22 November 2005

Slow-going through familiar lands...

So I’m starting work on a new Rom-Com, one which I hope (or, HAD hoped...) to have read-ready by the end of the year.

I’m probably going to have to push back the deadline.

It’s not that I’m not excited by this project, because I am. A great deal, in fact. It feels really nice to be back on more familiar ground after the last two screenplay projects took me into unfamiliar waters.

Last spring I knuckled down and wrote a war drama which had been nagging and gnawing at me. The project was a rather odd departure for me in terms of tone and setting. I’m not normally a big historical drama kind of guy, preferring instead to stick to contemporary smart asses and their stories (no — really). So finding myself spending months working in a mind-space where I was not supposed to be humorous, and where I knew there was going to be a lot of death and suffering (”war story,” remember?) was... well, different. Not bad, but just... different.

After that I sorta fell into an interesting situation where I spent the summer partnering with a writer who had a great premise and a great contact with a development exec eager to see a script using this premise, so we held hands and bull-rushed our way from “hi, glad to meet you” to submit-ready fourth draft in about 6 weeks.

There the weirdness was not the tone so much — I got to write funny again, and I created a character who, by many accounts, is maybe the most autobiographical character I’ve yet committed to paper — but the weirdness of having another person “at the keyboard” with me. A co-writer with equal control over what is said (or not) and what happens (or not) and what gets played up (or not) is a very different experience for someone who’s never had such an arrangement.

Not bad, but just... different.

While I am very proud of the work on both of these projects, and feel they might very well rate serious attention from actual movie folks, both seemed just a tiny bit “off” for me for being outside my normal comfort zone. Perhaps that’s a good thing — perhaps it’s good to try new things, and work in situations and genres and conditions which force you to pay a little more attention rather than sleepwalking through on comfortable familiar auto-pilot. But sometimes it’s a good thing to be able to step into a situation where you can just smile and say “OK, I know this stuff. Were you don’t have to think so much, but can instead just be and do.

Which is where I am now, ‘cept I can’t find enough time to be and do as much or as often as I’d like.

Oh well.


1 comment:

MaryAn Batchellor said...

What works for me- put down the laptop, grab a #2 pencil and a legal pad, and find a park with a great big shade tree. Oh, and watch out for those squirrels who have been digging crack out of the garbage cans.