Saturday, January 17, 2009

About A Ghost From A Wishing Well

Blistering, relentless cold has seeped in from all corners, ten and fifteen below, with a half-foot of snow and a sinus infection like a ten-penny nail floating around in the juice sloshing behind my eye. Other than that, 2009 has been great so far.

I did add a new resolution to my list. I am going to be better about giving script coverage. If you sent me a script in the last three months--okay, the last six months--and I never responded, please re-send your script to me at and I swear on a stack of Hard Case Crime paperbacks to read it in the nearer rather than distant future.

I also know I owe some peeps some emails, but I'm starting with baby steps.

Really, when the weather gets like this, there is nothing to do but hunker down--and in my case, knuckle down on some script rewrites. Loyal readers know that I have been working on a non-disclosure sci-fi project since before Thanksgiving that I thought would be done by now, but has gone through several rewrites of the first act. Several people familiar with this project have wondered aloud to me whether doing so much re-writing bothers me. Allow me to turn my thoughts away from this brutal winter and offer some of my sporadic screenwriting advice that so many come to this blog to receive.

A script is not your baby. You are delivering someone else's baby. Thus I do not mind writing and rewriting until the producer or director gets exactly what they want. The more it fits their vision, the more likely it will get made. When somebody tells you they can "see" what you've written, you know you are onto something.

I can hear loyal readers asking, 'but what if it's your original script?' The truth is, even though I like to write specs in the summers, mostly for my own amusement, every single script out of the 20 projects I have worked on the last eight years have started with somebody else's idea. Either somebody has a monster suit or access to a neat location or knows a girl willing to have red kayro syrup thrown on her while she's taking a shower or has been given a mockbuster title to develop or something.

Most directors and producers eventually figure out that coming up with ideas isn't the hard part. It's sitting in a chair writing it all out instead of, for instance, watching the NFL playoffs. Thus, do not write me an email and suggest a great idea, and if "only I write it" we can split the money. It is not a bubbling brain but a cast iron butt that wins the race. At any rate, I have a rewrite to finish and perhaps have the next project beyond that percolating. If only people would stop making me sign these accursed nondisclosures and, as I have suggested, go back to wearing tinfoil hats to protect their thoughts this blog would be a lot more fun at times.

To reward myself later tonight, hot Mexican food, cold wine, warm brownies, a glowing TV screen.

Until even later I am at

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Many acts of fealty require a cast iron butt. I remember when I was a kid - I grew up watching my father and his team play Triple A fast-pitch softball in every ball diamond between Sioux Falls, South Dakota and St. Joseph, Missouri. My mom and the other wives used to joke that they should get the "Petrified Butt" award when their men won the tourney.