Busy!

Have you ever had one of those weeks where there was just too much going on?  That’s the sort of week I’ve been having.  It’s been good, great even, I’ve just had a lot on my plate.  I love the freelance writing I’m doing but, between working full-time and tutoring and trying to attend local freethought events, my weeks are already too full.  Then I got a special assignment from Social Axcess to cover NCAA Social Media for March Madness — so that required a lot of research, because I don’t know much about American sports, and I know even less about college sports.  This is because I resented being forced to go to prep rallies when I was in high school — I have a block when it comes to school sports.

Then I was learning a courier route at work, meaning I spent all day in a car driving, so I was working overtime and not in front of a computer. And I had a 1500 word piece due.  And I got laryngitis.  And it’s spring, so my allergies are in full bloom.  And someone wanted to consult with me about an editing project, which I just can’t take on right now, but it’s interesting.

Exciting news!  I’m going to the SCA Conference in Washington, DC right before my birthday.  Which reminds me that I need to put together some information on Social Media Strategy for them in the next day or two.  I hope I get the chance to see a little of DC, I went when I was in 8th grade and that was before I’d seen The West Wing and thought that there was something worth seeing in Washington.

And the world is apparently falling apart, but I haven’t really had time to absorb that.  CNN has just had one too many “Where is God in Japan” headlines for me to stomach trying to follow the daily news cycle.  And the Nicholl opened, and TAM registration opened.

So it’s Sunday and I still feel on edge, like I should be working, and there’s still plenty on my plate, but I’m taking a day off.  Of course, my brain is still going a million miles a minute — I don’t really drink, but maybe I just need a drink.

Nothing to do with the rest of this post

Nicholl: Congratulations Micah Ranum

One of my FSU Film School classmates, Micah Ranum, won the Nicholl Fellowship this year! I’m super happy for him. The spec is called “A Good Hunter” and the logline is:

In an unforgiving wilderness, a reformed hunter tracks a vicious killer who may have kidnapped his daughter years ago.

There was only one other logline that looked like it might be something other than a Heartfelt Drama about Important Issues, so I’m doubly happy for him to win with a Thriller. Admittedly, I’m a bit jealous, but I fully intend to throw out the I knew him when card as often as possible. And you know that thing where people say “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy”? That’s actually accurate.

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.

Delinquent

I’m sorry I’ve been so lacking in interesting things to say.  At the moment I’m just showing up to work and trying to write a business plan.  I’m doing a slight re-write of my Nicholl Script, “Bible Con”.  I’m hoping to have it and a new script ready to send to Nicholl this year.

So, I dunno, not a lot going on.  I’m about to start working on editing a short, but I haven’t actually started yet.  I spend a lot of time trolling the internets for jobs.  Yeppers.

Otters

Too Cute

Netiquette

I received an e-mail from a director who is looking for a script and who was told to e-mail the Nicholl Semi-Finalists. He sent a mass e-mail that had all of our e-mail addresses in the TO: field.

After replying with my logline and synopsis, I included a PS about how impersonal it is to send an obvious mass mailing and that not everyone wants their e-mail to be revealed to a bunch of strangers, and that he should BCC in the future.

I mean, maybe that’s not cool of me, but I feel like someone should tell him. Maybe he just doesn’t know about the BCC. And he really should. Because I don’t really mind having the e-mail addresses of my fellow semi-finalists, but they might mind.

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: First Phone Call, 17th Contact

I was sitting here in a pleasant reverie, remembering my trip two springs ago to visit New York and the Daily Show, just before I graduated film school.  I was trying to figure out where I should live and work and my family friend Gail Lieb has a talented son who works at the Daily Show and as a writer.  Anyway, I’ve always loved New York, and going that spring was really beautiful, and it was really difficult to commit to moving to LA after such a lovely spring week in NYC.

Anyway, I’d just sent Josh an e-mail telling him how much I’d loved his book, especially the formatting.  (What?  I like the formatting.  Shut up.)  And I got a phone call from one of those previously mentioned big guys.  Actually, it was a different person at the same big guy agency.  But he called me, so that was exciting.  And he expressed interest in the Mockumentary genre and was very pleasant on the phone.  He’s based in New York, and for some reason, that struck me as really awesome, since that’s where I was in my mind.

17: it is one of my lucky numbers, because it’s prime and 3*17 is 51, and I always thought that was cool because 51 looks prime, but it isn’t.  (Why are you always harshing my nerd high?)

Me, Gail, and Spring in New York

Me, Gail, and Spring in New York

Nicholl: What I’ve learned so far; 15 and 16

What I’ve learned: You don’t break into the industry with a Mockumentary.

People really enjoy reading them, but no one wants to make them or believes you can write based on them.  Which is weird because there’s a screenplay sitting there that they really enjoyed, but despite the success of The Office and Best in Show, and reality style in general, Mockumentaries are apparently too difficult to set up in Hollywood.

I wrote the screenplay because I liked the story and I love mockumentaries, I really never thought it’d be getting attention from Hollywood.  From small indie producers, maybe.  Maybe I hoped Christopher Guest would somehow find it on his reading list.  But I didn’t figure Hollywood would be interested.  And I was wrong in that they seem to have liked reading it enough to stay in touch with me, but not enough to take it on board.

15: Congratulations on your recent 2009 Nicholl Fellowship success! We read about you and would love to read your script BIBLE CON.

At *** Entertainment we manage about 50 writers in television and film, and produce feature films as well.

I’ve attached our **** Entertainment release form, and need it filled out for each piece of material being submitted. Despite its stringent language, I can assure you this is an industry-standard release form. Please fill out the form and either scan and email with the script, or fax the release to *** and then e-mail the script, or you can throw it all in the mail as well – our address is in my signature below.

16: I actually got this a long time ago and missed it

Congrats on your script being a semi-finalist in the Nicholl competition!
Sounds interesting–may I read it?  My company manages screenwriters and playwrights and we are always reading new screenplays to find potential clients we can introduce to the Hollywood studio system.
Can you email me a copy?

Nicholl: 14 and counting

14th: From a management/production company

Congratulations on being chosen as a semifinalist for the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship.  This is a very prestigious honor and quite an accomplishment.

I am a literary manager at ***, a full service management/production company with deep expertise in talent and literary representation.  We represent some of the most prominent actors, writers and directors across all platforms (film, television, new media).  Our production arm has partnered with *** in Michigan to produce independent films and has projects set up at studios such as *** and several TV networks.

Should you be seeking representation, I would love to read your screenplay, BIBLE CON.