Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Writing Week (Vol. 5) part 221 - Strength from Originality

If you're at all like me - and for your sake, I hope you are in as few ways as possible - then you experience a barrage of creativity and ideas and writing followed by listless respites. These can come in months, weeks, or even days. When I'm actively writing a script, I'll write straight through for a month or more, and then experience as long a time off after completing the first draft. Now that I'm working on a collaboration, as well as keeping my demon thriller on the back burner, those draughts are shorter, no more than a few days typically. 

Still, a draught is a draught, and it will be felt. 

Ok, let me partially retract that. I spent a good week working on revising my outline for W.A., my writing partner. He and I met a couple weeks ago and tossed around a lot of good ideas. For the most part, he was (is) very pleased with the progress I'm making and have made so far. For the most part, the notes he had were pretty minimal. Once again, I've gone through and made some large changes to the outline he first presented. And, once again, he has come back with some mainly "cosmetic" suggestions for improvements. I'd be lying if I said that I've had ample time to devote to them this week in preparation for our meeting tomorrow, but I understand fully where he's coming from on all but one of his remaining notes. I'm not too concerned at all about my ability to address the trio, even if I do lack a degree of clarity for one of them. Hey - that's why we're meeting tomorrow. 

In the meantime, I've been planning on getting back to my demon thriller. Time, however, has not been my friend. Though the day job hasn't been overwhelming, commitments after work have seemingly stacked up in the past few weeks. That, and I'm actually exercising again! I know, I know. Lame. Every time I plan on getting down to pumping out some actual pages on the demon thriller, I get waylaid by some other activity. 

In general, I love having two scripts on the table, no matter what state they're in. Actually, the less developed they are, the better sometimes. When I'm stuck on one, I can just go ahead and jump onto the other. Being so versatile in the outlining stage isn't as easy when it comes to actual pages. At that point in my process, I tend to favor extreme concentration on one project, which means the other goes bye-bye for a month or more. With the demon thriller, the wait wound up paying off.

The script involved a fair amount of world creation. To me, that's one of the best part of writing a movie. Sure, it can be fun to write about a cop or a transit worker or a librarian, but how much more fun is it to write about one of those people in a brand new world that you've created? Or even in our world, but in a completely different time? Giving birth to an entirely new setting with new rules and visuals and realities... is anything greater when working on a story? It's hard to think of something. Well, for the demon thriller, my manager made the very astute observation today that I did that for half the script. Half of it is very unique with new rules, new visuals, and a new approach to possibly familiar experiences. The other half graces tv screens every night in a handful of shows. It's basically a Law & Order episode. 

I didn't realize that odd dichotomy until my manager pointed it out, but it makes total sense. The strength of the premise - and, therefore, in the ultimate execution - comes from originality. Part of the script rises up to the challenge. The other half presents a worthy problem that is organic to the nature of the piece, but it does so in an inferior way. The result, according to my manager, is a loss of steam. I see where he's coming from. More than that, if he sees it in the outline alone, I don't want to even fathom what a producer or potential director might have seen in the script. Other, of course, than a pass. Better, obviously, that I fix it before that happens.