Yeah as you know, there are about 13 different things I’m doing for cashmoneynow, from editing other people’s books to working on the next Brad/Elsa and researching Game Theory to finish out the Marc and Jesse trilogy and doing my audiobooks (Would I Lie to You at 66%!). So there’s really not much “me time” for things I’d like to do whose financial value may be substantial some day, but is $0.00 right now.
That said. As you may recall, the motivator behind all my playlets I’ve put up here was the acting class I started taking. Which has probably been the greatest thing I’ve ever done, in so many ways. Creative outlet, creative friends, potential money as a voiceover artist, or writer, or who knows. (I made $80 as an extra on A Big Movie filming in town recently, my first experience “inside” a film’s production, even if on the fringe!)
And the acting class came about because one day I was on the couch thinking, Dammit, A Little Too Broken would be a perfect indie movie. It’s got a small cast, few locations, probably doable in 90 minutes. Whine whine whine why won’t Hollywood discover me, and a voice that said, why don’t you find out what the fuck is going on in THIS TOWN, NOW as far as movie making goes?
So, search filmmakers, find short film festival, thanks to Take 2 Performers Studio here in town, go to their website, holy crap, acting classes! I thought okay, this will be a lark, it’s probably like some Christopher Guest shadow of the real thing, but how can you know if your stuff works on screen/stage if nobody performs it…
Nope. It is the real thing. People from these classes (the studio is owned by an agent who also reps many of the students) are in ads for Nike or Vans, in shows like Bones or McGyver, real shit for real money.
Waters, the acting coach, read ALTB and agreed that yes, it could make a good movie. And I thought, yeah, someday that will happen. You know, by itself, deus ex machina. Umm, no.
Recently I’ve found myself reading a lot of Black List scripts, Hollywood’s only real “way in” for peeps like me with no agent, no experience, etc. You join, and you post your script, and you fork out $25 a month to leave it on the site to be rated/upvoted, more if you want critiques.
I’d been intimidated by the whole process, you know, throwing up my hands and crying “I want to write for the movies but you gotta know someone who knows someone, forget about it,” but now? Fuck it. I’ve put on my playlets for pro actors and coaches and agents, and they think I’m super. I always knew I was ace at dialogue, that I could construct a scene, but you always wonder if you’re kidding yourself until someone else agrees who knows their stuff. And I don’t have to “know someone” to put my script up on Black List – just fork out the $25 a month to keep it there.
So I’m ready to do the screenplay for ALTB. I’ll be working on it on Sundays, like a hobby – nothing that will interfere in my desperate weekday scrabble for cash. As much as I’d love to drop everything else and do this, $$$ rule my world, or the lack thereof, so I need to keep it reined in.
It’s really a good time for it. It’s fucking January, and while I’m getting through this winter with minimal damage (maintain don’t gain on the weight is working, I’m not drinking, I’m at seizure-level dosage of my mood stabilizers but that’s a good thing), I don’t have a creative bone in my body right now, as far as writing a new story. It’s… Winter. The well is empty. It’s cold and dark and fuck it.
But. This is a completed story. The big advantage I have as a first time screenwriter is that I already have a novel in hand that’s finished, published, and reasonably well acclaimed, to which I own the rights. I already “write cinematically,” heavy on realistic dialogue and with the Seven Point Story Structure arc in mind. So it’s likely that my first screenplay won’t be as shitty as it probably would have been if I was starting from scratch.
I didn’t write any of my playlets in play format, because it’s too distracting to be thinking about formatting when I’m creating. So I just wrote them in Word, free flowing text, and then imported them into WriterDuet, which is great and much cheaper than some of the other scripting software. (And yes I’ve tried Scrivener and it makes me crazy.)
And that’s what I’m doing now with ALTB – taking the novel and chopping at it, working through the Word doc and hedge clipping the pieces of the novel into distinct scenes. It’s fun, knowing what to keep and what to drop, how to convert internal monologues into actor’s directions – and knowing from acting class where to let actors do their job and not micromanage a performance.
So, that’s the news. I imagine it’ll take me a few months at a Sunday-putter rate to do this, and then it’ll be off to the Black List. Yeah I know me and eight billion other hopefuls. But hey, I didn’t know jack shit about audiobooks two years ago, and look at me now, Ma 🙂