01 September 2006

return of the golden days

Look—I love my kids. In fact, if I didn't love the filthy little ingrates so damned much that I am constantly willing to volunteer for (career) suicide missions with the PTA, Little League, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Junior Knights Templar (curious to see if this helps the old hit counts locally), I might well be a hell of a lot farther along on the impossible dream of screenwriting fame and glory.

But I do, so I am not, and this is the life we have chosen.

Still, it was happy dancing time around here this week as The Daughter ("kneebiter the last") finally started back to pre-school for the year. I knew that this summer was going to be a fully loaded bear and a half, but somehow even with that understanding I still underestimated just how insane the distractions would be this year. I won't go into all the ridiculous detail, but let's just say that "precious little serious writing was accomplished these past few months."

This is not to say that i was totally unproductive on the old career front. Somehow I managed to visit LA not once but twice and made some cool connections during those trips, and even had some preliminary meetings with producers and folks of relevance.

But at the end of the day, it's about the words, baybee, and since school let out in May I just ain't been putting enough of them down on paper.

On screen. Whatever.

But now a new day has dawned, and three days a week I again find myself able to do one of my favorite things in the world: lock the door, turn off the phone, slap on the headphones and disappear into Story World. This week I finally finally (FINALLY!) was able to bring all guns to bear on the structural problems in the long-stalled RomCom. I'd already found a big piece of the puzzle last week (thanks, J.O.), but thanks to a few days dedicated to squeezing my brain until Thought Juice dripped out, I found a few more loose wires and misconnected pieces in there. Now that those problems are identified and straightened out, a fairly straightforward and "simple" completion of the draft in the next week or so seems possible.

MEANWHILE, I got word a few weeks ago that QUEEN OF THE SKY, my based-upon-fact WW2 war drama, had managed a Top 10% finish in this year's Nicholl Fellowship. No, that's not nearly so nauseatingly cool as a Semifinalist letter (like Scott the WRITER managed—go get 'em, kid), but still, given that I fully admit that the script has an annoying flaw in its last act structure—one which I continue to bang my head against the wall to try and solve—I'm pretty proud of the showing. Parts of that script rank among the strongest writing I've done, and I am defiantly proud of most of the script. if I can just figure a solution for that damned last act hiccup, and then find someone willing to throw a big huge pile of money toward the production of a period war drama featuring a female lead in a non-triumphant role, all will be just hunky dory.

Plus, in the "Always Cool To Note" Department, I've got all sorts of odd ideas and inspirations swirling around like moths around a vapor lamp. I have the big list of already-logged ideas and dream projects, and then a few more have swirled into the fringes of my consciousness of late as well, including a potentially cool idea to give commercial and dramatic appeal to a project I have long wanted to try.

And then there's the weird Spaghetti Western idea which got tossed back into the freezer but which I STILL want and intend to work on just as soon as I clear some space on the work deck, and then there's the wild collegiate comedy project that I've been threatening to try for twenty years, and of course there's the long overdue page one rewrite of my old goofy newsroom comedy... and I'm too damned pugnacious and relentless to fully abandon the partner-written adventure/romcom, as I still feel there's just too much cool stuff there to walk away without making at least one more effort to find the project some sort of home...

And now—at long last—I find that for at least three golden shining wonderous days a week, I again have opportunity to actually wrestle these 'gators into submission.

March or die, soldier. There'll be time for rest in the grave.

Hooyah.
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6 comments:

Chesher Cat said...

I can only hope your follow-through is as strong as your post.

Go get 'em, Brett.

Sal said...

"moths around a vapor lamp" - dunno what a vapor lamp is, but I still love the analogy - you got it just about spot on. Cool post.

Congrats on the Nicholl ranking, hope the child-free time is productive.

Brett said...

Deb-- thankee thankee thankee

Sal-- "vapor lamp" is a kind of street lamp ("mercury vapor lamp". Sometimes I forget that there are English people reading my English. I will endeavour to perservere.
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pooks said...

Congrats on the strong Nicholl finish!

Are you a Knights Templar? I know a few.

Brett said...

No, I ain't no Templar. I'm more barbarian (on my mother's side).
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MaryAn Batchellor said...

I, too, got a 10% letter and while the disappointment of not being a QF clouded the moment, the uber-cool point is that nobodies from Texas (me, not you) can compete. That's pretty amazing to me.