Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Writing Week (Vol. 6) part 271 - Awaiting Notes and Reading Scripts

As my lack of recent Writing Week updates may have indicated, I have not been doing a ton of writing recently. Actually, I've not done any at all. I began entertaining thoughts about a children's book I think I'd like to write, but beyond putting a few rhymes down in a Word document, I've hardly touched it. And I have done nothing on any of my scripts.

Part of the inertia stems from the fact that my writing partner and I are awaiting a second round of notes from our producer on the sci-fi spec we've been working on. I haven't touched it in over a month, because I was out of town. Our producer had other commitments, but she read, and we're all talking tonight. I go out of town again for two weeks this Thursday, so it's anyone's guess when I'll get back to work on it - unless, of course, she loves the new draft and has only minor suggestions that I can implement on Wednesday. 

A large part of my lack of momentum, though, is just that - a lack of momentum. Theoretically, I should have treated the month since we sent the script out as a time to break my back getting new (or old) projects ready to outline and write. But I needed a break. The day job got slow for me, and while that maybe should have been a great reason to fully invest in my writing, it had the inverse effect of dulling my motivation outside the office, as well. I'm not self-flagellating here, though. I think every writer needs a break now and then. I just have to make sure that mine ends with the conclusion of my vacation.

In the meantime, the League met last week. We didn't have any scripts to read, so one of the group members suggested a different homework assignment: read a Nicholl winning script. Not just a Nicholl winner, the one we chose had actually been developed through a mentorship project with the WGA. We wanted to see how we all responded to it and, because let's be honest, how we stacked up against it. 

To be honest - and hopefully neither smug nor arrogant - I felt like each member of the League could hold his or her own against the script we read. Perhaps we're not as strong in the particular genre (historical noir/thriller), but I didn't see the Nicholl winner as obviously better in any major way than any of our best projects. In fact, there were some sloppy elements throughout that made me wonder what it takes (luck?, the right reader?, the promise of greater talent yet to come?) to place in the competition. Granted, I can't truly compare, because none of us submitted a competing script that year, nor have any of us read any of the other submissions, winning or not. But my faith in us was unscathed by the read through. Was it a good script? Sure, but with work, I believe any of my writers group members could achieve a similarly strong product. 

We likely won't have pages next meeting, either, so we'll probably read another winning script from that year, to further the experiment. I hope that read, too, will support my hypothesis that, after four years of training in college and six years of writing since, we're just as competitive.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

For Your Viewing Pleaseure - IndieWire Lists

IndieWire recently put out a few Best Of lists worth checking out. 

First, they have a list of 19 of their favorite films from 2012 that are now streaming on Netflix. Load up your queue and wear some serious butt grooves into your couch with these suggestions.

And, for more recent (or not yet released) films, check out the Best Films of the Year (So Far). Not all of the inclusions on this list have distribution yet, but we can only hope they'll all be available in the coming months, or at least by year's end.

What have some of your favorite flicks of recent months been?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Breaking In - Profile of a Screenwriter (Jason Hall)

Deadline Hollywood today posted a worthwhile article on how struggling actor, Jason Hall, became an "overnight" screenwriting sensation. (Note - there are few to none actual overnight major screenwriting success stories. All writing takes time, deliberation, and, usually, defeat. Hall's story is no different.) 

Give it a read, but keep in mind - no two writers break into the industry in the same fashion. My climb, which is far from over, has been a long one with many near successes, and more rejections. As you'll see from Hall's mini history, he was at it for years before he "made it." 

Moral: keep at it, no matter what. 

Monday, June 03, 2013

101 Best Written TV Series

WGA writers have recently voted on the Top 101 Best Written Television Series of all time. (If the WGA site list won't load, you can check out the full list - with some write up - at Deadline Hollywood.)

What are your reactions? Any omissions? Any that shouldn't be on there?