Sunday, June 1, 2008

Getting Things Done? Not If I Can Help It...

Fairly productive week, for a change. What wasn't spent editing (which isn't as much as I'd like, but was somehow more than has been the case for the last month, even though the dreaded Hard Deadline is fast approaching) was spent working on the latest (and dear god hopefully final) revision of the first spec screenplay.

This revision was brutal. The old saying is that when writing, you've got to kill your darlings. I didn't just kill them; I viciously beat them, let them hang out with the creepy next door neighbour till three in the morning, did awful things to them with a chainsaw, and buried their mutilated bodies in a shallow grave on an acreage just outside of town (which reminds me, I should really check on--uh, nothing. Nevermind.) As it stands, almost the only thing recognizable from the first draft is the title, character names, and first two pages. I'm reasonably sure it's a more commercially viable thing, now, but it isn't what I started out wanting it to be.

Then again, it pretty much never was. Hollywood Manager says when it comes to stories, a writer's first instinct is usually right. In my case, I'm pretty sure it's the second instinct that's the correct one, at least for socially acceptable content. If I went with my first instinct, well, I'm not really a happy ending kind of a guy. And this thing has a happier ending than almost anything I wasn't paid up-front to work on. After the revisions, it's also got a considerably happier middle. And a happier team repping it to the people who might actually give me some money for it. So, we shall see.

Speaking of the representing team, there's been a break between business partners at Hollywood Manager's company when it comes to THE HOLIDAY MEN. Hollywood Manager sees it as a stop-motion animated show, which makes more sense to me and Nick than anything else. However, Hollywood Manager's partner and junior partner are trying to make it work as a film property. They're working on coming up with "a take" on it (a term I'm convinced is shorthand for "Take it away, boys", after which the idea being taken away is never heard from again).

I actually feel kind of sorry for the Partners in this case. I wrote THE HOLIDAY MEN with no consideration for its multimedia potential, as a way to treat the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach I get whenever I see a movie pitch masquerading as a comic. I've written more than one of those, and I was beginning to worry that I was starting to do it without someone paying me. It was pretty much immune to translation or adaptation to any other medium, or so I thought. Imagine my surprise when H'wood Manager & Co. fell all over themselves loving it.

Like I said to the managers and Nick, I don't particularly care what happens with the H-Men outside of comics. I certainly don't want to be involved in making the changes to the idea that'd be required to make it even remotely workable in another medium. But if they want to bash their head against that wall, or, better still, can find someone willing to give me and Nick money to bash their head against that wall, more power to them.

This coming week's big project is coming up with ten-twenty minutes of stuff to say to a group of editors as part of the Editors Association of Canada's Conference 2008. If I get the chance to do something creative, there's a couple animation scripts I either want to, or should, be doing, as well as more work on THE LITTLE BROTHER. And while I know I should be doing all of that, what I actually feel like doing right now is another chapter of the prose version of one of my and John Keane's things. Writing the first two was a pain in the ass, as prose always is, but it can't be beat for satisfaction when it's working.

Oh, and then there's the editing. Always with the editing...


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