Thursday, October 26, 2006

and...breathe

It's Thursday. I can breathe again.

And...breathe.

I had a lot of work this weekend through wednesday, and today the only thing I had to do got cancelled, so today was a nice breather. I had to shoot my next 2 projects for Screen Directing on Saturday, finish the first third of my Pilot for class by Monday and come up with a treatment for another class by Tuesday. All while finishing Eco-Urban Hell homework by Wednesday at 4:30.

Oyg. With all of this schedule crunching, I sometimes I wonder what life will be like post-college when I have a set schedule--doing the same basic thing every day monday through friday.

INT. DORM - NIGHT

MATT is laughing with friends, with a red cup of authentic Frathouse beer in his hands. He is very much enjoying himself.

MATT
(laughing)
Oh man. Good thing that day won't
come for years and years and years...

He trails off. Everyone is suddenly silent as they stare at him. Matt puts his head in his hands.

MATT
...Crap.

He begins to weep

I just looked at my degreeworks page on our college portal, and found (as I'd assumed) that I've only got 2 semesters of school left. I was debating shortly on which 2 semesters to take, but I think I'll end up doing the obvious thing: go to school Spring and Fall of '07, leaving Spring of '08 open for an internship in LA.

Damn. That's a scary idea. I may be in Los Angeles in a little over a year. And if not then, then I'd be there in summer of '08. Still...Damn. It's scary in an incredibly exciting way. I'll be out there, probably living in some crappy apartment with Matt Wells (we're both gonna be done a semester early), and doing some really menial grunt job...but I'll be out there. Which puts me much closer to where I want to be than sitting here.

And I guess all of this thought of my future must have put me in a reflective mood, because I looked through all of my blog posts the other day. I was surprised at how incredibly immature I was in high school--and how oblivious I was to it all. I criticized people and ideas, and (in the old Xanga comments, which you can't read) bickered endlessly with friends about things that were ultimately inconsequential. All while trying to be witty--which I'm fairly certain I didn't succeed at. (or is it "at which I'm fairly certain I didn't succeed"? I can't decide.)

At college, I didn't seem to get much better. As a preface for those who don't know, Messiah is NOT a Bible school, and definitely not Bob Jones University. Far from it, it is one of the most liberal Christian colleges on the planet (Case in point: www.gayatmessiah.org). Anyway, I reacted to the liberalness of Messiah College in a very simplistic way, and mostly wrote half-thought-out posts regurgitating traditional Christian or Republican rhetoric I'd heard before and agreed with at the time. And don't get me wrong, I still do believe a lot of it (well, on the spiritual/religious side anyway), but now I feel like most of what I said then was very reactionary, and not really representing the truth of what I thought about it.

When I got to posts from last year, though, I started to find someone much closer to the individual I am today. I have memories of being much more at peace with everything that year. I made friends with Homosexuals and Socialists, and began to be more open-minded about other worldviews. Now I find it kind of absurd the hold that Christians seem to have about postmodern thinking. Of course, most of postmodernism is pretty absurd in and of itself, but there's nonetheless a lot of useful things that come out of it. But that's neither here nor there.

I suppose my point is (if I have a point, which I'm not sure I do) that the most important thing I've learned in my two-and-a-half years at college is honesty. And I hesitate to say "I've learned" as if it's something I've accomplished and now can move on with my life. It's something I'm still learning how to do. I used to think that honesty just meant not lying--it meant telling your mommy the truth when you broke the window, and not trying to cover it up. I never really understood what people meant when they said "You've got to be true to yourself"; in fact I always thought it sounded really cheesy. But now I'm starting to understand that there's all of these walls we hide behind, all of these things that block who we really are and what we're really trying to say. Political Correctness. Peer Pressure. Legalism. Political Parties. Being "Cool" or "Edgy" or "Having an Image".

Basically, all of the artifice boils down to one question: "What will people think of me?" In Christianese, we have a name for that: "Fear of Man". For all of modern religion's foibles, there's something deep inside Christian belief that says "Don't worry about what others think of you. Be honest before God about who you are and what you believe."

Wow. I totally did not mean for this to become a post about Christianity. But...that's where it ended up, and I think It'd be dishonest of me to change it now.

In any event, the most recent way this has been coming out is through my writing. My writing professor was pretty critical of my idea (“Gone”) within my past 2 projects--he was concerned that I'd write too much to the high-concept idea, and not treat the characters in an honest way. And he was right. So I went back, wrote 13 pages of Character backstory, and re-wrote the scene of Stephen waking up in the hospital. And I nailed that bitch. Not because of snappy dialogue, or because of great structure, but because of honesty.

Now, I know. Honesty doesn't sell scripts. Concepts sell scripts. And snappy dialogue makes it interesting. As do car chases and space battles (speaking of which, HOW ABOUT THAT BATTLESTAR GALACTICA EPISODE LAST WEEK!! all I have to say is OMFGWTF AWESOME!). But if you're not being honest to yourself and to the character, and hell, to the whole human race, then is it worth writing at all? I say no, but I may just be a sappy idealist.

Well, unless I'm getting paid. Then it's totally worth it.

Mmmkay. Enough epiphanies for today.

And...breathe.

P.S. And so...I tried to add a status bar so I could brag about finishing 16 pages in my pilot...but technology thwarted me again. On my browser, it shows up at the far left of the screen, rather than the far right of the screen like a good little progress bar should. If those of you who have these (a.k.a. Emily), could give me a hand of what to do, that'd be great.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Well, duh...

You Should Be a Science Fiction Writer

Your ideas are very strange, and people often wonder what planet you're from.
And while you may have some problems being "normal," you'll have no problems writing sci-fi.
Whether it's epic films, important novels, or vivid comics...
Your own little universe could leave an important mark on the world!

Friday, October 13, 2006

..But as for me and my house, we will watch Battlestar Galactica

Oyg. I haven't blogged in a while. There's always something I want to say, but I never really want to say it here. I sometimes want to write about real life, but I don't feel motivated to actually write a post about it, or even if I do, I decide that this really isn't the right forum for those things. And I'm probably right--it probably isn't. Thus, I will leave real life aside, and take the easy way out: blogging about Writing/TV/Film!

"Gone" is no longer a screenplay. Well, strictly speaking, it was NEVER really a screenplay, but now it never will be. It will be a PILOT! I've been going over the premise and the characters over the past couple of weeks, and I realized that it would really work much better as a TV pilot than as a film. I finally made the decision this past week, and my writing professor was cool with it. He said you can learn writing just as much from writing TV as from writing films; the writing is still essentially the same.

I think this is a better decision in several different ways. First, I think the way that I was thinking about the story, the situation and the characters lends itself much more to an ongoing form of storytelling. And today, ongoing storytelling means TV. Second, writing for TV is what I think I want to do eventually (at this point in my life, anyway), and I'd learn more, and it'd be better for me to have an original pilot under my belt as opposed to a feature. I remember hearing that more and more people in Hollywood are looking for original material in addition to spec scripts--so this makes sense creatively AND professionally.

In any event, yes. That is exciting. Also under the exciting category: I finished my long-take, locked-down-camera exercise, for Screen Directing and KICKED it's ASS. We had to take a scene from a play (or a film we hadn't seen), and cast it, rehearse it, and film it without moving the camera or cutting away from the shot. I chose a scene from "Proof" (good play--haven't seen the movie anyone know how good it was?). Mine went over really well in class (due in large part to my two amazing actors - one of whom I'm dating); the professor had good things to say about it, as did the graduate students, and they all had useful suggestions that they offered as well.

So I'm feeling pretty good in the Writing/Directing category. I just hope I can pull off my projects in those respective classes.

And finally in the exciting category: Battlestar Galactica. As I'm sure you all know, Battlestar (reciever of a 94 percent on Metacritic, I might add) is my favorite show, and had a 2 hour premiere last friday. I was on the edge of my seat for those two hours last week, and am waiting with bated breath for 9 PM tonight. I could fill up a post three times as large talking about this, so I'll just leave it there, but suffice to say, Ron Moore and company continue to not disappoint. I approve.

P.S. Liz and I went to see the Gate theater's production of "Waiting for Godot" last night. It was supposed to be the definitive version of the play, since it was the long-running Irish production taken on tour, and only in Philly for 3 days. But despite all of the hype (both for the play and this production in particular) it left both Liz and I unsatisfied. We both decided it was more due to Beckett than to the Gate theater, however. The acting and directing was certainly top notch, but the play is just not my cup of tea. I can see why people think the play is amazing, and I can see why this production is supposed to be amazing, but it was just too entirely obtuse. Symbolism and metaphor are indeed interesting things, but if that's all that's there it completely loses all connection with the viewer.

I dunno, maybe I need to take more english or theater classes so I can appreciate its significance. Although I'm pretty sure that'd be a futile effort. You may enjoy Waiting for Godot, and think it's the greatest thing since Steve Buscemi (sorry, I just really didn't want to say "Sliced Bread")...but as for me and my house, we will watch Battlestar Galactica. Frak yeah.