Sunday, June 7, 2009

Where Exactly Is Waldo?

Some advice for aspiring screenwriters: if you find that your scripts are needlessly expository or just plain slow, try imagining that you're writing for a self-illustrated comic.

Ain't nothing gets you to the point faster than imagining that you'll have to draw the same two talking heads sixteen times.

The other thing: pace yourself. Creating something elaborate is a little bit like gardening. Just get out there and water every day. And when stuff starts growing, just go with it. Pull weeds (or don't, if they're pretty). There'll be fruit and flowers eventually. But not if you stop watering.

I'm so terrified these days. Terrified that I'll suck. Terrified that I'm wasting my time. Terrified that my depths will be plumbed, and they won't be all that depthy. Terrified that this is the weightless moment at the top of my life's rollercoaster. Terrified that everybody else won and I lost. Terrified that my money is disappearing. Terrified that if I have to go back to making games, I won't remember how. Terrified that I'm becoming a horrible bore to my wife. Terrified that I lack the empathy to write varied, lifelike characters. Terrified that I'm just a lazy ass.

Isn't this just like an old person, to be terrified of a fun thing you're learning? I don't remember ever being terrified of drawing -- but that was because while I was learning, I had no idea I was cultivating a marketable skill.

Get out there and water every day.


  1. I'm right with you, terrified.

    Through a random series of events, I just happened upon this specific post as I am mere hours from leaving my corporate desk job behind.

    Just keep your art genuine and organic. That is what I struggle with daily. If you make that the number one, the rest will fall into place.

  2. Dude, following your heart always turns out to be the right decision. You can always (eventually) find another desk job. But you won't need to, because you're going to love what you're doing. Good luck on your new journey!

  3. As a commercial artist working a visual effects desk job, I'm jealous of your terror and inspired by your project. The fear means you're on the right path. Don't look back.

  4. Daniel - Thanks for the encouragement. I'd never thought of the terror as being a good sign of anything... I'll try to remember this one the next time I wake up at 4 a.m. in a cold sweat. That totally sounded sarcastic, but I totally meant it. It's great advice.

  5. Hi, I've just started reading your blog from the start, and I can't help but relate with what you are doing. I actually did the same thing, starting January 08 and gave myself a year to finish a screenplay. I even bought some of the same books (Story). Keep it up chief, I agree with what the others are saying, as long as you're doing what you love, it will bear fruit.

  6. Thanks for the encouragement, Alpha. How did your screenplay go, if you don't mind me asking? It's hard, isn't it? Like, the hardest thing ever. I hope it went well!

  7. It's good to know someone is doing exactly what I'm doing, experiencing some of the same, real fears, and excelling.

    The work is inspiring, good job Nate.


  8. JP - Thanks, man. I considered pulling down some of these older, more freaked-out posts, but I realized that panic and self-doubt were as much a part of the process as anything else. Might as well show every part of the sausage-making process, right?

    I love the work you've got up at! I get a Dave Stevens vibe from a few of your pages, and that's about the highest praise I can give. I like how unafraid you are of strong darks, and how alive your hatching is. That's really, really hard to do well, but you hit it out of the park. Keep up the awesome work!