Breaking News: That was unexpected



So yeah, this happened. Remember when I talked about how my motivation is slowly returning and that I felt confident that I could get #ProjectMomentum going again… Well, turns out that getting nominated for a screenplay award really helps in that department. Yes, you read that right, Skyscraper, written by by friend Orlindo and yours truly is nominated for the German Animation Screenplay Award at the ITFS 2018 in Stuttgart. There are two other nominees, I don’t know who they are but I’m sure I’ll find out soon.

The awards ceremony is set for April 27th and Orlindo and I will be attending. We’re obviously very excited but I’ll try to manage my expectations. I’m pretty sure that we won’t win but as long as we are able to have a few interesting conversations after the event and maybe, who knows…you never know but I don’t expect anything to happen. I’m going in open minded and I’ll try to have a good time. It’s probably the only awards ceremony for screenwriting I’ll ever attend as a nominee and I don’t want to spoil that experience by having too many expectations.

This I obviously a developing story so I’ll keep you updated but it’s important to me to use this chance to say thanks, I’m not going to name names, you know who you are, but I want to say thanks to everyone who either believed in me or challenged me. Skyscraper is a product of a lifetime of experiences and challenges and I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks.

Almost there, just give me a second

…I’m almost there. Things are looking good. I’m slowly getting into it. I’m doing some housekeeping on my computer, I’m reorganising my notes and I even started to write a few words. I don’t know why it takes me so long to ease into my process again but I guess it’s because I lost momentum and I need to get it back.

There’s this one problem with momentum though, you don’t have it until you have it. It’s basically an uphill battle to get it but once you have it, it’s pretty much flat or even downhill…in the good sense. It’s going to be a lot of work but I’m sure I can don it. I lined up a little project that should allow me to be creative without too much preparation and if things work out it should be creatively rewarding. I think a small thing like that might be the ideal way to get started again. I have some other projects and ideas but they all seem big and daunting and I just know that I need something small to get started….just give me a second.


Almost there…seriously.

That took longer than expected…

Ok, that took longer than expected but I think I needed the time. I just needed to relax and take some time off from this endeavor. It’s not that I was fed up with it, I just needed time to gather my thoughts and get a few things out of my system.

I don’t have an exact plan yet, I have no idea when and what I’m going to write but I can feel that there’s something burning underneath all my other thoughts. Unfortunately I don’t have specifics yet but I’m pretty sure that by easter I have something to show.

Maybe I’ll have a look at some of my older projects, but to be honest I really want to do something new or at least something older in a totally new way. But who knows, maybe an old project suddenly requires some more or additional work, you never know and I’m also toying with the idea of giving the Blacklist another shot.

The new version of Saber Rider and Skyscraper are different enough to try again ans see whether or not we can get some momentum. See what I did there? 🙂

There’s nothing new to report now on the Skyscraper front. These things take time and the Spaniards are not the fastest when it comes to reading your script and writing back. We also handed in the script to a competition and to some production companies. Hopefully something interesting will develop there. I’ll let you know if something cool or interesting happens.

That’s it for today. I promise to return to regular programming soon. Stay tuned. 2018 is going to be exciting, seriously, I have a feeling about this one.

A New Dawn


So yeah, it has been longer than I intended it to be and I don’t know if I’m ready yet. For some reason I don’t feel the itch at the moment and I know that I should work through that but unfortunately it’s not just my writing it’s pretty much everything.

I blame the weather and I hope that the next couple of days and weeks will pass and I0m confident that with the sun, motivation will come as well.

I’ll try to use the time to get inspired. I played some games, watched some shows and movies and I’m sure that I will hit critical mass soon. I’m looking forward to that. 🙂

So I don’t have that much to say other than have a great and successful 2018.

Stay tuned.

Progress Report 55 – No Progress

Yeah, it’s that time of the year, the end of the year slump. I haven’t done anything since my last post. I just couldn’t sit myself down to type. My head is just empty and I desperately need some down time to recharge my batteries. I realise that this autumn hasn’t been as productive as it could have been but I’m positive that I will be able to return to form next year. I have a feeling that 2018 could become a great year. 

Maybe I’ll do a 2017 wrap up post next after Christmas, if not take care and I see you in 2018. 

Progress Report 54 – Updates

Sorry, I’m late. I’ve been busy. I haven’t written that much, had to do work stuff but I hope I can manage to get some keyboard time in the next few month. I abandoned the idea for a novel. I still like the idea but I don’t know if it’s a good idea to focus on that part of my life again.

I’d rather do something fun and exciting so I’m probably going to focus on “The Eternal” and I’m also going to resurrect my Time-Travel TV show, for German TV this time.

There’s also an extensive rewrite of “Die Klientin” in the cards. Orlindo helped me pinpoint some problems but I don’t have solutions I like yet. I want to tell a specific story that I have to adjust for audiences and I need to find a way to make the movie and its characters compatible for german tv without sacrificing what interested me in the story. It’s complicated but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

The “Saber Rider” rewrite is almost complete. I reworked the attack on the Alamo base and there might be some additional adjustments in the final battle but other than that, the rewrite is done and I’m quite happy with it.

No news from the guys from Spain. 🙁

Progress Report 53 – Rewriting Saber Rider

After last weeks big news1, this week is going to be focusing on craft, especially rewriting.

I mentioned that after cutting down Skyscraper, we decided to to the same with Saber Rider. I finally got down to it and I’m happy to report that we were able to cut about 17 pages. We were at about 130 and now the script has 113. The plan was 110 and I’m going to try to find the 3 pages somewhere. Most of the cuts happened in the action sequences. There were to many and they were convoluted. As much as enjoyed Ramrod fighting his way though the four elements, it just felt like three Super Mario levels in a row.

I also reworked the assault on the Ramrod base and made it smaller and a bit more focused on April and Jesse. Some banter between the characters had to go due to this but there’s still enough of that to feel like Saber Rider. What I realised again is that making Saber Rider a bit older was a great decision. It instantly elevates the character relationships and adds some necessary weight to his character that was lacking in the TV show.

During this rewrite I also corrected some spelling errors and polished the dialogue a bit and by polishing I mean shortening. I have the tendency to let my characters speak to long and convoluted2 and each rewrite pr polish I cut a few words more. It’s definitely not the mist efficient process but I think in the end it leads to decent results and I’m usually quite happy with how my characters sound after a couple of polishes.

One last thing I want to mention, I used Highland 2 for this rewrite. Highland is John Auguts’ screenwriting software and I got accepted to the beta program. The app runs really smooth and is totally decluttered and You really focus on the words the page. I feel that with Highland and WriterDuett I can satisfy all my screenwriting needs and the Final Draft days are definitely over. Highland is similar to Slugline but has some neat features that won me over immediately. The “bin” tab where you can put omitted scenes is especially useful while rewriting. I’m really looking forward to the finished version.

That’s it for today. Back to playing Super Mario Odyssey.


It’s a me, Mario!

  1. I’d love to report some reader spike or maybe a comment but seems like this blog is definitely a one man show. 🙁
  2. I wonder where they get that from.

Let’s do some News – #Rascacielos

Yes, someone likes our work!

In the last couple of months there have been some developments I want to share with you. I left some cryptic clues here and there but it’s time to set the record straight that tell you what we’ve been up to. It’s quite cool but I’m pretty sure it will fall apart quite soon, that’s basically why I’m posting this now, before this post becomes obsolete.

But not too fast, let’s rewind a bit… previously on Hard but unfair… You probably know that the last year was a difficult one for me. Things1 didn’t go according to plan and life has been strange, difficult and just generally sucky. I always had a really hard time coping with these kinds of experiences and feelings and this time it completely knocked me off base. I’m a different person because of it, at least I feel different and I’m finally moving on. I hope though that these feelings and experiences make me a better person or at least inspire me to become a better writer but when it comes to unrequited love, being emotional just sucks. Life is hard but unfair… but even in these dark times, there’s usually a silver lining, you just have to look really hard. Sometimes a personal failure can lead to something good and in this case it did.

Out of respect to others, I’m not going into the details of what exactly happened, it’s not too hard to guess though and as an avid reader of this blog you have enough information to fill in the blanks but I’ll tell you what happened afterwards. I cried my soul out and I promised myself something: Become the best possible version of yourself.

So, who is that? Well, basically it’s a better looking more successful version of the thing I was looking at in the mirror. If you follow this blog you probably read about what came next, I lost some weight, started to use some hair product, bought some new shirts, tighter trousers, generally speaking, I started to take better care of myself and my looks. One thing was missing though, professional success. I’m not saying that I’m a loser, I have a decent job I like and I’m not bad at it but this blog is supposed to be about my endeavours as a writer so you probably know how I’d describe success or what my dream version of success is.

Take your broken heart, make it into art. – Carrie Fischer

I wrote a new screenplay last fall and I promised myself to work hard on achieving my goal of becoming a professional writer. A broken heart can be a really good incentive to get things done and I admit, I definitely used those feelings, as chronicled on this blog. My motivation was about 50% hope and 50% defiance, or maybe the other way round. So I worked really hard on some new material, worked a bit on some old stuff and made sure that word (the screenplays to be specific) got around. I’m not sure how but … and here it comes … no, she didn’t confess her love for me…we reached someone. Yes, you read that right. Someone got interested in something we wrote, we being Orlindo and I. Yes, I’m serious.

On May 8th2 we got contacted through by Capitán Araña, a Spanish production company. They heard about our script Skyscraper on the Blacklist and wanted to read it. They seemed legit, they just produced an animated movie called Ozzy that looked decent and professional enough, so we sent them a copy.

They read it.
They liked it.

A week later I was on a Skype call with them. They had some concerns but generally they saw a lot of potential. Their biggest issue, length. 104 pages was at least 24 too much. Too expensive was another issue. So we searched our feelings and a week later we had another Skype call. We agreed to cut the pages and find ways to make the script less expensive to produce. There were some easy fixes but also some areas that required a lot of work and some creative problem solving.

We worked our asses off. At this point I’d like to mention Cutting the script down was very collaborative and writerduet’s collaboration features made it just so much easier. I don’t want to think about how much time and hassle that piece of software saved us. We also used Slack and Evernote to communicate and share notes and thoughts. It’s amazing how essential these tools became for me in the last couple of weeks and months. Somehow I can’t imagine my workflow without those tools anymore, especially if there’s a co-writer you have to share notes and ideas with.

There were a couple of steps we had to take to turn 104 pages into an under 80 pages. Some pages were easier to cut than others but after a few days we were down to a 73 page screenplay and that was where the real work started. In order to cut pages we had to get rid of some connecting scenes and sequences. We had to come up with new connecting scenes and reworked entire sequences.

Another thing we had to keep in mind was the proposed budget. We wrote Skyscraper without thinking too much about money, the world was big, many characters, crowd sequences, water, wet fur, … . So when the proposed budget is less than 10% of that of a Pixar movie, you have to make some adjustments. This was probably the most difficult issue but also the one that required to most creativity.

The biggest nuisance was proofreading though and I’m not just talking about typos and stuff, by cutting pages, whole scenes or even sequences you risk cutting something vital, a small detail that was important for the plot but because you’re so into the story you don’t realise its importance. That’s why I, on behalf of Orlindo and myself, want to thank our friends who provided some proofreading/feed-backing. It was vital and fresh eyes were sorely needed. Thanks, if there’s a showing in town, you’re invited… if the villagers want to run us out of the village afterwards we need someone to blame.

Jokes aside, we’re actually very happy with how the script turned out. There are a few details missing and some moments I quite liked are gone but generally speaking the script feels more focused and no matter what happens we’re glad that we rewrote Skyscraper and we learned some valuable lessons for our next screenplay, yes we’re actively pursuing some of our ideas and I’m positive that this rewrite will lead to a better next script.

But I digress, you were wondering about the guys from Spain. Well, we sent them the new version and started waiting and waiting and waiting …. After a week we started to doubt ourselves … not that they were taking that much time but they were really fast the first time around and let’s face it, emotions were running high. After the second week, all our doubts were gone, yes we suck. After week three….
Let’s just say we waited for some time. Our Spanish friends were busy with other projects and summer went by without any new developments. I’d love to say that in autumn the whole story gained “momentum” again but apparently they are really busy. We’re still waiting. So were basically experiencing our very first “development hell”, at least we can strike that off our bucket list.

This is the whole story up to this point. We’re obviously just at the beginning of this journey and there are many things that could and probably will go wrong but it feels like a really big step in the right direction. I’ve never been closer to achieving my childhood dream and I’m cautiously optimistic. There aren’t that many people who are lucky enough to get this close to achieving their dreams, especially if it’s something outrageous like becoming a screenwriter and yet here I am.

There are truly exciting times ahead and I hope that this journey takes me where I want to go or at least where I need to be. So stay tuned, hopefully there’s more to come, either a great Hollywood success story or a hilarious Hollywood failure story that ended before it really started… well not exactly Hollywood but you get the drift. I will continue to share news about this adventure under a new segment I’m calling #Rascacielos, that’s Spanish for Skyscraper.

The Hollywood process is like trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it. – Douglas Adams

This is getting really long, so I should wrap it up. Just two more thoughts, first, thank you3. Not for breaking my heart but for pushing me to become the best possible version of myself. I couldn’t have done it without you. Second, this is a strange thought though, it’s probably just me being me, like totally stupid and ungrateful for this awesome opportunity and just by contemplating this I feel like I’m betraying my childhood-self or it might just be that part of my brain/personality again that makes me a writer, anyway, if someone (fairy godmother, I’m talking to you) offered me a choice, either this or a little more luck in that other area… how shall I put it… a heartbeat seems like an awfully long time to decide something so easy.

You know what? Actually, I think my childhood-self would definitely approve. 🙂

Stay Tuned.

  1. Let’s be honest, we all know that I’m talking about a girl. I have no idea what it says about me that I start this post about my greatest achievement with one of my biggest failures… but I guess it’s fitting.
  2. That’s exactly 10 years, 1 month and 1 day since we officially started the project, April 7th 2007. Coincidence?
  3. You know who your are.

Progress Report 52 – The New 52

The last week I divided my time between rewriting “Die Klientin” and annotating “Saber Rider”. Rewriting “Die Kleintin” was quite enjoyable. I prefer rewriting to writing and it’s especially rewarding when you feel the script improving. Thanks to Orlindo’s notes I was able to improve the story considerably and I’m currently in the process of polishing my changes and adjusting a few things. I had to realise that I had to improve my two main characters in order to make the story more interesting. I realised something though, technically my story is not about how my main character changes throughout the story, don’t get me wrong he does, but how his character is revealed. This makes it even more important that his perceived change makes sense and is visible. Otherwise he just seems like a boring character without an arc.

In this polish I have to focus on his journey a bit more and I think I know how to make his arc work on the page. The stronger his arc on the page, the stronger the gut punch of the twist will hit the audience. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Annotating “Saber Rider” was fun as well. There are some scenes that are easy to cut or shorten but there are also big decisions to be made on what to focus on. The plan is to cut a few pages and a couple of million dollars. I have a couple ideas on how to accomplish this. One of the highlights of this process was using my new iPad with the (silly) ApplePencil. Guess what, it worked like a charm. The latency on that thing is great and you can really write and annotate on the screen.

I’m going away for a couple of days and the plan is to do the next polish pass on “Die Klientin” in a similar fashion. I’ll tell you how that went.
I also made some progress with “The Eternal”. I think I know how to proceed and I started making a playlist today. Let’s see how that one turns out.

I don’t know how much time I’ll have to blog the next week and the week after. So don’t hold your breath but to make up for that, I’ll give you a little tease, I’m thinking about doing Nanowrimo, well, not a novel but I have this idea for this novella/short story I might try out. I just had that idea a couple of days ago but for some reason I keep getting back to it. Not sure if it’s a healthy idea. Hooked yet?

New 52 justice league

The new 52.

Progress Report 51 – I Will Survive

Greetings my friend. I know updates have been spotty but I hope this will change now. I really hope that some of my personal issues that have been keeping me way too occupied are finally ready to be resolved. I‘m not saying nor expecting that they are going away over night but I hope that it will get better in the weeks and months ahead. But ebnough this is not supposed to be a therapy blog, it‘s a writing blog so lets talk about writing.

I think I finally cracked one of my ideas, the one called „The Eternal“. I think I finally figured out who the main character is and I think that the rest of the story will follow now. It‘s still a lot of work but I‘m confident that I can get a decent story on paper.

Orlindo also gave me feedback on „Die Klientin“. His notes are really helpfull and I‘m sure that incorpotrating his thoughts will elevate the script and make it better, probably not producable yet but definitely more focused, more logical and more fun. I really appreciate his feedback and getting notes like this always reminds me why I like collaboratong so much.

I decided to stop making the numbers a part of the weekly reports and instead focus and writing a bit more about what I actually did. I might do the numbers from time to time but not regularly, I mean seriously, how many times do you need to hear that I did schoolwork. 🙂

But I will try to end every report with „one cool thing“1, a thing that I encountered that week that I want people to know about and/or check our. This weeks omne cool thing is the new Netflix show „American Vandal“. I don‘t want to spoil anything just watch, It‘s worth it.

  1. Yes, I‘m totally gonna steal this from John August and Craig Mazin and the Scriptnotes Podcast.