Saturday, June 09, 2007

'Tis the Season to Enter Contests --

The Nicholl deadline's long past, Austin just closed at the beginning of the month (though they might have a later date, I'm not sure), I think Disney's Fellowship closes the first of July, and the Screenwriting Expo's first deadline is July 1st. I'm looking at entering The 4:05 and Daffodil or the divorce party short to the Expo. I think I'm definitely going to submit a short because there aren't many contests for shorts. Daffodil needs to be shortened a few pages, though.

I don't like MySpace. It's slow, chaotic, and people put up crappy music that interrupts whatever I'm listening to already. Which is currently Mat Kearney. Have I mentioned how much I love him? I think I'm going to dance with him at my wedding - to him, I mean. To his music.

I've seen a bunch of movies recently (trying to get in as many as I can before I go live in the mountains without electricity for a couple of months). My family and I watched Night at the Museum the other night. It was amazing! I haven't heard my dad laugh at a movie like that for a while. And sometimes, yeah, he was just laughing at the absurdity of it, but it was really funny. The opening was a little weak, though, because the relationships in the movie were very cliched. My dad pointed that out in the first ten minutes, a divorced family with a flawed father and responsible boyfriend/second husband and a kid caught in the middle. But about twenty minutes after that, you realize why the cliched family dynamic works, because that's not why you came to see the movie. You came to see all the cool and ridiculous things that happen to Ben Stiller when the museum gets out of control at night. You didn't want a family drama anyway. And sure, while it's not necessarily the wisest choice of the writers - it seems a little lazy - it gives Ben Stiller's character all the right motivations to do the things he does. And, like I said, the reason you can get away with it is that it's not why you came to the movie in the first place. I wish I had heard good things about this movie when it was out in theatres. I would have gone to see it.

My friend and I were talking about screenwriting (more like I roped him into giving me a detailed and thorough analysis of my writing to satisfy the writerly neurosis I have developed recently), and we talked about why I want to write and what I want my stories to be about and what purpose I want them to serve. I think it's super important for a writer to decide what purpose she wants her stories to serve. Focused writing makes all the difference. And of course, the stories that serve their purpose are "good stories," stories that connect with people communicate. I was reading my new issue of Creative Screenwriting and found this quote in an interview with screenwriter Nicholas Meyer. He says that when someone once asked him what makes a good story, he replied, "A good story is where, once I've told it to you, you understood why I wanted to tell it to you." I'm not sure if there's anything else I can add to that. I'm not a big outliner or prewriter, but I think it's important for writers to go into their stories knowing what issue they're examining or what question they're raising or what they want to communicate. Know your story's purpose, know what you want to communicate to your reader, and dedicate your work to that, and I can't imagine that you'll end up with anything but a "good story."

I haven't done any work on Whatever You Ask yet today because I had to work my temp job (if you *really* want to be well known, work at a place where everyone shops. Today I was helping a customer, and he said, "Didn't I see you on R----- Road on Thursday?" Now, I walk down there a lot on my way to Dunkin Donuts, so I said it was very possible. He continued, "Yeah, you were wearing a white skirt." A little creepy, but I try not to get too concerned. I'll have to get used to it when I'm rich and famous no? Oh, and if anyone was wondering, it was that white skirt that I managed to spill orange juice all over. The stain came out, and I have been very careful around liquids whenever wearing it now). Um, anyway, Whatever You Ask - I might not write anything, either, because I still have letters to write tonight. I haven't heard from my GI yet, which doesn't really bother me because he's, you know, in the middle of a war, but I'm starting to wonder if he exists. Of course, that gave me a wonderful idea for a story...

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