Saturday, March 22, 2008

8 inches of snow and then 40 degree sunshiney weather results in flash flood conditions

Movies I need to buy: Moulin Rouge and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Money I have available for buying movies: $0.37. No,but really, I was thinking about how I'm going to have to go hardcore on budgeting next year with living in a house and going to school part time and paying for most of my monthly expenses by the month instead of a huge chunk in the beginning of the semester, and it's going to take a little tricky planning. That's ok, though, because getting better at keeping track of my finances was one of the things on my 1001 list (which needs revising, I've decided...).

I'm terrible at storyboarding. I've figured that out - well, today. I think I always knew that my inability to draw and mentally visualize proportions curtailed my storyboarding skills, but today it became quite evident. I thought about putting the storyboards for each production up on the Lives Agape website, but I don't want to embarrass myself *too* much.

We turned in Act IIa for our screenplays last week (yes, the marathon writing that I did). My professor emailed me back saying that it was coming along very nicely and that he didn't have any major notes. Which is great and all, but I'm going in to office hours next week and demanding that he give me deep, critical notes. And I'm also going to ask him to read my other screenplay that I like and give deep, critical notes. It may be time to rake it through another draft. And I'm thinking about sending Current Draft to the Nicholl this year, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to wring a second draft out of it before that. I should have enough time, because the last half of April will be post school empty, meaningless days.

And Script Frenzy starts in April. Screw.

I think I've reached my teenage years as a writer. All those axioms and heart mantras seem, well, a little constraining. I mean, does a story really need 20+ rewrites to be great? Italian neorealism films hardly had a bloody script (granted, I also hate Italian Neorealism, but that's counterproductive to my point). And I feel that that structure is a little irrelevant as long as you have a good story. It's really marvelous, though, because there were two incidents that happened recently that I found amusing with my whole rebellious writer phase:

1. Mystery Man on Film wrote this post about "the storytelling debate," an obvious rip on McKee (at least I hope it is, because that's what I interpreted it as, and I just called it obvious). Rules can be great, sure, but some of the most beautiful pieces come when a person breaks the rules. I think we call them visionaries, no? There's just a bit of snarky rebellion in MM's post that I feel I can snicker with.

2. I got to explain act structure to one of my friends. I think I was referring to my 26-page marathon and realized the phrase "Act IIa" might not mean anything to him. So I broke it down, explained what happened in each one and how the plot points worked, and how long each one took, roughly. His response was along the lines, "You guys really think about all that stuff?" Not four days later, I got to refer to act structure with another friend who was equal unawares. Clearly, act structure is very important. It's a natural rhythm for storytelling. And I'm sure if the act structure in a movie was completely off and we sat my two friends down in front of it, they would realize at least that *something* was wrong.

I'm not sure what it is. I don't think I've written enough screenplays to feel bored with the traditional rules yet. I don't think I've "mastered" traditional forms yet. I think I just start feeling restless when I look at the rich history of storytelling and think about all the stories to be told because all the rules are just as insistent. Maybe we need a different approach. Maybe writers need a chance to experiment with their own voice before being confronted with the traditional rules. I know, I know, they've been tested, they've been tried, and rules that create structure free some part of your creativity or something. Maybe that's true. Maybe I'm being lazy. Maybe I'm being a rebellious writer in her "teenage" years.

But maybe it's time to try something else.

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