When I made my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days (which I was nowhere near completing at the end of 1001 days, but I am still working on), I made one of the items to have finished seven feature length first drafts. I'm one closer to my goal of 7 which--illogically so--seems like some magic number. When I hit 7 completely scripts I'll have learned something or mastered something or at least come up with one marketable idea. And in some sense it's true--I've noticed a slow but steady development of good concept and craft with each script. Nearly all of these projects have been documented in some way on this blog, but here's a recap. Cause I'm narcisstic.
1. The 4:05 -- My first script ever, I wrote it while living in England in my semester between my two universities. That sounds very romantic, and it was. I sat in pubs in the middle of the afternoon--drinking soda, mom and dad--writing on yellow legal pads, a hastily scrawled paragraph as an outline. I love this story, probably because it is my own, but it's not a fresh enough take on the coming-of-age romantic dramedy. It placed in the top ten screenplays at the University of Michigan's most prestigious writing competition, warranting some of the harshest comments I've ever received on a piece. I have a soft spot for this story but currently have little intention of revisiting it.
2. Making It -- A very terrible coming of age story. I didn't like it very much even when I was writing it, so if it's ok with you, we'll just acknowledge that this one happened in order to make it count for the tally.
3. Whatever You Ask -- 2007 Script Frenzy project. A romantic comedy with three male protagonists. Because I know so much about the male mind. While I was very excited about the idea when I was gearing up for it, I honestly don't think I've looked at it since I finished it. I have zero desire to revisit it.
4. Collapse/In Memoriam -- I wrote this script for my first screenwriting class. I wrote it for a friend. Since our second screenwriting class as a rewrite class, I took this script through a couple drafts. It might be good. I don't know. I haven't really looked at it since then. It's a story about death, and right now it's just so damn depressing. I'd need to figure out a way to make it more light-hearted without making it a Big Chill rip off (thought that would be a bit fitting). But after the flops that were Making It and Whatever You Ask, this script did good things for me. I again entered the Hopwood Awards and again placed in the top ten, where the comments were not AS mean as they were for The 4:05 [improvement!]. This script also got me into the master screenwriting class, where I wrote--
5. The Garden [Even Angels Swear] -- I can't really call it that, but I wish I could. This script is definitely my passion project script. I wrote it for my master class, had pages workshopped by Tom McCarthy and Pamela Gray, and spent many hours in my professor's office trying to make it work. I finished my third draft of it last summer. It was a shredding rewrite, and a fourth draft is definitely needed. I will get to it--I think I'll always return to this project--but I'm hesitant about how marketable it is. It'd be a big budget movie with strong religious themes and a real cliff hanger ending. I've got to make it phenomenal before anyone takes a risk on that.
6. The Exit Strategy -- Clocking in at 75 pages, this is the first feature length first draft I've completed since graduating in 2009. It's an incredibly personal project, though if I had to pitch it I'd say it's My Best Friend's Wedding meets Tiny Furniture. Meets Forgetting Sarah Marshall meets (500) Days of Summer. I wrapped it last week and am taking a break before diving back in for the rewrite. I have a couple friends who I know would be willing to look at it after I get it to the best I can by myself. And I have secret hopes for this script.
7. Found Footage Story -- My next project. Am I jumping on this bandwagon? Heck yes I am.
I remember after I wrote Whatever You Ask, I had this terrible wave of self doubt. I had written three scripts, and the last two were real bombs. But looking back I can see the gradual improvement [and this isn't counting the numerous ideas, loglines, shorts, first acts, pilots, and tv specs I've banged out]. They say it takes ten years. Or is it ten scripts? A million words?
Whatever it is, I'll get there. Eventually. Cause I just keep on typing.