26 March 2014

The Work Space

I don't get a lot of time to write.  Only a couple hours a day, really, where I can get away from everything and sit down at my laptop and type.  But that's writing actual script pages (which I call scripting):  Throughout the day I'm usually reading and researching, breaking down a story, and outlining a script (with good old fashion pen and paper) when I get a chance -- which is tough with a 4-year-old and a 3-year-old demanding about 95% of my attention when they're awake.  Still, I do what I can, when I can.

It's all about getting to this moment.
But with scripting, I'm on my own.  My wife is awake to handle the boys (she works third shift and sleeps during the day) and I'm off to my work area to write.  In the basement.  The cold, dark basement...

This is what the above image looks like to me.  Well, without the blinding flash. 
Unless I've got a really good idea.  Then, yeah, that's what happens.
Now, the thing is, I'm pretty good to write anywhere, in any condition.  I wrote most of my previous screenplays -- features and shorts -- sitting on the couch with the TV going.  Not that I'd be watching or even care what was on, it was just having the noise.  For me, the quiet was distracting.  I'd hear the weird house noises, the wind blowing, people walking outside, the boys' beds shifting as they rolled over while sleeping...  The background sounds became the focus because that's all there was to hear.  With the TV on, those random sounds were drowned out and if heard, were unconsciously attributed to whatever was on the television.

I could have probably just kept on working like that, but my wife decided it'd be better for me to get away from any kind of distraction.  Plus, she'd cleaned and straightened up our basement and set up a little work area for me.  So basically, I had no choice.

I get a space heater and hobo gloves to try and keep warm. 
Try being the operative word...
It's a nice area, though. I've got a desk and a chair and a laptop with no Internet connection -- which, to be honest, is the biggest distraction for me (it's hard to know when researching should end...).  But I do get to listen to music, which is helpful since I can pick a playlist of songs that reflect the mood or tone I'm going for with a script or scene.  And it drowns out all of the sounds I mentioned before.  And the boys' shouts and yells and bumps and thumps and jumps.  Okay, I still hear the boys, but at least I know it's them, so I can keep on with the typing.

I started working in the basement sometime in early February.  In about three weeks, I hammered out a first draft of my script Bake Sale.  Up until the third act, I was scripting 10 pages in under three hours.  Of course, it helped that I pretty much knew everything that was going to and supposed to happen.  I think I got hung up with the third act because I was getting near the end and I really liked the characters and everything, so it was more of a psychological hang-up than a writing one.

With the script I'm doing now -- the first in the 12 in 12 series -- I've been averaging about 5.5 pages when I get down to write.  I missed a few days because of a new medication I started taking (more on that another time since it's likely the reason for the medicine will cause a snag at some point in my endeavor to fulfill the 12 in 12 challenge), but when I'm down there, I know what I'm doing and where the story's going.  I could probably get more pages done, but this script has some intense moments that I'd rather not linger with too much.  Don't get me wrong, they're great moments and work nicely, but when I'm writing them and running the gamut of emotions the characters are going through...  Yeah, I can handle only so much of that in a writing session.  But then I know what I'm working on the next day, so it all works out quite well for me.

I thought I had some kind of point, a unifying theme when I started writing this, but whatever it was it's gone now.  Maybe it was about finding a place to write, a place that inspires you or keeps you on track and pace.  I can still write anywhere I need to, but having that one spot where I have no options but to write... that's nice.  It's reassuring, really.  It makes me feel that even though writing 12 screenplays in 12 months is a crazy, crazy thing to have undertaken, I at least have some place that remains constant and can keep my mind on the task at hand.  As clich√© as it sounds, it's a sanctuary.


I don't look that good, but I guess it still works...

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