Wednesday, December 20, 2006

He postures and poses, he listens to Keane/He rants and he raves like a man in a dream

Remember when I wrote some time back about how I love rewrites and think they're the greatest time in the worldest?

I take it back.

Since then I've written a great grand seven pages. That's right. Seven. In two weeks.

Now, as usual, I'm going to go ahead and blame work conditions. I also have a new excuse for your enjoyment: Winter.

That's right, as an unforeseen byproduct of the third shift schedule, the longer times of darkness (not to be confused with Dark Times) are causing my body to send me sleep signals at an alarming rate, even when I've already had plenty of sleep.

But even with these excuses, seven pages in 14 days is pretty lame. I'm disappointed in me.

Despite Emily's exhortation to go ahead and write standing on my head, smoking a cigar if that's how I really crank it up, I've had some trouble making dents in the almost-page-one rewrite of my neo-screwball comedy.

And now The Fear is back in the form of Greg, freshly home from China. Jerk wants to meet again, so I better come up with something to validate my own existence.

Fortunately, I have at least produced a reasonable one-fifth-of-the-movie long sequence, and tonight I may well do even more. If I can kick-start my imagination hard enough to cough and sputter it's steam-powered way along the story development superhighway like the Model-A clunker that it is.

I keep looking forward to the time when writing this comedy will be over and I can go back to drama, but damned if I didn't just have another great idea for a comedy that will now nag at me with the persistence of a four-years-engaged woman tired of her fiancé's feet-dragging and his over-used hyphenation.

Maybe I'll just keep it back for a rainy-day pitch. Because we all know I meet with producers next to nonstop.

I'll see you cats in another two weeks.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Unpaid Me Will Rock Your Overpaid Development World

I like knowing Greg, because he's hooked up to the world of film, and sometimes he gives me unproduced scripts to read. I read two of them this week, and I realized something:

I'm a better writer than most people.

I know you're all surprised to hear that a screenwriter thinks himself better at the craft than other people who are actually making money (screenwriters are usually such humble people), but it's true, I tell you. Every single one of these scripts has had quite obvious flaws to which I am pretty sure I have simple solutions.

Of course, no producers are paying me to develop these ideas, so this helps me not at all, in a practical sense.

But for encouragement, there's nothing like it.

I managed an hour-and-a-half-ish of writing tonight before exhaustion overcame me, and I brought the page count up to 20 on the rewrite. More importantly, I summitted a minor story hill I'd been climbing all week, leaving the path open for some solid progress next time I write.

And what's even better, most of it is feeling at least mildly funny, and much of it very funny. This may not sound like a big deal to all you other comedic geniuses, but for me it's bloody amazing.

From now on, only dramas. Comedy is stressful.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Glorious Rewrite

Rewrite time is a fun time. I forgot how much fun it is.

Draft time is a fun time. In fact, it's probably the most fun time. But it comes with all these pressures. Namely, the pressure to create something new, and the pressure to create at lightning-quick speed.

I subscribe (at least up until recently) to the idea that a first draft should be pounded out as quickly as possible, with as little thinking as posssible.

Outline, outline, outline. Then first draft. Fast first draft. No tweaking, no going back, no second guessing.

This means that I can knock out a draft in a couple weeks or less, to the envy of all my other writer friend(s). But it also means that sometimes those drafts are less than I hoped. I suppose this to be a fairly common problem among screenwriters, but I wish to eradicate it.

When I was in elementary school, junior high, senior high and college, I wrote things at a nice, deliberate pace. My first drafts were like third drafts. It was wonderful.

When I became a screenwriter everyone said that I should write first drafts like first drafts. And certainly this helps them to come out fast.

But while draft time is definitely better than the maddening limbo of outline time, rewrite time is probably my favorite time. Granted, this is only my second time there, but the last time (almost a year ago) was all kinds of fun, and so far this time is too.

Rewrite gives you that chance to really make the script the way you wanted it to be. I can obsess and finesse and tweak and adjust and do over to my perfectionistic heart's content.

In the current case, the rewrite really is almost a complete rewrite, so it has all that magical aura of a first draft with the freedom and reward of a rewrite. It's beautiful.

I have 17 pages of rewrite so far. Because I can, I will probably remove a couple of those pages, but even so, I'm pretty proud.

I'd be making a lot more progress, but things have been absolutely insane at work, with violence, non-compliance and anger on every side. I'm not even exaggerating.

So my actual "work" work takes me much longer every night, decreasing the writing time available. And my days tend to last longer, which means I get less sleep and then can't stay awake enough to produce anything good.

I'm not really into the "suffering writer" thing. It doesn't really help my creativity as much as you'd think. So let's hope this is over soon.

In only slightly related news, I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's tonight while doing paperwork. I'm trying to dredge my memory to a certain extent, but I think this may be the original "falls in love with his best friend" movie. Anyone?