Finally! I did something this week that I'm very proud of, even though there are some people who will read this and are able to do this like every month.
I finished a screenplay. Yes, I did.
It's 90 pages long and it's still in rough draft form. But it has a beginning, a middle and an end. It's the last part that has me the most excited -- I actually created the beginning and middle, and found the energy to end my procrastination and simply end it.
Sadly, to be successful in the screenplay business, you not only have to be talented (which the jury is way out on me in that regard), but you also have to be disciplined. I was having this very conversation with budding filmmaker Adam Barnard, who has been writing for us the past few weeks from a summer film program at the University of Southern California. He was frustrated because he had so much to do, and instead of spending the time he needed to get it done, he would wait until it all gathered up and needed to be done at the last minute.
Such is the life of creative people, and something I have suffered from quite a bit as well. But thank God for Jane Espenson. I've talked about her here before, but the "Game of Thrones" and "Once Upon a Time" writer has been a major influence in terms of getting me disciplined. Her very simple Twitter-initiated "writing sprints" have allowed me to get just enough discipline to make sure my latest screenplay idea didn't turn into some story that just bounces around in my head, which I might share from time to time to try and impress someone.
It actually forced me to look at the story as a whole, put together what I hope to be fascinating characters, and make it come together into a completed piece. And it's not as easy as it sounds.
One of my biggest goals in life was to become an author. I would go to the bookstore as a teenager and just imagined seeing a jacket with my name in bold letters across the bottom as an author. Of course, I had hoped it would be a Star Trek book of some kind, and that Peter David would invite me over to lunch to talk about my next project on a weekly basis.
But life got in the way. And when I say "life," what I really mean to say is "procrastination." Before the confidence boost I needed to give myself, before the writing sprints from my favorite "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" writer, before admiring the work of the great people at Blue Seraph Productions who have really impressed me with their indie film work, I never imagined I would ever write anything that at least had a small sliver of a chance of making it to the silver screen.
I don't know, this story might be total crap. Or it might need a lot of work. Or it might be a lost cause from the very start. I think those are all the same thing. Anyway, even if it is garbage and never goes anywhere, I am proud of the fact that I actually finished one of these, and they say the first is the most difficult.
So no matter what happens with this first screenplay, I think I'm going to keep going and keep trying. I mean, it's almost impossible to sell your first script. But if you keep working and improving on both your creativity and your discipline, the sky's the limit.
And I might not see my name big on front of a book. But maybe, just maybe, Peter David will invite me over for coffee to talk about the next screenplay and show me the lost chapters of "Q Squared."
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