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Mole hills or Mountains?

So, when last we met, gentle reader, I was basking in the glow of a successful first day of my 21 day schedule to write a feature length screenplay. But even I felt the warmth of success wash over me, I must admit I had a concern or two going into the second day. I knew that Day 2 was going to hold some challenges for me. However, I was unaware of how much of an understatement the word "challenges" was going to be.

While in the process of doing the prep work of writing a screenplay, author Viki King has the reader, (and in this case the writer), lay down some structure for the forth coming work of art. More specifically, she has the reader write down certain events, that will take place over the course of their movie, onto specific pages. For example, what event will happen on page 1? How about page 10 or on page 30? In this way, a type of outline of the movie is formed. Essentially, before the reader/writer types a single word, they are already aware of what page will hold which event. These pages will serve as guide posts, where in, the writer/reader need only to fill in the details between the pages that have already been written. My concern going into Day 2 was as follows. Though I had been successful in completing my page count in the time allotted for Day 1, I knew I had a problem. That problem being, the event I had written down as taking place on page 30, when doing the prep work, was in fact taking place on page 10. It seemed I was a scant 20 pages off of the pace.

So how could I go to bed after Day 1 feeling successful, you might ask. Well, I won't lie to you, gentle reader. I knew there was a problem on Day 1, but I wasn't sure how big of a problem. "How to Write a Movie in 21 Days" assumes that you are writing a 120 page screenplay, and as I was trying my best to follow the book's instructions to the letter, a 120 page screenplay is what I set out to write. But, deep down inside I knew that I would be more than happy with a screenplay of only 80 pages. After all, my longest script to that point had been only 18 pages, so to jump up to 80 pages seemed quite the leap. Now, if I'm completely honest with you, gentle reader, (and I think that you have earned it), my minimum goal for this first feature length attempt was really only 71 pages. So, since I would have been satisfied with 71 pages, I figured I would shoot for 80 pages. I would be beside myself with joy if I reached 90 pages, and if "How to Write a Movie in 21 Days" had the magic I was looking for and I ended up with a full 120 pages, so much the better. If the screenplay were to be too long, I knew I could always cut down a bloated script. However, I was much less confidant in my abilities to pump up an emaciated one.

So my event for page 30 arrived on page 10, not ideal I grant you, but not my undoing. I was more than prepared to settle for a screenplay a little over half the size of the one Ms. King was looking for, so my plan was to continue following the instructions of the book and see if Day 2's assignment would offer some instruction that would help make up the difference.

On Day 2 the time limit was expanded from two hours to three hours, the longest that any assignment should take, and the page count was upped from ten to fifteen pages. However, there were no magic writing tips presented in the reading for Day 2. Still, I had made it through Day 1, beaten all of the odds, dug down deep, and had emerged mostly victorious. I could handle Day 2. I sat down and began to write. I took all of my ideas and threw them down onto the computer. I typed out every twist, every turn, all the clever lines I could think of, and then I thought of some more. I was a story telling machine and I was on a mission. I kept my head down and my shoulder placed firmly to the proverbial grindstone until I realized I was all the way up to the story event that should take place on page 60 of my screenplay. It was then I looked up to discover I was only on page 15. Now at this point, what had been a concern at the beginning of the day, started to feel a little more like panic. Arriving at page 10 instead of page 30 could be overcome. Arriving at 15 instead of page 60, and being out of ideas, was an ice burg sized problem to my Titanic of a screenplay. I thought that perhaps sitting and staring at the computer screen would help. No help there, panic definitely rising. Maybe if I were to walk around the room? Nope. Still panic. So there I was, gentle reader, Day 2 of my 21 days found me stopped out on page 15 of my screenplay, and mired down deep in the depths of writer's block.

Comments

  1. I hate that, you plan to write something long and it comes out short. That always nailed me academically also. BTW, are you a night owl or a freakishly early riser? 4:26 only comes once a day on my clock.

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  2. I have always been one to worry about not having enough material. I've heard rumors of people who tend to write too much and have trouble editing out material, I suppose that the "grass is always greener" and all of that, but I think that would be an easier problem to deal with. As for being up at 4:26 in the morning, that was just a freak accident. I went to bed around midnight and found myself wide awake a little after 4:00. I thought I would try and be more productive with my time (though I'm sure I missed some great infomercials with some very useful products). Thanks for being my first comment in 2011, I appreciate it!!

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