Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I wish I had had the *updated* syllabus last weekend...

I had a hard time this week. I kept forgetting what day of the week it was. On Monday I kept thinking it was Tuesday or Sunday, then on Thursday it felt like Friday.

I think I'm coming to know my limits. Whether I respect them or not is something completely different. But I'm starting to realize where I need boundaries, in my schedule, in my relationships, in my health, in my academics. Okay, that last one if probably just a result of poor planning. I think both Emily and Bill have talked about how many pages they can write in a day before they max out. I think I found where I max out, maybe. I was have a really crappy, draining week and was therefore probably not being as diligent as I could have been in my academics. Then it came to Tuesday night around 10:00, and I had the first half of my second act due in screenwriting class the next day. I was *planning* on starting that night, but I crashed again and decided that the best thing to do was another assignment while I watched Walk the Line (that movie always makes me tear up at the end. It's so beautiful. One of those movies that restores my hope in people) and not go to sleep until 3 AM. Which left me only Wednesday until 6 PM to write Act IIa. We have step outlines for this class, but I wasn't sure how many pages it would end up being. So after my class got out at noon on Wednesday, I parked myself in the student Union and wrote. One location change, a grilled cheese, and five hours later, I had the 26 pages of my Act IIa. As I was walking back toward my door to print it out, I wondered if my temples would explode from the pressure.

Besides being draining and head-ache inducing, I think I liked writing like this better than spreading it out, a scene a day or whatever. I've always written well under pressure when it came to classes, but I never *had* a deadline before for creative writing, not really (I don't count Script Frenzy). I felt much more immersed in and connected to the story. It was an intense experience, which I think is good. Writing should be intense. If it's not, you're short changing your story.

I also learned an important idea about condensing story beats. I'm not typically an over-writer; I'm usually *too* concise. Current Draft is completely different, though. My first act was 34 pages. As I was writing the second act, I was working on my step outline and my story beats. I totally killed one that was going to be a huge scene; it was repetitive and boring and the conflict wasn't escalating in an exciting way. Another time I condescend a couple of story beats into one scene, which I think is a great idea because it 1. makes the scene more complicated and interesting, simply plot-wise, 2. makes fun bookmarks that you know I love, and 3. if you can play the conflict of the two beats off each other, it will make the conflict in the scene that much more engaging.

But really - I'm not waiting until the day of to write Act IIb.

Speaking of Script Frenzy - it's in April this year. I think this is better for me, overall, because I start my summer job in the middle of June, and so this year I'll actually have the entire month to work on my script. But April is like, next month. The project I want to do is going to require a good amount of research and I'll still be in the middle of school. Yikes!

I wanted to have the storyboarding for "Join This Group?" done this weekend. I only need to get one more actor signed on. We're going to end up shooting three straight days, I think, which will be fun and intense. I also wanted to watch a lot of movies this weekend. We started on Thursday with the Blair Witch Project, watched An Officer and A Gentleman last night, and will probably watch The Big Chill tonight, since apparently Current Draft is a story in similar vein and we have connections to the writer. Not like real connections. Just connections.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm wearing my Ireland stamp earrings in honor.

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