Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This shit will drive you crazy

I've bounced back and forth through so many ideas over the past couple of months I've lost count. I've asked friends about this, and a lot of them had similar experiences. Apparently this is completely normal.

Just to recap, after I got signed, I could not find the right spec to work on next. None of my ideas were right, and plenty of ideas I would have worked on had I been on my own were rejected because they weren't the ideal project to sell. I understand completely why these ideas were rejected, and I know that it's important to start with the right idea from the jump, but holy Christ, this is a frustrating process.

At first I was all "It's okay, I'll think of something!" Then I was all "Okay I'll really sit down and think of something and one of these will work." Then I was all "THIS IS THE IDEA! I KNOW IT IS!" Then I was all "Well fuck me with a fucking post hole digger, I don't know what the fuck I'm doing." Then I was all "Maybe I should just throw some shit on a piece of paper and smear it around with a fork." Then I just threw up my hands and danced around shouting out random words, hoping they'd form an idea.

After a while I realized I was trying too hard to write something that would be approved without paying attention to what I WANTED to write. The best ideas come to you on their own. I relaxed, let my brain go to casual observation mode, and wrote down the top tier ideas I've ever had, adding something as I went. I made two lists - Ideas I Just Had, and Ideas I've Been Thinking About for a While and Want to Write. If Idea I Just Had sticks around for a couple of days, it moves to the Ideas I Want to Write list.

I took the two stories most likely to be approved and am writing a treatment for both. Best case, Manager approves an idea and I can shoot him the treatment. Worst case, I got practice writing treatments for ideas I will write later.

Because I am an optimist.


  1. Emily,

    We feel for ya. That's a daunting task what you're trying to accomplish. What happened to the scripts like "how my dress.."? They were really well-received in the press clips that I read.

    Are there ideas that really excite you personally? Maybe you can start with those and then alter it to look more high concept. Certain writers are attracted to certain themes and repeat in their works over and over...they just disguise it with high concept hooks.

  2. Hey Emily,

    I'm going through the same type of thing right now myself. My pilot script was a finalist in last year's TrackingB tv competition, and it got me signed with a manager. Like you, I'm now starting from scratch with new ideas, and finding the process incredibly daunting at times. But it sounds like you're on the right track by taking a step back and letting those ideas come to you rather than trying to force anything.

    If nothing else, at least know that you're not alone in your frustration.

    Best of luck!


  3. Hey, Ashleigh. Yeah, that's been reassuring, that this is a normal occurrence. At first I worried that I would be dropped once the reps realized I would never come up with a good idea ever again. But now I'm not as panicky.

  4. Ha! I still have that fear. Constantly. Comes with the new territory I think.



    Sounds right...


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