Sunday, September 27, 2009

Timing is Key.

So a funny thing happened at Starbucks today. Remember that time I said I wanted to be done with the first draft of my TV pilot by October 9th? Yeah, well, I finished it this afternoon. Granted, what I finished I wouldn't even consider a first draft. It's a hot mess of a script. I already have notes about things I need to change, I have events magically transforming halfway through scenes, an entire revelation I majorly botched, and a few more scenes I know I need to work in. It's Draft Zero, basically, so my deadline still stands. But still - I am amazed - it's there, in complete beginning, middle, and end story form.

The endings always sneak up on me. Maybe I get anxious and just shove it all out there or something. Maybe the intensity of being so close to the finish causes me to frenzy and pound it all out. My last acts always seem to be a little on the concise side. However, I like to think of it as just the natural speed that comes with a perfectly prepared ending. The reason the ending takes so little time to write is because I set it up so perfectly.

Yeah right.

Anyway, I'm jumping right into getting it into a presentable first draft. Something I can show my friends (I have been carefully collecting favors the past couple of months...) so they can tear it apart. And I can rewrite it again. And again. And again.

On a related note, I've had a lot of time to think recently (because, you know, I'm unemployed - sort of. However, today was the first time I told strangers what I anticipate doing. They seemed much more impressed than whenever I've told people that I am practicing my craft in order to be a successful writer. Nobody ever seems impressed by that. My prospective job, however, involves me working with children, which I think gives me automatic brownie points with new acquaintances). There are two things I think about constantly - my past two years at Michigan and my future after this year in Jersey. I could probably be thinking about more productive things, I know. Oh well.

Anyway, I was thinking about where I might potentially want to go after my time in Jersey is done, and I happened upon this interview with Ehren Kruger. It's really interesting and long and I greatly anticipate reading the other two interviews on the site, but something about what he said got me started thinking about how I've been sort of planning a couple years' buffer in between me and LA so I can get a couple scripts up to par. Two things came to mind:

1. I should have set time limits for how long drafts should take. I should say, "Alright, I'm starting a new spec script, I'm going to give myself three months from typing FADE IN to FADE OUT on the first draft." After that, I can put the project away for a little while and work on something else, then pull it out again and give myself X months to do the rewrite. Being out of school and out of screenwriting classes means that I have to learn how to work with self imposed deadlines. And they're not all that difficult to keep up with (as in the case with both Current Draft and TV pilot this past week). The past couple days I've been trying to write at least five pages when I sit down. If I can keep that up and make sure I sit my butt down every day, I can get a 120 page script written in a month.

2. If I can be that productive, if I can set and maintain those sort of goals for myself, am I really going to need two or three years before I have enough "best of Amy" material to take with me to LA? When does this go from being smart about perfecting my craft to being scared and not taking any risks? And this should be risky, right? If I didn't want any risks, I should have been an accountant or something. Though that would have meant many risks for my clients.

In the end, there are going to be a lot of factors that go into my move away from Jersey. But I figure the quicker I move out to LA the quicker I sell my scripts and become the hottest female screenwriter since Diablo Cody and the quicker I make a ton and a half of money and can therefore move out of LA and travel the world like I want to (hahaha - I'm joking, you guys know that right? I anticipate many years of starving in LA. Just that. A sale might be nice. Maybe a conversation at some point with someone in the industry). Regardless of what happens next, I'm not going to let a lack of preparation on my part narrow my choices in any way.

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