Friday, August 13, 2010

Rewriting Yet Again

A couple weeks ago I fianlly got some feedback from a professional screenwriter on "A Happy Reunion" via a phone call. She said some nice things about the script and it's possibilities as a comercially viablity. But there were two things that needed changing. To a degree I agree with her.
1. My voice over narration was good and funny. So much so that she wanted to see it and not hear it. Ok. That is a nice compliment but how to go about doing that? I think I can show the first and last ones with no problem but the one that trips me up is:

How was I going to explain this one to my Mother? Elizabeth Crawley Mcgill had never done an impulsive thing in her life. She had only dated my Dad after they had known each other all through high school. They dated for exactly half of college before getting engaged and planning for the perfect wedding a couple months after graduation. Then my brother and I were born exactly eighteen months a part. Optimal spacing for children my Mother always said.

A montage of the past of Beth McGill? Get rid of it entirely? The problem is that this sets up the character of BETH as we meet her in the very next scene. Also it sets up ROB, Liza's dad, when we meet him almost 30 pages later.

2. A Happy Reunion is a rom-com about a couple who go to their 15 year high school reunion in Vegas, get drunk and married. So currently Ihave them waking up the morning after and rationally discussing staying married and they decide that is what they are going to do. While this would be great for real life it doesn't work for a dramatic story. There needs to be more conflict to over come. (The note giver said that right now these characters would make terrific people to be friends with but are boring to watch on screen.) So I'm changing it to they haven't figured out what to do yet at the end of the weekend but Liza is going to talk to an attorney friend and see their options. But this change dominoes through the next 30 pages as right now it is all about them adjusting to their strange bi-city marriage (She's in LA He's in San Fran). Now I have to figure out how to do this we're thinking of spliting up but somehow we won't thing. (Yes, even in the original Liza turns up pregnant and they work things out for the kid.)

Anyway those are the writing thinky thoughts I'm currently pondering.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More Rewrites

So once again I find myself working on rewrites. Not for "A Happy Reunion" this time but the feature after that "You Belong With Me." Yes, it is a rom-com. I started it as a 3-5 page scene for a contest in the middle of April and managed to write 56 pages of it before the end of April and finished it by the 20th of May.

This process of writing again what you've already written sucks. I know it will be a better script when I finally get around to making the changes, but it still sucks. I guess when I reach FADE OUT. and the magic over 90 pages I'm done living with the characters and story and I just want to move to the next project. Because you know I've got at least one projects idea I'm itching to start. I like to write small (full episodes in 40 pages instead of 50-54) so seeing 90+ pages is an accomplishment I want to celebrate. Last thing I want is to hear "You need more here to explain her/his motivation." I know I need it and this isn't complaining about the people who read and give me notes. I appreciate those people and notes. I need them to know where I've failed completely or just need tweaking. But fixing those things- I have no motivation.

I guess that's what this post is about. Finding motivation to end the procrastination and make those changes. Sure there are screenwriting contests with deadlines approaching and "writers have been known to complete things when deadlines loom "(from the FAQ of the Nicholl Fellowship of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.) But I need more motivation. When I find the secret I'll let y'all know.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rewrites or "What do mean the first draft isn't perfect?"

I got some notes on my script, "A Happy Reunion" and while they were exactly what I needed, they are still hard to hear or read in some cases. In particular, the script lacks dramatic tension. Most of the conflict that rises is solved too quickly usually within the same scene. I knew this was a problem but I'm not sure how to fix it.

I've never really done much rewriting other than editing spelling and grammar before so this whole thing is sort of new to me. It isn't easy but like one of my commenter said, "If this was easy then everyone would do it."

I'm slowly picking away at things but it is still hard not to be discouraged by learning things need work.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Musings on Writing

So yesterday morning I was trying to go to sleep after the husband's alarm went off at 5AM, I started thinking - more specifically solving plot problems. I solved the issue that I had given up on months ago with my spec Leverage episode. I had so many problems that I just shelved the project so why did I sudenly solve the problem? I have no idea. I have put the solution into practice yet but I will when I finish this post. Not only did I solve the Leverage problem but I mapped out the last act of the current Rom-Com (and no it isn't one of the three I listed on this blog earlier this year.)

Speeking of those- I finished "A Happy Reunion", at least enough to enter it in to contests. I entered it into the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competion, The AAA Contest run by Creative Screenwriting Magazine, and the Nicholl Fellowship. I should hear back from those between August and October.

I also entered the CyberSpace Open run by Creative Screenwriting Magazine. That was a fun little contest. They sent out a scene premise at 5pm Friday and a 3 to 5 page scene had to be uploaded by 9am Monday. I managed to upload by 9pm Sunday night only to discover two little mistakes a couple hours latter. I expect to hear the results from this round late next week or early the week after.

It was this scene that prompted the new Rom-Com "You Belong With Me". I had so much fun writing the one scene that the whole plot popped into my head and now, three weeks latter, I have 65 pages written with a good idea of where the next 25-30 pages are going to go.

Of course the general productive nature of my writing has been inproved in the month of April by the annual Script Frenzy challenge. I wrote my 100 pages with 56 from "You Belong With Me" and the rest broken up between unfished Spec TV episodes- one of which is an original pilot.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Art Vine Spring Show and Sale

The Art Vine Spring Show and Sale is Saturday May 8 form 10 AM to 3 PM at the Chehalem Park & Recreation District Office (125 South Elliott Road, Newberg, OR 97132 just off 2nd Street across from Living Waters Church.)

We will be offering paintings, ceramics, textiles, and more just in time for Mother's Day.

Nate is firing the kiln this weekend so there will be some very new work to be shown.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Trying to understand Artists

I have encountered a mindset I find troubling from a professional organization that professes to "Promote Creativity, Excellence & Growth Through Education & Cooperative Spirit" and from a current pottery professor. What is that troubling attitude, you might ask? It is that only named and therefore famous (either locally, nationally or internationally) potters should be included in a show.

How do you raise the next generation of named potters if they are not given a chance to show their work?

In the case of the organization I can see it as the show that illustrated the point was to show that group's work. But there are two way to do that. You could go the route the group went having an outside jurist jury the best of the best of the group. Or you could go the other way and show the depth and bredth of the membership - both the named potters and older members and the newer members who are up and coming. If you have thirty spots and 400+memebers, shirley you could have the outside jurist determine the best in 5-6 categories and have 5-6 potters in each.

In the case of the professor, I have no idea. He seemed to view me still as a student even though it has been 5 years since I took a class and I have sold my work for most of that time. I admitmy work does still seem like some of the work of his students. But even more baffling, he lumped my husband's work inwith the students' as well. Prior to this weekend, the last time we saw this professor was at the opening of the Allison Inn and Spa. Both the professor and my husband had work in the hotel (and this is a 4 star establishment so a big deal artistically) so he has to know that my husband is developing a "name". The factoid that the professor might not be aware of is that the Husband had his plates selected (and purchased) for a new art community endevor in SE Portland. The opening of this building was attended by the art movers and shakers in Portland, including its Mayor. So why not include a piece of the Husband's in the auction for Haiti relief that is being held at the University? The only comforting thing is that the professor lumped his pottery work in the unworthy group too. He seemed to think that only his scultpural work would be worth including in the auction.

So I ask, what should the criteria used in judging work worthy of display? Should the artist's reputation be a leading factor? Or a factor at all? Should the work be judged without a name to it and by someone who can't recognize the artist's work by looking at it?

On a side note what differentiates art from craft? And what makes Oriental and, specifically, Japanese forms better than European forms?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Weight Loss

YeeHaw!! I'm down t0 226 (From a high of 244 last year) I know it isn't speedy but then again I'm not doing drasctic changes just trying to make smarter food choices and adding in some exersize. I doubt I'll make size14 by ConCon in a month and a half but I should be able to wear my favorite Blue Silk dress to SCA events again this summer.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The list of in progress projects

So no progress on any quests in the last 8 days. I have been sick. Now I'm almost well with the exception of an extremely scratched throat from all the coughing. So my thoughts turn back to writing. I want to write but am unsure of exactly what.

My currents projects:

Untitled Rom-Com 1- This is the wish fullfillment rom-com that pokes at all the things wrong with the way women are portrayed in movies. Set in Portland and some of the characters bear more than a passing resemblance to me, the husband unit, and my BFF. It currently is 51 pages long.

An Exposition of Irony- The President William McKinley bio-pic about the 1901 Pan American Exposition where McKinley died. This was a project I was working on last year but stopped because while the subject fascinates me, I couldn't (and still can't) answer the basic plot question of "What does McKinley want?". I have to answer that in order to find the way to put stumbling blocks in his way to make a plot. otherwise it is more documentary than drama. (I could answer the plot questions from the asassin's point of view but that would make him the protaginist but I don't want to go there.) Currently it runs 23 pages

Siskiyou Pines- The traditional western that is more or less complete but could use a good polish. It's the story of a new widdow trying to hang on to the ranch and her family. 90 Pages.

A Happy Reunion- The more or less completed Rom-Com about a couple of high school friends who got drunk and married at the 15 year reunion in Vegas. It needs good polish and some more snappy dialouge. Currently 95 pages.

Untitled Rom-Com 2- This is set in Porltand about a pair of Yuppies who have been married for about 10 nearly break apart over a missunderstanding. Currently 34 pages.

Anyway those are just the original features I'm in the middle of. I also have a Leverage spec episode and one for Chuck that I'm working on.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quest #2 progress

So pursuant to Quest #2 - The quest for an agent- I'm working on revising A Happy Reunion. This is the completed Romantic Comedy (or RomCom as the industry calls them), as opposed to the 2 uncompleted RomComs.

Anyway the consensus of my writer's group is that I fail in the Comedy part of RomCom. So how to punch it up? I really want it to be funny and not turn it into a drama as one person suggested. (They also suggested I focus more on a minor plot point of a minor character but I think that was because that plot point struck a little too close to home for them.)

So how to make it funnier without just adding a lot of jokes? I need to make the dialouge snappier and wittier. The other thing is I need to round out my characters more. They are too one diminsional. I also got the critisism that I have little conflict and what I have is resolved too neatly. (This is one of my problems with the Twilight books and I hide my head in shame that I have fallen into that trope.)