This would be that "career" thing I've heard so much about...

Thursday, September 30, 2004

How To Humiliate Yourself On An Epic Scale (Or: Why I Always Do At Least One Rewrite Before Letting Anyone Read My Scripts)

I finished the V script this morning! There was a very brief, very happy moment. Let's call this moment the "Completion Buzz." I've noticed as I've written more and more scripts, this Buzz lasts less and less time. This morning I felt the Buzz for all of 5 minutes. My warm fuzzy happy feeling was almost immediately replaced by a terrified anticipation I've come to think of as "The Test."

The Test is silly. It is stupid. And (as T$ pointed out recently) it is unfair. However, I can't seem to shake the feeling that I'm sitting for an exam. What is it? The first time I sit down to read the first draft of any script The Test is this: if I'm a good writer, this draft won't suck. I always fail The Test. I hate reading first drafts. I always come off of writing with the desperate hope that this time I've really got something. I've got something, all right. You just wouldn't want it sitting on your front lawn.

I'm paranoid about first drafts. Not because of the above, but because the first time I wrote a first draft of a screenplay (ever in my life, this was back in 1997, mind you) I thought "this is a script! It's meant to be read aloud. Instead of rereading it, I'll have all my actor friends come over and we'll read it out loud. Hey! Maybe if it's good enough, we can make it!" This was one of the "less good" ideas I've ever had. It leans to the "more bad" side of the idea scale, actually.

These people were friends of mine, many of them talented actors, a few of them talented writers. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I sent out that email inviting them all to come and have a table reading of my very first (and I mean raw, never been read by anyone including me) script.

I knew I was in trouble about 5 minutes in when we stumbled over a typo that changed the meaning of a line. Ten minutes in I wanted to call a halt to the proceedings but was too chicken. And as it spiraled down from there a valuable lesson was seared into the delicate flesh of my memory with the equivalent of a cattle-brand: NEVER LET ANYONE READ A FIRST DRAFT. EVER. The most unpleasant thing about first drafts is you always learn something about yourself you didn't want to know. Perhaps you writers know what I'm talking about.

So. I get to read my V script tonight. I'm scared. But at least I'm the only one reading it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

One scene away...

I write in the mornings before coming into work. This morning I wrote from about 6:00 AM to 8:14 AM. We are supposed to leave at 8:20 AM. I was one scene away from the END OF THE DRAFT. I thought I could make it. I did not shower to eliminate the hair-drying time. I decided to grab the first thing I saw in my closet to eliminate the choosing-what-to-wear time. I decided to take breakfast to work to eliminate the eat-something time.

I am still one scene shy of a complete draft. And my hair smells dusty.

By hook or by crook (what does that mean???)* I will finish this draft by September 30th.

* Did some research: "The origin of "by hook or by crook" possibly comes from a custom in mediaeval England that allowed peasants to take any deadwood from the royal forest that they could reach with a shepherd's crook or a reaper's billhook. Another possible explanation comes Cromwell's attempt to take the city of Waterford. He is reported as saying he would take the city 'by hook or by crook'. Hook is the headland on the Wexford side and Crook is the name of the Waterford side."

I'm a nerd.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

No really. Stop helping.

Yeah, so now we've got Klingons For Kerry.

Hey. At least they're registered to vote.

Monday, September 27, 2004

On The Half Full Side...

JB and I rounded off our Halo-fest Saturday with a birthday party and then spent part of Sunday at a Malibu beach house boogie boarding! (Thanks AW!)

Also, while waiting to hear back from my "manager" about the K script, I'm about 10 pages (maybe 15) away from finishing a first draft of the V script. It's the first new thing I've written in almost 18 months. FEELS GOOD to write something fresh. I'm having fun with it - no idea if anyone else will like it.


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Morning Routine

I just noticed this morning that it's been 12 days since my last blog. My sister is chastising me on her blog for not blogging. So here's the update: Luna is completely recovered now. And making up for lost time.

The normal Luna morning routine:

1) Wake JQ up at 5:30 by either: A) jumping from the dresser onto JQ's stomach,
B) chewing on plant by JQ's head, C) walking up the length of JQ's body and distributing all 11 kitty pounds directly on top of JQ's bladder, or D) sniffing JQ's face so close that kitty whiskers travel up JQ's nose. (Note: JB is spared this portion of the morning routine).

2) Once JQ and/or JB are up, Luna's goal shifts to: get a human to put new food and water in the kitty bowls. This is accomplished by one of several devious methods including but not limited to: A) throwing herself onto the ground and purring. This will induce human to bend over and give Luna a scratch. Once human has taken bait and bent over to scratch Luna, Luna will jump up and move just few feet away - closer to the kitchen, coaxing human closer to the goal line. Repeat until Luna is at the entrance to the kitchen, at which point Luna will run to food bowls and look piteously up at human. B) if human is feeling stubborn or slow, Luna may resort to bringing a balled up piece of paper over to the human, batting it around a little, and dialing up the cute factor to 8 or 9. Human will invariably succumb to cuteness and will get up to throw the crumpled paper ball for Luna. Luna will play with it just long enough to get human to smile, then will bring the paper ball back - but not all the way! Luna will leave anywhere from 3 to 5 feet between human and the paper ball so human will have to get up to re-toss the paper ball. Once Luna has gotten the human up, she has only to draw human towards the kitchen by playing the paper tossing game, and then running to the food bowl with a look of wounded exhaustion.

3) Once Luna has been fed, there is a trip to the litter box, followed by intense bathing.

4) After her bath has been successfully completed, Luna begins drills. JB and I have decided these drills are in preparation for the day when the opportunity to escape Outside presents itself. Luna will tear from one corner of the apartment to the other as fast as her kitty legs will allow, skidding across linoleum floors on kitchen mats and thundering across the living room futon. I can't help but wonder what our downstairs neighbors think is happening. It must sound like we've got a Shetland pony up here, being mercilessly driven to a frothing gallop by an elf. How could we explain that no, that's just the sound of our mostly dainty if clumsy orange cat building up her endurance for the long sprint down the apartment stairs.

5) Drills, while intense and borderline alarming, generally don't last more than 30 minutes. Which leaves just enough time for more cuteness and purring before JB and I have to leave for work.

Today we had all the above plus three weeks worth of stored-up meows. It was Luna-soliloquy day. Mark this down on your calendars and show up next year. She was in rare form.

It's nice to have her back.