Monday, September 27, 2010

Floating in a sea of possible angles

I had this idea that was pretty cool so I started writing up an outline, then I read Horrible Bosses, which has a lot of similarities to my script, so I changed the location from work to somewhere else, which necessitated some changes in the overall story as well.

In the process, I created a whole new protagonist. I went from Emma Stone to - well, not Emma Stone anymore, anyway. Someone more wide-eyed and innocent.

I love the concept and the character I've now created, but I've spent two weeks trying to make this work to no great effect. I finally threw up my hands and asked for help, and so far the help has been helpful. Helpful help.

Whenever you ask for help on a story, everybody always has these directions they'd take it based on things they like, so one of the great tricks of taking suggestions on the idea is to know what's just someone's personal preference and what's the true direction you want to take.

And I think that in order to do that, you have to be open to anything. I always go into getting notes of this kind hoping someone will say one thing that will send me off in the right direction, but sometimes it doesn't happen that way. Sometimes what they say is that the idea you had needs a complete revolution and that the one element of your story you KNEW was right, was, in fact, not right at all.

So I've started toying with some of the ideas I've been given today. Part of me says "NO! That's not the story you want to tell!" and the other part of me says "But this might be an even COOLER story!" and another part of me says "You're a fucking hack and nobody wants to read your stupid story anyway!" and then another part of me thinks "Explosions is the answer. More explosions," and then another part of me just stares at my hair in wonderment of how fantastic it looks when I use that expensive conditioner.

At some point I really hope this all clicks into place, but for now I'm just floating, looking for the glue to hold the puzzle together.


  1. Anonymous3:08 PM

    Who's the guy in the picture? Looks like an actor from a sit-com!
    Ha, now all the nerd guys at Done Deal Pro and Script Shadow(Roger and Carson) are jealous.
    Well, now I know how the houswives felt when Brad Pitt got a girlfreind.
    Anyways, he's good looking. Congrats. He is cute.
    Good luck if he's the one for you.

  2. Oh I don't know that guy. That's not my cat.

    My guy has more muscles than that guy.

    But thanks for the congrats. The sentiment is still appreciated.

  3. You hit the nail on the head when you said "what they want."

    That's the problem with screenwriting in general. Your opinion doesn't matter until you can buy 3 million tickets.

    I've found that my characters are better if my opinion doesn't matter. I guess it's like depending on your taste in cinema rather than your opinion about the story.

  4. Hey Emily,

    One thing I like to do in this situation, is to just write that one damn scene that won't leave me alone. The one I keep seeing. Even if you know it's been done, even if you know it's hacky. It's there, in your head for a fucking reason. Fuck the outline for now, fuck the scene before and the scene after, just write that one scene that you can't wait to write. Sometimes that's all there is, but more often that's the germ that infects you with the true disease.

    Whoa, that got gross. But you're not a hack and you're not a repeater. There is a gem of originality in this story. You wouldn't keep pounding your head against the cold pavement of the blogosphere if there wasn't.

    Just write it.

    Then you can hate it. But first give yourself something tangible to hate.


  5. Heh. That's pretty good advice there, beingbrad.

    And Christian, that's an interesting perspective. I suppose there is something to separating yourself, although you don't want to stray too far, I think.

  6. I just feel that the characters need to go their own way. At most I'll let them do the opposite of what I would.


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