Friday, December 15, 2006

Whew.



Well. That's that.

I had this whole huge diatribe explaining why I hadn't posted since...well, I guess since the Colonials got off of New Caprica...but the whole thing was really only half true, and not even half interesting. Essentially, the power cable for my laptop finally gave out, after almost 2 years of me having to cajole it into place every day. I love Apple, but their power cords suck (The new MagSafe adaptors seem like a huge step forward, though). Anyway, I bought a 3rd party adaptor, but there were problems with the site I bought it from, and they didn't ship it until almost 2-3 weeks after I bought it. Problems with the website. Whatever. The important thing is I had no power, and now I do.

But even after I got the cord, I couldn't bring myself to post. So that whole explanation kind of falls flat. Although, in my defense I WAS busy with end of the semester things (Papers, Finals, shooting Films, writing Spec Pilots, etc.). Anyway, that's all over now, and I'm sitting comfortably in Chad and Amy's house for the weekend, before heading back to Virginia.

A lot has happened in the intervening time, and I hate it when people try to sum up absolutely everything that's happened, so I won't bore you. There's probably some stuff I really wouldn't talk about anyway. But the things that are of importance to the people reading this blog are as follows:

I shot a movie. A short project for Screen Directing, I regrettably hadn't prepared or even thought about it until it was almost too late, and I was forced to come up with an idea, cast it, and shoot the thing in less than a week. Exciting, to be sure, but not the best way to come out with something good. I decided to rely mostly on improvisation from the actors--which worked at times, and really didn't in others. It got to be very aggravating and honestly quite scary as a director, because half the time I didn't really know, nor was I in control of what was going on.

I think the end product came out alright, but it's definitely not my best work out of all my college films. All I know is that from now on I want to do as little improv as possible. Next time, I'm going to have a finished, polished, well-written script based on a solid concept ready before I even think about filming.

Also, I wrote a Pilot. Kind of. I finished a first draft, but it is - as most all first drafts are - a piece of shit. I'm pretty sure that I'm only gonna keep about 15 total pages from it, and I'm restructuring and rewriting the other 40+ pages. I turned in the first 30ish pages of the second draft - which is all I have at this time. And since I didn't have a computer at the time, I was forced to write it in Final Draft in the Tech Center. Which turned out to be a blessing in many ways. It turns out that Final Draft is WAY better than Celtx, which I had been using. It's weird, because the specific differences are pretty small, but somehow, it just seems so much easier and much more effortless than other writing programs. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm on crack.

Anyway, it was also good for me just to get out of the room, and into a different environment to write in. Being in the Tech Center made it much easier to focus than before, especially when I was listening to the Fountain soundtrack (which I really enjoyed, by the way. Both the album and the film).

So it's my goal for the break to finish the second draft of it (even if all I have is Celtx), and then let it sit for a while. I think I want to do something a LOT lighter than this, maybe another spec pilot that's been percolating in the back of my mind for a while. Maybe I'll also make another short film, just to prove to myself that yes, I can plan out and shoot a decent film, instead of just riding off of the ability of my actors.

I actually really want to do this next Pilot, to sit down and figure out the characters, the relationships, etc. It takes a lot from my own experience and my own life, which is something that I thought was missing from most of this Pilot. I'm pretty excited at this point, and I'm looking forward to finishing "Gone" (which needs a new title, by the way), so I can start on this as yet untitled project.

What do you writers out there think? Am I crazy to just write two spec Pilots one after another? Conventional knowledge says that I should focus on speccing existing shows, but recently I've been hearing stuff about how Showrunners also like reading your original material for a feel for how you express your own individual voice. I'll definitely spec existing shows at some point, but I think this is what I need to do right now. I'm still a relatively new writer, who's still trying to find his voice, and working with original material might be more helpful at this point than messing with someone else's world.

Spec Pilots also have the added benefit of never getting out of date. I could spec a show like the Shield, but I have a feeling that by the time I actually got to show that spec to anybody, the show would be cancelled or at least on it's way out.

So what do you guys think?

P.S. Also, what do you guys think about the brand-spanking-new layout? Eh? Ehhhhh?