Monday, March 05, 2012

The Writing Week (Vol. 5) part 217 - Let the Collaboration Begin!

Two weeks ago, I received a short email from my manager, Kevin, alerting me to the fact that one of the producers who had been shopping around my post-apocalyptic spec was working on a project with another writer-producer-director, and they were in need of a writer. Particularly, they wanted one based in New York. When this multi-hyphenate collaborator - let's call him W.A., since I can't go into a lot of detail about who or what with this project - asked the producer if she knew of anyone, she immediately thought of me. (And though I can't quite reveal who W.A. is, you'd definitely recognize him, or at least his films, if I gave you his name.)

The following week, I got an email from the producer to set up a time to talk about the script. She sent me a 22 page treatment on the project, as well as other reading material: research conducted on some of the sci-fi themes, images and tidbits on elements involved, and a couple other core articles and documents to help me prep for our chat. Then, Friday of the week before this past one, W.A., the producer, and I got on the phone for 15 minutes and spit-balled about the project. It was a good chat, with W.A. and I clicking pretty much off the bat. Over the weekend, he sent me character bios, story notes, and a few other things to read over. We met last Thursday.

This was my first real story meeting with an industry collaborator. Yes, I've had phone and email exchanges with the producers on my post-Apocalyptic spec before, but this was an in-office meeting with a known talent about a project. Suffice it to say, I was pretty damn excited. I also was pretty damn prepared. I had reread the outline and all other documents, done some research, and made notes for myself of thoughts and questions for W.A. For an hour and a half, we chatted about the project; I threw out some not-so-small ideas for changes and alterations, and we had a good back and forth on the ideas. This weekend, I put those notes down into a new document for him, which we'll use to help us move forward with the story.

To be completely honest, this collaborative endeavor comes at a great time for me. I was feeling a little stalled on my demon thriller (which I finished outlining over the weekend, by the way!). Having a new project - and one much further along in the developmental stages - helped get the ball rolling for me. I worked through the rest of my idea and was able to jump onto this sci-fi collaboration guns a-blazing. My mind is working on the two stories to varying degrees most of the day. Besides that, I'm having other ideas for scripts, which is a welcome change from the drought I'd been in. And, not to mention the excitement of having a collaboration to work on. 

I've tried collaborating with other Leaguers in the past, but those attempts, while not long lived, were always on ideas we both helped create. This experience is my first with material that didn't originate at least in half from me. That is, it's my first foray into what being a commission-earning writer is like. As professional scribes, we'll (likely) want to write on spec when we can, but the sustainable career comes from being able to land rewriting or commission-based gigs. I'm fortunate to have found a collaborator whose idea I responded so well to and who himself is so receptive to my work and ideas. There's no doubt in my mind that this can prove to be a great learning experience. I just have to be sure to deliver the goods.