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21 Days Later

Writer's Block. The two most dreaded words in the writer's lexicon. Never before have two words combined to cause so much pain, frustration, and self doubt. It's like quicksand. One minute you're strolling around the jungle looking at all the pretty trees and wildlife, the next, you are waist deep in muck that is pulling you down into the unknown depths with seemingly no way to get out of it. The blank page may be a mighty adversary for the writer to overcome, but writer's block is some monster out of the ultimate nightmare that literally kills many a story in almost any stage of development. It is the other silent killer, of dreams. Three days into my first attempt to write a feature length screenplay, I was face to face with it, and I was loosing.

On my journey to go from an aspiring, to a real, live, honest to goodness, filmmaker, I found myself stopped out on day 2 of what I had hoped would be a 21 day process. That process of course being the one found in the book, "How to Write a Movie in 21 Days". I was sincerely hoping that by purchasing, reading, and following the instructions of the book, page by page and day by day, that in a little over three weeks I would have the very thing that all aspiring filmmakers really need if they are going to be serious about their craft, an actual story to tell. I dare say, gentle reader, there is nothing as important to the process as that. As I have noted in earlier posts, purchasing new cameras with HD capability is extremely exciting. Looking at all the new software and what cinematic creations are possible with just a computer and some know how, can keep one awake at night as if it were Christmas Eve. But, the harsh reality is, before you can shoot a single frame with that camera, or import even one piece of footage into that powerhouse of a super computer, you must have a story to tell. On my personal journey, I'm finding that having a story to tell, may be one of the major things that separate those who are aspiring, from those who have reached real, live, honest to goodness status. The ability to take those dreams, aspirations, and ever elusive ideas and turn them into some sort of tangible reality. Making that happen starts with a screenplay, a screenplay that I found myself, for one reason or another, unable to write.

After finding myself blocked on Day 2 of the 21 day process, Day 3 found me doing something I had told myself I would not do. I looked ahead in the book. My hope in doing this was to find some sort of instruction or nugget of wisdom that would enable me to get back on track. Alas, I found none. Author Viki King, was as encouraging as ever, telling me that I could do it, and that there was a great movie inside of me just waiting to get out. She kept telling tales of how my hero was really going to be working hard to overcome evil in these next fifteen pages, and the fifteen pages after that, and the fifteen after that, but that didn't help me to write. I read the next day's reading, then the next, and yes gentle reader, even the one after that. Yet I found no weapon with which to combat the writer's block that held me in it's death grip. So, I went to the back of the book, hopes rising briefly when I remembered there was a section talking about writer's block, but still found nothing to help me move my story forward. The truth was, I had started telling a story that had two people chatting online, and after all of the clever dialogue, I had no way of moving them away from their computers. They were trapped in their respective rooms and I was blocked. All of Ms. King's encouragement and pats on the back did nothing to change the fact that I was stuck. Day 3 ended as I turned off my computer. 21 days went by, and at the end of it, I had no screenplay. But fear not, gentle reader, our story does not end here. Help was on the horizon and it came in the form of three very unlikely words, Super Saver Shipping.

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