Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Grand Finale

I came to the last scene of "Ten Years In" two days ago. I suddenly decided that the script was finished. I had reached page 129 after all. I felt intense relief and the impetus to crack a bottle of champagne or do some psychedelic drugs. I had a great day with Sierra and her brother Noah and his girlfriend Lain who had just come in from Mexico. I walked around the city elated at a job well done. The next morning I realized that my last scene was not only saccharine as hell, but also brought the screenplay to a dead stop. I spent a good chunk of the day rewriting the last act. It's so easy to decide that you're done, but it's much more difficult to actually find your ending.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

19,730 words

With 19,730 words on the page, I'm nearing the end of my first pass of "Ten Years In." I hit page 110 today. My entire world is the Wolf family's dysfunction and a story which seems to be climbing nicely towards either their catharsis or catastrophe. There's nothing sweeter than feeling like all your efforts weren't for naught: the time you spent at the keyboard, your hopes, your fears. Hitting your head against the wall trying to find the right words to describe a facial expression, words that never come. Jumping up and down in your apartment trying to find a character's voice. Closing your eyes and walking the floor blind, from one end of your abode to the other, in an effort to clear your mind and jumpstart a scene—until you stub your toe so badly that you have to convince yourself to stop. Staring out the window for hours on end. Reading, then re-reading the same words hundreds of times. And finally, the high kicks in, and you're typing as quickly as your fingers can possibly take you through a world, that when it comes... you never want to let it go.

Today, Sierra and I spent our Saturday afternoon at the surreal—read frightening—downtown 'Dianetics Center' so I could do some research for one of my characters, nicknamed "Sarah the Scientologist." Two stress tests, a half hour talk, and a forty minute DVD presentation later, I asked Sierra if she thought I was obsessive. She told me that she was glad that I was, but that she really hoped my research wouldn't lead me to become a follower of L. Ron Hubbard. I assured that the worst thing my research for this project was likely to lead me towards was spending an awful lot of time hanging out with murderers and bank robbers in a maximum security prison. She smiled and made an expression that I can’t find the right words to describe.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Muse, the Jinx, the Promise of Another Page

Somehow over the last week and a half of writing I've managed to come out with 67 pages of screenplay. Usually I write between two to four hours a day, but this script has been waking me at 9am and not letting me go until well into the night, sometimes even early the next day. But there are three elements that I'm wrestling with on a daily basis, and quit possibly this entry is tempting the fate of all three. These are the Muse, the Jinx and the Promise of another page. So far the Muse has been very good to me and my script has been quickly taking shape in a way that I'm really pleased with. The Jinx is the fact that when you're "writing hot," all you can think about is the possibility that you're gonna lose your mojo. And the Promise of another page, is the hope that you actually have another page worth of things to say about this story. So far so good... but you never know what tomorrow's writing is going to be like.

On another front, I met a British '91 Gulf War veteran at a party last night who told me that "the solution to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is that you just have to drink enough alcohol while you're in country, that when you get home after the war, you'll be numb to your traumatic memories." He offered to read "Living-Room War" and give me some insight into how things went down in the Middle East back in 1991. I'm very pleased to have another insider's prospective.

And now back to writing "Ten Years In" (thanks so much for your input on the script's title).

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


It's rare that I get more than a couple of comments on posts even though I know that some days I get upwards of forty visitors... so for those of you who aren't commenting, here is a question (and for those of you that are... thank you very much):

I'm trying to decide between two titles for my new feature screenplay, so which do you like better and why:
"Ten Years In" or "The Human Zoo"?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Now Showing "Backwards BBQ"

My editor Brad Smith and I just finished the offline of the second spec commercial we shot in August. Again this isn't the final edit, so click on the link and take a look... and don't forget to add a comment to let us know what you think:
"Backwards BBQ"
(quicktime file: 30 seconds, 1.9 megs)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Draft One, Day One

I tend to stall a lot before getting down to the brass tacks of writing a script. I keep telling myself that I'm not ready. That I don't have the scenes I need yet. That the characters haven't started talking on their own. But the reality is that if you don't just sit down and start the process, none of those things will ever happen. Yesterday I finally took the initiative of printing out my 13 pages of scene ideas and notes and then cut them into little strips to assemble on the wall. I used this approach during the last draft of "Living-Room War," and it really served to decrease my floundering quotient. Where the hell am I again? What happened so far? What am I writing next?—just look at the wall.

A funny thing happened this morning when I started to lay all my scenes out on the table in an order that might make sense. I began to get really excited. Not in the usual, "I'm finally getting to this thing I've been putting off way," but with a much more intense visceral sensation. I've never had this feeling before writing the first page of the script, but I had the sensation that I already knew where I was going, knew how the film would fit together, and could clearly see my characters motivations. So tomorrow I will sit down and start writing "Ten Years In" and I'm really looking forward to spending some time hanging out in prison with my main character, Louis Wolf.