It’s all about the gradual improvement

Progress has been slow, steady, and in all honesty, somewhat faster than expected regarding the ongoing development of the animated fantasy-comedy spec.

Having learned my lesson from getting too many sets of notes per draft in the past, this time I limited myself to 2-3 writers per draft. All of the notes, as expected, were extremely helpful.

Not at the FINAL final draft yet, but gosh is it a lot closer than it was a few months ago. Pages have been cut, characters and subplots tossed, scenes revised or combined, lots of lines and pages trimmed down to what is hopefully succinct and to-the-point writing.

Currently clocking in at a respectable 102 pages. Nice. Especially considering an earlier draft was 119(!). Better to overwrite and cut than to pad and add.

(Big shoutout to Richard Walter for his invaluable advice of “Write as if ink costs $1000 an ounce.”)

While I did achieve one goal of having a workable rewrite done by the end of 2022 – at 10pm on New Year’s Eve, I was hoping to have it contest-ready soon after that.

Not the case, but that’s okay.

I’ve since received a few more sets of notes, including some helpful and encouraging comments from somebody who does coverage for the studios. Two more rounds of polishing have been completed since then. No major or drastic changes; more like a lot of effective and beneficial editing.

At this point, I’d guess there’s probably one more polish, possibly two, to go before I start warming up the credit card and check out contest deadlines.

Well worth the wait, I’d say.

Despite the still-growing number of drafts, it’s been quite satisfying to see the script slowly come together, and the next (but not the last) finish line is in sight.

Your three for ’23

A new year is upon us. One hopefully jam-packed with opportunity and lots of forward momentum for all.

I had the recent pleasure of having lunch with a writing group. As things started to wrap up, one of the members asked the rest of us to list the three writing-related things we hoped to accomplish in 2023.

It was a great idea, and just as great to hear what everybody was setting out to do.

For me, it’s adding two scripts to my catalog, filming the short, and possibly resuming the quest for representation. That last one’s still a maybe, with “Elevate the quality of my writing” a suitable alternative.

So in the same spirit of camaraderie, I pass the question on to you:

What are your three writing-related goals for 2023?

More than that is fine, but three is a good starting point.

No matter what they are, I wish you the best of luck with of all of them.

Go get ’em, chums. I’m rootin’ for ya.

See you next year.

From me to you

Festivities around Maximum Z HQ are underway, so taking a moment to say that which must be said.

As the year winds down, we all look back and think about what did and didn’t happen, writing-wise.

Progress was made, along with a few of the usual setbacks and disappointments.

We all know this ain’t easy, but why would we do it if we didn’t enjoy it?

The important thing is we keep trying.

I sincerely hope that each of you continues to push forward in 2023 so that this time next year you can proudly claim “Look at all the amazing stuff I was able to accomplish this year!”

Know that yours truly will always be in your corner, cheering you on and offering up as much encouragement as possible.

I’m extremely fortunate and grateful to know so many amazing and talented writers, and wish all of you nothing but the best in the coming year for all of your projects.

Happy holidays, you phenomenal creatives, you.

A nice wrap-up

2022 is starting to wind down, and the general consensus around Maximum Z HQ is:

It’s been a pretty good year.

-First and foremost, I finally managed to publish my books. Took a while to put it all together, but thanks to a heaven-sent editor/advisor, they became a reality.

Also nice is that they’ve been very positively received. And they make a great gift for any screenwriter (plug, plug).

-A lot of the year was also spent writing. I completed a few drafts of the animated fantasy-comedy spec – huge shoutout to the readers who provided some excellent notes that helped improve each draft. Hoping the end result achieves what I set out to do.

I’m also wrapping up the script for the microbudget feature. The producer who brought me onto the project really likes what I’ve come up with so far, which is always nice to hear. They’re hoping to start production in the spring, so fingers remain firmly crossed that becomes a reality.

Bonus – the producer also asked me to write a short, which I did. It’s a completed project and is already being submitted to festivals. Keeping any other details under wraps for the time being.

-Wasn’t able to make my horror-comedy short film, but I did connect with a local director who’s open to helping out. This whole “make it yourself” thing is quite a learning experience.

-Speaking of connecting, I got to meet a whole new bunch of local writers. I always enjoy that.

-I once again took part in the screenwriting track for the San Francisco Writers Conference, which included being on panels and offering advice to writers one-on-one. Had a great time with that, and I’ll get to do it again in February.

-Being part of the conference also led to doing a lecture about screenwriting for the California Writers Club, which it looks like I might get to do again sometime soon.

-Didn’t do so well on the contest front, but as evidenced in everything else I just talked about, I think I’ve done okay.

Here’s hoping for more good news and positive vibes for all of us in 2023.

Keep pushing forward, chums. I’m rootin’ for ya.

The next mountain awaits

Wrapped up the latest draft of the animated fantasy-comedy earlier this week and sent it to a few readers.

Notes have begun trickling in.

Overall responses: very positive, but could still use some tweaking. Points were awarded for creativity, originality, dialogue, and the jokes.

I appreciate all of those very much.

But…it can still be better.

I’d estimate it’s maybe one to two drafts away from being where it needs to. Waiting for a few more notes to come in before diving into that.

What’s also helped is that a lot of the changes don’t seem to be of a major overhaul type, but I suspect it won’t be a few minor changes here and there either. Somewhere in that nebulous middle.

It’s been quite encouraging how fast and effectively things are playing out for this one. It’s taken a while to get to this point, but all the time spent writing, rewriting and constantly trying to make previous scripts better are yielding the desired results for this one in a more timely manner.

Another thing that’s different about this time around is that confidence levels were already pretty high about the script, and getting comments about what still needs work hasn’t diminished them. Many times in the past I would get notes and think what a terrible writer I must have been, which was not the case.

I’m quite psyched about this one, and can’t wait to get back to work on it.

**SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION!!**

I was the featured guest on some recent podcasts:

What Are You Watching? with Chris Mancini (who has a q&a on this blog)

The Successful Screenwriter with Geoffrey Calhoun (a 2-time q&a on this blog – here & here)