I wrote my first short story when I was six years old. I dictated it to a teacher’s assistant at my school and she wrote the sentences down, one per page. Then I illustrated each page with crayons. It was called “The Baby Dragon”. Basically, Mama Dragon has an egg and out comes Baby Dragon. They go for a walk and run into a T-Rex. Mama Dragon and the T-Rex fight, and Mama prevails. The end. It wasn’t groundbreaking but it did have a beginning middle and an end. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but somehow, yeah, I knew.
Another new year, another opportunity to realize I haven’t blogged in a while. I thought I’d start with some general housekeeping.
My last few posts added up to a pretty long document about my feature writing process. I decided to put it all together into one long page and add it to the blog menu. If you haven’t seen it yet and want to dig deep into how I write a feature screenplay, then the process tab is for you. Feel free to share it with anyone that’s trying to tackle the 120 page mountain that is feature screenwriting.
This is the final part in a document I wrote about my screenwriting process when tackling a feature. So far, I’ve covered the basic order of steps from logline through revisions. However…
This is part 2 of a document that lays out my process for writing a feature screenplay. Last time, I covered loglines, ideal files, beat sheets, and note cards. And now…
I’m in a great writers group with a bunch of close friends. Everyone’s really talented and experienced at writing in one format or another, but someone who wanted to try writing his first feature was having a tough time getting started. That’s when the lightbulb went off: we’d been offering support, reading each other’s work, but when it came to the nuts and bolts of our craft, we weren’t really sharing our processes. So as an exercise, many of us wrote documents explaining the process for the type of writing we were most experienced at in order to share with the group. I’ve been a professional feature writer for over a decade now so I wrote a document about my feature writing process. I thought it might be interesting to share it here, and I recorded a podcast today in which I vowed to do exactly that, so here it is. It’s long, so I’m splitting the document into three posts. Here’s part one!
I don’t usually make new year resolutions but last year, in this blog, I made a resolution to blog faster and more often. I failed completely. And in public, no less. Oh well. I could beat myself up about it or I could do what we should all do when we fail at something…try and do better the next time.
Thought I’d follow up my last blog, where I discussed how much mental real estate you can contribute to multiple projects. I was tracking about five categories of stuff in my head. Here’s where I am now:
1) Getting married.
2) What was the question again?
A few months ago, I was chatting with my manager about what I was working on. I pitched one of my projects as “something just for fun, it won’t take much time.” This is a code for saying, “I’ll still have time to work on stuff that could make us money.” He instantly made his own point: “You only have so much mental real estate.”
Years ago, I saw Philip Seymour Hoffman doing a Q&A after Capote. When asked about his reputation for being “difficult” on set, he talked about how most people wake up in the morning, put on their armor, and go out to face the world while keeping their private selves private.But his job is to be private…in public. And that’s just not easy.
It’s something we take for granted. We marvel at someone’s brilliance, the way they can reveal something truthful and authentic about the human condition. But what’s the cost of doing that every day? What’s the cost of making a living being private in public? We’ll never know for sure.
We can only feel the sadness for an artist gone to soon, and thank him for letting us inside his private self, if only for a short time.