If you’re going to half-ass something, should you go all out and half-ass it all the way or would it be more pure to just half-ass the way you half-ass it?
“(Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna) Break-a My Stride,” Matthew Wilder, 1983.
Made my root canal yesterday 1,000 times worse just by being on the dentist’s radio. I’d like to go and break-a his face.
Some news: The paperwork has been signed – Aftershocks has an agent/manager.
I’m psyched but realistic. The first time I got an agent I thought my troubles were over – they weren’t. Now I’m 14 years older, calmer, and wiser (well, maybe). We’ll see how this round goes.
You keep sending your stuff out, you might just get a bite. Get your stuff finished, get it polished, and get it out there. Again and again.
Fasten your seatbelts.
I don’t like to outline. I used to, I may again, but not right now.
In school I outlined – we all did. I wrote 3 features this way, with each outline getting better and more detailed than the last. I would refine the outline first and then write. If an idea came to mind while I was writing, I would stop writing, add the scene to the outline, and then tweak the outline again and again before resuming writing. By the third feature, my process was disciplined and precise.
And completely lifeless.
It was actually a chore to complete that third feature. Part of this was because I was writing the script on spec for a producer (based on his idea) who bailed halfway through, but the other part was because the writing was so lifeless – all the “fun stuff” had been explored and laid out before, at the outline stage, so the writing itself felt like dictation. The script turned out okay I guess, but the process was an exercise in drudgery, without life or spark or energy. Without discovery.
So with my fourth feature I decided to try an experiment: I would take the 4 structural chunks of the script and only look at 1 at a time. I could outline, use index cards, anything I wanted, but I could only work on 30 pages at a time – thinking about anything beyond that 30-page unit was off limits until it was done and polished. To challenge myself, I consciously tried to write myself into a corner every 30 pages. And each section would end with an ambitious climax or cliffhanger, one which I had no idea how to top or get out of. It was great.
The good news is that this fourth feature ended up being Aftershocks, still the script I am most proud of. The bad news is it took 7 years to write. I honestly had no idea how to end the thing as I would set it down and then pick it back up months or even years later, letting it breathe as I worked on other scripts and other ideas in between. False starts and dead ends on the second and third acts took years. But once I figured them out… well, as I said, I’m pretty proud of it.
Something changed when I started writing Aftershocks: I started writing an idea that Read the rest of this entry »
Last night the wind was whisperin’, I was trying to make out what it was.
Last night the wind was whisperin’ somethin’ – I was trying to make out what it was.
I tell myself something’s comin’
But it never does.
– Bob Dylan, 2001
Stay close – something might be comin’.
– Robb, 6/5/08
If Darth Vader told a joke, which joke would it be?