Wednesday, March 07, 2012


The newly redesigned blog is up and running! This old blog served me faithfully, but I'll be doing all my posting over at the Wordpress location now.

Check it out -- The Unsolicited Memoirs of an Infrangible Writer.

Monday, March 05, 2012


First, in screenwriting news, if you haven't read Scott Myer's round table with Hollywood's newest screenwriting darlings, go there now.

I'm sprucing up the old blog. I'm looking for something a little more "serious and career-driven writer" and less "PAISLEY! SONG LYRICS!" I've been working on a Wordpress blog all week, and I think it's almost time to put a sign in the window here and head out. (Mind you, "working on the blog" is, to me, rearranging my side widgets into the optimal order. It's not like I'm doing actual coding or anything.)

Step 3 of my 5 step blog move was to import all my old blog posts. As a writer, it's incredibly difficult to give up what you've written and start with a clean page, even if you do want a clean start. That is what I thought, at least, until I started going back and reading some of those old posts.

I've had this blog since 2004, people. Eight years. And I will be honest and frank with you and say I was downright mortified by some of those old posts, what I had written and clearly how I was acting. Yikes. Obviously, I had an inability to keep my personal life out of my blog (er, just skip the below post entitled "romancing") -- or maybe I thought I was writing a LiveJournal. So I decided that I'd leave some of those chronicles here. I want a writing focused blog, so I only took from January 2007, when I started the screenwriting program at Michigan, and on.

Today I am super grateful for growing up -- at least a little. And now I'd like to share with you some song lyrics that recently have been making me all misty-eyed--

Thursday, March 01, 2012


Look, guys, I'm not going to say that my trip to Israel was a life changing experience. But I mean, I was physically closer to God, you know, being in what three religions claim is His favourite part of the world. Oddly enough, proximity didn't seem to affect sound quality.

Basically, I have a hard time telling people about Israel because I'm still trying to figure it out myself. I wish I could at least share some of the pictures I have right now, but I think my poor overloaded computer would fry itself out if I even approached it will the 700+ pictures I took. Soon. It is a gorgeous country.

And the last day we visited Caesarea Maritima -- on Monday I was frolicking on a Mediterranean beach -- and now I'm back to data entry and answering the phones in rainy and super gloomy Michigan. My brain hasn't come back with me, at least not right away.

But it'll have to come back, because I have a lot of work to do. V and I are about to commence a pretty rigorous rewrite on Consideration. I'd like to take another pass at The Exit Strategy and get it all dolled up for contest season (Nicholl quarterfinalists, here I come!). And, in other good news, my next project has been picked.

Back in December Script Doctor Eric, a writer and script analyst, held a mini screenwriting contest. You sent in your logline and first three pages, and Eric promised to give the top five finalists a free consult. I knew a woman who got her agent by placing in Eric's contest last year, so I thought I'd give it a try. I sent in The Exit Strategy and another rom com that I had tangled with a couple times last year, to no avail. It was a good, strong, marketable idea, the best one I had had yet -- and had probably stolen somehow from my Dad -- but I had never been able to get it off the ground. If it placed, I'd finally have the motivation to write the darn thing.

And now I have to write the darn thing.

'Cause I placed! I received the email right before I left for Israel, so it was a happy little start to my vacation. And what was even more fun was that one of my new screenwriting friends also placed! After whining and moping about how I was struggling to write, it was a nice shot of encouragement. I believe that if I can get The Exit Strategy straightened up and this rom com (tentatively titled Attachment Issues) cobbled together, I'll have the foundations of my portfolio.

And once I have stories that I am proud of, that I think are good, then I will start to plot my move to LA, to the beach and sunshine and obsessively skinny people.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Hello, my name is Amy, and I'm a commitment-phobe.

I'm sure there's at least one boy out there -- maybe two -- going, "Yes! I KNEW it!" I'm sorry. It's not you; it's me, really. There's something about the emotional involvement of being with someone for more than twenty minutes that makes me want to leave the state.
I could tell you why I'm such a cut-losses girl, but no one showed up here for that sentimental nonsense, did they?

Luckily the Hockey Player shares my trepidation about all things sappy. It took us nine months to admit to the L word to each other -- and I mean "like." [No guys, of course I don't mean 'like.' For real?] We have our one-year coming up next week, and for a while I was freaking out about it. Then I got over it. Maybe because I realized I was being dumb. Maybe because I'm just looking forward to a nice dinner out. Maybe because I'm leaving for Israel the next day and that's a great way to shake someone if you really need to.

There have been very few things I've been signed onto beyond a one year lease, but writing is one of them. I wish I could tell you how old I was when I started writing about the Island of Many-Colored Ponies, but all I know was that it was WAY before I started dating. In high school I spent as much time scribbling ideas down on napkins as I did doodling my married name in the back of my math notebook. I've turned down invitations just to get the day's writing in. Writing is, for better or worse, has been part of my identity and my future for as long as I can remember.

However, all is not well in our marriage. Times are tough. It's been feeling a bit one-sided lately, like I've been doing all the work and not getting any love back. I'm feeling neglected, ignored, and unappreciated. It's difficult to commit so much of your time and energy to something and see it go nowhere. At the end of my life will I be satisfied with the stack of screenplays in the closet, just to be able to say that I've written? Or will the monument to rejection hurt more than help? I do just fine on my own. I don't need writing. How long would you let yourself love someone without any acknowledgment? And am I taking this metaphor too far?

I know I just wrote about discipline. And I do have a project for V that I will pursue with vigorous commitment to make it the best story I can. But during the last few weeks, if I haven't wanted to write, then I haven't. And I'm going to go to Israel with my dad and my aunt and hope to have a spiritual revelation about life's purpose. I kid. I'm going to go to Israel and hope the Middle East doesn't fall into nuclear war while I'm there. I will be grateful for that divine intervention alone.

Meanwhile, the Hockey Player took me to see Star Wars in 3D this weekend, so I think I'll keep him around for a little longer. On the other hand, he doesn't get his own invitation to my best friend's wedding and I'm holding onto both the Coldplay tickets I won, but if he keeps doing what he's doing, I think his future looks good.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


There's something sweet about procrastination.

I've basically had Draft Two of Consideration done for about a week. It needs a good scrubbing, a once over to make sure I've set up all the scenes properly, I've made all the correct changes, and my typos are all cleared up. I just haven't gotten around to it. I printed it off tonight, all 72 pages of it [how did that happen?], and I consider that an accomplishment.

I blame sweatpants. They are a complete motivation suck. Sweatpants, Words with Friends, and Downton Abbey.

I am a complete extremist when it comes to discipline. Either I have a plan and I'm sticking to it, I'm writing every day, turning down invitations from friends. Or -- or I'm not writing. At all.

However, discipline is a huge motivator for me. Not my discipline, obviously, but the discipline of others. Competition is fierce in this industry. And I know that one day I'm going to be up for an assignment against some guy [yes, it will be a guy] who has sacrificed too much so he can spend every free minute writing. And when that time comes, I don't want to be at a disadvantage just because I used to come home and put on sweatpants and Downton Abbey.

I know that I am, if anything, only a moderately talented writer. My biggest talent is my strong desire to be a writer. Writing is a war of attrition -- if I keep writing, I'll keep getting better. It may not be the fastest road -- because you know what? I really LIKE Downton Abbey! -- but sometimes, persistence is more rewarded than aptitude.

One of the highest compliments the Hockey Player ever gave me was that he thought I was fairly obsessive about writing. That glow kept me pushing through the day job and the harsh Michigan went for at least nine hours. But that's all I really have to say on the subject, because I have a 72 page script sitting next to me that needs a decent flaying.

First I am totally checking Twitter. Carson Reeves replied to me, and now I'm completely crushing.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Since it's awards season, there's been a plethora of great scripts made available to the public. I went on a downloading spree, snatching anything that remotely grabbed my interest.

I've never been a very good 'script reader.' It wasn't until about halfway through my Screenplay as Lit class that I read a script I felt could have been a movie. And they all had been made into movies. So I've resolved this year to read more scripts, both to educate myself on how to be a better script reader and how to be a better right.

Earlier this week I read Beginners and Black Swan. I have seen neither movie. I was reflecting on them today, and here's what stood out to me --

1. As soon as I had finished Black Swan I wanted to watch the movie. It's now at the top of my 'To Watch' list.

2. I couldn't remember if I had actually finished Beginners or not.

If that was all I took away from this week, I still think I'd have learned plenty. When a reader finishes your script, you want them to be anxious to see the movie. You need to end on such a strong note that your story in their head for days.

Granted, these are two completely different types of scripts. And I really did enjoy them both. But I had two big concerns with Beginners. 1. It didn't seem to dig deep enough. The most interesting part of Beginners was Oliver's relationship with his father. I felt as if there was unexplored potential there. And 2. Ana is a manic pixie character (I mean, she's French). I'm just over that.

Black Swan made strong story choices. And yes, Beginners was a completely different genre and was aiming to tell a different sort of story, but I felt that it could have made stronger choices. It's actually a point V and I discussed the most recent time we met. We were trying to decide if one character should just offer to do something or really do it. I think if you're going to offer, if you're going to hint, if you're going to suggest, you should just commit all the way and jump in with the stronger choice.

So. What's next?

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Michigan's screenwriting program is a hidden gem of the Midwest. I myself would not have known about it if I didn't have friends who already attended Michigan. When I was considering film schools, Michigan came out comparable to NYU and UCLA (at least in regards to screenwriting. Michigan, from what little I experienced as a short on time transfer student, has a great production department as well, and one of my Michigan professors always talked about how Michigan was so much better than his alma mater, USC).

And then the kicker -- Michigan, unlike most of the other schools I was considering, took midyear transfers. Sold and enrolled.

I promise the commercial for Michigan is almost over, but first let me explain the structure of the feature writing classes. Screenwriting I is open to everyone. You are taught structure and format and you write your first script. HALF of you are invited into Screenwriting II. Screenwriting II is a unique class where you're taught to rewrite. You come out with a new draft of your Screenwriting I script. Half of THOSE students are invited into Screenwriting III, a master workshopping class where you write a new script under the mentorship of head of the program. (Side note: I went through all three classes, which makes me feel pretty good about myself. Some people I know when through all three classes and won huge cash awards, which helps me keep my ego in check.)

In a week and a half, V. and I will be presenting Consideration to the Screenwriting II class. Their homework is to take the script, read it, and come back the next weeks with notes. At which point I will sit down at the table, pull out my laptop, and record the tidal wave of notes. Then our homework is to come back the next week to show how we incorporated the notes into our script. It's supposed to get their head in the game for rewriting (which can be a bit of a shock, the first time you're expected to do more than just edit) and it's supposed to give us an opportunity to get input on the script.

I am a little bit nervous about this. One, I know what kind of egos will be a room of 12 screenwriting students who just got into an invitation only class. I know, because I had one of them. Two, because I'm just nervous about showing Consideration to anyone yet.

Maybe that's because I'm not even through the second draft yet, I don't know. But I only wrote one new script since graduation (I was also rewriting other scripts and writing lots of first acts), and I didn't show anyone that until I had written three drafts. And I was going to wait until draft four, but I decided to send it to a friend with my intended changes to see what she thought. That's it.

So to hand off a baby script to a dozen over zealous college students makes me a little nervous. I have a pretty thick skin, but V. has been very patient and maybe I've gotten soft and -- sensitive.

But what really makes me nervous is not the screenwriting students. The head of the screenwriting department teaches that class, so he'll read this draft too. It's the first work of mine that he'll have read in three years. I desperately want to have improved. I'm totally not looking for validation or anything.

I would have liked to wait until draft 3 to show anyone anything, I really would have. But that's not the case, and I am grateful for this opportunity anyway. I'm sure a room of screenwriting students is not unlike a room of executives, so it'll be good practice for getting studio notes in the future. Because I do expect to get a lot of those.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Killing and Cutting.

I've never worked with a writing partner. I try to harvest my bff D.'s brain as often as possible, and once I got through a first act based off an idea we had, but I've never worked straight on with a writing partner.

Working with V. is the closest I've ever been to writing with a partner. We meet every week and discuss the story, I get notes, I take notes, etc. Usually I just nod and write down what he says. I need to ruminate before I give input, so usually my voice comes through just in my writing, not when we're actually discussing the script (which means that if V. disagrees with me, I'll most likely have to rewrite it).

I usually agree with the notes he gives me. Then again, he hasn't given me a ton of notes yet so I don't have much fodder to disagree with yet. But last week, he asked me to cut a scene that I liked, that I thought was necessary, at the very least, addressed a question we needed to answer. I actually didn't mind cutting the scene, as long as the protagonist had to wrestle with the question at some point.

Most of our meeting was preoccupied with that problem -- do we have to have this scene? And do we have to have this problem at all? And I thought I won. I really really thought I had proved my point.

And then he emailed and he found a way to bypass it, all together! I was disappointed. I thought the problem presented a moral and ethical conundrum that it would have been interesting to see our main character wrestle with. I wanted to test her. And I was disappointed that we weren't going to test her to that extreme.

But I said yes, I said I would cut it. Because we're shooting ultra low budget and by cutting that scene we cut a character and a location. I want to see this made and I don't want making it to be difficult. If I was writing this story as a spec, maybe I'd argue this point. Maybe I'll consider it some more, how passionate I feel about this particular problem for our character.

But this script is already over budget. I've populated it with so many characters and so many locations, I'm going to have to cut a whole bunch of scenes anyway. So, in the interest of the movie -- perhaps over the interest over the script -- I'll cut the scene and I'll barrel ahead.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


The holidays are over. Cut the fun. Back to real life.

V. mercifully released me from my self-imposed pre-Christmas draft 1.5. He had something like 32 screenplays to grade and apparently did not want to read a 33rd. Fair. I had a really fab holiday. I tried to shop local and small business for all my gifts and ended up having the most fun Christmas shopping that I've ever had. In what I consider resulting good (and ironic) karma, I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas, which has already proven its worth twice, once when I was stuck in the airport for five hours and last night when I realized it was the only way I could watch the Michigan-V. Tech Sugar Bowl.

Ah, Michigan.

I'm not going to do an end of the year post. 2011 was fine but tumultuous, and I probably don't remember half the events anyway. But I will do 2012, a year in preview --

1. Michigan will be mighty.

2. I am going to Israel. I feel super lucky that I'm getting to take a trip to Israel with my aunt and dad (er, and Mike Huckabee). Israel and New Zealand have spent the last five years jostling for top spot on my Top 184 Places to Visit. Guess New Zealand will have that trophy all for its own now.

My mom said she wouldn't come with us because she didn't want her children to be completely orphaned.

3. I will drink more water. Well, maybe.

4. We're making a movie. More precisely, a movie I wrote. It may be cold and dark now, but in just a few short months I will be breezing from my desk to set, where I will huddle in a corner, since I doubt we will have those fun movie set chairs, and watch people act what I wrote. Expect pictures. 'Cause I'm taking a lot.

5. There will be a wedding, and I reign as MOH. That's Maid of Honor, suckas!

6. If I feel like it, I will rewrite and e-publish my NaNo novel. I like it. It'd be fun. You know, if I feel like it.

7. I will watch more movies, read more scripts, write more pages. Scott Meyer's has a great 1, 2 , 7, 14 plan that I will emulate.

And that's it for now. There's other stuff, waiting in the wings, that will make an entrance at the right time.

I know on New Year's Eve, people always think the next twelve months will be a good year. Everyone has a 'feeling.' I don't have a feeling. I have a knowing. How could I look at that list and not know?

However, I do have a 'feeling' that there will be a lot of dance parties.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


At 6:58 pm (I know because the coffee shop closed at 7, and the barista was loudly and deliberating cleaning up around me) today, I typed the two most beautiful words known to screenwriters everywhere -- FADE OUT. Draft 0 of Consideration, my script assignment for V., is done.

I have spent the evening celebrating by watching TV and not caring about the drool sliding down my chin. The last two months have been some of the most productive of my writing career but also some of the most draining. I have neglected friends, sleep, and the holiday season, and I am not all that sorry. I am just tired.

No rest of the weary, though. Tomorrow I meet with V. to discuss this week's pages, and I'm sure, since it's the end of the script, the notes will run long and deep. I will give myself the rest of the night off (off to handle other responsibilities), and then Friday comes around swinging. I promised V. a draft before Christmas, but I want it to be a readable draft, a draft we can give people for notes. So this week's goal is to do a complete pass of the script with the notes he's given me during our weekly meetings. I am basically going to attempt to rewrite the script. In 5 days.

But it's ok. This script is going into production next summer, and if it costs me a little bit of sleep and a tiny bit of sanity to make it the best story I can deliver, I'll gladly count the cost. Not many writers get the chance to see their words on screen. I already got paid for this assignment, but I'm still here to earn it.