancy-schmancy writing.

I’m also hoping that once the editing/polishing is done to fine-tune the logline and start sending out query letters. I did this before using a hard copy of the HCD, sending out about 200 email queries. It got the script optioned, which unfortunately didn’t lead to anything.  Maybe I’ll have better luck this time around.

 

Fitting the pieces together

While I was working on the last quarter of Act Two today, I realized I didn’t have any hard copy of the previous draft: outline OR script.  Which means I didn’t have anything to really reference as part of this rewrite.  I know how I’d like to move forward, but once again find myself streamlining how that’s being accomplished.  A lot of unnecessary fat is being trimmed away. For the better.

An interesting side note  to all of this is that I took a look at my notes from the fine folks at ScriptQuack and discovered I’ve put a lot of their suggestions into play, which in turn renders a lot of their notes irrelevant.  I should probably X out all the parts I don’t need anymore, which would enable me to focus on what I haven’t used yet (or may not need at all).

This heading toward the end of Act Two is really presenting a challenge: how to best have the situation increasingly worsen so that all definitely seems lost for my hero.  I’ve got a few ideas to work with, but I’m not in a rush, so this can be carefully planned out.

-Nicholl deadline has come and gone. I’m glad I didn’t try to rush through this; it would not have yielded good results.  Better to give myself more time for next year.  Very interesting to see some critique comments on Facebook.  Who couldn’t read those and hope it was their script being praised?

I’m sure a lot of people enter only one or two contests a year, if that often, the Nicholl probably being one of them. Have winners of less prestigious contests ever gone on to fame and fortune?  Not that I know of, but I don’t research them that much.

-Just wondering – I get more done on a script when I’m where I really shouldn’t be working on it (read: actual paying job).  Does this happen for other writers?  I can get some work done at home, but the creative juices really flow when I can spare a few minutes between on-air reports.  Again, just wondering.

-Movie of the Moment: 500 DAYS OF SUMMER.  We watched it over 2 days, despite it only being 95 minutes long.  I didn’t really know what to expect, and that I’d heard good things about it.  One line in particular stood out for me in the beginning: “This is not a love story.”  Boy, ain’t that the truth.

I liked it, despite how sad it is.  Like they set out to make an anti-romcom.  It was kind of refreshing to jump past the meet-cute and avoid any kind of wacky hijinks and cut straight to the beginning of the end.  The whole jumping-around-in-time aspect was also well-executed.  I had a little trouble keeping track of things when the jumps were significant (Day 348 to Day 22, etc), but it was better than just letting it all happen in a traditional linear way.

Another benefit to that is how it doesn’t treat the viewer like an idiot, which is always important.

First step up the mountain

I finally read through my DREAMSHIP notes from the fine folks at ScriptQuack.  Very impressive.  They did a great job of letting me know what the script needs to improve.

So with just under a month to go before the Nicholl deadline, I’m taking their suggestions and trying to rebuild this thing from the ground up.  I had a feeling it may be an extensive rewrite, and I was right.  There’s a lot that has to change.

It’s not insurmountable, but I will call it formidable.  This is really going to require a daily effort.  I think I can get through Act One by the end of this week, then really concentrate on Act Two, where most of the rewriting is necessary.  Act Three I’m still figuring out.

-Final comment on Wondercon.  Fun as usual.  I got to see it from both the Dad and Casual Comic Geek perspectives.  For the former, that involved stopping at all the video game booths, looking for Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and commenting on anything and everything V saw.  Since we went on Friday, it wasn’t that crowded. Overall, a good time.

I returned Sunday with my pal Neil. We usually spend less time among the vendors and focus more on the self-publishers and independents. They’re always more interesting anyway.  I may not be crazy about some of the subject matter, but there’s a certain charm to them and their work. It’s really great to see somebody doing what they love, and a lot of them have a lot of talent.

Even better, you don’t have to wait for hours on end to get an autograph or tell them you like their stuff, and they seem happy to talk to you.  I’ve always tried to support the little guy.

Movie of the Moment:  We watched THE EXPENDABLES last night. Mega-cheesy throwback to the 80s.  Stallone wrote and directed it.  From a writer’s perspective, it could have used a few more rewrites.

I was expecting it to be more mission-centric, but it just dragged and took forever to get to the interesting parts.  K said this would be a perfect Filmsack movie.  I agree.

Tonight we started RED. SO much better.  But it’s Warren Ellis, so I’d expect nothing less.

Say when

Rain has returned to the Bay Area, which means another 4:30 to noon day for yours truly, followed by an appointment in the afternoon, which means no physical work on LUCY.

Mental work, though, is another issue.

I printed out the outline pages I have so far, and realized something I haven’t noticed in a while: I have a lot going on in this story. And when I say a lot, I mean Faulkner-on-a-roll lot.

There will be lots of editing when I reach the end, but I have to stop myself from doing it now. It probably doesn’t help that I keep putting more stuff in and expanding and creating more storylines. Just trying to tie it all together. Honest.

It’s getting more complicated, despite my efforts to have that not happen. I know I’ve mentioned the number of scenes per section of Act Two, and it’s still too high.

I look at well-done action films (DIE HARD, RAIDERS) and there is no fat to those stories. Everything serves a purpose AND moves the story forward. Me, I got too much fat in mine. It slows things down.

I need to start swinging my metaphoric editor’s butcher knife and trim a lot of it away.

-Just a quick plug for script analysis service Script Quack, listed just over there on the right in the blogroll section.  I used them last year for DREAMSHIP and they came through with some fantastic feedback.  My original plan was to take their very thorough notes and do a rewrite for this year’s Nicholl.  Probably won’t happen due to all my work on LUCY, but definitely for next year.

While some places charge $200 and up for basic notes, Script Quack was only $99, which is a real bargain.  I highly recommend them, and I don’t get anything in return for doing so.  So there.

Not so fast, mental block!

Once again, my productivity levels go up when I’m supposed to be doing something else.

This time it was V’s hockey practice.  While my incredible child was working on stopping shots in goal, I sat in the stands with pen and paper, determined to get through the latest bout of writer’s block.

I think I’m on my way.

I managed to come up with an exciting end to a scene that originally seemed kind of boring.  I came up with a better way to introduce the infamous bounty hunter much earlier in the story; this also necessitates and hastens the inevitable rewriting of Act One.  Which is okay.

But I worry the focus on the main character is being drawn away by the ever-developing subplots.  Granted, some of the short scenes I was coming up with are very, very short, but it’s really important that the reader/viewer is always thinking “Will Lucy succeed?”, and especially when she’s NOT in the scene.  (Case in point: I think there’s one or two scenes in Back to the Future WITHOUT Marty McFly.)

So for now, I keep plugging away.  I’m hoping to get to the midpoint by the end of the year.  There are a few weekend shifts as part of that, so that will definitely help.

-A very big thanks to everybody who took a look at this blog over the past few days.  I had a whopping 19 (most ever!) people visit on Wednesday, and that’s a lot.  I hope you’re getting as much enjoyment out of reading this as I do in writing it.

And as always, comments and questions are highly encouraged.

-I haven’t had a chance to start reading my Black List scripts yet.  That may fall under that weekend category as well.  Either GANGSTER SQUAD or THE 13TH MAN will be first.

-While work on LUCY is chugging along (ooh, a train reference!), I keep forgetting I have these great notes on DREAMSHIP from the fine folks at www.scriptquack.com (highly recommended, but I don’t think they’ve put up my testimonial yet).  I’d really like to enter it in next year’s Nicholl, so I gotta get my ass in gear and get to work.  Looks like I may have to go the Stephen King route and work on each one on alternating days.

That’s right.  This never ends.