Get me outta Chinatown

Time just slips by, doesn't it?

I now have completed my second first draft of my first ever screenplay.

Why a second first draft? Well, I don't feel like it's good enough to be called a second draft yet. That is, I wouldn't even let my Mom read it in the state it's in. But at least it makes more sense than the first first draft. I'm definitely moving towards something approximating good.

While I've been rewriting, I've also been doing a lot of reading. Or skimming anyway. You guessed it. Books about writing. Yay the library for being free!

While some books have been largely a waste of time (Mr Field, no disrespect because I know you practically invented filmic structure, but everyone else stole your ideas, and I've already read their books) others have been amazingly enlightening.

Especially the AFI affiliated Writing Great Screenplays for Film and TV, by Dona Cooper. She eschews some of the more commercially friendly ideas (which I can't afford to ignore as a spec writer), but she also delivers more on theme and emotion than I've seen anywhere else. She's also one of the few author who doesn't rely solely on Action or Thriller flicks for her examples.

Start of mini-rant
Writers of How to books take note: Action examples are easy to think of because they're usually so flippin' obvious. Try to dig deeper and bring an example that has some complexity and depth to it. And if one more person quotes Chinatown at me I'm gonna skewer them with my chopsticks.
Mini-rant ends

So anyway, thanks Dona for sharpening my dramatic focus and offering a different viewpoint from your mostly male associates.

My other brilliant discovery is Crafty TV Writing by Alex Epstein, who's also the man behind the Complications Ensue blog. The book is so terrific on so many levels. I'm so sad that it has to go back to the library that I'm going to actually shell out the cash to own it.

Between Epstein and Espenson, I'm convinced. My destiny lies on the small screen.

They say you should write down your goals, so here they are.

1. Spit and polish my screenplay into second draft status by the end of April.
2. Write three shiny TV specs by the end of August.
3. Find an agent in the fall.
4. Get on staff next staffing season.

No problem. Right? Right?

Slacker excuses:
TV TV TV. It's my job now, so I guess catching up on three seasons of Battlestar and Grey's Anatomy doesn't really qualify as slacking anymore. Hooray! I love TV.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Witness pops up too many times as a script example too I find. Congrats on the second draft, I am on the fourth of my current and just starting to feel I am getting somewhere (I know you didn't want to hear that ha)