Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How the story began

I mentioned I have been writing a script. Where it came from and how, I haven't yet gone into here, something I mentioned back in this post. But the reason posts have been slow is that I am finally really getting somewhere with it. Characters, research, plotting and, now, finally, actually writing.

Well, where it came from is a story I want to tell here. How a once-lowly animator has people looking for a screenplay. But it all happened in so many unconnected pieces that putting a form on it would be trickier than writing the actual script.

But I wrote a beginning. And then I didn't post it. Why didn't I post it? Well, I'll get into that after this post, not posted earlier in the year:

This post is the most productive thing I've done all day. I am consumed by worry. It takes over. It prevents any sort of concentration. And it makes me feel ill.

This happens. It used to happen more and I guess I should take it as a good sign that the feeling is not as familiar to me as it once was. Small things would build up in my head and become big things. They'd eat at me. Sometimes, my fears would be completely unwarranted and I'd feel like a tit for spending so much time worrying. Other times, I had damn good reason to worry.

And, sometimes, the act of worrying in itself would create circumstances that would realise all my fears.

This time, it's a meeting. A meeting in which I am going to disappoint someone who has been very supportive I took too much on. My life is too busy and my brain is too small to contain everything. Something has to go. And so I have to meet to say exactly that - that thing you wanted me to do, well, I can't make it happen. Not now, at least.

It's too hot in here. Why is it so hot?


That's the post. I was worried because what happened was that I had dug myself into a hole. I was so busy last year and just kept on adding more and more work like some sort of masochistic nut. And I applied for some local funding to write a script. And I got it. Yay. And I worked at it and worked at it and worked at it and, eventually, realised a few things:

a) My writing was shit.
b) I knew how to make it better.
c) I couldn't ever make something of this story because the problem I had identified in 'a' was so fundamental to how I approached this story, it could never be saved. It was always going to be rubbish.

I tried my damndest to turn it around based on 'b', but I knew it wasn't going to happen. So I had to bite the bullet - I had to meet with the funders and tell them why I couldn't write the script I had convinced them was good. Why I would have to give back the money and leave it there. And the post above is the one I wrote that afternoon.

As for why I didn't post it, well, I decided at the last minute to see how the meeting would turn out. And it turned out with them saying, well now that you've realised you can write a better script, just write one from scratch. And so that's how this all began.

8 comments:

Andy J. Latham said...

Well a positive outcome then :)

Incidentally, how on Earth do you go about getting funding for something like that? I have heard several people speak of getting funding over the years, but have never looked into how that works. I guess I should actually look it up instead of asking you! ;)

Red Pill Junkie said...

As for why I didn't post it, well, I decided at the last minute to see how the meeting would turn out. And it turned out with them saying, well now that you've realised you can write a better script, just write one from scratch. And so that's how this all began.

Dude, you took the bull by the horns!

CastaƱeda's Don Juan would have said that you decided to go into battle not caring about the outcome; and it turned out much better than if you have decided to listen to your fears :^)

Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir,

Certainly this is an experience that I can empathize with. I recall when I was younger idolizing men like Bo Diddley and John Von Neumann who seemed to do everything with an incredible confidence. The kind of confidence that is not just excelling, but consciously excelling with ease.

Ever see Pulp Fiction? Think Winston Wolf.

Alternatively, you may be able to hear Bo Diddley directly (I don't know your computer status right now):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HICsPNm2ARY&fmt=18

I wonder if wearing a suit adds to this mystique?

PS. I've been trying to learn about computer programming. I have two closely related stumbling blocks: the lack of an immediate problem to solve, and my steadfast refusal to make things easy on myself and do something simple.

It's like Kierkegaard said: "Only the difficult inspires the noble."

sephim said...

My favourite piece of writing advice came from an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Just write. Editing comes later.

Bitter Animator said...

That's sound advice, Sephim. My problem in the early years was that I developed too much of an attachment to anything once the words actually made it to the page. So editing was a horrific process and I always felt like I was making things work.

I used to feel that it was easier to be careful and get it right first time than to get it wrong and have to fix it. But then that led to overthinking, self-censorship amd second guessing readers and didn't work.

So the trick was to get better at editing. Or at least try. Then I could use the 'just write' strategy.


Andy, there are many local bodies who would be able to point you in the right direction though I'm not sure how best to find them in your area. Look for any filmmaking bodies (director's guild etc.) or writing bodies and they should have pointers on all local sources of funding.

Bitter Animator said...

Making things work? Nah, I meant making things worse. Worse.

Brian Sibley said...

I took great comfort from your post - not because you went through hell, but because I am also a Great Worrier and it is good to know that others are out there worrying about the Significant and the Decidedly Insignificant as much as oneself! All power to your pen, pencil or keyboard as you go for the new script...

Brian Sibley said...

I took great comfort from your post - not because you went through hell, but because I am also a Great Worrier and it is good to know that others are out there worrying about the Significant and the Decidedly Insignificant as much as oneself! All power to your pen, pencil or keyboard as you go for the new script...