22 January 2014

Scripts to Come

I recently just finished rewriting a screenplay I had optioned.  It was the second draft I turned in, and the last one I was contracted to do, so I don't know if I'll be involved with the pre-production process as it moves toward a (tentative) shooting schedule for next winter.  But as of now, I'm done with the script until further notice.

As such, I've outlined the plans for my next projects.  I have three feature scripts I'll be working on for the next few months -- I like to have a few things going so if I get bogged down or bored with one script I can get the juices flowing with another that already been worked for a bit.  Each script has different purposes for me writing it and unfortunately (some would say), none of them are really spec script material.  But I'm still working a bit on finding a comfort zone with what stories I want to write and can write versus having pipe dreams of writing the next Inception or being a Tarantino-wannabe.

Since I'm still working on the outlines and pre-writing, there aren't much for details, but here's what I have for the scripts.

Standers
This is an idea I've had for a while.  It's a contained thriller with a minimal cast: 98% of the movie will take place in one location (a cabin in the woods) with just a few characters.  I'm more interested in the relationship between the two protagonists, a married couple struggling to live with each other -- let alone stand each other -- following the sudden death of their only child (which, while an accident, was caused by one of them).  This is a couple that's done the counseling and this weekend is their last attempt to try and see if their relationship and, essentially, the memories they share as a family are worth saving.  But things take a dark turn when, at the cabin, the couple realizes they may not be as alone as they thought.  (So, yeah, there's some elements of The Strangers and Funny Games, but I think I've got a nice spin on the basic premise used by those and similar films.)

I'm writing this script because it's something I can easily shoot.  The biggest hurdles are getting a location -- but living in Minnesota makes it rather difficult to NOT find someone who doesn't either own a cabin or knows a friend or relative who does -- and making sure the cast get along and can manage the week to ten days of night shoots.  Ideally, I'd be shooting in late July 2014.

Untitled Domestic Drama
I actually have a title for this one (at least a working title), but I'm not quite sure about it -- I can't decide if it's provocative or divulges too much.  Anyhow, this one's about a woman who's going back to college to earn her degree (still debating on if it's a Bachelor's or Master's) and begins to suspect her husband is having an affair since her time's spread across taking care of their kids, working part-time, and returning to school.  Of course there's more to it, but this is one I'm reluctant to reveal too much about.  Mainly because I wrote about 30 or 40 pages of an earlier iteration of the story and didn't like how it turned out.  So I'm starting fresh and hoping the process moves along with more ease and confidence this time around.

Movie Poet Screenplay
I'm a member of a screenwriting website/community called Movie Poet.  It conducts monthly contests centered around screenwriting:  February, March, May, June, July, September, October, and December are designated for short scripts; November is for short films based on scripts in the site's archives; and January, April and August are set aside for a three-round feature screenplay contest:  In January, entrants submit a logline; in April, the top thirty from the logline contest (revealed on March 1) submit the first ten pages of their scripts; and in August, the top ten from Round 2 submit their feature script.  (There's more information on the website if you're interested.)

The key to this contest is anonymity throughout the three rounds, so I can't say anything about script until March 1 at the earliest -- at which point I'll have either moved on to Round 2 or been eliminated.  Whether I move on or not, I'll write this script.  I like the idea and think it has strong commercial appeal, so I'd be amiss to not pursue it.  I'm just using the contest as a motivator to make sure I do write it since it's a bit outside my usual story ideas and I can see myself letting it go if I get frustrated with how to tell it.  Even though I won't know until March if I've advanced in the contest, I'm really pushing myself to have most of the first draft finished before then.  I'll be using it as my "work script"; that is, I have to work on it before I get to the other two scripts above.  Now that I'm out of school, it's important to make sure I set and meet my own deadlines and writing three pages a day on this script before I move to the scripts I'm more comfortable with is something that'll push me to get it done.

So there's my screenwriting plan for the first half of 2014.  The second half would focus on rewriting -- or in the case of Standers (fingers crossed), shooting a feature film.  I'm excited to start this next step in my writing career and terrified that I'm actually going through with a blog documenting my progress.  But it's one of those tricks to make sure I get the work done.  If a bunch of people know what I'm doing and are expecting results are certain times, I had best make sure I don't disappoint.

But don't hold it against me if something gets left behind as I go down this road.  I mean, you can tease a bit, but just not so much my spirits are crushed and I go back to working as a short-order cook.  'Cause that wouldn't be nice.

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