Sunday, June 04, 2006

More Notes Talk

I am back home after a marathon 8-hour notes session with the writer/director of my producing project. We acted out each and every scene in the film (and let me tell you, I am NO actor) and talked about all the stuff I blog about here. One thing that came up over and over and over was subtext. At some points in this draft of the script, he has actors saying things that are rightfully meant to serve as subtext inside the screenplay.

In early drafts of your work, that's OK, if you have a good reader, somebody who knows that eventually those bits of the subconscious will be stuffed right back where they belong. It's important that at some point, however, you go back through (like we did today) and re-read the script looking for action, blocking, and business that reveal character, clarify motive, establish stakes and set up behavior that will pay off later in the script. It's OK if it takes you many passes to get to this point. The early drafts are meant for you to spew every idea that you have about the story, every idea for every scene, follow your characters in every direction you need to in order to find the STORY. Once that is done, then edit, polish and revise until you have something that represents the best version you are capable of writing. That kind of work is unmistakable. A great example of the interplay between text and subtext is that famous french toast scene in KRAMER V. KRAMER. I won't detail it here (unless someone emails me desperate for it), but it's worth watching it to refresh your memory.

On a related note, the writer-director held a screening of his latest short. It played really well to the 60+ folks who showed up for it, he got some strong interest from a couple of managers (and about 10 agents showed up thanks to a friend of his who is repped at one of the Big Three agencies). Long story short, on the strength of this short and his writing sample (the script that we are working on) it looks like he might get the rights to do a remake -- all of which means yours truly may well get another producing project.

My own short is going pretty well. I finished my first draft of the script and now I'm going back through it and fleshing out some of the character conflicts and seeing how my "pre-visualizations" impact the way I'm telling the story. The next step is to give it to a few writer friends and one actor friend, then I'll give it to the producer I want to work with and once I have the draft polished, I'll send it off to my reps for safe-keeping and in case they can find me some work with it (doubtful, but they should have anything that might get me some work, right?) .

And my book project has ground to a halt once again. I got passed on by a friend of mine, but at least he called and offered to take me out to lunch.... Never turn down free sushi... I think I read that somewhere.... ;-)


Kevin said...

I have always admired those who purused their true passion. It seems that you are one who stays the course adn I admire that. Stick to it! I'd love to read some of your work some day.

I have a question for you. How can I find individuals with shorts that the may want produced? I am baffled about finding such material. Any direction you can offer would be great!

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Kevin's comments. You seem like someone who is willing to go the extra mile after running a marathon. Very passionate.

I was wondering if you could explain what made your friend's short film and his screenplay so good. What about his work piqued the interest of managers and agents? How did it stand out from the plethora of shorts and scripts floating around?