Thursday, September 5, 2013

Maintaining passion for your project

Apologies for not blogging for a while. Fatherhood, part-time work and screenwriting have taken up pretty much most of my time.

I'm working on a BIG action, fantasy film, and yesterday marked the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of me starting that project.

A year. One whole year. Three hundred and sixty five days.

Holy F#*^!

I wasn't working solely on that, I wrote another screenplay that went wide in April, but still, a year?!

As I was driving back form my writing partners yesterday, I began to think about it.

I still love the story. I still love the hero. I still love the premise.

It made me realise how important this is when formulating an idea, because if you don't love any aspect about it, you're doomed, particularly if you're working on spec.

If you're getting paid, I imagine the paycheck gets you excited enough to push through, but for the spec market, what keeps you going? The story. The hero. The premise.

It's also been fascinating to see how the script has evolved and changed, and what keeps coming back after we've dropped it a few drafts ago.

We're on our fourth draft of this, and began developing the idea with a producer after the third. The story started off as a grounded tale, then got heightened in fantasy, and is now somewhere between the two. Major protagonists have been taken out (who we loved!) and villains have been changed too many times to remember, but because the heart of the story is so great and we love it so much, we keep on going.

The development process has been a challenge, but an excellent one. The producer we're working with pitched us the idea, but it was a screenplay we had already been working on. We gave him the draft, and while he loved the premise, and felt it was structurally sound, he wanted to make big changes. This was the first time that we'd experienced this and have been, in effect, doing a page one rewrite.

But the reality is, it isn't a page one re-write. The characters, the structure, the premise, the hero are all still the same. But the words on the page are different.

What the producer really wanted us to do was identify the real human story in the midst of all this fantasy, and make that the movie. The monsters, the action, the magic, that all sits on top the of the human story, but without this grounded tale, the story felt light and kiddie.

This has been the hardest challenge for us, but is only making us stronger as writers.

It's also been taking as lot longer too. We wanted to be finished by labor day, but I think we're still four weeks out.

Oh well. We just have to keep going.

Luckily this is a story we love.

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