Monday, January 03, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 157 - New Computer, New Script, New Year

2011 is starting out as a year of new things for me. For starters, it's my first foray into the world of Mac since I was in sixth grade. I'd found that my Dell was growing slower and slower, especially recently. When working in Word, there'd be a noticeable lag between when I typed something, and when it would actually appear on the screen. I stopped trusting the machine I was working on, and as I'm sure you can relate to, that's a horrible thing for a writer. No matter what your medium you write in, whether it's paper or computer or voice recording, that becomes an integral part of your process, and for it to become a potential hindrance means it's got to go. It's sort of like wherever you choose to write, be it a coffee shop, office, or your home - when it stops helping you produce pages, or hurts your concentration, it's violated the most basic tenet of being a writer's tool.

So, this year, thanks to a generous gift from my parents, I became a Mac user again. (When I was really young, we had one of the first PowerBooks Mac - then still officially MacIntosh - made.) I know that the fact the computer is about two years newer than my old one means it will, by its very nature, be faster, but I'm quite pleased with it. I could do without all the pretension from the employees at the Mac store I spoke to when needing help with a few start-up issues, but the machine is much sleeker and far less clunky than the old one. I had to hold my breath as I installed Movie Magic 2000, not sure if it would take (my version's almost 7 years old at this point), and then had to reanimate my first laptop (intermittently dead and alive for 3 years now) in order to uninstall the software so I could boot it up on the new machine. But all seems to have been brought over successfully, so hopefully 2011 will further acquaint me with the pleasures of writing scripts on an Apple machine.

Speaking of writing in 2011, as I lay in bed last night, a terrible worry came over me. It was the realization - at midnight, no less - that two weeks from now will mark the three month point since my trip to LA, in which I was instructed to just keep writing. The reason for the cold sweat is that, in all honesty, I have produced nothing since then. Well, no pages, at least. I've come up with a dozen loglines and settled on a couple to pursue. But there's no script to show for it. For a lark, I opened Movie Magic and wrote an off-the-cuff first scene for a project I like, but it's not one of the two I'm to pursue. I spent not nearly enough time over the holiday week conducting a bit of research, settling on a location, and doing some general outlining for the spy project I've decided to launch into. On the whole, though, I wasn't sure the next step.

Then, as fear and worry can often spark creativity, I had an idea. More specifically, I envisioned the opening shot of my script. Such a small beat, yet such a relief. My mind settled, eased, reassured that there can and will, in fact, be more than just research sessions to show for the script. With the first beat can come the second, and with the second, the third, until there's a first act, a second, and an entire script.  The goal for this week is to complete a rough outline, and arrive at that three month marker with at least the treatment, if not the first few pages, as well. 

Entertainment Weekly's 25 Movies to See Before the Oscars, 2011

Entertainment Weekly's latest issues revealed their 25 Movies to Watch Before the Oscars. See below for a complete list.

The Social Network - on DVD Jan 11
The King's Speech - in theaters now
Inception - now on DVD
The Fighter - in theaters now
Toy Story 3 - now on DVD
True Grit - in theaters now
Black Swan - in theaters now
The Kids Are All Right - now on DVD
127 Hours - in theaters now
Winter's Bone - now on DVD
The Town - now on DVD
Rabbit Hole - goes wide Jan 14
Another Year - goes wide sometime in January
Get Low - DVD Feb 22
How to Train Your Dragon - now on DVD
Blue Valentine - goes wide sometime in January
Biutiful - goes wide Jan 28
Animal Kingdom - on DVD Jan 18
Waiting for Superman - on DVD in Feb
Alice in Wonderland - now on DVD
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - now on DVD
Inside Job - goes wide Jan 28
The Illusionist - goes wide Jan 14
Tangled - in theaters now
Burlesque - in theaters now

I was surprised by a few things when I saw this list. First, mainly, that I had only seen 12 of the 25. Granted, a few haven't gone wide yet, but it's a safe bet that if they're out there trying to sneak in for Oscar 2011, they're playing in New York City. Second, movies like Tangled, Burlesque, and Alice in Wonderland surprised me. Maybe some technical awards for Alice are possible, but I'd be surprised if it gained much more recognition than that (other, ahem, than it's epic box office). Get Low and Animal Kingdom were pleasant surprises, and the first 11 were, in my opinion, givens. 

Anything you feel they left out?