World Cup: Day 4; Writing D4aD

Netherlands v Denmark

Netherlands won as expected with the added bonus of a freak Denmark own goal.

Japan v Cameroon

Japan with an upset over Cameroon.

Italy v Paraguay

Italy was supposed to trounce Paraguay, and instead they ended up trailing for most of the game, and just pulling out a tie in the second half. Italy is not playing nearly as well as they did last cup, where they were the winners, but they have a reputation for eking by for the win anyway.

Finally put something on paper for the second act of D4aD. Hopefully the lack of a blank page staring at me will let me move with some speed through the rest of it.

Internet help?

Using the massive power of, um, asking a question on my blog in the hopes that someone who reads it knows the answer, does anyone know if there’s a place online where I can watch the world cup games after they air? As in, I have no plans to be up at 7am to watch the opening game live, but I would actually like to watch it. Or is this just something I have to figure out Friday?

I sort of fell off the blogging map last week.  It was one of those weeks where I accomplished like nothing at all.  But I will be better now because I’m fully recovered from having another human being (aka Mom) spending all day with me every day for 4 days.  Have you read this?  You know that phrase “you’re getting on my last nerve”?  Having people around all the time is sort of like being put in a state of permanent last nerveness.  Also, she broke down my door.  Which was kind of hilarious.

In the last couple of weeks I haven’t been watching a lot of media.  I’m well behind on Glee and hadn’t watched a movie in like weeks because I’d been reading a lot trying to do the 50 books in a year thing.  Which has actually been nice.  I spend all day at work in front of the computer watching TV footage, I think getting away from the computer is a state I have to manufacture more often.  Like, I’ve gotten some (late-afternoon, indirect) sunlight in the last couple of weeks and I feel slightly healthier and I think my skin is vaguely less albino.  But, this weekend, I watched some movies and Sherlock Holmes.  I know it’s wrong, but Jeremy Brett, am I right?

Jeremy Brett: Hot or Not?

I just did a google image search for people who are albino and they are not paler than me.  What’s that about?

Working on D4aD, trying to get beyond the outline with complete first act stage.  I tried scene cards and decided I hate them.  I’m not saying writing has to be totally organic, and having a skeleton is important, but the scene cards confuse that for me somehow.  //END RANDOM BLOG

3 weeks to Christmas

I wanted to have my rewrite of Bible Con and first draft of Dyke for a Day done by Thanksgiving.  I also wanted to have a business plan for the former ready for my trip to SC at Christmas.  You know, so I could sort of test the waters for raising the money there.  So new deadline, Dec. 22.  Except I’m working days, nights and weekends.

It would help if my health wasn’t undermining my energy and I was less easily distracted by QI, which is my new favorite thing in the universe.

In other news, I got my feedback from ScriptSavvy, and for the most part the notes are very good.  If you really want decent notes on your script, I would send off to them long before I did to Zoetrope or any other script contest.  My only complaint is that the notes have a tendency to talk down to the writer, as though they aren’t terribly bright and don’t know anything about screenwriting.  I’m sure this comes from an attempt to guess what you can assume the author knows.  They don’t appear to have a terribly high opinion.

I got a 48, which is about 5 points off an honorable mention score, and 7 off a win.  I guess that means a strong rewrite could be a winner.  One thing I really don’t like about the Nicholl is the complete lack of notes, even for the people who advance.  That’s true of many contests, but it’s definitely a flaw in the Nicholl and a strength of ScriptSavvy.

Go to 47:55 of this YouTube video to be incredibly impressed by Senator Parker of NY.

Lost Weekend

I had a weekend that was no good for writing. I’ve set myself a deadline of end of Thanksgiving holiday for a rewrite of Bible Con and a Polished first draft of Dyke for a Day. I had time to work on it this weekend because all of my editing projects are floating in nebulous waiting for other people to do things. But I didn’t work because my shoulder is messed up. This didn’t make it impossible to write, but it was really uncomfortable to sit in front of my computer or look down. It’s still killing me. Maybe I should start dictating.

Instead, I just watched a lot of Christopher Hitchens. I try to imagine the God/No God debate from the other point of view and find I just cannot. Cannot imagine it. I suppose I am like Hitchens, I never lost my faith, I just realized I didn’t have it. I was eight, I found all my teeth that I’d lost in my mom’s room (why she kept them, I don’t know). And there it was, proof that there was no tooth fairy. And that meant no Easter Bunny, no Santa Claus, and no Jesus.

I am going back to Columbia, SC this weekend. Doing the red-eye Wednesday night/Thursday morning. I’m seriously considering trying to raise money and film my feature in SC. I think it could be done for a modest budget, and I think the idea of a Native Daughter shooting in SC is something that could raise some money. I have a lot of connections there, including with the university. I hold secret hopes that somehow I could tie it into the university and get a lot of young people involved with the production. There aren’t a lot of opportunities in film in South Carolina.

Maybe I’ll get some writing done on the plane. We’re going to not put odds on this.

I started watching Jeeves and Wooster. I highly recommend it.

Nicholl: Responses from 2/8

I sent the first act of Dyke for a Day out to the manager I’d been talking to before the Nicholl thing.  He probably won’t see it til Monday.

Two responses so far, neither of them surprising.  Mockumentaries aren’t for everyone.  Although I think it’d be pretty easily produced, I imagine it’s not something Hollywood is necessarily looking for.  Indie markets are different.  I’m excited that the manager liked the writing, but I guess I really need to get on getting D4aD finished.

1st: Thanks for sending this over, ultimately it wasn’t for me.

4th: Hey Ashley,

Hope all is well. Thanks for letting me have a chance to look over BIBLE-CON. Definitely a fun read. I’m a little on the fence about the material — as mockumentaries aren’t the easiest thing to set up around town. Regardless, I was impressed with the writing. I’d love to read more of your work. Do you have any other feature specs? How long til Dyke for a Day will be ready?

Fill me in.

My response:  Dyke for a Day will probably be finished in the next couple of weeks. I have a polished first act that I’m sending out to another manager who’s asked to see it, would you be interested in that or should I just get in touch when I’m finished with the entire draft? I also have my TV script if you’re just interested in further writing samples.

Mockumentaries are tough, they really work better in the indie feature world in terms of raising the capital for them; the nice thing is that it could be pretty low budget. I originally wrote it with the thought of trying to get investors behind it, but I decided I just didn’t have enough contacts and producing experience to do that on my own.

Thank you for reading it, and I’m glad you enjoyed the writing.

Definitely send me the script when it is finished – assuming you’re not repped by then.

First Act: One person officially liked it

Woo!

Minor adjustments and it may be ready to ship off!  I’m still waiting on one reader to send their thoughts, but it’s always so exciting the first time someone reads something you’ve written.

I also signed up for Zoetrope.com where I put up Bible Con to get thoughts.  I have to review 4 other scripts to read it, but hopefully I’ll be able to do that by the time anyone actually reviews it.

First Act: Complete

First acts are probably the easiest. And I write short anyway. This one clocks in at exactly 22 pages, written in just over a week. 9 days coming out to over 2 pages a day, though that’s certainly not how it was written. 12 last weekend, 10 this weekend. Nothing like my 15 page a day peek last summer, but then, I have a full time job and several part time gigs.

I am going to polish it up and send it to the manager guy sometime this week. Although it’s a first draft kind of, it’s not really.

I first wrote out the idea as a short film, which I shot 2 summers ago. Then, last summer, I wrote out a 4 page treatment and character profiles. And then, last fall, I did 40 index card outline. And then I hand wrote it the last month. So the typed version is not really a first draft, but it still feels fresh, new and exciting.

Hopefully I can get some feedback before I send it off to more judgmental eyes.

Tomorrow, the editor starts on the show I’m working on. I’m hoping to get to know him at least somewhat.

Sometime this week I need to meet with the actress whose reel I’m working on. She has some notes on it. Unfortunately, for what she’s paying me, I can’t afford to spend much more time on it, so hopefully when we meet this week we’ll be able to put it to bed.

I also need to finish this assembly/rough of the short I got last weekend. I’m about halfway through, but I wanted to be done tonight.

I also wanted to have the pilot for this web series written. I just need to sit down and bang something out, even if it’s crap, to get it off my plate. I’m just having a hard time drumming up enthusiasm for a 3 page script. It’s so little to work with.

The web series that I worked on and was going to post supervise and edit isn’t going to be happening. The deal they were getting was just unmanageable, which is a shame.

I have no idea what I’ll be doing as a job come Nov. 2. I spent the day e-mailing back and forth with my G.G.Aunt Margaret. I’m learning a lot about my family history and it’s all very cool and strange at the same time.

Tonight was the last night of my antibiotics for my weird strep, which the doctor thinks may be the cause of my severe fatigue and dizziness. Thank God, because I’m having to really focus on keeping it down. Nothing like knowing you can’t throw up because you’ll lose your medication.

Obviously I’m still a bit bummed on the Nicholl Snafu but I’m excited that there are possibly going to be phone calls this week. I really should have busted my ass to get a new draft of Bible Con done, but who knows, I may have gotten rid of whatever made it SF material.

And their cock up (sorry, too much Gordon Ramsay) was good in the sense that I broke 200 visitors in a day by posting it. And I discovered a few new screenwriting resources because message boards linked to me and sent traffic my way. DoneDeal and Zoetrope, if anyone is curious. I’ve never been much a part of the online screenwriting community because I know so many writers in the flesh, but it could be a cool avenue.

And if I haven’t said it before, Greg Beal is a class act — he’s everywhere online apologizing, explaining, and taking people’s thoughts into consideration. I’m really impressed with him. Now, if he could get some different people working the phones…

Busy Weekend; Bad day for a Migraine

Friday was crazy. I got asked to write a pilot by a web producer, to write a polished first act of a feature for a manager, to edit a short, to add something to a reel, and that it’s possible that I will be promoted to Assistant Editor in January and that I will be responsible for the deliverables for the show I’m working on starting Monday. These are all good things, but suddenly my off days are very full.

I feel terrible today. I have the worst headache I’ve had in years. I missed my morning call about the trial drug I’m taking, I’m really hoping this doesn’t cost me being able to be in the trial. But seriously, my headache was so bad my eyes were watering. I took some Advil. And then I irrigated my nose. And then I took a decongestant. And then I found a bottle of Vicodin I had from a previous injury.

This stuff is magic. I still have a little bit of a headache, but I am functioning again. Albeit at a reduced capacity for coordination and thought, but still. I should say that I’m already prone to being totally dizzy and having zero coordination. Which is to say, on Vicodin, I am kind of hilarious. I’m like a tight-rope walker trying to balance who is also very talkative.

Yesterday, I met with the director of the short and got the footage. It’s a romantic comedy, the lighting looks good and there are some good performance moments in what I’ve seen. It’s 4 hours of footage to subclip and log and it took me 12 hours just to get the back up done. But, I’m hoping F will be able to take a little bit of the subclipping work off my plate. Like a subcontractor ha. I also met with the actress, showed her my rough idea for her reel and got another project from her. She seems happy, so that’s good.

I also got 12 pages of the first act for Dyke for a Day written, so I’m excited about that as well. I’m trying to finish it this week. Luckily I write fast when under pressure, so hopefully banging this and the short web pilot out won’t be too difficult. I’m just so Zombified from the headache and the vicodin that I’m not sure I’m useful.

I’ve been watching a lot of Hell’s Kitchen and Flipping Out. I must just love angry people because Jeff Lewis and Gordon Ramsey seem so adorable to me. I want little teddy bear versions of them to have walking around and yelling all the time.

I’m very concerned, having not heard from the producer, that Gold is not going to be happening this fall. I was really looking forward to being the Post Supervisor for that, but maybe there’s enough on my plate already. I’ll probably hear about the Nicholl this week.

It’s so damn hot in my apartment. I’m tempted to use my new cubicle space as my writing home. Maybe there’d be less distractions there.

Tomorrow: Doctor’s Appt at 8 AM, Starting story assistant job at 9 AM (probably will be late), and all that other stuff on my plate.

A real person read my script

We’ll call these people S and T. S is a manager/producer type, T is S’s assistant. F, my creative partner, has a connection with S, in that she really loved Prombies!, the short he and I made that was about erections turning boys into zombies, and she has been in touch with him a couple times about his interest in directing some fairly middling (read:bad) zombie comedies.

Anyway, F was kind enough, with some heavy pressure from myself, to suggest that they read my script when I found out it was a quarter-finalist at Nicholl. Well, I immediately got a “Please send it” but, as the months passed, although I was diligent with follow up, I figured it would never get read.

And then it got read, and he likes it. And he wants to see all my writing. The only problem is that the only polished thing I have other than the feature, is a Television Spec for Mad Men. It’s not a bad spec, but it’s also not much use for people who produce features. Luckily, I have the first act of another screenplay, Dyke for a Day, written, but in severe need of polishing. He wants to see it ASAP, so I’m going to spend the weekend writing.

I’ve also been in contact with a few people from Craigslist about editing or working on some different projects. One is a short, the other is a feature documentary that appears to be about Gay Jews.  <3

I have a pitch with a web producer as well.  I’m going to go make that phone call now.  Fingers crossed!

Things in Theatres I want to see: The September Issue, Fame, Paranormal Activity, Jennifer’s Body, Capitalism: A Love Story, Coco Before Chanel, Bright Star, Whip It, Anti-Christ, The Men Who Stare at Goats