First Drafts
Here We Go Yo

Here We Go Yo

… so what’s the, what’s the, what’s the scenario?

How’s everyone doing? I’m in a daze my friends. After dutifully taking care of myself for the last few weeks (exercising, getting enough sleep, eating well, relaxing in the evenings), this entire week I’ve been hitting it way too hard. I’ve been working late, eating too many Cheez-Its and slugging slowly through my workouts. That must mean it’s deadline time.

Two feature length screenplays have been in my face over the past six months or so. Just a few weeks ago I sent the latest draft of one to the gentleman to which I am writing the script for. It’s now out of my hands at the moment, which I have to admit feels pretty great. That leaves me with the second script, which I’m having a blast working on, but am just taking way too long getting through. A combination of perfectionism and procrastination. I really took my time outlining and prepping this particular project, which you would think would allow me to knock it out more quickly. I wish, but no. Just the opposite has occurred. I’m analyzing every single word I type as I go along. There’s no “letting the fingers fly,” because I’m spending too much time deciphering whether or not that last set of action lines I just laid down conveyed what I was shooting for.

I am hoping to send the draft off by end of day Friday, which is why I’m spending my evenings cuddled up to my laptop instead of my wife (WIFE, Supreme Court… I’m counting on you all to do the right thing). If I reach my goal, I’m celebrating by taking next week off. Cross your fingers for me, please!

* How sweet is the photo my wife snapped of my best friend and I after our recent race over the Golden Gate Bridge?
* Take seven minutes and watch Sam Molleur‘s short film, THE PROMISE. Such great dialogue! And props to the actors for their performances.

Done with first draft.

Four days until my first draft (or my pride) is finished

I have four days left in my self-imposed deadline to finish the first draft of my latest script. It’s lame, but this is what I have to do to myself to get projects finished.

By midnight on Monday, February 14th, my first draft has to be done. Actually, unless I want to get my butt kicked by my wife because I’m in front of the computer in the evening on Valentine’s Day, it really has to be done by the time she gets home from work.

I have a scheduled date with some close friends to crack open a special bottle of wine on Tuesday evening to celebrate. So if the script isn’t done, I’m going to look like a complete ass.

… And that’s why this whole self-imposed deadline thing works… because of my intense fear of letting people down or looking stupid.

*Hi-fives to Benny Gold and Unscripted Clothing for keeping me comfy and looking fresh for my cat while I write this script.*

Okay, let’s go…

Monday after a holiday break is brutal, right?

I’m having difficulty getting back in the swing of things.  Hopefully this second pot of coffee will get me going.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  Mine was a blast, filled with too much food and a mean game of Catch Phrase.

I shared my treatment with my wife over the weekend, which is always one of the most terrifying things I ever have to do.  If she thinks my ideas suck, she has no qualm letting me know.  But get this… she loved my story.  She did have some good ideas on some things I could tweak to improve it, but overall, she was excited.

Now it’s time to get this first draft written.

My superhero doesn’t have an armored suit, but…

Because I’ve been struggling a little bit with Superhero, I decided to spend some more time analyzing similar movies.  At the end of the day yesterday, I made some popcorn, poured a glass of wine, and sat down and watched Iron Man.

Because there’s no screenplay available for the movie (Jeff Bridges claims there never was one), I watched it scene to scene, writing down what I thought the purpose was for each.

I’m far from a sci-fi lover or fantasy fan, but Iron Man is a damn good flick; the humor and non-stop excitement of it is exactly what I’m trying to inject into Superhero.

Watching it got my brain going again and got me amped (finally) to get back to work.

Starting the Week off Strong.

“What no [spouse] of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.”— Burton Rascoe (Source: Go Into The Story).

In between sessions of staring out the window, today I’m hoping to:

* finish Superhero

* read The Hurt Locker

* finish two freelance articles


Blake, index cards, and me.

I’ll be swimming laps through index cards all day today, figuring out every detail to the end of this Superhero script before I even think about re-opening Final Draft.

I’m going to use Elizabeth Ditty’s recommendation and bust out Blake Snyder’s book… tighten up a 40 scene outline.

Ready… go!

Ah, suck.

Sometimes writing makes me want to throw things across the room.

I came to the realization this weekend that I really didn’t do a good enough job planning out this Superhero script before I started writing.

I was all giddy and excited to get working on it, because the intro is so explosive and fun to write.  But, just like in most scripts, the middle is killing me.

I had the whole script “lightly outlined,” with all the major points laid out, but I don’t think it had enough detail on how things were going to happen.  And because of that, now I’m completely stuck and that’s when, the desire to throw things increases.  I think I might spend the next few days really thinking about the second half of this story before I go trying to waste time writing into nowhere.

Obviously, I’m still getting a feel for how much detail in an outline is right for me.  Instead of just lightly planning the major points, like “Roger dies,” I need to figure out beforehand how Roger is going to die.

It was a frustrating day of writing, as you obviously could tell, but I’m still determined to make this story work.  The premise and the overall story is strong.  I will have a first draft done by March 4th, even if it kills me.

An open letter to Superhero.

Dear first draft of Superhero,

Please don’t take this personal, but today I’m going to kick your ass.  There will be no doubt and no hesitation on my part.  Five to ten pages will be added to your length by the end of the day, and those pages will be great.*

Thanks for your understanding.  I’m looking forward to working with you.



*if not great, they will be somewhat salvageable and become great in later drafts

Just five.

Five pages.

A measly five pages is my goal today. 

Let’s hope it’s not as agonizing as yesterday’s five.

I’ll consider it a great day if I can go from page thirty-two to thirty-seven without questioning my passion or eating seven pounds of cheese.