Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Writing Week (Vol. 2) part 76 - How Things Do Change

(Speaking of change, this Writing Week has the pleasure of appearing on a Tuesday. Ooops.)

Anyway, as we all know, writing is a process of evolution. Not only do we evolve as writers, honing our skills and abandoning amateurish tendencies, but our projects evolve, as well. That gem of an idea you had evolves from an indie, two character drama set in a beach house to an ensemble shoot-em-up that takes place in Manhattan. It happens. Different drafts often mean different movies altogether. It's not something that necessarily meets with resistance; often these developments go unnoticed as we make them. Notes come in and the script goes a completely different way.

Take, for example, Simon Kinberg's "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." We all remember the action flick about a couple who find out that neither is what the other thought. But look at these two very different loglines that I found on Done Deal Pro.

A bored married couple discover they are enemy assassins hired to kill each other.
Logged 2/26/2003


A couple forms a bond while escaping a coup in Colombia.
Logged 1/15/2002
Obviously, Kinberg's script evolved. But where did the changes come from? Who influenced them? In re-working my post-Apocalyptic spec, I am incorporating notes from my new manager and from the producer who is trying to set the picture up. Luckily, the changes don't create such a drastic re-inventing of the script as Kinberg's loglines make it seem that he experienced. Nonetheless, what was merely an interesting, albeit briefly visited location in the draft I sent out is now becoming a much larger focus of the script - to the point where I've been encouraged to work it into the title. My character's arc now ends with triumphing over forces in this location, whereas before, any obstacles he faced there were merely hurdles before his greater goal.

Similarly, I've been mulling over a new idea recently. I haven't bothered to put anything down on paper about it, because there are some very large, very obvious questions I have to address first. I've spoken to Onyx at some length about it, and his suggestions have already started to reshape my original idea. I'm not displeased with where it's going - I actually like it a lot - but I can definitely see the differences. It's funny, considering that there isn't a whole lot to it at this point, either. The basic framework is largely the same, but some of the fundamental ideas woven into it have been altered.

Writing is evolutionary, there's no doubt in my mind. I think that's one of the things I like most about it. And who knows, the superficial action that my post-Apocalyptic spec is becoming to help its sale along will hopefully evolve into something deeper and more meaningful, something I had envisioned for it initially.

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