Wednesday, February 02, 2011

What's next

I think one of the most important things I've learned over the years - and I didn't realize I'd learn it until just now - is knowing when to let an idea go.

When I first started writing screenplays I'd get an idea and immediately set about putting it together. I'd do my little outline and when I came to a scene I was unsure about, I'd just assume I'd figure it out when I got there because I knew the beginning and I knew the end, so how hard could the middle be?

And that's why most of my early scripts just didn't work.

But these days I come up with an idea and toss it around and then often put it away, maybe for later. As I wind down work on Nice Girls Don't Kill, I keep flipping through ideas I could work on next. I started working on a period piece that I still plan to write some day, but realized it's not a good career move at the moment so I put it on the back burner.

I came up with a script about a lovesick guy searching for his guitar and - just like in the old days - I knew the beginning and end, but not a huge chunk of the middle. I still love the idea, but I think I need time to figure out more story.

I came up with a super hero piece, big budget and kind of nifty, but it involves some serious world creation and I can't decide where I want to go with it yet. Besides, comic book like hero movies are a tough sell for a new writer so it's best if I set it aside.

Each of these ideas goes on an index card on the bulletin board for future pitch meetings. And the search for my next idea continued.

I had an idea today that I like. The best part is that it's a modern take on a Shakespeare play so I don't have to struggle to fill act 2, but the down side is that I'm not the first to attempt reimagining this particular play so it's not the most original idea. It does seem like a lot of fun though. Still, you never truly know if something will work until you start writing.

Who knows, maybe by tomorrow I'll have written it down on an index card and let it go, onto something else. If I can't do a full treatment for the idea that makes the most out of its possibilities, I should keep looking for the next big concept.

The point is, as time goes by, I find myself thinking more carefully about how I spend my writing time. I'm past the point where I need any learning experiences. I want only material I can market.


  1. Anonymous8:16 AM

    Hey Emily,

    Next -- how about a webisode, would you do one.

    And BTW, how creating a forum like Done Deal...could you create a Bamboo Killer forum that will be cooler than Will's. And is the owner of DD, Will and Terrance Mulloy?, who actually owns Done Deal...

  2. 1) No way. My one short film taught me that I do not wish to direct ever again.

    2) I have neither the desire to do that, nor do I see a need. There are plenty of screenwriting forums already.

    3) Will.

  3. Yay getting better all the time, that's fabulous.

    First guitar-important movie that comes to mind, El Mariachi, and Desperado, what a great job Rodriguez etc did. Guitar great excuse to steep in a subculture, always fun, and guitar serves so well as important token (if I do a guitar story, reimagining of Chrissy Hynde's coming of age, with a supernatural twist because it's fucking Chrissy Hynde).

    Must see guitar movie, in case you haven't had the pleasure, Electric Dragon 80,000V, and Guitar Wolf (real name) is a whole lot of fun in Wild Zero.


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