Since it worked so well a few months ago, I thought it would be nice to once again offer creators (which includes writers, filmmakers, artists, and so forth) the chance to present their materials to as wide an audience as I can provide.
The master list will be posted on Friday, October 2nd – ONLY ONE LISTING PER PERSON!
And with the holiday season just around the corner, what better gift to give than something that helps support your fellow creatives?
So if you’ve got a book, a film, a webseries, a comic or webcomic, or pretty much any other kind of finished and ready-for-public-consumption product, this is your chance to put the word out.
If you and your project were among those listed last time, you’re more than welcome to be included again, but it would also be great to see some new material added into the mix.
And for all the screenwriters wondering when it’s their turn, a post that’s all about scripts will be taking place in late October or early November, so keep an eye out for that announcement in a few weeks.
Jackie Perez Beachworld – sci-fi/horror short film – authorized adaptation of Stephen King short story of the same name “Stranded crew on an alien planet covered in dunes. Locating their ship’s emergency beacon is their only hope, but when a salvage crew answers their distress signal, it’s already too late.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd7HeWs0jVQ&feature=youtu.be
The key word for this overhaul of the pulpy sci-fi spec is exactly that: an overhaul.
And a really big one at that.
One of the notes I got on the previous draft was “It’s a fun story, but there’s still a feeling of ‘we’ve seen this before'”.
What a powerful motivator to really shake things up. The last thing a writer wants to hear is that their work is predictable or just filling in the blanks for a template with this kind of story. Readers and audiences want originality, so that’s what we need to give them.
Regarding this story, while the overall concept and primary plotline are still the same, a good majority of the rest of the details have changed in some way or another, with no doubt more to come.
Even though I’ll jot down ideas for particular moments, scenes or sequences occurring throughout the story, I gather them up and then write/develop them in a linear manner – working my way through the story from start to finish. A leads to B, which leads to C, and so on and so on. Not everybody’s style, but it work for me.
It’s probably safe to say I worked my way through at least four or five versions of Act One before arriving at its current version – the one I felt was the strongest. And even that’s been tweaked here and there since then.
Despite having a hard copy of the previous draft readily available – more as reference material than anything, a key part of this process has been for me to NOT look at it – especially when I was feeling stuck. My objective is to keep trying something really different, and sneaking a peek at what I’m trying to avoid won’t help. If anything, it would probably point me in a wrong direction.
I’ve written before about a writer should do what they can to avoid having the reader/audience know what’s going to come next. Such is the case for this rewrite.
As I work my way through, it’s with a mindset that looks at a scene or sequence as a whole, along with “what’s the most likely thing to happen here?”
That’s followed immediately by “what would be the total opposite of that?” or “what would be completely and totally unexpected here, but still works within the context of the story?” Really striving towards taking a new approach is yielding some positive results. It’s quite a thrill when an idea pops out of nowhere, and it works even better than expected.
Added bonus – by forcing myself to come up with new ideas, there’s less need for me to keep the hard copy of the previous draft nearby. The more I avoid looking at it along with figuring things out for this draft, the more changes it produces. All that being said, I’ll still hold onto it, since there’s always a chance I might need something in there, but with the story constantly changing, even that’s becoming less likely.
The whole point of overhauling this story is to take what I had before and put an entirely new spin on the initial concept. I have a pretty good idea of what needs to happen, what I’d like to happen, and that big nebulous category of what could potentially happen (still working out the kinks on that one).
The road between what I started with and what the end result will be is without a doubt one that’s going to be very long, very twisted, fraught with hazards of numerous kinds, and might, at times, seem to go on forever.
Sounds like quite a hellish journey. And I’m loving every step of the way.
Most of my attention this week has been on one of my new projects. I’ll admit to originally thinking it would be a little easier to put together, which is most definitely has not.
I started out with the core concept and then proceeded to work on building the story around it. Since that initial effort, it’s probably safe to say I’ve gone through at least half a dozen variations on it. It was a constant state of flux, accompanied by me always thinking “Am I ever going to come up with something I like?”
For a few days, that was the dominant thought. But I knew the concept was solid, so it was just a matter of time and continuous trying before I found the one that worked. A new idea would spark, I’d ruminate over it a little, and if I thought it worked, would keep going. Suffice to say, there were a lot of starts and stops.
Again, I had faith in the concept. The right way to tell the story was out there, but my creativeness still hadn’t connected to it.
The story is in a specific genre, so there were several factors to keep in mind: how this world works, what’s expected, what could be twisted around and given a unique spin while still adhering to the “rules”, and most especially, any original ideas I could add in that reinforced the concept of the story.
As I racked my brain, more and more possibilities for each of those popped up. I doubted I could remember all of them, so I created a second document for the sole purpose of being an idea reference guide. That’s proven to be very helpful.
To also increase the chances this script could actually be produced, I’m putting it together with the plan of keeping things on the cheap: minimal locations, low number of characters, etc. A few of the original ideas threw some of those out the window, so they’d be cut and replaced with something a bit more on the practical side. Again, quite helpful.
As you’ve probably surmised, there was a lot going on both in my head and on the page. But as I continued push forward, with all the writing, cutting, and tweaking, it slowly started to come together.
I like how this new idea builds on that one from a few days ago, but with a great new twist, or modifying this scene in a new specific way does exactly what its previous incarnation did, but now in a more effective way. There’s been a lot of that.
It’s still a work in progress, but despite the delays, the whole thing’s slowly coming together. The plot points and the scenes between them are being filled in a way that works for me and the story.
There will definitely be a lot more work to do on it before I think it’s ready to transfer to script pages, but what was originally a big, jumbled and incoherent mess of ideas is gradually being organized into a well-structured, smartly-put-together (in theory), fun, and entertaining story.
During a break from working on the comedy spec rewrite, I was digging through some files on some of my other scripts and found a friend’s notes on the pulp sci-fi spec.
I hadn’t read them in months, and vaguely remembered there were some quality comments, so since this is one of the scripts I’m considering working on next, I gave them a quick skimming.
(This is also a good time to remind you that unless you honestly and truly feel that a script is finished, never throw away any of the documents associated with it. You’d be surprised how invaluable those can end up being.)
Yep, definitely some good stuff in here, along with some very valid points about the story and the characters. One of the comments that really struck home for me was that while they liked the story and the ideas behind it, a lot of it still felt too familiar. There were a few moments of uniqueness, but they wanted more. Something slightly different from what they’d read.
“Familiar, but different.” I’ve heard that before.
And it really got me thinking. Even more so this time around.
As it reads now, it’s a good, fun story, but I know it can be better. And different. All while still maintaining the qualities and elements you’d expect for this kind of story, which is what made the idea of developing it so appealing to me in the first place.
Working in my favor is that this was an early draft, so some significant changes were already inevitable, and I at least have a pretty solid foundation from which to start the rebuilding process.
Another bonus is that this is the kind of story where the more new and original ideas I can come up with will only help make the end result stand out that much more.
As I mentioned, this script is a potential “next up”, but not a priority. If an idea or concept for it suddenly pops up, I can easily open up the script’s notes file and jot it down. That way I’ll have it right there and ready to go when that rewrite gets underway.
But for now, back to the comedy.
-A few items for the bulletin board:
-Filmmaker friend of the blog Hudson Phillips is running a crowdfunding project for his post-apocalyptic tale of female empowerment This World Alone. As of this writing, they’re just over 2/3 of the way there, so donate if you can!
-If you’re a screenwriter looking for something a little different in terms of a writing retreat, take a gander at what the Aegean Film Lab has to offer: an international screenwriting workshop in July on the Greek island of Patmos. It’s part of the Aegean Film Festival and a partner of the Sundance Film Festival. I won’t be able to make it, but maybe you will.