Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Carpenters build houses, shoemakers make shoes...if you want to be a writer, then write motherfucker!

The Continuing adventures...

What project should I pick up (or dust off) next?

I have a good idea for the AOTLITW.  I just read Traps by Friedrich Duerrenmatt.  Found it at the Salvi.  Sadly, it has nothing to do with delicious lady-boys.  But it does have to do with a man facing a mock trial by a bunch of new friends, and ultimately realizing that the death of his boss was actually a perfect perfect murder, ingeniously executed by his own subconscious.  Which gives me a nice thematic thread for my family drama:  What if Nick comes to believe that Brenda's death was actually a murder-by-proxy, that he unknowingly committed?  Really, this is just a more dramatic elaboration of the lingering question of the script so far:  is Nick responsible for Brenda's death?  Maybe Carol believes that he subconsciously orchestrated the whole thing, and eventually convinces him of the same?  Not bad, not bad.

Then I have my psycho-thriller about a fashion model and her best friend.  I do look forward to working on this one, but if my speedy success with GFM has taught me anything, it is to PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE.  I need--strike that, THRIVE with a well formulated plot and structure before I even begin the screenplay.  If I know all of the major plot points before hand, I cannot get stuck 60 pages in and throw my manuscript down in a huff.  So if I commit to this one, I have to lock down a plot ahead of time. 

My other most alluring option is to pick up on River Of Silence.  I fancy this one a lot.  But, I fell into the aforementioned trap, and gave up 60 pages through.  If I am to pick this one up, I need to figure out the entire plot (I already have 3/5ths of the damned thing already!!!) and really dig my teeth in.

I don't have any interest in going back to Too Big To Live right now.

I generally feel comfortable having at least uncracked 2 script ideas floating around in my head.  As it stands, all of my ideas are currently in some stage of development (or "cracked").  This means I should probably start looking out for potential screenplay concepts...

Draft 2, Rewrite B

Fuckin' ace.  I've finally got a solid draft that I think is ready to be shown around.  Not shown around like staple a query letter to the cover and mail it to Joe Producer in Hollywood, but shown around to friends and acquaintances who could give me some feedback.

I'm super-duper proud of Goddess From The Machine.  I think it is technically my best piece of writing yet.  My confidence in the work is visible in the fact that I've actually COMPLETED a draft, as opposed to letting it die off in the 2nd act and never touching it again (see: All Of The Love In The World, River Of Silence).

So what now?  Get comments from Max and Susan, of course.  Who else can I ask to read it?  Who else do I trust to let read it?  Maybe Ronald will, but I doubt he'll jump all over the opportunity.  For sure I'd have to pulp the manuscript and bake it into a cheesecake to get Joe anywhere near the damn thing.  I think Alana has good taste, but I'm not getting the "let's be friends" vibe from her.  H---- is sort of a dick, and I don't know if he has good taste.  Will definitely  send it to Ben once I finish the NEXT draft (I only step to Ben with the best of my work).  Maggie, maybe.  Elliot --  sure, why not?  My dad...maybe.  L---- has good artistic instincts ( but couldn't S a D to save her life).  Maybe Galen likes this sort of shit.  BERA!  How could I forget Bera?  But I have to call him up, first (note to self:  hang out with Bera some time).

Will have to really dig into my little black book for more potential readers.

What next?  I need a new project.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All Of The Love In The World

Just reread the partial draft of AOTLITW (my main bitch) and DAMN IT'S GOOD.  It's very incomplete, but what is there is really compelling.  I have such a hard time working on it, but it reads so well that I know it has to be written.  Then it has to be read by some important people.  Then it has to be financed.  And then  it has to be shot.  Then it has to be edited.  Then it has to win an academy award.  Or at least a Golden Globe. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

PROGRESS!

So I've finally sent Godess From The Machine out to my first reader.  Every day I change my mind as to whether it is any good or not, but I guess some outside perspective will help me make that decision.  I kill off my protagonist as the climax, and the story is handed over to a secondary character.   Wonder if I'll keep that.  It's too early to say.

Either way, a 90 page script is the perfect length script.  Especially for a genre action film; there's nothing worse than a movie that stretches its already thin plot beyond its means.

Must remember that I am trying to write a script that is AS GOOD AS "UP"!  If I can do that, artistic success and fortune (in that order) are simple eventualities.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

80 Pages

Second draft and 80 pages of gooey gorey goodness.  The first act blazes by with humor, great (?) characterization and what I think will be a pretty surprising world.  Sure the whole "women run society" thing is a little trite, but it's main use is to put a spin on a pretty tired genre (revenge action).  It isn't preachy or overwrought.

The main characters sort of blend into generic mush in the second and third acts, but the lovable "hooker with a heart of gold" keeps things buoyant.  My main issue right now is keeping the leads sharp and focused on their goals.  I also need to keep the reader aware of the time-constraints that put pressure on the protags.

Thankfully it's coming in lean with about ten pages (maybe less) left.  And, for once in my so-called writing career, I have a pretty solid idea of how it ends.

Once I pound through the rest of this draft, Im going to go back and insert a few more scenes with the antagonist and her mum.  Most of the logical problems are sorted out.

Remember:  I WRITE THE STORY, THE STORY DOESN'T WRITE ME! meaning I have total control over the world I am creating.  I can't be scared to shove things around to fit, as long as they adhere to the internal logic I have established.

onwards and upwards!

Friday, November 19, 2010

37 pages

Of knife wielding, blood spewing, metal body transforming, engine oil drinking madness!  "Goddess From The Machine" is officially underway, and it's pretty dope.  I just have to make sure I don't get bored and stop working on it 50 pages in...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

writing is writing is writing

So I'm feeling better today.  I was inspired by watching Up yesterday, and have been writing.  Of course, I'm not writing All Of The Love In The World, but writing is writing and writing is good. 

I'm "re-envisioning" this really bad Japanese action flick called Machine Girl which is about a babe with a machine gun arm.     I am applying the very effective and commercial structure of Pixar films to a genre flick.  I'll get into the specifics of that when I talk to you next.  This is sort of an extension of the Too Big To Live experiment.

The gist of the project I'm outlining: an alternate near-future where society is overrun with all-female gangs and young men have been disappearing at alarming rates .   JJ is a girl who has been saddled with the responsibility of caring for her simp of a little brother after their parents passed away (dead parents are a great back story for this sort of thing).  A gang of girls bully and kill her younger brother.  She vows revenge.  When she goes to get revenge, she is captured, tortured, impaled on a bunch of iron rods and left for dead.  Her firey rage fuses the metal with her genes, or something, and some Tetsuo Iron Man shit happens where she becomes part machinery. 

She is nursed back to health by a neighboring woman  who's infant son was recently abducted.  As payment she agrees to help get the son back.  One of her arms, damaged beyond repair, is amputated and modified to accommodate  a variety of weapons that she can like, control with her mind and shit.

They journey to get the woman's son back, and eventually find out that the abduction and her brother's murder are (you guessed it) related incidents.  The infant boy has been captured to be groomed for an underground ring of male prostitution, and JJ's brother was killed for some other related reason. 

I want to force myself to finish All Of The Love In The World, but it just hasn't been happening.  It's this hugely ambitious  project.   I may be trying to run before I can walk.  There are so many characters, and it is so emotionally complicated that I am paralyzed.  How can I handle that if I haven't even written a simple, 3-act, Syd Field approved script with one main plot, one subplot and a decent late-second-act reversal?

So now I have 3 projects that I can sharpen my teeth with besides AOTLITW:

River of Silence-straightforward psycho/supernatural thriller.

Too Big To Live-straightforward (but slightly more convoluted) action comedy

and now...

MACHINE GUN GODDESS/GODDESS IN THE MACHINE (just made that up).  A VERY straightforward action flick.

Here's to writing!

Scripts in the pipe

So, since nobody reads this, I think it's safe to post my current and upcoming scripts without worrying about plagarism.  These aren't well thought-out loglines.

1) All Of The Love In The World:  My current project that is driving me mad.

When a young man finds out about his estranged ex-wife's death, he is thrown into an unwanted reunion with his ex in-laws and forced to confront the possibility of his ex-wife's death being a suicide.

2)  River of Silence

A father and daughter go hunting in the woods of Main and cross paths with a demonic entity that abducts children.

3)  Too Big To Live

A male pornstar trying to transition to "legitimate acting" must survive long enough to make an audition at the end of the week.

4)  Untitled thriller

A young woman accepts the responsibility of assisting her best friend's transition out of a mental institution.  But something has followed her friend and threatens to steal both of their sanity.

5)  A possible adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Chronicles Of A Death Foretold".

6)  A possible adaptation of the Japanese film "Machine Girl, which sucks, but has potential.

All of these projects, but I can't move on any of them in good conscience until i have a proper draft of AOTLITW.  And that is sooooooo hard!  But, I think I be making very slow progress back to place where I can be productive on it...  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I have been very unproductive about approaching All Of The Love In The World.  I just can't get back into it.  The seasonal changes aren't helping.  When it gets dark at 4:30,  I have a very hard time doing anything but watching movies, jerking off, playing video games or sleeping.  Plus, I get up at 1 every afternoon and barely have any daylight. 
But those are all excuses.

Hopefully getting feedback from Susan will help.  I need to start forming the mess of a draft into a story, but how to do it?  I feel like a talentless hack who got lucky with a couple writing projects, and am destined for... see I can't even write a decent sentence in a fucking blog post.

In other news, I just watched Machine Girl, which was terrible.  I am considering trying to adapt it into a good script.  But that requires that I am actually able to write a good script.  Ah, fuck.  I'm gonna eat a sandwich and watch Ninja Scroll.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So I'm trying to blaze through my first draft of All Of The Love In The World.  Since I am so incredibly far removed from the world of my script (It's been at least 4 months since I was "in the zone") that I have to watch page after page of shitty, non-dramatic exposition come out of my fucking word processor.  It's really frustrating, but necessary. 

So I have 75 pages of scenes which don't progress in any dramatic way or build on one another.  They are also almost entirely made up of two people talking to each other, not talking about much of anything, not advancing any plot, not revealing any character, and all speaking with the same voice.  It's really quite depressing.

BUT, I need all of these scenes.  In fact, I am going to write as many scenes as I can think of.  I don't care how many pages the first draft ends up being.  I don't care how boring and repetitive it is.  All that matters is that when I put it down,  I can return to the characters, return to my outlines, find the core of my story and begin plucking any scenes that have potential and crafting them.

I have a very, very long road ahead of me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I am back to outlining All Of The Love In The World.   And the add adage is true.  Anyone can write a good first act.  All of my first acts are good.  The second act comes around, and now I no longer have the novelty of my concept/scenario to float me.  I have to tell a fucking story.

Well, challenge accepted, motherfucker!  I'm gonna fuck the shit out of this second act, so suck it!

1.  What does Nick (protag.) want?
He wants to a) get back Brenda's (his deceased ex-wife's) engagement ring (McGuffin?),
b) relieve his guilt about leaving Brenda in such an unstable, vulnerable state.
c) get the hell up outta his in-laws house as soon as possible.

2.  What keeps him from achieving these goals?
a) Annabelle (Brenda's 15 year old sister) has the ring on a necklace around her neck.
b) a whole lotta shit.  Not least of all, mounting suspicions that Brenda killed herself.
c)  the blizzard of the fucking century.

Now, I need to think of more shit to happen.  15 characters in a house together for 3 days.  An infinite number of possibilities.  I have thought of about 4 of them.  I must remember that the second act is about MOUNTING OBSTACLES.  IT BECOMES INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT FOR NICK TO ACHIEVE THESE 3 GOALS.  HE IS FACED WITH CHALLENGES, AND HOW HE RESPONDS TO THESE CHALLENGES DEFINES HIS CHARACTER.



Rich white people+family issues+booze=story telling gold!  (Should remember to write a post about why I am not writing about black people... maybe)
I have been working on a first draft of my newest script "Too Big To Live" since September.  I banged it out in a week, which was my most productive writing sprint to date.  TBTL is an action-comedy about Rich, a very successful male pornstar who wants to quit porn and get into mainstream film. 

But now I am stuck and am beginning to see the depth and breadth of the issues in this script.  It is really quite bad.  There are a few good scenes, but the core of a story is missing.  I am enthusiastic about the potential of this script, but maybe I need to step away from it for a bit.

Over the summer, until early September, I worked on "River of Silence", and have made some very solid progress, but lost my way about half way through.  I stepped back to work on the new and exciting TBTL.

And now, I am circling back to my FIRST feature script.  "All Of The Love In The World", my family drama about a young man who is forced to reunite with his ex-in-laws after his ex-wife passes away.  This is by far the most ambitious of the three, and has potential to be something really, really great.  I haven't worked on it since the very beginning of Summer, so I think it is time to come back.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Three Uses of The Gun

I've just read David Mamet's "Three Uses Of The Knife".  I didn't want to use that title, which is an amazing title, so I went with Three Uses Of The Gun.  I was going to go with "Pistol" instead of "Gun", but as a matter of syllables,  I went with "gun".

This Blog will be a diary of the progress on my screenplays.

Right now I have 3.

1.  All Of The Love In The World

2.  River Of Silence

3.  Too Big To Live