Saturday, July 05, 2008

I like it better when I beat them up

I admit I'm having a little trouble with Jacking. I love the story and I think it has potential to be a great script, but I'm just finding hard to get up the energy to write it.

I usually write stuff with explosions and gun fights and I sail through that shit because it's loads of fun to kill people on paper. Yeah, I said it, I like killing made-up people on paper.

Oddly enough not in role playing games though. I'm always the good guy in those things which I find hilarious since one of my favorite things to do in a script is to brutally murder the nicest person in the story.

Gun and knife fights and zombie battles and giant fireballs and tidal waves are just a blast to write about. I usually run through those scenes in like ten minutes because they're so easy. I get carried away by the coolness of a martial arts move that lands a hairbrush down somebody's throat. And Not Dead Yet was full of those kinds of scenes, which is why writing it was just one awesome day after the other, with the brief exception of the time I got stumped on some technical shit.

But Jacking is different. No one will call this an action script. It's a drama, straight up, and a serious story with no explosions at all. Nobody rams a hairbrush down anybody's throat.

I still really enjoy writing it once I get going, but it's just not the blast of zombie killing. This shit is depressing and it's about teenage Latino males so I'm stretching a bit more when I write. It's harder.

I think I'm doing okay with that, though, because I'm just channeling my kids a little when I write the dialogue. I keep going back and changing a few things to match their style. For instance, most Latino kids never say "Do you have a stapler?" They only say, "You don't got a stapler?" which always makes me feel self conscious, like they're accusing me of not having the proper tools for teaching.

I'm still not used to that manner of speech, but it helped because I was able to go into my story and insert that kind of language to help the authenticity. I imagine I'll still need one of my Latino coworkers to read it for me and make sure my boys don't sound too middle class white lady.

But really, my problem with writing this, once I get beyond the time and exhaustion factor, is that it has no great action scenes. It's a lot of talking.

That's why I wrote so many pages today I think. I just wrote 6 pages in less than an hour because I was writing a shooting. That shit just flies by when I write it, and I very rarely change it much after. The dialogue is much harder than the gun fights, and this script is chock full of dialogue so it's just a little tougher than the last thing I did.

But I'm writing again, at least. I get to write another shooting and a beating tomorrow, so maybe I'll get jazzed enough about the abuse of my characters to really pop out some pages. Because violence is fun.


  1. Nice! I just wrote three pages on 'Edison' because I'm excited about the first beating and vengeance-killing! What sunny personalities we have.
    My students now better than to say stuff like that; they know I'll repeat it back to them, puzzled, until they say it the right way. If a kid keeps repeating the word 'like', I start counting 'likes' on my fingers for the rest of the class. It's a freakin' riot.
    Hey- I wanna see 'Hancock' with you!

  2. "I usually write stuff with explosions and gun fights and I sail through that shit because it's loads of fun to kill people on paper. Yeah, I said it, I like killing made-up people on paper."

    My God woman!
    I have a character whose leg gets gangrene (...maybe).
    I can barely do the research. I can hardly type this comment.

    I'm gonnna go..

  3. Have you tried a writing partnership with someone's strength is drama and dialog? Might make for a good team.

  4. I would cut off my left toe and stick the nub in a vat of rubbing alcohol before I will work with a partner again.

    Writing with a partner has its advantages no doubt, but even when I was working with a partner we still wrote our own pieces. The drama scenes are more difficult, not impossible. I don't need help from someone who doesn't contribute any ideas of his own.

    Yes, I once was pro partner, but I always knew that was temporary even if he hadn't turned out to be a waste of oxygen in a whiny little carcass. I am now anti-partner.

  5. and here's Jeff saying, well, yeah, a partner can be a pain inna ass sometimes- but sometimes you're tired and you need a shove, someone to keep you on track.
    Lookitmee- I'm starting a TV writing group on Monday and looking for new partners. Mitch and I wrote 'What You Don't Know' together. Would it have been different if I'd done it alone? Maybe. Would it have gotten finished? Probably not.

  6. Getting motivated is never a problem for me for very long.

    I've no doubt parters are great for some people but they don't work for me.

  7. "I am now anti-partner."

    I met a guy online. A writer. We hit it off so great. The chemistry was dynamic. We were a hoot.

    I mentioned collaborating…and man alive! He went crazy!

    Apparently he’d been really screwed with the partnering thing.
    And that was too bad, because I would have made him a great
    writing partner. I think.

    But then again I thought…if these pros are that uninfavor of collaborating, then I best back off. So…

    I too am now anti-partner.

  8. My thing about writing-partner-as-motivating-factor is that it kinda indicates to me that you don't want to do it bad enough and if that's the case, maybe it's better off not being done.

    I'm not anti-partner. I enjoy bouncing ideas off people that genuinely contribute to making the idea better, but that said, my preference is just me and the the death.

    Speaking of which, I just totally made a guy cough smoke and then burn from the inside out.

    Writing is where I'm a really horrible person and really happy about it.

  9. I'm also anti-partner.

    For two reasons:

    1. It's difficult to find a partner with a similar skill level.

    2. I work stupidly fast, and I don't know anyone else who likes to work this fast.

    Every now and then I get an email out of the blue by someone who wants to partner up. Usually they want to provide the ideas while I write the script.

    But they want equal credit, and their ideas suck.

    So yeah, anti-partner.

  10. Umm... Wow. You guys have had some bad experiences.

    I too prefer to work alone, but I had an amazing experience writing a pilot with a friend of mine. It's something that neither of us could have written by ourselves, we were both able to catch each other's weaknesses, and support each other's strengths. And jokes are almost always better when they have the benefit of more than one person behind them. Hence, the Room.

    While our script may not be the best thing either of us has done, it's one of my scripts that I enjoy the most. It's unique and not-me and still me at the same time. If that makes sense.

    If you want to write with a writing partner, just don't fall for the shortcomings everyone is pointing out: be on the same skill level, both writers have to contribute equally, and work with someone who's totally open and emotionally mature enough to work with someone else.

    Or, if you hate it, don't do it. But it works for some people. And a bad experience doesn't mean it can't work.

    But you guys all sound pretty violent, so maybe I should back off. :)

  11. I think it's brilliant you're writing this story alone, Emily. It's harder because it's pushing you... and we all need that.

    I too don't love co-writing. Not enough control/autonomy for me. The curse of being Type A!


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