Monday, March 16, 2009

Building Momentum

Despite the flu that kept my head holes cemented with mucus for over a week, I've made great progress on multiple projects over the last fortnight. I had been waiting for my producing partner to get me feedback on the Grandmother Clock treatment before I started the script. But I got tired of that, so I threw myself into it, and in so doing worked out several writer muscles that were achy with disuse. Now I'm thirty-some pages in, with a stronger Act One than I've had in, perhaps, ever. And while the project is tiring, as screenwriting always is, it was the invigorating tiring, the tiring that leaves you excited to begin again the next day; the kind of tiring where the narrative I'm striving to whittle out is like a crafty opponent I'm trying to outwit, an opponent who gives ground but never breaks. And sure, he may get the best of me after six or eight pages, but I'll be back tomorrow to kick him in the head with my character arcs. I have no idea how much sense that made.

So, to reiterate, it's energizing work, work that energized me to get a couple other things moving as well. I decided I was tired of doing research on Belly of the Beast; there are only so many books you can read about 19th century yankee whaling before you know all there is to know about cutting in and trying out, and can identify every kind of harpoon, and know what a flensing knife is and where a blubber hook goes.* So I launched myself into the pre-writing, a bit prematurely, I thought. But after only one day, I had beaten out the story; after the next, the crew had manned the ship and introduced themselves, had let me know their likes and dislikes; and today I broke the story completely. Now Belly is off to scene work and the note card jigsaw. I'll likely start scripting that one in April; with luck, I'll have it off to the WMA guy by May.

Somewhere in there I penned a mini-bible for the webseries spec pilot I'm writing for Epic Level, Earth Force 5. As you might guess from the title, it's a comedy. Which which was a nice palate cleanser, seeing as how I'd been spending all my time with terrified whalers and a grieving girl and her troupe of haunted friends. Epic Level will likely be doing a conference call this week to schedule a shoot. Which couldn't come too soon -- as I've said more than nine times, I'm going nuts not being on set.

Also, my partners on Sword & Sorcery had a meeting with the top producer in Seattle today. He really likes the project, and wants to see a script. Also, just got an email from a new AFI grad and his producing partner. They'd read the blurb on Red Shirts from my year's screenwriter pamphlet, and think it has huge potential.

So the writing has been good. And I aim to keep it so. In fact, I haven't written this much or this well since my first year at AFI, before they taught me that I was doing everything wrong. It's good to be wrong again.

* It goes into the blubber. That's why it's called a blubber hook.

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ngepot said...
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