Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finally - Movement!

Took some time away from the project to get my head right. A lot has been changing lately, and I had to make sure I wanted to move forward with the Lupus Moon book project. I guess I'm not completely over my switch from screenwriting to novel writing, as I've been having urges to work on a couple scripts. But without the resources to push those projects past the page, I've finally settled down enough to start working on the outline to the book. It didn't take long to realize I could - and had to - make changes in order for the story to work as a novel, and that, combined with the re-integration of ideas from previous versions of the story, are ironically coming together in a way that's going to make the screenplay better. So maybe it was a blessing that the current draft of the script didn't garner attention. I'm not certain, but I'm sure time will tell...

KS

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A New Beginning

It's been suggested to me before. I ignored it. Then it would come up again. I'd reply, "Maybe. Never say never," then quickly dismiss it. After all, why would I switch gears and write a novel when I was going to be a big-name screenwriter? I mean, I'd spent the last ten years of my life writing, rewriting and submitting screenplays (getting rejected by the best, mind you - I have the letters to prove it) and you want me to just brush it aside and start fresh in a whole different discipline? This isn't what I signed up for. Sure, I had written narratives before and was pretty good at it (my sixth grade English teacher would corroborate my claim), but since 1992, it was all about the movies. That's where I was going to make my name and not a damned sole was going to stop me.

Until they did.

Flash forward to 2010. I've written roughly 15 features and 14 shorts - two of which I self-produced. But have I sold anything? That would be a big, fat "NO." It's not for lack of trying, never that. In fact, I've had two options - the same script - both times, however, the person optioning the script wasn't serious and nothing came out of it. My latest script, Lupus Moon, did absolutely nothing on the market (except add to the awesomeness of my rejection pile). I'll admit, it was a scaled-down promotional attempt - queries went out to 46 or so agencies - but it was what I could afford. I still have a couple options in mind for promoting the script, but if the first run was any indication, no one's going to be interested.

Why? Beats the hell out of me. I thought it was a slick, shrewd move: vampire flicks are all over the place. They've been in vogue for years, but sooner or later, folks would get tired of them and it would be time for another creature to have their day in the sun. A couple of the big franchises, Underworld and Twilight (and True Blood on the small screen), featured werewolves as well, and The Wolfman had just come out last year. I'd had the idea for a story about a werewolf hunter - a female version of Blade - since '98 or '99, so it was the perfect time to strike. Or so I thought. I received compliments on the script from the guy I paid for coverage, but that was about it. Everyone else either claimed they weren't seeking new clients or hid behind the ubiquitous "no unsolicited material" line. Then there was the one agency who scribbled a handwritten note on the back of the very query I'd sent to them: "No wolves please." I guess if I'd submitted the 138,267,948th vampire script, I might've gotten read.

In the end, I think perhaps my script was the victim of my not having connections. Everyone knows it's not about what you know, it's who you know and with me being in Texas, I don't exactly have the inside track to Hollywood agents (and the big agencies won't even sneeze on you if you aren't served up to them on a silver platter by someone who knows them). So here I am, with a solid script, ideas for sequels, the willingness to sell - and the figurative door slammed right in my face. I can't even get a chance. So what am I going to do?

I'M TURNING LUPUS MOON INTO A NOVEL. This time, it was my best friend Anthony who brought up the idea of remaking the property as a book series. Others had mentioned it before, but it stuck with me this time, probably due to my frustration at having no luck with the screenplay. I have a great concept, and a cool kick-off story to the franchise; it didn't deserve to die off just because a bunch of suits didn't want to give it a chance or take a look at it (heaven forbid they want to consider an original idea in the "creative" cesspool that is present-day Hollywood). So I thought about it. Considered it. And thought about it some more. Not so much because I was wondering whether or not the story would work (I knew it would), but because I was unsure if I could pull it off. I hadn't written a narrative story in years (blog entries don't count) and even then they were short stories designed to facilitate the use of that week's spelling words. I was so used to the present tense writing required of screenplays that it felt downright weird to write something in past tense. I literally picked up a novel to see how it was done (shows how long it's been since I read one). But, like so many other things, I'd grossly overstated the adjustment required to go from script to prose, and after a few practice pages I'd slipped back into form...

Which brings me to now. To be clear, I have no idea whether or not re-purposing my story as a novel will pay off. I don't know if it'll be good, or even if anyone will want to read it. And after it's done, I can't promise that I'll ever want to write another book. But I can say this with certainty: I'm extremely excited about this path and the possibilities. I look forward to expressing my story in a new form and being able to add to its depth in a way screenplays don't allow. I'm re-invigorated to write and look forward to sitting down at the computer and digging in (something I was afraid I was losing my love for). And I can't wait to see where this fork in the creative road takes me.

I'm strapped in for the ride.

KS