Category Archives: Screenwriting

Work

Stephen Pressfield calls it resistance.

It’s been a while since I read his book, WAR OF ART, but I think he also refers to it as evil.

His view: Resistance is the thing which prevents  a person from creating art.  It shows up when a person sits down to write (or anything a person desires to create or change).  For me, resistance looks like the need to do dishes, yard work, TV, life crisis, email, sleep, things for or with my kids, etc. — all legit seeming excuses which prevent me from fulfilling my soul’s desires to create.

Five a.m.  I am resisting the urge to get up.

As I lay here,  I think about Pressfield’s feeling that resistance is evil.  Then I recall all the people I know who have said that they “love” writing or even worse the people who say writing is “easy.”

I used to love writing, too.  That was when I had no discernment, before I realized that most of what I write is crap.  I also thought it was easy — when journal entries of my day’s thoughts were all that I wrote. I never allowed anyone to read what I wrote.  First clue.

Yesterday, I received an analysis of my current entry into the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest.  For the first time that I can recall, it was generally very positive.  The analysis is divided into two parts: what the reader liked and what the reader thinks needs work.  The last line of the analysis ended, in part, “you’re a wonderful writer…”

Still laying in bed, the time now 5:09, I think about that for a long while.  The script I entered had not only been through several complete page 1 rewrites, but required nearly 7 years to ruminate.

7 years.

Yes, I worked on other things in between, but, seven years before it was worthy of positive analysis and, though this year I also received some relatively positive feedback from the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, I still was not good enough to place as a quarter finalist  in that contest, either.

Shit.

This isn’t resistance I feel as I pull myself out of bed.  It’s the knowledge of how hard it is (for me) to be a good writer, let alone a winning writer.

Yet, here I am.

This is this a.m.’s warm up.

Wish me luck.

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Work

I need to get to work.

Trying to remind myself to stop thinking about what I cannot change, and instead get to work on what I can.

Also, reminding  myself that it’s not always going to be like this.  I will laugh again.  I will know joy again.  But it won’t happen until I forget that I miss it so much.

The only way I know how to forget is to work.

 


Jesus Saves…

… but Writing Helps.

I’m reading this tonight:  http://www.bluecatscreenplay.com/articles/you-are-the-box-office-smash-the-personal-screenplay

Gordy Hoffman, founder of the Bluecat Screenplay contest, wrote this a long time ago.  I’m not sure of the date, but I know it’s old.  I stumbled upon it several years ago.  Every now and again I read it.  I read it slowly, savoring it.  Shoot, I probably cry a little each time I read it, too.  Like a child hearing the retelling of the Night Before Christmas.  It makes me that kind of happy, that kind of hopeful.   I read this one particular post, especially on a night like tonight when I feel like my goals are so friggin’ far away.  I know I have a long way to go.

Thanks, Gordy.  It helps.  Every time.

And now, I’m going to sleep and saying my prayers. I’m a believer.  I’d have to be or else I’d given up a long time ago.


TWO DOWN!

I just now finished another 10 page short.  Already, I have ideas regarding production, folks I want to call for a table read and other hungry actor/friends who might want to play.

Feels so good to type THE END. It never ceases to amaze me how the tiniest bit of WORK (that is WRITING, not laundry, not dishes, not vacuuming) makes me feel beautiful.

I am still stuck behind THREE unfinished feature specs, but at least for TODAY I have something that I can work with, clean up and see if it’s worth producing.

I’ll take it.

Thank you Muses (God).


Pull the Plug

I wrote an email to my husband and my oldest daughter-child explaining that I need to unplug.   I sent it in an email that included a link to a video featuring Steven Pressfield and his conversation with the cult of personality, Oprah.  I did my redundant best to explain why I must unplug from social networking, from TV, from News, from the phone calls when they ask ( or I ask) “how are you?” It is the obligatory question one must ask before embarking on a litany of one’s own complaints.  I do not want to talk on the phone at all unless they have good news or important news to share.  I cannot chit-chat or commiserate. I need to unplug from guilt.  I wrote that I cannot engage in long conversations that further drain me from the ONE thing I need to do.

An excerpt: “… There is no time left for me to get anything done.  I am exhausted and cranky and sad. Period.  The ONLY thing that will lift me out of that is to finish my scripts and SELL a script or win a contest — etc. Get it? That’s it.   That’s the only thing that’s going to make me feel better.”

This morning, I checked my email — no response from either of them.  I suspect they are trying to respect my point.  I checked my Facebook, just to see if they wrote a status update or something that showed as evidence that they read my email and that it had an affect. Nothing.  I noticed that already I was not heeding my own new rule: No more Facebook.  I logged out.

I promised Jon that I would not forward one more email, inspirational website or information about filmmaking.  I acknowledged he can do his own research and he will find what matters to him.  But for me, sending out the emails is just another lie I tell myself.  The lie is that I am working.  I am not.  My lack of finished, polished, winning scripts is proof that I’ve been lying to myself.

I turned on the TV and let my youngest turn to the channel of her choice.  Right now, the three youngest are watching a cute animal show.  I am not watching.  I am writing this.  It is not art.  It is not a script, but at least it is typing some words.  I am aware, that if I am not careful, writing and posting here will be yet another method to distract from my goal.  I can’t allow it to win.

Reminding myself what I said to my dears who live too far away from me:

I wrote: “…I love you both.  But I have to get to work. YOU have to get to work, too. Don’t make me feel guilty for not “being there” for you.  It is my opinion, that I have sacrificed plenty as both a wife and a mother. Guilt on top of the fact I am still using Food stamps is just a bit too hurtful.”

I am suffering the dark effects of what happens to a person when she doesn’t get her creative work done.

My house is a mess.  My yard is a mess. My mind is a mess. My soul is weak from begging me to move from this place.

Inside and outside, everything is cluttered with meaningless piles of paper, clothes, knick-knacks, boxes and boxes of things I’ve started, notes and research.  I’ve got nothing to show for my angst except dust on my shelves, half-written scripts and wrinkles on my worried face.

I’ve got to fight my fears, my laziness.  I cannot let fear win.  Not one more day.


To My Imaginary Friend

Okay.

I was doing FINE until I opened that cheap bottle of Red Zinfandel my dad left here during Easter.

But I opened it tonight, instead of opening the file of a script I SHOULD have opened. Hold on….
Wait….

….just a little longer… wait. Rainbowing…

Still effing rainbowing…

Shit. Okay. I opened the sonofabitch file. THERE. I. did. IT. Geez. And I allowed my eyes to peruse the first page too!  Geeeeez — WHY? WHY did I look?

So now it’s open on my desktop and I must proceed. I must.

For the record… I FINALLY FINISHED THE FUCKER THAT ONCE WAS PART OF A BET — So…what is that? OVER A YEAR LATER AND I FINALLY FINISHED THAT THING?  GEEZ!  MY GOSH!  (I cannot say God’s name in vain — just can’t — not that I haven’t, but I’ve repented and I am trying really hard not to do that again).

So here is this gruesome script I said I would rewrite staring at me. And what do I do? I OPEN a FRIGGIN’ EMAIL to YOU! WHY?

Ultimate avoidance. ULTIMATE Resistance. It is not procrastination — It is absolute resistance to doing what I know I must do.

Dammit.

I’d rather work on the comedy. But that one is barely begun. That one is just rolling around in thoughts and a couple of scenes — it’s not even outlined. That would be starting from scratch — Yuck. And this file is a rewrite, but a really ugly rewrite. I have to kill off a kid I like and it probably has to be cancer and I F*cking hate cancer. F*cking hate it. Sonofabitch.

But it’s not about cancer… it’s about — what? What the hell is it about? It’s about a group of friends who — love each other and in grief — would do anything for each other. It’s about — sacrificing everything you’ve got to bring back the one you love – and you find out ( the kids find out) nothing is going to bring it back. The friend is dead. and it hurts. Death sucks.
Saying good bye sucks.
Moving on sucks…

Until

You find out there is life after death…

and love never dies. never.

Okay.

I feel better now. Thanks for this talk… I think I know what to do now. At least, it’s a fresh start.

~
Me

p.s. I really do hope all is well with you and yours. Not going to ask though, because it’s silly to expect/wait for a response.

p.s. II sorry for yelling.