I want to write and tell stories.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Interesting side effect of Screenwriting….

I have noticed a nice little side effect of screenwriting……my correspondence/report writing/proposal writing is improving. Now, you might think that any form of extra writing would assist in business writing, and learning how to write screenplays is no different, but I would disagree. Why?

In screenplays you try and give the reader the most information, with the minimum amount of words. Hopefully, those words are also interesting and make sense as well. This is exactly what you want to do in business writing, as you need to get your information across in the most efficient manner, as you don’t want to waste their time. Time is money, so if you can get your message across in one paragraph, as opposed to 2-3, fantastic. Job well done, and you save time as well.

Anyone else found this?

I may never sell a screenplay, I am extremely realistic about that, but as the title of my blog explains, I want to write, it is not titled “I want to write and sell screenplays”. :) I have found a writing medium that suits me, and I enjoy immensely, so I am very happy. I enjoy the process. If something comes of it, I would be ecstatic. I would love to write as a living, as I’m sure all of us in the Scribosphere would. Am I concerned about never selling one, no. Why, because I have a job that provides for my family, which is infinitely more important to me at this stage of my life, than following my muse, sleeping with my muse, or doing anything kinky with my muse. :) I take my responsibility as a father seriously, and if I was young and single (or even in a relationship, but no kids), it would be a totally different matter. I can’t ask my kids to do without, so I can go off chasing dreams. Others may, I can’t. By the way, no judgment on anyone else, that is just me. Also, don’t take this that I don’t sit here sometimes saying “this job sucks”. Do I have respect for people who are following their dreams, absolutely, more power to them, and I hope they make it, I seriously do. I wish them all the best.

Don’t take this lack of concern for not selling, as lack of motivation or drive to become a better writer and eventually sold. I am learning more, each time I sit down to write, which is more often than I may imply here on this blog. I have learnt so much in the last year or so reading all these blogs, for which I am always extremely grateful. My job does allow me a degree of security, and allows me to relax a bit when writing, and I think reduces some of the frustration you experience as a writer.

The start to this year has been hectic. My wife and I took another pass at buying that restaurant, came damn close, but the due diligence came up with some whoppers that would have put us in the position of gambling large amounts of money (against our house, and personally guaranteed) on dodgy equipment. I know how often kitchen equipment breaks down, so we pulled out. Also, the current owner was slow in producing figures and information we required, and I caught him out on a few porky pies as well.

I did not write about this at the time, as well, I was busy. :) Working long hours as normal, and forming companies, meeting with solicitors, accountants, doing business plans, creating menus, marketing plans, etc., etc. On top of that, I made sure I was still spending time with my kids, as they mean the world to me, this did however, result in quite a few late nights! In between all of this, I still managed to punch out about 60 pages of a script I am working on. Not sure when exactly, but they were written. Hey, I’m not saying it was any good, but I still managed to churn the pages, and as I said above, enjoyed it immensely, and learnt something with each page produced.

Another little project I did was to contact Dylan at the Canadian university about the short they want to produce, which Warren mentioned on his site, the Screenwriting Life, a couple of weeks ago. An idea that I quite liked had popped into my head a couple of weeks previously, so I sent off the idea, and luckily Dylan agreed, and wanted to see more, so I whipped up about 12 pages, couple of rewrites also, but alas, was not the chosen one. The force must be weak in me. :) Name of short, “Housewife wants Hitman, must have own gun”. I blame Richard at Scriptweaver for getting me thinking about hitmen :) It was fun to try, as even though I may not be ready (or ever) to be produced, it is getting me used to rejection early. I thought I had enough experience from my single days but apparently not. :) I sincerely hope that Dylan and his crew do well as he seems like a nice bloke all round.

I have been playing with another screenplay, my big action sci-fi one, Fourth Spectrum Warrior is the title I am going with, working title till a month or so ago was Desktop Soldier, but I like the latest incarnation more. The plot has really been done before (which one hasn’t) but I think I have some original ideas for it overall. I am sure when it is finished, I will be begging some of you to read it and provide notes in the future. Be gentle!

So, there you go, a bit of an update on what I have been doing. Oh, and I bought my first ever laptop (have used the company one up until now), I am still on the darkside, windows, not mac, so feel free to flame me J Nice little 15.4” widescreen, 1Gb Ram, x600 128mb ATI vid card, 80gb SATA HDD, and it has a little DVD remote that resides in the PCMCI slot for safekeeping….very cool and handy! Also has 5.1 surround. I am a very happy camper, lots more space on the desk now. Lee Goldberg was asking people to put up photos of their writing area. I am going to do that in the next few weeks, when I finally buy a digital camera and come into the 21st century.

I don’t write much about writing, as I learn more by doing, and asking questions where I can, and of course, reading as much as I can. However, there is one thing I can say from my experience in my role in Sales, and this relates to queries, both on the phone, and by letter, or email. Okay, so you get to the stage where you are going to send them out, don’t worry too much, seriously, the worst they can say is NO, they might be a bit condescending, they may even be slightly rude (not often from what I am reading) but that is it. They wont call you a talentless hack, (well not to your face probably)….so, again, don’t worry too much. I get “no” quite often in this role, so maybe I am used to it, but they definitely aren’t going to track you down and slaughter your first born, or key your car, so again, don’t worry or fret too much, just do it, and if it doesn’t work, re-evaluate, and move on, and try again. That’s about the only advice I can give you, that I feel slightly qualified to provide.

Have fun, may the writing gods be sitting on your shoulders, and back to more fun posts shortly, this post has been far too serious, and far too long for my liking.....brrrrrrrrrrrr.


PS weird thing is, I wrote this prior to Fun Joel’s latest post. FJ, I hope you can find something that allows you that bit of financial freedom or the security that you are looking for. You deserve it for what you give to the Scribosphere.

PPS Does anyone else have trouble with blogger not remembering you as signed in even though you tick the little box?? I know my cookie setting is okay, I just can’t figure it out.


At 10:05 pm, Blogger Konrad West said...

Cool post.

Funny thing about your laptop, I just bought a laptop with the *exact* same specs. Weird.

Did you read Ismo's post about Paul Graham's essay about doing what you love? It has an interesting part about the two ways, working fulltime and doing it on the side, or jumping in and risking starvation.

I'm still on number one, but I'm trying to edge toward number too. Less work, less money, more creation.

At 5:47 am, Blogger Grubber said...

Thanks for that Konrad.

I haven't read that yet, as I caught it just before going home last night, and then got busy with other stuff at home :) but will make sure I read it today. As I said, if I was young totally different, but with kids...I can't do it any other way.

LOL, was yours an LG? I got it on sale, I was extremely happy. :)

At 5:49 am, Blogger Grubber said...

It's interesting, FJ, you and I all posted something on the same topic, around the same time....without having read each others first....is there something in the water??????

At 8:30 am, Blogger Security Dog said...

Both of you should be shot with pig-shit from a leather-barrelled shotgun for buying Billy machine's.

The one thing I have come to understand through writing is the way that most actors seem not to want to watch their work on the screen: I now understand the concept of any piece of artistic endeavour being permananetly unfinished or flawed in the eyes of the creator.

In the same way that when I re-read scenes or entire scripts that I wrote a year ago and know I could now make them better, it's the same with an acting performance.

At 2:39 pm, Blogger Security Dog said...

Permanently, FFS.

At 12:48 pm, Blogger Konrad West said...

Oops. Forgot that I commented here before. Wish there was a way to track where I comment...:(


Dave: My laptop is an ASUS, built by a local PC company. It plays Quake 4 really well, so I've been wasting a lot of time. ;(

SD: Thanks, but until Apple starts charging reasonable prices, I'll stick with Sir Gates.

And I'm with you on the acting comment. Since the missus started her acting course, I've learnt a lot about it. The major joy for an actor is the actual performance itself, not viewing it onscreen later on.


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