07 April 2014

12 in 12: The "Second" Script

I appreciate the effort to decorate like this,
but if someone's just going to eat it,
what's the point?
In February, I wrote a comedy script called Bake Sale -- which, despite the title, is a very R-rated story -- about a lowlife dad who's never there for his kids, but tries to be better when his ex-wife tells him that she and the kids are moving because the school's shutting down the band program.  So the dad volunteers to organize a bake sale -- he works at a bakery (as a delivery driver), so he's got an in.  Or so he thinks.  Anyhow, things go awry and there are ups and downs and of course things work out in the end -- though maybe not as intended. 

The point here is while I only started the 12 in 12 in March, I kind of got a nice head start with Bake Sale.  I didn't have any anxiety that you'd expect when attempting to write 12 features in a year when I started writing the March script.  Having just finished one script in about three weeks, I had confidence in starting that script because I knew I could finish a screenplay in the timeframe.  Also, there weren't any jitters with it being the "first" script.  It felt more like a continuation of the routine I began in February.

I suppose the overall point I'm getting at is how once you've done something, no matter what it is, you learn a lot from the experience.  You discover your rhythms and predilections, what keeps you motivated, what distracts you...  That kind of stuff.

Because of that, I'm not really fearful of the blank page and starting a new script.  It's just a matter of making sure I have a strong idea for the script and interesting characters and situations to populate it.

Blank page, I am not your bitch.

So because I'm at least somewhat aware of my methodology, I'm trying to stretch myself in different ways during the 12 in 12 challenge.  And something I've never done before is write a feature with just a few characters (two in this instance) in a small number of locations (one main one and two or three for just a scene or two) -- so that's what I'm doing this month.  I've talked about it before, but for those new to the scene, the script is called Standers and it's about a married couple trying to save their marriage following the sudden death of their daughter.  They decide to spend a weekend at a cabin in the woods so they'll be away from technological distractions and be forced to interact with each other.  Things go well enough until they notice figures standing around the cabin.  And the figures are slowly getting closer.  And closer...

Seriously:  How is this not funny?
I'm also trying to line up the next few scripts to be out of my wheelhouse as well:  I'm planning on tackling a non-Western Western for May (first mentioned here) and for June I'm looking at behind-the-scenes script about the making of a well-known movie (at least I think it's well known) kind of like Hitchcock, RKO 281, and Ed Wood.  So yes, it'll be a comedy of some sort -- but I think that's almost a necessary when dealing with a "making of" type of movie:  You can't be too serious because after all, it's just about making a movie; there are more serious and austere issue in the world.  Even now, I'm trying to come up with more dramatic movies in that sub-genre and I'm coming up dry.  Doesn't mean there aren't any, so if someone has an example or two, please share away.

I know I've said it before, but this time I mean it:  I should have a tentative list of scripts/script ideas up in the next week or so.  It'll mainly be for my benefit, so I can keep on task with what's to come.  But right now, it's the current contained thriller (April), the Western that's not really a Western (May), and the making of a movie movie (June).  Also, I'd really like to try adapting a novel or short story for one of the months -- again if anyone has any suggestions, let me know.  I don't care if the material is in the public domain or already optioned or whatever the case regarding film rights might be:  I just want to try adapting one piece of storytelling into another piece of storytelling.  As I said above, it's all about doing something new.  It's all about finding out where I succeed as a screenwriter and where I struggle, not only in the microcosm of screenwriting (meaning dialogue and structure and characterization and such) but also in the bigger picture (meaning what genres I'm best with and how I get ideas and if I can adapt existing prose into a script).

I'm still excited about the overall 12 in 12 challenge.  I think it's because I know I'm going to have a dozen scripts when it ends, but also because each script is like its own reward along the way.  Sure, it'll be tough and trying to write each script, but again, at the end of each month there's a new script that didn't exist four weeks earlier.  Finishing and reading March's script was one of the best experiences I've had as a screenwriter -- I thought the script turned out pretty good for a rough/first draft -- and I think seeing the success (real or not) I had in writing that script has me motivated to finish the next script that much sooner so I can read it and start a new script. 

But I'd have to say that the best part of the 12 in 12 challenge is that I'm getting less and less worried about writing and if I'm writing anything good/worthwhile (I'm sure I'm not, but you gotta practice in order to improve).  I'm writing almost every day and the struggle is no longer "Ugh, I have to write..." and is "Ugh, I really need to write!"  So even if the material is crap (it's not 100% crap, I know, but the actual percentage is probably still high) at least I'm pumping out pages that slowly are becoming less and less craptastic.   And that's a good feeling.

Craptastic?  Really?  That's not even a word...

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