Monday, December 04, 2006

Mincemeat and Stilton

So, Day 9 in the UK and I'm finally waking up before noon. For someone who is used to waking up at sunrise, the last week has really kicked my butt, especially because sunset here is around 4:30-5pm.

I haven't traveled around too much, the friend I'm visiting has alternately had car trouble, baby trouble and stomach trouble, but I have managed to eat a few cheeses, some mincemeat pies (taste great with Blue Stilton!), these really great sausages made by The Black Farmer (apparently the only one in England, he even has a TV show wherein he trains and selects two apprentice farmers from a group of inner-city black youths), digestives, genuine lamb stew (with the fatty bits on, ugh, but the stew was delicious), tons of coffee, tea and every bit of bread I've come across, a crazy fruit from Israel called a Sharon fruit ("The sweetest persimmon in the world!), Cornish pasty (Steak and Stilton!), fish and chips, HP sauce, and at some point this week, I'm supposed to be headed to the town of Cheddar. Oh yeah, baby. I can't wait. After reading this list, it looks like it was a stroke of luck that I've had to walk everywhere....

Had to nix the trip to France since the dollar is doing so poorly (I knew I should've exchanged money the week before I left!!) it will literally cost me about 30% more than I've budgeted. I guess I'll have to do that as a separate trip. Darn. :-)

Anyway, in writing news, I'm pushing through on the drama I started a few weeks ago. I've been writing ahead, then reaching back and tweaking the first act as I refine the concept. I've been trying to use this SAVE THE CAT! software, but my brain rejects some of the terminology he uses (not because I don't believe in his structural outline, I just learned it under different names). It does look promising for anyone who outlines and plots with story cards and the demo version I have allows me to save and print to PDF for the outline I've started. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

One book that has been a tremendous resource for this is Linda Seger's classic MAKING A GOOD SCREENPLAY GREAT. I'm not afraid to reference a writing book, especially for craft information. No one can write your story for you, but there are definitely some nifty tricks to keep in mind along the journey. I haven't read any of her other books, so I can't recommend them. Please feel free to suggest away in the comments section.

In fact, I meant to ask folks to recommend their favorite craft books. I'll start a separate post with links to all the books on my shelf. Please include reference books as well, if you don't mind. I would never dream of asking anyone for their obscure reference materials, (you know, the one you found in a discard bin that is a first-person narrative outlining some completely mind-blowing life experience/job/time period/lifestyle), that would make me feel guilty and like a hustler -- I hate when writers steal my reference materials and write something better than me. :-)~

Anyway, it's nighttime here, and I'm trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour. My fingers are blue from the cold, even though the heat has been turned up to indulge the Southern Californian. I feel too guilty to complain, thank God I have my laptop to heat up my legs, my nose is colder than the dog's.

And the short film has been pushed AGAIN. The rock star DP isn't available until February cuz... he's a Rock Star DP. But, because it's been so long, the cool actor the director is enamored of (okay, it's really me, I'm enamored of him) has become available once again and is still interested. One good thing is that I have a lead on a location that will let me hang a rig (and an operator) out of a window and simulate flames and smoke. Heh, heh, heh. My own short film is waiting patiently for me to rewrite it. I went a wee bit astray starting this feature spec because I just woke up one day with 50 full-blown pages in my head and couldn't turn away from that (right, right?? I need validation here, people!). I am supposed to be rewriting the pilot, updating my SHIELD spec, speccing another current (prob RESCUE ME) and submitting all of this to the Agent and manager type folks I've been teasing for the last few months. Ugh. Back to the grindstone. I'm giving this drama another week's worth of work, and then returning to my "to-do" list of work. Promise.


wcdixon said...

I've used Seger's book for ages and even used it as text for a couple of screenwriting classes I taught. Good recommendation.

Enjoy your visit. Too bad about France.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks for the Save the Cat link! I've always wanted to try one of these things. I spent my whole evening creating a beat sheet for a film I want to wite in the spring. Most of it I already had mapped but this is a nice organizer!

Great fun, but not what I'm supposed to be working on at the moment!

Chopped Nuts said...

What, American cheeses aren't good enough for you? Why don't you support our troops?!

carrie said...

A book i'm finding helpful: "Plot & Structure: Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish" by James Scott Bell (found on Amazon). Written primarily for novelists, but great for screenwriting, too. Love your blog!