Tuesday, April 07, 2009

On the shoulders of giants (and lesser people)

When Tom McCarthy came to work with us, he told us how he was working on a script with a friend of his who was a lawyer. It's the first time he's worked with a non-writer on a script, and he seems to be enjoying it. I decided to walk in his footsteps and write a screenplay with my roommate.

(Actually the two things are pretty unrelated. I found the parallels all after the fact.)

D is not really a nonwriter. She is in a creative writing class this semester (to which I responded with extreme jealousy, until I remembered that I was signing up for my third screenwriting class) and is just an excellent and intelligent writer and reader overall. We came up with the idea when we got trapped in an elevator. That is actually a lie. The elevator shuddered. It didn't even stop. But we both looked at each other then burst out laughing, and as we exited the building, the most wonderful idea began to form. I'm pretty sure D was the first one to mention it, but luckily, I'm the one who knows how to format a screenplay.

Tonight I did some prewriting work on the idea. It's a delightful story, with the style of "The 4:05" but just enough more humor that I'm concerned my comedic abilities will fall short (again, it's wonderful to collaborate). And all the characters are likeable, which is apparently something I have a problem with (the Hopwood results are in again, but we'll talk about that later). I can't tell you more, of course, but I will say that John Francis Daley and Zooey Deschanel will be getting their scripts shortly.

D read the treatment that I had written so far, and we spit balled on some name ideas. That quickly disintegrated into trying to name our female lead after dead authors and types of food. But it was nice to sit there brainstorming, knowing that while D may not know the purpose of the midpoint or Act II break yet, she knows a good story. I'm not really sure which I appreciate more - the enthusiasm and new perspective of a nonscreenwriter or the creative input of a well-read, intelligent mind. Luckily for me, I get them both.

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