Friday, February 20, 2009

What Was the Middle Thing?

After nearly a week of dithering, I've finally buckled down and made some rules.  Work starts at 10, finishes at 7, and there's an hour of lunch in the middle.  Take no notice of the fact I'm writing this at 6.  The main rule: no internet during work hours.  I can take non-essential showers (which I did this afternoon, as it seems to be a place where ideas get born), I can read books on subjects useful to the project (today was half an hour of the Sense and Sensibility screenplay), but I cannot, under any circumstances, surf the net.

Not surprisingly, today was a productive day.  It's very hard to say exactly where I am in the process, as everything seems to be endlessly rewritten.  There's a very credible first act, I think.  I'm somewhere in the second act right now, trying to turn the screw without giving too much away too quickly.  I understand my characters a little better now, and that's helping things move along.  I feel good about my step outline, the making of which was facilitated by instructions found in Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434 (thanks Lacey!).

As far as these books are concerned, I'm doing my best to sift the sand and keep the little gold nuggets.  Despite all the lip-service paid to personal expression and flexibility of implementation, there's something soul-deadening about the way these guys write.  At the same time, the books have helped me avoid some big mistakes.  Then again, there are some things they tell me I absolutely must do, but that I don't think I really want to do.  So I won't do those things.

The big change over the past week: the story has a villain now.  At first, he was a full-throttle killing machine.  The first scene had him killing like a hundred people, just to show how badass he was.  I've gotten that out of my system, and he only kills three people now.  How moderate of me!  He kind of started out Michael Madsen, went through a Jason Statham phase, and is now sort of a grumpy Clive Owen.  

The person I picture in the lead female role is America Ferrera.  I've never actually seen her act in anything, so I guess I should say that this character acts like I imagine America Ferrera acts.  Actually, I have no idea how I latched on to her.  I guess because she seems like a human, based on the ads I've seen for Ugly Betty.  

I'd like the characters to have, like, 1.12 dimensions, at least.  Even the bad guy.

I sure would like to have a first draft done by the end of the month.  Is that even possible?  


  1. Michael Madsen > Jason Statham > Clive Owen
    That's a win for all of us. A probably a villian who reeks less and less of scotch.

  2. Hmm, first draft by the end of the month? You mean like in a week? I hope you don't, for your sake. That sounds like a pretty ambitious schedule, even for someone working at your breakneck pace.

    In other words, I think your first script will be better if it takes longer than a week to write the first draft. Even if it's impeccably outlined. Sorry, I feel your "God I just want to have a f'ing draft finished already" pain. Believe me I do.

  3. Naaate! This is exciting! I cannot wait to see more. I'm glad you finally got out of GPG and have decided to take matters into your own hands. I know you will create something fantastic and entertaining. I'll keep checking in and let me know if there's anything I can do to help ok?

  4. Setting the schedule is huge Nate. The month I took off I was painting from 9am-6-7pm (depending on when Jackie got off work). No interwebs, random TV show or music for noise. Setting that schedule finished 6 paintings in a month instead of my normal 1-2. Sounds like you're doing great, which is awesome to hear :)

  5. The main rule: no internet during work important I am finding out.