Monday, January 25, 2010

Lupus Moon Update #10

I started the rewrite today on what I'm calling the "Genosha Version" of the script, spurred by the most recent changes in character and direction (including NOT going with the religious/false prophet theme mentioned in the previous update). I'm coming up with some great stuff and I feel like I finally have the story of Lupus Moon tied down. Of course, I've said that many times before, so only time will tell. But I'm really digging where this is going.

I didn't realize when I started how little actual story I had and how much of it was unassigned imagery in my head. I did, however, come to the realization that the seemingly limitless permutations of the script aren't bad things; it just means there's a multitude of angles I can take on this, and many ideas/topics I can cover. Even though it's been trying, i still think it's a blessing to have too much than too little. And when/if the time comes to write the sequels, I'll have a lot to draw on.

I finished the day with 12 pages, half of which is probably brand new material with the other half being re-appropriated from before. I want to keep pushing, but I'm tired as hell, so I'm calling it a night. I'll be back at it again at 7:00 AM tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to seeing what a new day brings.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"So What Genre Do You Write?"

I had my eyes opened the other night...

I read a blog by screenwriter T.R. Locke a few days ago giving tips on how to snag that most elusive of Hollywood types - an agent. In the blog, T.R. recommended that writers find one genre that they like most and concentrate on becoming a master of that genre, as opposed to pushing yourself as a "versatile" writer. According to T.R., in Hollywood, if you aren't pigeonholed as "the guy for this" or "the girl for that," then it's hard for an agent to market you because no one want to take a chance; they need to feel comfortable that the person they bring on can give the screenplay they want (kinda the same way you know what you're getting when you hire certain actors for a role).

I'll admit. I've been that guy. When I started writing screenplays ten years ago, the last thing I wanted was to be boxed in to a particular genre. After all, I had ideas all over the spectrum, and I damn well wanted the freedom to work on what I wanted, when I wanted. It annoyed me a bit when people asked me what my genre was, because it was alien to me that people wouldn't just assume that, as a writer, I could and would write anything. Sure, most writers are known for one thing, but that wasn't going to be me. I was going to master it all. I was going to make sure I was available for any writing assignment that came up. I'd be just that damn good. And, above all, I didn't want people to assume that just because I'm Black, all I could (or would want to) write would be "'hood movies."

So I'd quickly rebut that I wrote in almost every genre. And truthfully, the scripts I have in my file cabinet run a gamut of specifications: comedy, romantic comedy, thriller, action/adventure, drama, mockumentary, slasher and, yes, "urban drama" (i.e. "'hood movies"). But after reading T.R.'s blog I realized four things:

1. He was right (think about the "name" screenwriters you know. Chances are they work primarily in one genre).

2. Of all the scripts I've marketed, none were in my favorite genre.
3. I've never specified what my favorite genre is.

4. The scripts that I should be writing are going to be diametrically opposed to the scripts I'll be producing independently - for the time being, at least.

This, of course, caused me to reflect on what exactly I've been doing for ten years and it's lead me to the conclusion that I've been severely dicking around. Seriously. Sure, I've been writing and constantly getting better, learning more and more tips on how to best apply and augment my craft, but it doesn't address the issues above. So, in response to my forced epiphany, a new direction has been forged with regards to my professional screenwriting aspirations...

1. I am now an action/adventure screenwriter, heavily influenced by sci/fi and comic books.

2. I will only be marketing screenplays that fit the above categor(y/ies).

As a filmmaker, however, I'll continue to remain unlimited in what stories I can tell. It's almost like a Jekyll and Hyde thing - but it's far from unprecedented. The list is long of actors and filmmakers who've had to linger down on one route so that eventually they could build their own. Using funds from script sales to make my own movies was always my plan; just now my attack will be focused. With any luck, the next ten years will not be as fruitless as the first

Thanks, T.R.

Lupus Moon Update #9

Well, things have changed... since the last time they were supposed to change.

In my last post, I said the story was going back to its original roots, circa 1999-2000. Yeah, well, not anymore. I've once again taking things in a different direction. I've actually been working on the story for the past several days and, I must say, things are looking good.

So what's the new direction? A while back, I had the idea to infuse Lupus Moon with a religious theme - the idea of false prophets and those who blindly follow without questioning because purports to share the same beliefs. The story would set up the big bad as a charismatic preacher type, working to "convert" the masses - using God as a cover. On the other side would be another preacher, a good, but less flashy man, who's seen his flock decline because of interest in the former's message. I got off this track during the myriad rewrites/re-imaginings, but with the recent restructuring combined with the desire to strengthen and deepen the story, it's a path that re-emerged as one that would allow me to create deeper, richer characters and actually have meat to go with the message of the script.

Acts I and III have pretty much been locked. The first act features a lot of new material, of course, but the final act is very much the same, save for a character switch in one scene, and a new location for the final battle. Act II will be the hardest, because now I'll have to develop the characters and their interactions differently, create the bulk of the new material, and infuse it with the new theme. Hopefully it'll be more time-intensive than nerve-wracking. I do hate that there's a couple cool scenes I couldn't fit in. Try as I might, they just weren't going to work with the existing framework and timeline.

Oh well. Guess I have a head start on the sequel.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Lupus Moon Update #8

Wrapping up today's work, the first day of restructuring the script (in case I chicken out, I saved the version I've been working on so I can run back to it's comfortable, assuring embrace). Actually, I didn't change anything, so much as I made a bunch of notes about changes I'd like/could see making. To say the changes would be catastrophic would be putting it way too mildly. But I'm really liking the potential it has.

Strangely enough, most of the changes are in the form of old scenes from the original treatment I wrote for Lupus Moon, circa 1999-2000 that were jettisoned when I decided to take the story in a slightly, yet radically different direction (I know, makes no sense). The more and more I made notes to re-incorporate those scenes, the more and more the story started to change back to the original, yet there remains a large amount of the newer material. The result is a happy medium that could mesh to become the official Lupus Moon storyline. Werewolves are still running amok in Weeping Springs, Alexandria Craine still shows up to take them out - I've got something old, something new, something borrowed - it's a perfect mess. But I feel bringing back the older material is somehow bringing back a lot of the fun I had when I originally dreamed up the script, and that's got me excited to jump in and see if I can make a whole of these disjointed parts. Kinda like putting the Constructicons together to form Devastator.

Tomorrow I'll start mixing and matching. Today was about getting all the pieces out and in one place. It's very likely I'll be excising a character or two, and their storylines with it. That part sucks; I've put a TON of work into developing those bits, not to mention writing the pages. But, as the saying goes, "Writing is rewriting," so sometimes there will be casualties. But it's all good, especially if I come out with something better than I had going in - and that's where I think I'm headed now.

We shall see.


Lupus Moon Update #7

Starting the re-structuring work on the script today. Scared as hell. Hope I don't get into it, only to slam into a brick wall somewhere in the second act. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lupus Moon Update #6

Things have been going great with the script. My new schedule's got me being more disciplined and, more importantly, writing something every day (at least during the week). I'm currently on page 48, and things are heating up. One problem, though --

I'm stuck in a dead scene.

I know what I want to happen, but it's just not feeling right. There's something a bit wrong with the pacing and the whole thing is feeling uninspired. I've been trying for the last two days to shoehorn a daytime gun battle in because I feel like I need a confrontation there, but it's just coming across flat. I thought about taking it out, but then there'd be a hole; somehow I need Alexandria to be captured by the police because in the next scene she's being interrogated about the weird happenings in town.

While heading out for tonight's dinner of Whataburger, it occurred to me that the events leading up to the gun battle needed work. It starts in a public park with Alex(andria) shooting an arrow into the chest of a werewolf chasing two siblings. Naturally, there would be people in the park - it is a small town - so I don't think my heroine would be so quick to pull out a compound bow in front of innocent bystanders, as is currently written. But even if I fixed that issue, there's the matter of the scene just being... blah.

My solution? Go back and rework/reorder some scenes. In the process, I'm going to reintegrate several bits that were removed for whatever reason that seem like they'd work now. I'm also hoping to address what's looking to be a problem of lameness and lack of direction with the villains. I figure better to nip it in the bud now than to keep going.

I'm not sure how long this will take or how long it'll keep me from finishing, but while I'd love nothing more than to knock this out and move on to Jillted, I know I need to take the time to get this script as sharp as I can. At this stage in my "career," it'd make zero sense to rush something out only to still have it go nowhere because of underdevelopment and weak writing.

So it's (kinda, sorta) back to the drawing board. I'm still excited about the script, which is the most important thing. I look forward to seeing what comes of it.