28 March 2014

12 in 12: The (First) Homestretch

The first month in the 12 in 12 experiment/challenge is winding down basically just the weekend left.

I can assure you I'm much further along than this picture indicates.
So how's it gone?
 
How time flies when you're trying to
hammer out a script in less than a month.
Well, I tackled a script I've wanted to write for a while.  And with three days left in March, I'm give or take 10 pages away from typing FADE OUT.  All goes will, the script will be done sometime today or tomorrow -- a few days later than I had hoped, but still coming in under the wire.  A filmmaker friend of mine read the first half of the script and he was really into it, so I'm feeling good about it.  I was afraid it was just going to be an incomprehensible mess, but I guess the 7 previous features I've written have played a larger part than I had realized in helping me get to the meat of a story.  And I'm really liking the script, too, so there must be something worthwhile in it -- that or I'm getting lost in the world I've created and am more emotionally attached to it than I think.  Huh.

Another thing that's come up:  Unlike my colleague Kirk, I'm not posting much about my script writing process.  I suppose having a few features under my belt is to blame:  I'm not that mystified or confused or overwhelmed or deterred (or whatever adjective you'd like to insert) about what it takes to write a feature-length screenplay.  I know that I need a week or so to outline and break a story -- and I'll make sure to write about what I do and how I do it in an upcoming post/update -- and then I just write the script.  If there's research involved, I might need another week or two to better realize the story or characters or settings.  But for the most part, my prep work consists of figuring out the story I want to tell, what themes I'm looking to explore with the story, and what characters are needed to populate the story and bring it to life.

In a similar vein of knowing the (or rather: my) process, I seem to progress better with a script if I have a page quota.  For

I don't know who that guy is,
but he was more than useful in helping
me figure out my daily page quota.
simplicity purposes, I'm aiming at 85 to 95 pages per script, so I put my page goal at 90.  I figure there's on average 4 weeks in month and I'd like to use about a week for prep, so I'm left with 3 weeks to write the script, which gives me 30 pages a week or just more than 4 pages a day.  So I try to write 4 to 5 pages a day.  And when I'm down in my little writing hole, with no distractions, I can pump out those pages like nothing.  Hell, last night I was at the laptop for about 2.5 hours and added 12 pages to the script.  I get down there tonight, I should be able to wrap this bad boy up no problem.

So come March 31 or April 1, if anyone's interested in reading this mysterious script, let me know and I'll send you a PDF (email f.no.but.theres.a.poster[@]gmail[.]com, without the brackets).  And sorry about the vagueness concerning this script, but I'm not really sure how to describe it other than a character-driven drama.  I'd say it's similar to films like Rabbit Hole, The Kids Are All Right, and Short Term 12 -- dramatic films with interesting angles and quirky comedic touches.

Moving on to April and 12 in 12 Part II, I'm looking at two different scripts to work on.  One is the couple in the cabin story -- which I think I've figured out pretty well and feel good about -- the other is a fatalistic drama that takes place in Colorado in the 1860.  Why Colorado in the 1860s?  Because otherwise the ideas and themes I'm hoping to tease out of the characters wouldn't really work as cleanly.  See, at that time, Colorado was still a U.S. territory, not a state.  People took the law into their hands and that concept is one I'm looking to delve into.  Some might call it a Western, but if that's the case, it's a Western in the ways that Open Range, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Ox-Bow Incident, and up until it's last 15-20 minutes, High Noon are Westerns -- yes, they takes place in the "old West," but that's the setting and atmosphere.  The real story is about the characters and the lives they have to live given when and where they've been placed in history.

I'm pretty sure this is what the beginning of
every month is going to be like.
All things considered, however, it makes more sense for me to hit the smaller script -- fewer characters, fewer locations, little research -- and knock that out as quick as I can and take the extra few days I get to do some more research on the pseudo-Western and work on that one in May.  Besides, there's an extra day in May versus April, so there's another reason (albeit infinitesimal in the scheme of things) to push the bigger script back a month. 

Of course, if anyone has any thoughts of what I should do next, I'm all ears.

Oh, dear God, did I just ask the Internet for its opinion?
 

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