A big stove with lots of burners

May 5, 2017
jayne

Always something cookin’ in this kitchen

Thanks to a big, determined push, I managed to wrap up the initial edit of the pulp spec last night. Amazingly, it’s still 116 pages. Much as I’d love to take another pass on it, a better option is to gently nudge it aside and let it simmer for a few months.

In the meantime, my attention now turns to a few other items, including providing some script notes and a major overhaul of one of the low-budget comedies.

To some, it might seem I’m taking on too much. Others might think it’s great to be so busy. No matter which opinion you have, it all comes down to how the individual (i.e. yours truly) sees it.

Me, I enjoy the diversity and variety. I like to work on my own material AND read other people’s stuff. All that mental stimulation helps me in the long run; the equivalent of maintaining a regular workout schedule at the gym. Or in my case, a steady regiment of training runs.

Always working on something, or even adding some reading and watching into the mix, not only helps your creativeness, but your actual output. Wouldn’t you say your writing skills are significantly better today than they were, say, a year ago? How about compared to when you just started out? I know mine are. Especially in terms of the latter.

All that being said, I think there’s a big difference between being a productive writer and just being a non-stop writing machine. A productive writer definitely produces material, but they also take the time to have a life outside of writing. The machine is just full speed ahead and don’t let up. Granted, there are some who can do both, and kudos to them. I prefer to be the former.

I also don’t have any problem with transitioning to a new project once one is completed. Even though I haven’t directed all attention on the new one, it’s always been in the back of my mind. Maybe an idea about it would pop, which would then be added to an always-handy list, then brought back out later. You might have a different approach, but this is what works for me. Everybody writes in their own way.

In the meantime, my nimble little fingers will now get a bit of a rest while I dive into the aforementioned giving of notes. And once all of those are done, the dust gets blown off the keyboard and the cycle repeats.


Busy, busy, busy

December 13, 2016

Sorry. No post today.

A bit preoccupied with reading scripts, giving notes on some of ’em, working on my own stuff, and setting up a new round of of getting-to-know-you meetings with other writers.

See you on Friday.


Just another gradual shifting of gears

September 20, 2016
gear-shift

Start at first and take it from there

Notes continue to trickle in for the comedy-now-dramedy spec. General consensus – solid concept, underdeveloped, reads like a first draft, still needs a ton of work, and so forth.

All of which is fine by me. I wrote it in an extremely short amount of time, which is probably quite evident in the draft itself.  It’s also the fastest I’ve ever cranked out a draft, and to me that’s still a victory in itself.

Would I have loved for everybody to gush about it and claim it truly wonderful? Of course, but that ain’t gonna happen. As long as nobody says “This is terrible!”, I’m good.

Is it at least a decent script? Well, I like it. There’s a lot of potential in it, and the quality can only improve from its current state.

So while the thoughts of “what to fix and how to fix it” percolate, I’ll slide it to the always-expanding back burner and move on to the next couple of items on my agenda, which includes notes on some friends’ specs, followed by the first draft of a long-in-development project.

Exciting times, chums.


A multi-pronged approach

January 5, 2016
freeway

Lots of different ways to go, as long as you know where you’re going

Had another great lunchtime chat with a fellow writer yesterday. Among the many topics of conversation: the necessity of how a writer trying to break in must work towards achieving success from as many angles as they can.

Got a good script? How many others have you got that are ready to go? How many are you currently developing so as to increase that number? Are you sticking with one genre or trying several?

Are you actively seeking writing projects? There are a lot of smaller, not-as-prestigious projects out there in need of writers. You may not get a big paycheck, but you’ll gain experience (and maybe an onscreen credit). It could also help educate you about what goes on during production.

Think your script is good enough for one of the high-profile contests? What’s more important to you – the prize money, the prestige of winning (or at least placing), or how this could help get your career going?

Are you connecting with other writers? As introverted as a lot of writers are, social contact is a necessary factor of doing it professionally. It’s one thing to communicate electronically, so make a point of going to a social event in your area (you could even go so far as to arrange one!), or attend a conference where you actually talk to people. This will also come in handy when you reach that next level and start taking meetings.

You’ve done everything you can with this current script and are ready to start looking for representation. How much research have you done into who would be the most receptive to it? Does your script seem like a good match for them? Have you worked on that query letter to the point that it would be impossible for them to not want to read your script?

Naturally, these questions and situations are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Everybody’s path is going to be different from yours, but there will be similarities. Fortunately, you have time and a wide array of resources at your disposal to start preparing in your own way for all of them.

Good luck, and get to it.


Looking back (and a peek ahead)

December 29, 2015
sleeping

Me around 10:30 on New Year’s Eve

As the end of the year gets closer, one can’t help but be a little reflective of how the past 12 months have gone, and in this context, it’s all about the screenwriting and its related subjects.

-My western. A labor of love finally put to bed once and for all. This script has gone through A LOT of changes, and both I and it could not have gotten to this point without the sage feedback received from many of my trusted colleagues.

-Other scripts. Over the course of this year, I completed a first draft and two outlines (with a third in its final stages), all for separate scripts. I may not be as productive as I’d like, but think this is still pretty good. I’m hoping that at least two of these will be completed scripts by this time next year.

-Establishing a career. I’ve always said that each draft of every script gets me a little closer to accomplishing that dream of being a working writer. 2015 saw some strong progress on that front. My writing’s getting better, I discovered I’m pretty good at pitching, and found out the hard way what should and shouldn’t go into a query letter. It’s an ongoing learning process, but I’m getting there. Hopes are high of moving to the next level or two in 2016.

-Networking. The number of writers I’ve connected and interacted with has definitely grown by leaps and bounds. Some have been in person, while most have been via social media, but the benefits have been tremendous all around. From exchanging script notes to being a sounding board for ideas to plain old moral support, you couldn’t ask for a more helpful bunch of folks. Hopefully they got as much out of it as I did. Highly recommended.

-Running. After involuntarily taking a year off, I got back into the habit of going for runs and took part in four half-marathons this year. Didn’t set any new records, but stayed within my realm of expectatins. Really glad I did them and already looking forward to the ones next year. How does this relate to screenwriting? Well, apart from the standard quote of “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon (or half-marathon, in my case)”, it’s about determination, endurance, perseverance, and setting a goal and working towards achieving it. All necessary elements involved in writing a script.

-The blog. This year saw the wrap-up of my series of interviews with scripts readers and consultants. I still keep in touch with a lot of them, and happy to say that a lot of those posts continue to get hits. Thanks to all of you for that. In the meantime, no big changes planned for what you read around here, but I’ve got a few ideas.

Thanks for reading, happy new year, and may we all get some kickass writing done in 2016.

 


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