Friday, September 15, 2006

Okay I Lied

Just a small white lie.

I said in my last entry that I in my next post (i.e., this one) that I would talk about what the play I'm working on is about. I decided to hold off and continue a little bit more about the process in a vague/general way before getting into the real nuts and bolts of this script in particular.

Please forgive me.

I promise, the next entry will give some specifics about the script in question. Seriously. I've already written it so it will be posted.

* * *

The trick is to write out what you have envisioned as soon as possible before it gets locked up inside your head.

In Lost in La Mancha, the heartbreaking documentary about Terry Gilliam's failed attempt at making a filmed adaptation of Don Quixote, Gilliam admits that he has played his movie in his head so many times over the course of ten years that he didn't think he could make the movie for real anymore now that they were pulling the plug on the production. I know exactly what he means. (And I'm of course assuming anyone who's written — or wanted to write — knows what he means.)

This is what happens when you play out your idea for a script over and over in your head and don't put pen to paper. When you write out your idea for that scene that looks brilliant in your own mind, it comes out too distant and too detached from how you envisioned it. You're thinking about the beginning, middle and end all at once and are unable to sit still long enough to write the small, intimate scene between Characters A and B in the first act that's necessary for establishing the primary action in the second act.

How many times have you heard someone say that they have an idea for a screenplay that they say is "All in here," as they point to their cranium? Likewise with those who say, "I want to write but I have sooooo many ideas?" All part-in-parcel with the same tightrope dilemma. One it's "all in there," (i.e., your head), that's often where it stays. And once you decide to write what's "all in there," you don't know where to begin, because there are sooooo many ideas. Or, as Alan Ball calls it, "clusterfuck."

I'll admit right now that there's a bit of a race against time as I try to write down these scenes before they get too entrenched in my brain and come out as "Cliff's Notes" versions of what I'm imagining.

But then again, this poses another dilemma: rushing the process and forcing things to come out when they're not there.

Sheesh. You just can't win.

Again, I promise the next time 'round I'll actually get into some specifics about the script I'm working on. It is quite different from what I've written before, and a different approach to how I usually write, so I'm still fairly curious as to how this will all pan out.

Of course, if this thing gets finished, and if this thing is any good, it will most likely be another year at the very least before it sees the light of stage, so the odds of getting to do a post-mortem on the entire process anytime soon is twofold: slim and nil.

Okay, that's it for me for the week. I'm off like a prom dress. Have a good weekend, folks.

Walking the tightrope,

James "Clusterfucker" Comtois


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