Monday, October 08, 2007

Getting ready

I've been meeting a lot of new people lately. They keep asking what brought me to LA so I tell them, then they always ask, "Any luck?"

And I have to launch into my explanation.

I've been here two years. I have connections. When I'm ready I have a way to get my material to more than one established literary agent. I have connections to producers and TV writers and directors and film executives.

But I'm not ready.

I've written four teleplays, two pilots, six feature length scripts and five shorts but I'm still not ready.

Bamboo Killers is good. It's a strong script, although we need another pass at it for it to be a superior script. But the problem with Bamboo Killers is that I wrote it with a partner and it's also more of an indie film. It's not exactly a blockbuster.

It's also the only feature script I feel comfortable showing anyone. My House episode was good, but it's now way outdated by the recent changes on the show, and I've rewritten my Supernatural episode like fifty times and still can't get it right. So I don't have any good TV to put out there.

One of my problems is that I've tried to hard to write things I know nothing about. I like action, but I've never shot a gun and I've never really been in a situation where I've had to take on the mob. I wouldn't even recognize a mobster if one was eating pizza right in front of me.

As a result, my action scripts have come out a little ludicrous because I don't know what I'm talking about.

So that's what I've been working on. Not the mobster thing - the violence awareness thing. I've been taking the kickboxing partly because it's fun, but also because this way I can learn how to choreograph fight scenes. And it's paid off because an experienced fighter read my boxing story and was surprised by how accurate it was.

And as for guns, I have a close friend who's an expert on the subject so when I need a scene with weapons I call him and ask. Problem solved.

The new script is about zombies. I watched all the major zombie films, all the George Romero movies and Shaun of the Dead and the Dawn remake and 28 Days Later and now I know how most zombie movies work.

I still haven't experienced a real zombie attack, but I know enough about fighting and the locations I'm using that I finally feel like I know what I'm talking about. It's made a huge difference.

I used to skip over the research a bit. I used to make up some interesting characters and hope nobody noticed I was completely faking any knowledge of the subject matter.

Here's what I learned. When you fake it, people can tell.

So no more faking. I have been researching and asking questions and only writing things I know. Originally I had half my script set in Santa Barbara, a place I've never been. Then I went to Monterey on vacation and decided to reset it there. It's a place I've been so I know how to describe it accurately.

The script has been much easier to write this time around. It probably helps that zombies don't actually exist so I can make stuff up.

Hopefully by Christmas I'll finally have that perfect script that will make all these connections jump at the chance to hire me. Then I can start working on my TV specs.

Because I don't want to get out there until I'm truly ready, but I really would like to be ready now.

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