Thursday, July 20, 2006

In My Defense…

So as Dave previously mentioned, I recently finished a rewrite of my own work. And as he so diplomatically noted, I put together a super compelling scene in our Shogun/forbidden-love/mountain-climbing/Gulf War/romantic-comedy screenplay, and sent if off to him, smug that I’d finished several pages.

And, as you saw, he callously tossed it back, pointing out a minor flaw in the entire direction I’d taken the script in.

In my defense, though, what we had was a little confusing.

Say, for example, our script were taking place in the Holland Tunnel in NYC. Dave writes a great scene in which our characters struggle to get through traffic, Frogger-style, ducking semis, taxis, and screaming New Yorkers of all sorts, as the ceiling caves in. Scary, scary, stuff. And I don’t want to give anything away, but I bet someone gets run over.

Anyhow… so they make it to the other side of the tunnel, breathlessly resting at a passageway entrance.


Charlie writing a scene.

I read this, and misinterpret where he’s left off as the entrance to ANOTHER tunnel. Not the one they’re in. So I write a scene with them speeding down a branching lane of the Holland Tunnel on hoverboards, escaping the…erm… let’s say… Morlocks… and... um... Zombie New Yorkers… yeah - drooling, maniacal, "how-ya-dooin'" spouting Zombie New Yorkers that are chasing them.

Easy enough. But then I find out that there is no branching lane. No second tunnel. There’s just that one tunnel. And now its closed off, because of the cave-in.

I was thinking Snake Pliskin, and Dave was channeling Stallone in “Daylight.”

See? Not as cut and dried as boarding an exploding plane, huh?

Anyhow… I rewrote it. Amazing how someone just happened to leave jackhammers, goggles, a backhoe, and three sticks of dynamite laying around in our metaphorical Holland Tunnel, huh?

I think we’re back on track. I’ve once again smugly sent it off to Dave, who’s too busy vacationing in the Hamptons with his family, manager, agent, accountant, and manservant, Maurice, to actually read it, much less write the next bit.

In the meantime, then, I may just write the next scene, even though it ain’t my turn.

Yeah… I’m crazy. I roll like that.

Now… let’s see… did I leave off with them boarding the plane full of snakes, or escaping Lex Luthor on a pirate ship?


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Sunday, July 16, 2006

We Wait and We Wonder

So anyone ever mention that a large portion of a screenwriter's job was to sit on his or her thumb and wait for the paint to dry?

Obviously we're waiting for Producer Dude to kick something into gear on Siege. Nothing but waiting there.

Also, Charlie and I alternate waiting for the other one to do something on the next pygmy/screaming half-naked co-eds/millennium flick. Now you could say that we could be good, prolific writers, and work on other sequences while we wait. But we're not. So stop that.

Right now, I'm waiting for Charlie. He actually sent me a first draft of the next bit, and we had a disconnect. I blame him. And me. 50/50. Here's a hypothetical example of our disconnect.

Say that I ended the last sequence with "Scooby and Shaggy race away from the airplane as it explodes, sending a fireball across the tarmac."

Then Charlie kind of started the next scene with "Scooby and Shaggy board the airplane and fly off to find Scooby Snacks."

See? A Disconnect. I blew up the plane, he get on the plane.

This is half my fault. Looking back, I could have been clearer about the fact that the plane had, in fact, blown up, and that there were no other planes for them to board.

And it is half Charlie's fault. He could have read my damn words and paid attention.

So I sent it back to Charlie, and he's rewriting the scene, somehow finding a way to reach Scooby Snacks that doesn't involve the plane. You know, the one I blew up in a fireball that raced across the tarmac.

I am also waiting in my own, non-Charlie, in fact better-than-Charlie, line of existence. My Manager gave a final, final, final copy of my feature to An Agent (actually My Agent now, but only in words, paperwork is still being signed. Once signed, An Agent will become My Agent. I rock.) and we are waiting for the response from An Agent. If An Agent likes it, then they will combine forces and sell my script to Hollywood, and I will become rich. That is the goal, anyway.

An Agent has had my script for two weeks. My Manager has heard nothing from An Agent. See, we gave AN Agent the script right before July 4th. And it seems that July 4th is about a 2-week holiday in Hollywood. So An Agent is just getting back to work. Plus, An Agent has another client who has just had a TV series premiere to good ratings and good reviews, so An Agent is kinda busy.

So I'm waiting.

I hate waiting.

I'll write more later, but you'll have to wait for it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

On Juggling...

Yesterday over lunch I was discussing my "2nd job" with a buddy from work.

Right now, things at work are especially busy, so when he learned that I'm actively working on a screenplay with Dave, he was shocked.

"Where do you find the time?" he asked, incredulously.

Unfortunately, though, the tone just wasn't the same as someone who might inquire "What? You work with quadriplegic orphans, teaching them quantum physics? Where do you find the time?!"

Instead - and maybe I'm just being overly sensitive here - his inquiry seemed to carry more of a "So you spend time at work slacking by sneaking in some screenwriting, huh?" vibe.

Now, I'll be honest here... I've certainly taken 15 minutes here, or 30 minutes there, to make some tweaks to work Dave or I have done, while sitting at my desk at the office. That said, its been during my lunch hour. I've never blatantly sat at my desk, ignoring other priorities, so I can crank out the latest scenes in our Voodoo-Zombie/Surfboarding/Little-People/Wagon-Train/Gay-Cowboy opus.

Rather, it typically goes something like this. Dave sends me an updated draft. My turn to write.

I think about what I want to write for a couple of days. Usually this takes place in the shower, or while driving to work, or laying in bed at night. As a working stiff with a wife and a 2 year old kid, those are the only times when my brain isn't pounded with other stuff. I can actually stop, and think, during those times. Probably explains why a lot of my scenes have waterfalls, Howard Stern, or Natalie Portman in them.

Once my ideas are formulated, I then spend a couple of days WANTING to sit down and write, but not actually doing it. "Tonight's the night," I'll tell myself. But that night my kid won't go to sleep in a timely manner. Or Big Brother XVIII premiers on CBS. Or I get drunk and pass out. You know the deal.

But eventually, if I'm patient and sober enough, the perfect storm rolls along.

Last night my wife was exhausted after work. She came home. We ate leftovers. Bathed the kid. And then the two of them conked out in bed, fast asleep.

By like... 8:30!

So I sat, and wrote. And wrote some more. Finally at 1:30am the wife rolled into the living room.

"What the hell are you doing?!" she demanded.

"Writing!" I exalted, thrilled to have put 6 pages to paper.

"Writing to dirty sluts in one of those MySpace chatrooms or something?!" she inquired suspiciously.

"Um... no. Writing the Camel-Rodeo/Lithuanian-twins/Superhero/romantic-comedy that Dave and I have been working on."

"Oh. Well knock it off and come to bed. You have to be at work by 8 tomorrow."

And so I finish the scene, email it to Dave, and shut down the powerbook, knowing that I've done my part, and now I can start nagging Dave again, clawing my way to higher moral ground as the guy who wrote the last scene.

At least until he cranks out his pages in a day, sends it back, and I slog back into battle... juggling work, getting my kid to bed, watching Big Brother XVIII, and drinking.

And, of course, my new favorite past-time. Writing to dirty sluts in one of those MySpace chatrooms or something.


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Friday, July 07, 2006

When it Feels Good

There's nothing better than handing off a newly-finished portion of the script to Charlie.

Well, yes. Sex is good. And a good burger, I like good burgers. And anything to do with my kids.

But you get the point.

I did my bit and passed the buck to Mr. Charlie. The pygmy/toxic/lesbian/political thriller script is coming along nicely. Though it may be too long. We're on page 80, and we've got a bunch of big scenes to write. So we'll write what we want, then cut out 50 pages until it's a happy 95-105 pages. Shouldn't hurt too much. I'll just cut all of Charlie's stuff, anyway.

Now, of course, there is this added element because while we're still pretty much writing for ourselves, there's the knowledge that My Manager will read the finished product and possibly push it to Sci-Fi Channel if she likes it. So pressure, pressure, pressure.

Meanwhile, Producer Dude is.. oh who really cares. We've got a script. He hasn't got any money. Read any post in the last few months and you'll get the gist of the latest news.

We're sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo close.

Sorry for the short post, but I'm plum out of ideas. Spent them all on the kick-ass scene I just wrote and gave to Charlie.

Peace, out.

And God Bless Natalie Portman.

(By the way, I'm not spell-checking this entry because my computer is spinning and I'm impatient. Deal with it. It's blogging without a net.)