Monday, September 26, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 194 - Minor Updates

The screenwriting business is an exercise in patience. If I haven't said that now (I have... many times), then I'll say it again now. When trying to become a screenwriter, be prepared to wait. When things happen, so I'm told, they happen very quickly. But until they do, things can drag. And drag. And draaaaaaaaaag. 

This isn't to discourage you. The last thing I want to do is discourage other writers. It's good to be aware of what's to come, if for no other reason than to steel yourself against silence, which can often be mistaken for rejection. Take my post-Apocalyptic spec, for example. It's been over two years since I first signed an option with my producer. We have - in the meantime - renewed it twice. A second producer has joined our team (which also included a manager from the point of union). And an agent. And a lawyer. 

A big producer with the backing of a major production company kind of came on board. Then went away. Then came back. Sort of. Then left. We sent to a (large) handful of other producers. They all passed, some providing general reasons why; others didn't. We're not waiting on another group of contacts, these direct buyers at studios. My producer keeps assuring me that something will come of it, and that all we need is one "yes' in a forest of "no thank yous." This part is very true. One yes, and all things can change. 

Until we get that head nod, though, we wait. There's little we can do in the interim. Not everyone reads immediately - though for a hotter project or in a better spec market, they would probably read more quickly. It might take a week or two to make it to the top of an ever growing read pile on some poor (well, not financially), over-worked, stressed producer's desk. We just have to hope that when it does rise to the summit of that pile, it does so when the reader is in a good mood, his/her studio's latest action or Armageddon flick has done well for them, and he/she hasn't just read something else that is equally (hopefully not more) equipped to fill the necessary action tentpole space in the slate. If all those things come fall into place, and he/she likes the script, and everyone else who has to weigh in likes the script, then maybe, just maybe, we'll get that yes. 

I'll be typing with my fingers crossed until then.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 193 - Slowly Starting to Get Writing Again

It can be quite the long road back to productivity after taking a hiatus from writing. However, I think I made some (small but good) progress this past week. The biggest - though it might also seem most trivial - step is that I finally found that my Medieval script was sneaking its way back into my thoughts. It may seem completely pointless to even mention that, let alone tout it as an accomplishment, but I bet many of you readers would agree that when your mind's not on the work, even allowing an errant thought about it can be a losing battle. To discover that, suddenly the other day, my mind was back on the script... what a great feeling.

Beyond thinking - albeit just briefly - about a script, I actually made some strides in other areas this week, too. I'd say the results are tangible, visible ones, but that only really applies for me. Realizing that I had other things I wanted to say, other stories I wanted to tell that are not suited to the feature scripts I'm writing at this moment, I actually launched another blog. Well, sort of. I created one. I did the design and layout for it. I even began posting. Only, it's not public. Not yet. I want to work out a few kinks in the voice and, to be one hundred percent honest, remove my info from it. I like the idea of it being anonymous. It's not something I plan to advertise. When I click to make it public (I'm even going to disassociate it with my profile here), I'll let it be its own thing. If people find, read, and like it, fine. If not, also just as well. It's for me. It's an outlet for what's on my mind now. Maybe that's all it needs to be. Hell, maybe that's what my scripts are lacking - the "me" element. 

In terms of the post-Apocalyptic spec, we're still waiting to hear back from companies. My producer's going to be in the City later this week, so it will be nice to grab a drink with her. Hopefully, we'll have some good news to toast while she's in. If not, it's just the same waiting game I've grown very used to. All I can do is sit back, wait, watch, and write.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 192 - Back on Schedule

About damn time it happened. The first Monday Writing Week in... months? Scary how quickly time can fly, and at what point that triggers a realization of completely thoroughly a schedule was abandoned. Well, at long last, I'm back on track. With the Writing Weeks. My script is another story, all together. 

Unfortunately, this return to routine has yet to include any progress on the Medieval spec. And, I realized this afternoon while buying deodorant (how the mind does wander), tomorrow is our League meeting for the month of September. My script was reviewed back in August. That means, it's been a solid month since I touched the script. Blame some of that on being out of town (because excuses are one of a writer's best friends), I've already been back two weeks and haven't even thought about the thing.

It's time to get back to work. We're not reviewing any pages tomorrow, so it's all just catching up and dinner and drinks. Even without pages, we find it important to keep meetings on schedule. Ideally, the amount of time I've had away from the material will have set in motion the solution to some of the problems, even if I'm not consciously aware of them yet. Time will tell.

This coming week continues to be busy for me. But I have to write. No more dilatory dawdling. The pages need attention, attention that can only come from me. Set the schedule, Cake Man, and stick to it!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 191 - The Importance of the Routine

The writer's routine. Many of us have one. Some of us don't (and work better without one). As is evidenced by the irregularity of my recent writing weeks, I am not one of the latter group of people. 

Having a regular, anticipated writing time and practice is one of the tools that helps me complete my projects. For example, The Writing Week used to be (read: should again be) a weekly Monday post. Summer travels and - who's going to lie? - laziness threw me off. Even today, on a Tuesday, I'm the closest to posting on time that I've been in months, but I'm still not on time. That will change. Starting next week.

The frequency and timeliness of a blog post is nothing, however, compared to my actual writing. One hour a day after work, or before work, if I know I am going to be home very late one night. How hard is that? On paper, no very. In practice, though, I slacked off on that a lot in the past month, too. Chalk some - or most - of that up to travel if you (I) want, too, but it still has resulted in a net zero pages. I need to get back into the routine.

I'm coming up on the one year anniversary next month of when I signed with UTA (well, no actual paperwork, but you get the idea). At the time, my manager promised my agent two scripts a year. Ambitious, but doable. The sad truth, though, is that I've produced an outline and two drafts of a different script, but nothing worth reading yet. And that two draft script? Needs a major third (and probably fourth) draft. That's what I'm going to start on soon. When I get back to my routine. When I feel that I can conjure up something good again. Only, I can't wait for the mood to strike. I have to get working again. I simply must. Time is ticking. I might not be able to hit the two script benchmark - hell, I know I can't at this point - but I surely can do one, can't I?

This is a test for my career. Hopefully, we'll hear something back on the most recent round of submissions from the post-Apocalyptic spec. My producer and agent were going to do some followups this week, now that Labor Day is over. But I can't wait around for that. I need to get writing again. I need to get back into my routine.