Monday, February 18, 2008

The ghost of Christmas of fifteen years ago

This is the boring part of the process. But this is a record of "the movie" and the script is part of the movie. So here's what I've been up to:

I've been using note cards to map out the story. Syd Field says note cards are the way to go. I like the idea of following a how-to book's instructions--something I've never done. I've had this particular how-to since I was fourteen. My grandma gave it to me after I said I wanted to write movies when I grew up. It's finally fulfilling its intended purpose. Fifteen years later.

Writing the script has produced something useful. I've cracked the enigma of formatting. You can buy software for 15o dollars and it will format your script for you. But 150 dollars on this project is ten boxes of cupcake bribes. And actors won't work for nothing. So with trusty/infuriating Word, lots of searching and searching for decent formatting information online, and an hour of futzing with Word's Styles function, I made my own damn template. I think it works real good. And since no one should go through that process alone, here's step by step what I did.

As far as the screenplay itself, I'm on page three. At one point I was on page eleven. But I had to scrap that entire idea and start over. So technically I'm fourteen pages behind. But it wasn't working. There comes a point when you have to cut your losses and move on.

Of course doing this too many times is a sign of procrastination. Syd calls it "resistance," something he says comes in many forms--from sitting down to write then realizing you should clean out the fridge or scrub the toilet or, my favorite, eat. It also comes in the form of abandoning one story for another. He says when you encounter resistance, it's okay. Understand that's what it is, understand what you're doing. Don't get mad. Don't get down on yourself. Just let it go. Let go of the resistance and get to work. Very Zen.

Despite the bouts of resistance, the script soldiers on. My eyes are getting sandpapery and raw from looking at a computer screen to write scripts at work (the kind that I'm paid to write) then coming home and looking at a computer screen to write another script. And I'm sure staring at the computer to write this mishmash is not helping my eyesight any. But what can I say, I can't resist.

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