july 20th, 2018

At some point i probably hijacked our conversation to pitch one of my screenplays. Maybe THE WEAK ONES about a rogue group of female heads of state plotting to kill the world's men. Maybe ECCENTRIC about Tycho Brahe (played by Jack Black) and Johannes Kepler (played by Ezra Miller). But most likely i yakked at you about SMOTHER, which is yet another variation on the theme that runs through all of my screenplay ideas: “murder as a solution to one's problems.”

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to write for at least 20 minutes a day, every day. i kept that up until late March and then got distracted. What was i even writing during those 20 minutes per day? Was i writing actual script pages? Naw man, i just wrote outlines and treatments and snippets of dialogue here and there. i didn't write many scenes in screenplay format because that was too much pressure, and early on in the process it was sooo important to keep the pressure ultra gentle, as one might handle a little baby.

Some days i would wake up with a couple great ideas and write effortlessly. Some days i wrote a few paragraphs about how i'm a bad writer and not funny and my ideas are bad and my writing is very very bad which also succeeded in taking the pressure off.

Now it's fun to look back through the crazy directions i've explored. Up until recently i structured the narrative around Goldilocks and the Three Bears. i wrote about a life extension cult that eats massive communal meals of alfalfa and outsiders refer to them as “Leaf Heads.” i gave my fictionalized mom a pet cow — that one is still with us. Margaret Rose the pet cow survived the Great 2018 Culling of Wacky Ideas. i had a storyline about the surviving men who've walked on the moon and they hold an annual meet-up where all they talk about is walking on the moon.

script excerpt | INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY - Rustic contemporary cozy in a weather-proofed log cabin. A glorious vista of Vermont pine forest visible through the window. NASA and moon landing paraphernalia lines the walls, including several photos of the Apollo astronauts in full 1960s moon landing gear. SIX OLD WHITE MEN sit each to his preferred easy chair. Each holds a steaming mug of strong black coffee. Each sits bolt upright with disciplined military straightness. These are the six living men who have walked on the moon: BUZZ ALDRIN (87), ALAN BEAN (85), DAVID SCOTT (85), JOHN YOUNG (87), CHARLES DUKE (81), and HARRISON SCHMITT (82). ALAN BEAN: "It's simply not an experience anyone else can understand." Good natured chorus of GRUNTS. DAVID SCOTT: "That's why I treasure this get-together every year with you, my brothers. Because, well it's just like Alan says! No one else can understand what it's like to walk on the Moon! Mmmm!" They GRUNT in chorus.

i cut down the crazy not because i feared it but because it distracted from the core arc. i'm fond of each weird tangent (my babies!) (special fondness for the one where Buzz Aldrin dates my fictonalized grandma) and i didn't kill them, i just set them aside for use on other adventures.

At the beginning of this month i ended my sabbatical of distraction and started writing again. i gave myself a deadline: 100 pages of first draft by the end of July. And i set an ambitious schedule: write 10 pages of script per day for 10 days.

Yahhhhhh WOW that process seems to really work for me! 100 pages came rull easy with a trusty treatment by my side and daily supportive comments from Sweet Vlad. Each set of 10 pages took me about two hours. Thus — with preparation — the whole 100 took 20.

i'm excited. If this process can be repeated for my other ideas, then i believe i've found the trick to get myself to Sit Down and Do It, which is one of the trickiest tricks of writing.

my goal is to enter the polished SMOTHER into screenwriting contests next spring. i'm not interested in putting this one into production like i did with BLOGOB.

This time i'm in it for the money.

How lovely to write for money!

June 2018 October 2018