Friday, March 28, 2008

Quick Update

I promised myself I’d be finished with The D Line by March 31.

March 31 is almost here.

But I’m gonna make it. Yesterday I cracked a wee problem in the third act, and I’ve addressed the concerns of my friend/reader mentioned in the last post, in a way that still maintains the intended spirit of the script. The slight restructuring/streamlining in act three will actually also help with the clarity issue my friend was concerned about.

And as for Dismal, we’re just about done with deliverables – finishing up some revised foley after a couple of QC failures. Our distributor, Showcase Entertainment, has closed deals with Germany and Greece and is narrowing in on Japan. The domestic distribution won’t happen until all the deliverables are in, but that should be in the next couple weeks.

So hopefully soon I’ll be posting a link where you can buy your very own copy – it’ll be in Blockbuster, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Netflix, etc. Because I know everyone is gonna buy a copy. For themselves and for their mother.


Until then, if you wanna see us on Showcase’s site, go to click on What’s New and look for Dismal.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Too Delicate?

I’ve been a television producer for years – mainly docudramas for channels like Discovery and Nat Geo. This has helped me a great deal as a writer in some ways – even as I write, I instinctively think in terms of producibility: locations, casting, props… what it would take to pull off. This nuts-and-bolts mind is good to have – especially since by now it’s fairly instinctive and it doesn’t interfere with the creative mind required for writing a good story.

But in my early scripts, the style of my writing was too much like a producer. I was including far too much direction for the director and actors and art department and… well, every department. Because when you’re the series producer of a cable TV show, you have to do that. You’re the chief, you call the shots. Literally.

And you better make it clear for everyone, because with our budgets, we don't have time to dick around.

But a spec script going out into the thin-ice pond of Hollywood should not have all that stuff in it. Too much of that shit pisses people off. They want to feel like they have some ownership in it, that they can make some decisions. Which they should.

So I’ve worked on paring it down in my scripts, cutting it back, keeping action descriptions lean.

And I was just about to send The D Line out into the world, to see if anyone would bite. I’m comfortable with it – I really like it now. Then a respected friend, with many years developing scripts in Hollywood under his belt, suggested that maybe I pared it down a little too much.

It’s a drama, a lot of emotion – and emotions, though powerful, are best when rendered subtly. Or at least I think so – histrionics tend to make me roll my eyes, and I think the most powerful emotional moments in life are quiet But my friend said I should be careful – that in his experience, most of the people who will be reading my script at the early stages are not very sophisticated, and some of the important stuff, if not spelled out more clearly, might slip by them.

So although I was feeling basically finished, and I keep promising to stop working on it, I’m doing one more pass. Not to dumb it down – I can’t bring myself to do that, and this is not the sort of script that would work dumbed down. But I will go through with an eye to making sure all the important emotional beats are clear.

It's a tough call - finding that small place that sits the appropriate distance between too much and too little. Especially in such a fickle business.

But this is what we've chosen to do, right?

I'm giving myself until the end of the month. And then I will stop and let it lie as it is and get it out there.

Because I need to move on to the next one.

And right now, that’s a battle between the action script I’ve been inconsistently working on for a while and a new thriller that my brother and I are considering writing together.

I was really enjoying the action script – but now I’m really intrigued by the thriller. And by the challenge of writing with a partner, which I’ve always wondered about. Plus it’s my brother, which would be cool.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Last Night: Gone Baby Gone

What. A great. Movie.

Authentic. Compelling. Suspenseful.

Thoughtfully written. Beautifully shot. Rhythmically edited.

Real, round, perfectly imperfect characters.

Even a fine score.

And an ending that hurts everyone with a heart and a brain.

Bravo, Ben. Bravo.