I want instant gratification, and I want it now!

Don't be a Veruca
Don’t be a Veruca.

“Hurry up and wait.”

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

“It takes years to become an overnight success.”

“What do you mean you haven’t read it yet? I sent it yesterday!”

You’ve no doubt heard things like these and many others like them before. For a screenwriter, nothing happens as fast as you want it to.

As the contractors and engineers say, “You can have it done right or fast. Which one do you want?”

You might feel like something has to get done or be sent out immediately, but that just ends up being counterproductive. Or worse – has a negative impact. Who among us hasn’t sent out a draft to a potential rep or a contest, only to discover something wrong with it after the fact?

Maybe it’s thinking that the faster you get it out there, the faster the results will come. Those of us who’ve have been doing this for a while know that ain’t how it works. It takes as long as it takes. You can’t force it.

It constantly amazes me to hear writers who claim to have cranked out a first draft of a “surefire hit” in practically no time, don’t do any rewrites, then are dumbfounded when it doesn’t get any responses from the industry or fails to place in a contest. What else would you expect?

You have to learn to control that impulsiveness, and it is not easy. I’ll get an email about a special early bird rate for a contest, and I’ll immediately think “Great!” Then I remind myself that the script’s really not ready yet, and I’d much rather spend the time to work on it until it is. If that means totally missing the contest and entering it next year instead, then that’s fine.

Writing a screenplay is not something you want to rush through. There are so many elements to it, and learning how to do it properly and effectively takes a lot of time.

The only way you can make progress as a writer is to put in the time and effort to be a better writer. It might seem like it’s taking forever, but keep working at it and the results will present themselves before you know it.

More days like this, please

We all deserve one

In terms of writing, Monday was fantastic.  I got to the midpoint of my revamped LUCY outline, and I really like how things are developing.  It has a genuine pulp-y feel, which is kind of what I was going for.

The rest of Act Two still looms, so how that works out is still being developed.  The previous draft has a lot of stuff I can’t use anymore, so getting through it will be a bit of a slog.

Didn’t get to work on DREAMSHIP pages, but the editing of the first act continues. Hoping to get back into that sometime next week.  Over the weekend I realized it’s been about a year since I got my Script Quack notes. That really was the kick in the pants I needed to get started on this rewrite.  Definitely worth it.  Click on their link over there on the right to check ’em out.

-You’ve probably noticed the growing trend of the ‘found footage’ genre.  THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, CLOVERFIELD, and the forthcoming CHRONICLE.  And the spec market seems to be growing with more and more unique takes on it.

I think I’ve stumbled onto a potentially great idea for one.  And even better, it fits perfectly with a story idea I came up with years ago.  I don’t want to divulge any details just yet, but I’ve got the logline down on a long-standing list of story ideas, with the intent of coming back to it later.  What’s nice is that I can keep track of the market and see how any new scripts compare with mine.  Knowing me, I probably won’t get to this until sometime next year, but it’s definitely an idea worth holding on to.

-Movie of the Moment: BRIDESMAIDS (2011). It must be me.  I didn’t think this was the comedic work of genius I was led to believe it was.  There were some funny moments in the second half, but overall I wasn’t impressed.  Some of my co-workers thought it was hilarious, so maybe I would have enjoyed it more in the theatre, rather than at home.  But this isn’t something I would have paid to see.

I bet as soon as this was a hit, they announced plans for a sequel.  No doubt this time it’s Annie who’s getting married.  Such originality!  Puh-leeze. Spare me.

-On a more positive note, we watched WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971) because V had caught the second half on TV and wanted to see it from the beginning.  She loved it.  One of those films that holds up after numerous viewings.  We’ll probably see the Tim Burton version this weekend.  While Gene Wilder definitely makes for a more interesting Wonka, I like the Danny Elfman songs in the Burton version a little more.

If we’re really lucky, we may even very slyly ‘convince’ V to read the original book for school.  That would be quite a coup for us.  And even better, she’d probably like it.