Monday, June 16, 2008

I'll Play The Radio On Southern Stations

Generally I try to reserve the summer months to write a spec script that is exactly something I want to read. Thus, all of them are comfortably gathering cyber-dust, but I am glad I wrote them.

Last year I was too busy writing or rewriting seven screenplays for four different producers and in 2006 I took the summer off, but before that I think the last one I did was TIMON OF ATHENS, my modern dress, original prose version of Shakespeare's most broken play, which after patching up a b-movie script or two I thought I might be up to the task for. Loyal readers know that after a thunderous silence I recently released my version of TIMON OF ATHENS under a Creative Commons license at this very site, hoping it will find a home.

So when I started thinking about this summer's script, well into June now, I thought I might write this year's spec for Creative Commons, and go one better and write it on the Celtx 1.0 platform. People are always asking me about Celtx because it is a free open source software for screenwriting (and some other things). As far as I know, the world is split between Movie Magic Screenwriter and Final Draft; I happen to be a MM guy because the first person I sold a script to had it and loaned me a license during the project, so I pretty much had to learn it. When I got paid, I bought it for myself. But I know just as many people love Final Draft and I know it works fine. And those two are pretty much the industry standards.

But this Celtx looks pretty interesting, so I downloaded and started playing with its features. Now I just have to think of what to write. But when it's done, it will be posted free under a Creative Commons license on an open source software. Pretty interesting to think about, eh?

I always compose a "Secret Soundtrack" of songs that help get my juices flowing. That dovetails nicely, I think, to this Seven Songs meme I poached from Warren Ellis:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs.

Warren Ellis is much cooler than me and if I actually listened to any of his song choices my head would probably explode, as I live in a humble rural area of America's Heartland. Thankfully I do have a kid in college home for the summer who happens to be blasting music out of her room all of the time, so some of the more hipster choices of America's youth have filtered into my subconscious, basically frozen musically around 1983. But these are a couple of songs that are getting my juices flowing for writing this summer:

1. WELCOME TO THE BLACK PARADE by My Chemical Romance. Gives me chills. And read THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY too.

2. GOLD DIGGER by Kanye West. Reminds me of those fun, clever raps of the early 90s.

3. FLAGPOLE SITTER by Harvey Danger. I want to publish zines, and rage against machines.

4. CLUMSY by Fergie. I know this goes against my very nature, but somehow I like the 30s-style men's chorus coupled with the 80s-Pong sound FX.

5. MERCY by Duffy. Retro-cool, kinda goes without saying.

6. CRAZY by Gnarls Barkley. This dude knows what he's talking about.

6. I WILL FOLLOW YOU INTO THE DARK by Death Cab for Cutie. Takes me back to the early 80s New Wave. Also, my daughter just got back from the concert and keeps playing it over and over.

Give me a shout at


Pete Bauer said...

I'm big into finding a "soundtrack" to listen to when writing. When writing an action flick I listened to The Rock and Mission Impossible III soundtracks repeatedly.

When writing the short Club God, I listened almost exclusively to artist Matt Maher.

It really helps me divest myself from the world I live in and put me in the world I'm trying to write.

Enjoy your summer, JOD!

BTW - I'm a Final Draft guy. Collaborated on a script years ago with a production company in Los Angeles. They had Macs, I had PC and FD was the only one where the files could work with both.

Christopher Sharpe said...

I think I've used just about everything out there for screenwriting - including FD and MM. I'm pretty impressed by Celtx. I particularly love the ease with which you can work from different computers and operating systems. When I had a day job, I would use the web services to upload the latest draft from my Mac then download it at work to the PC. It worked flawlessly.