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The Next Thing I Write

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Now that I am working maybe I will come back to this thread to keep myself accountable... or at the very least prove to myself I am not wasting away.   I am currently on TWO paying jobs. I mentioned i

Already talked to one of the Amazon execs. It's a loooong way out at this point for a writer's room, and for all we know they'll just bring on the Westworld team. But, I'm at lest on the radar.

Wow. I forgot about this thread. I was getting panicky about work recently and looked it up to remind myself I have shit going on, then got busy.  So since this was last updated... the two jobs I

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I'm reading! And super fascinated.



So I have re-broken the last act and decided on and ending. I estimate another 25-30 pages and I will be done. Going to try and do that by wed. I'd post the beats, but I think I have drifted enough in writing that it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense at this stage.


That said, I have stuck with the same idea-- girl comes home, tries to fit in, but then "brother" is found and so begins gaslighting and ripping off everyone in the family. Once things get big enough and there's no going back, it goes full on culty and they go for the kill.

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You may have said this earlier in the thread but I can't recall. Do you do your writing on a laptop? I know you're not really a fan of desktops, but I haven't found it comfortable or productive at all writing on a laptop. Part of it is probably because as I get older, the harder it is for me to read smaller fonts and the more I prefer things up close. Just wondering what your setup is like, I guess.

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I actually prefer desktop, mostly for all the reasons you list. My visual OCD as a former designer has always liked seeing a full page on my screen exactly, 1 to 1. It's killed me that in the last couple years I have had to start zooming in to better read things.


I have tried standing desks, sitting desks, stool height desks, and each has their issue. I know the world is currently pro standing desk and I did it for a few years before I realized my knees and shoulders didn't care for it. Sitting though, my posture sucks and as the day goes on it gets worse.


I've found that the key is variety. I got an adjustable desk (though it's generally down) and I get up and move a lot. Since pacing is what I do when I think, that helps, cause I am up and moving pretty frequently.


Sometimes my brain works better with a scenery change and I will go to my dining table with my laptop. The laptop also becomes my primary device when I am on a TV show and in a writer's room all day, every day.


I also have bluetooth keyboards for both my iPad and Phone in case I ever need to bang anything out on them. The phone is if I get ideas while out and about, technically the iPad is for travel and remote working. I got it with an apple pencil hoping it would replace my need for using paper, but it hasn't, and my laptop is an old school Airbook that's actually lighter than the laptop.


Like I said before, I don't have one methodology anymore, every project sort of dictates it's own process. When I do feel like I need to go to paper I have my story worksheet I have shared before, and I like little notebooks.


I am actually jealous of writers who make artifacts out of their story notes. A lot of writers I know basically start a new notebook for every project and fill it with ideas, doodles, outlines, etc. I love the idea of this, and being able to go back later and see this cool ephemeral piece of work... but I can't do it. I like to get IN to stuff asap.


For me it's either my story worksheet, or a simpletext file where I just write down thoughts. That becomes a living document and those thoughts get edited and expanded until I have enough to start actual writing. As much as I love world building in concept, my gut tells me that if the audience isn't seeing/hearing it, it doesn't matter.


Other things about my technical set up and process...


Software wise I use simpletext/textedit first and foremost, and generally keep it open on my screen.


First/vomit drafts are written in Highland 2. It uses a markup language called Fountain, which, once you learn the macros for, lets you write script format pretty much anywhere on anything. Highland works really well with pasting in notes, and has a sidebar I can have my simple text content in. Its global navigator is easy and visual, and in general it isn't bloatware so you can just type without having to stop and edit very much.


Second drafts go to Final Draft. What simpletext is to Word, Highland is to FD. Final Draft is a little bloaty, but visually, you see what your page looks like, which is important to me. More important though, FD is what the industry uses. It exports into specialized software meant for production breaking things down and creating reports for department heads. It also tracks changes in a very specific way which is key when you go into production. Highland doesn't really do these things despite being made "by screenwriters for screenwriters."


I also use a program called SimpleNote. It's like a barebones version Evernote (which is kinda like virtual project notebooks) that allows me to have categorized text/notes that sync and are accessible on all my devices. I often paste my simpletext content into here so I can pull it up on any device as it has dedicated apps for mobile or desktop, as well as browser access.


I always love reading articles about other writer's processes, and wish mine was sexier, but my methodology has just evolved into a more utilitarian sort of way I guess.

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Well I sat down this afternoon and just decided to go until I petered out... turns out, i had some pep in me. I just wrote 21 pages, and the script is done.


Yay me.


I continued in Highland cause I was in full dump mode, so tomorrow I will kick it to Final Draft and begin the clean up. I will tighten, fix the obvious typos, and see if there's anything extraneous that needs to go, or scenes that don't do anything.


From there, I will do a series of passes, where I track through the whole thing with a different goal the first time.


The first pass is where I will look at some of the stuff I came up with in the back half, and make sure the first half of the script tracks. For example, I decided that I wanted some supernatural seeming stuff, but without being ACTUALLY super natural. I decided my cult folks use hallucinogens on their targets. The victims sometimes see lights that look like fireflies. I need to track back and weave those in earlier-- especially when the kid is kidnapped at the top.


The second pass I will target any scene over 4 pages long and do my best to cut it down. Scenes longer than that seem to freak producers out. Similarly, I need to make sure there are no pages without dialog. Even if I have to break up some action with somebody shouting OMG HEY! I will. Again, producers and dev people can be weird.


Then I will do a voice pass for each character. Basically, I just look at the dialog for one character at time, and give them something unique. Be it an accent, a certain style of speaking, a cadence, an inflection-- nothing too overt or annoying, just a bit of flavor so they all sound unique and real.


Finally, I will do a voice pass on the prose, to make sure I sound good. I always have some good choice descriptions, but I also sometimes get really simple in vomit mode, so I want to make sure it shines. Some writers, (Damon Lindelof and Tarrantino's scripts come to mind) really want to make you aware of them. The TALK to you like you are together and they are telling a story.


I hate Damon's way of doing it, but love QT's. I am far too self loathing to do that. I feel like I want my readers to be lost in the story. I want it to be well-written so they know I know what I am doing, but I don't want to be an additional voice.


Once I have done all this, I will hand it off to a few readers. These are people I trust to give me honest notes and one in particular I actually pay to proof all my awful typos.


Once they hit me back and I make any tweaks or changes, THEN I will have an official first draft that I will send off to my manager.

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Okay-- done all that noise. Rough draft is being sent to manager, and my proofer.


Now, I have cocktails and order groceries online so I don't have to go outside.

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Best typo of the script. Instead of somebody PEERING out of a window, I had them PEEING.



If anyone wants to read here it is.


I'd attach it to read, but Nightly no longer lets me attack anything bigger than 34k. Even a plain text file is 10 times bigger than that.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm waiting on my reps to read the script... I had a great Zoom meeting with Netflix on my TV project.


...so I've just been writing this novel idea I started a couple years ago but haven't had a chance to work on for awhile.

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  • 2 months later...

Whoa, realized I haven't updated this thread in months after it being a work journal there for a minute.


Basically, right after this post, Netflix passed on the show. This was the one I wrote for Speilberg's company and would have been a life-changer if it was made. Sadly, it was not to be. But, my industry is pretty much endless failure when you consider the amount of things developed vs what actually makes it to a screen. So this was a good failure.


I'm sure I said it earlier in this thread, but you kind of have to judge your place in Hollywood by your level of failures. I'm failing pretty well... that said, failing well does not pay bills.


In the last two months I have done a fair amount. I had a bout of depression and couldn't produce anything, then it passed.


The script I wrote in this thread was well-received by my manager, but she did challenge that I delivered on her dream of getting a 90s'-esque sex thriller. Apparently what I think is sexy is creepy?


The business has crept to a halt, so there wasn't much she could do anyway.


- I revised the script, leaning more into being weird and culty. It will be a good sample.


- then I did go to that novel that had been at 25k words for years and finished it, now it's around 100k, still needs proofing and clean up


- I tried my hand again at writing a 90s style thriller and wrote a completely new script. This one hit the mark, manager loves it, and she's going to try and package it within the company.


- I was also asked to pitch on a few things over the last couple months, and I just got word that I landed one. Should be getting an offer by next week. This is great as I have not made any money since January and have just been watching my bank account get depleted.


Honestly, booking a job has lifted my spirits, I was really starting to get nervous. Physical production is still nowhere close to firing back up, so the industry is still slowed down, everyone is just doing development-- but that can work for me so long as I land jobs.


The video game job... I think it's still a go. I was supposed to go to the UK for a briefing and to meet the team, but now dirty Americans are banned, so hopefully I can learn their backend system for inserting dialog via zoom.


In a funny twist, the FIRST game made by this company is being made into a movie, and because of my connection now to them, Sony is asking me to pitch on that. If I get that, on top of these other two things, I'll be good through next year.


So if my original scripts actually do anything, it will be a bonus (but that' always really hard to make happen). In all my years doing this, I have only sold one piece of original work, and it's the one I am directing... which, is sort of frozen in casting limbo because no one can commit when no one has a schedule yes because production isn't happening.

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It's complicated.


Down time is a natural part of the business. Also, I use a loan out s-corp to keep my money safe from being over taxed. People who hire me pay my company. I am an employee of said company.


So for me to get unemployment, I would have to fire myself and shutter the company.


There is a way to do it, but you have to work directly with somebody from the unemployment office as it is a special circumstances type thing... and it's a bit hard to talk to anyone at unemployment these days.

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There is a way to do it, but you have to work directly with somebody from the unemployment office as it is a special circumstances type thing... and it's a bit hard to talk to anyone at unemployment these days.

Ha, I hear you, 15 weeks without a payment or any kind of income here even though I finally got authorized - two weeks ago, still no money. And no one to help.


Its weird to me that you dont have better protections in place. My dad works seasonally, always has. Seasonal workers always go on unemployment when the season ends around here.

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Already talked to one of the Amazon execs. It's a loooong way out at this point for a writer's room, and for all we know they'll just bring on the Westworld team. But, I'm at lest on the radar.

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