#Momentum – Week 2 and 3 – WWW

I’m back and I’m not even pretend to be sorry because of my broken promise. I really wanted to blog last week but WWW (Whiteworms Work Week) was a success. We worked hard on some new projects and old projects and I think it’s fair to say, that I feel energised and motivated to hit the keyboard again. But what I liked most about last week wasn’t the actual writing it was the way to get there. We had some heated discussions and I think our new project is the better for it. I don’t want to spoil too much but I just finished a new draft of the new project’s first act and I have a pretty good feeling. It is so much better than it was a week ago. I now where the characters need to go, I have a pretty good idea about their journey all I need now are some interesting set pieces which force them to change and become better… I don’t want to spoil anything.

All I’m saying is, it’s not a sequel to “Skyscraper” but in a way it is. It’s set in a different part of world, a different time and everything is different but there’s a similarity in tone and theme to “Skyscraper” that seems to be the thing we/I aspire to when writing. If I write something I need to say something, it actually doesn’t matter that much whether or not the audience gets it, I just need the story to mean something to me and both “Skyscraper” and our new animated feature have something to say that is very personal.

In fact, the new project is probably one of the most personal things1 I ever attempted to write, but not in the sense of an actual story, more in an emotional way. It’s not that I lived through these events, it’s more that similar events and experiences made me think a certain way and this story is a way to share these ideas and feelings. I think it’s probably my version of Finding Nemo’s Andrew Stanton realisation that he was an overprotective father that led him to write Finding Nemo.

Finding Nemo‘s roots back to a 1992 visit to Six Flags Marine World  and started Andrew thinking about the amazing possibilities of capturing an undersea world in computer animation. The film was inspired by a fleeting moment of realization in which Stanton observed that his overprotective fatherly instincts were preventing him from properly bonding with his son. It tells the tale of a young clown fish who is whisked from the ocean to a dentist-office aquarium and his father’s quest to bring his son back home safely. As with Stanton’s other writing efforts, Finding Nemo focused on character development and provided an emotional resonance and heart rarely seem in animation. – http://www.pixartalk.com

I’m not saying that my story is as good as Finding Nemo but I think the fact that I the idea had a similar way of coming into existence is probably a good sign. As I say before, writing is not just for entertainment, it’s also about ideas and communicating those ideas. Even blockbuster movies, actually especially blockbuster movies need something to connect them to an audience and it usually helps if the writer or the director or preferably everyone who works on the movie has a personal, emotional connection to the core theme or message of the story.

I actually think that’s what good writing is really about, finding that emotional center, and it actually doesn’t matter if everyone in the audience gets it. Maybe someone takes something different away from the movie, who am I to judge. I’m not going to explain to anyone what he or she should feel after reading or (hopefully) watching one of my stories. I’m going to share with you what it means to me but if it means something different to you, be my guest.

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No Spoilers!

  1. Well, the most personal is it probably “The Passion of the Geek” but let’s not go there, it’s a silly palce.

Writing is Rewriting

So, I finished the first draft of the outline of my new yet untitled project this week. Obviously I was quite pleased with myself, it’s the first important step in a long journey but every journey starts that way, problem is, apparently the first draft is really bad. 😩

But no worries, that was to be expected. First drafts are rarely good but as I said, they are an important step and I think it’s really important to write stuff (even stuff that’s not gold yet) down. Rewriting is so much easier than writing. I really like editing and improving my work and I usually need this first version to help me find the story and the characters. I have a pretty good idea about what I want to say but the problem is the how.

How am I going to let my characters express my ideas and my themes, how are they going to react to each other in order to convey their differences and similarities and how will I be able to get them to change? I love finding the answers to these questions even though it is probably the hardest thing about writing.

So what am I going to do about this. Well, I have my work cut out for this weekend. After this blogpost and I’m going to start rewriting the shit out of the first draft. I’m even considering switching languages to make me really rewrite it but I have to check that with Orlindo. Next week is the first (of hopefully many) Whiteworms Work Week, WWW if you will. I visit him in Berlin, I haven’t been there in a while and we are going to work on our projects with the goal of developing some new ideas and polishing and/or improving on our existing material. We definitely have our work cut out for us and I’m sure it’s going to be an interesting but also exhausting week.

I’m planing on keeping you updated, who knows there might be more than just some writing insights coming your way next week.😉

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Wise words.

#Momentum – Week 1 – Breaking the Research

The 1st week of #Momentum is almost over and I’m happy to report, that even though I didn’t meet all my guidelines, I consider week one rather successful. I spent most of the week thinking about the follow-up to “Skyscraper” and I’m happy to report that I made some progress. I’m far from finished and I don’t have a story yet but I have a feeling about the characters and their journey. But let me tell you bit about how I approached this project.

Usually, I have a story I want to tell but this time I decided to force myself to approach the script from a character perspective. For the last couple weeks I had an idea about the kind of story I want to tell and what the theme, the message should be. So all I had to do is come up with characters who could experience this emotional journey I planed for them. I narrowed down the theme and suddenly I knew what characters I had to pick and how their journey looked like. It’s obviously not polished yet and there will be many things that will change but looking at the character breakdowns, I get a feeling for them and I think I want to get to know them better (which is really important when you decide to write 70 to 80 pages about someone).

Ok, so now that I have some ideas for the characters and a sense of what I want to say it’s time for my favourite part, research. Where do I set the story? Do I use animals or humans or both? What kind of animals, what kind of humans? What external forces play a role? etc.

I love this part, the possibilities are endless but as soon as you hit on the idea, it just clicks, and yesterday it did. I’m not going into details but I had an epiphany yesterday and I could feel how the pieces started to fit together. It’s a nice feeling and probably one that every writer cherishes. It doesn’t feel like work yet but It’s a huge leap forward. The only downside, now the real work starts.

Now I have to distill all my ideas and all possibilities into a treatment that Orlindo and I can (hopefully) develop into our new project. Ok, back to writing now, I never said these updates have to be long. 🙂

Football’s (not) coming home

I promised you some content so here we go. But first, this happened:

Three Lions on the Shirt.

Three Lions on the Shirt!

It might come as a surprise to most of you, but I’m not the biggest fan of organised sports. I rarely watch sports on TV or anywhere else and I don’t really follow a team, I have sympathies though and there are a few exceptions to the rule, a ski race, mostly the big downhill races, and the World Cup and the Euro.

It sounds a bit silly but I get quite emotional during the World Cup and especially when England plays. Being an England supporter is obviously a bad idea but I’m happy that I turned out that way and I’m pretty sure that England is the only team I can get this emotional about and I’m going to the you why. I think it has something to with their history or maybe even myth and in some sense, their lack of success.

There’s 1966, the only Championship England has ever won and I think that the biggest part of being an England supporter is the fact that we’re waiting for that moment again, it’s almost biblical, waiting for the messiah, the second coming and in a way that’s what being an England fan is all about. We’re waiting for it to happen again, every time we start to hope again, every time we get this feeling only to get disappointed again.

I said that I don’t like sports but I love sports movies and being an England supporter is probably the closest you can get to a sports movie story in real life. You have the drama, you have hope only to have that hope crushed all over again… but no, we don’t learn. It’s a feeling probably best described in one of the best sports songs ever:

It’s coming home
It’s coming home
It’s coming
Football’s coming home
Everyone seems to know the score
They’ve seen it all before
They just know
They’re so sure
That England’s gonna throw it away
Gonna blow it away
But I know they can play
‘Cause I remember
Three Lions on a shirt
Jules Rimet still gleaming
Thirty years of hurt
Never stopped me dreaming
So many jokes, so many sneers
But all those oh-so-nears
Wear you down
Through the years
But I still see that tackle by Moore
And when Linekar scored
Bobby belting the ball
And Nobby Dancing
Three Lions on a shirt

It’s not fun being an England supporter, especially when you consider tat were now at more than 50 years of hurt but every two years the feeling returns and you start to hope again until that moment where against all odds the underdog, yeah England, where football was invented is the underdog now, wins the championship. Isn’t that how the movie is supposed to play out? But on the other hand, not winning is what the myth is all about. England fans are used to supported their team no matter what in good and let’s be honest especially the bad times. Obviously, reaching the semi-final was a big feat but nobody cares about third place and the dream is to get the Cup. This is real life and not Cool Runnings or Eddie the Eagle but it sure feels like these two movies at the moment.

So, what am I actually trying to say here. Well, I’m disappointed but I support my team and I know that there will be a happy end at some point, it might take some time but “Football will come home one day”.

 

#Momentum – The Second Coming

Ok, no more (time for) excuses. It might come as a big surprise to some of you, but I’ve lost the momentum….who am I kidding… we all know I lost it a while ago. I managed to hang on to some aspects of it but my writing output has been abysmal and it’s time to change that.

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The last couple of month have been quite emotional and there’s still that other thing that doesnt seem to go away but I’ve definitely made my peace with it/her1 and its time to move on to other, more positive things. As you know I had to say goodbye to some my students last weekend and with all these different and even contradicting feelings and emotions I feel the time is right to relaunch #ProjectMomentum but this time I’m just calling it #Momentum.

The idea of it was always to focus on something that matters and I feel that I need that right now. So I decided to get the #Momentum going again… but this time Im serious (again). Im going to focus on my writing and my mental and physical health.

So, here are the rules and guidelines:

  1. At least 5000 words each week. Blogging counts as well, schoolwork doesn’t.
  2. 2-3 blogposts each week. One is going to be an update on #Momentum, one post is going to be writing related and one post is going to be personal, maybe about school or something random.
  3. 20k or 3 hours of exercise each week. Cycling to school doesn’t count.
  4. One day each week without meat.
  5. One good deed each week. Don’t know how that’s going to work and what I will count but let’s see how that goes.

I’m sure that I will read and watch movies as well but these five things seemed appropriate, managable and goal oriented.

I have obviously no idea how this will turn out but I’m confident that I can get the momentum going again.
So, how are my summer plans going to influence #Momentum. I obviously don’t know yet but I don’t have a big trip planned so at least theoretically I should get more writing done.

In late July I’m going to visit Orlindo in Berlin, getting to those 5’000 words should not be too much of an issue that week, we might also have a meeting that week but more on that later. I don’t want to jinx anything but I’m positively optimistic that this summer could be a good one.

So, I’m off to writing then. I have many good ideas and the goal is to get at least one new project going this summer. Starting tomnorrow I’ll put the ideas to paper and who knows, it might be the one.

  1. Unfortunately it’s not mutual.

The West Wing – A Perfect Antidote

Aaron Sorkin is one of my favorite writers, I like pretty much everything he has ever written. I even like Studio 60. I admit, not a great show but I like shows about shows and Bradley Whitford is always fun to watch. The same is true for Sports Night and Newsroom but Sorkin‘s best behind the scenes show is without a doubt The West Wing.

I’d vote for him!

 

Apparently the show originated when they had great material leftover from The American President. I mean obviously „leftover material“ doesn’t make sense but I think they realized that there are more stories to tell within the White House dealing with politics and the people involved. On the surface it sounds really boring but the characters are really compelling and you just love to watch them do their thing.

The characters are very well realized and even though there’s room to grow for them, they appear fully developed in the Pilot. Toby’s arc in the final season doesn’t fit though, but Sorkin was long gone by that time.

I’m currently in the middle of my yearly rewatch and the show is still amazing and has probably the best dialogue ever. Nearly every conversation has it’s moments and I know it’s stylized language but I wish I could talk like that in real life. I’d probably be somewhere in between Josh and Sam but every character gets great lines.

But it’s not just about the characters it’s about the storylines and the politics as well. In today’s world, it’s particularly nice to see a bunch of government officials who are trying to do good. We’re not used to that anymore. Granted, the Bartlet presidency had its fair share of disasters (the Zoey thing is happening in one of the next episodes) but there are other great two parters that elevate the storytelling. I’m binging the show and I’m astonished how high the quality of every episode is. Nearly every episode has at least one moment that I can still remember from my last rewatch… “ahh, that’s the episode where Josh does this…“. I rarely skip an episode and if I do it’s mostly because I’m not in the mood for something really depressing.

But let’s get back to the actual writing. I have no idea how Sorkin managed the workload on the show (drugs?). His name is on nearly every episode and maybe that’s one reason why the show is so consistent. You can clearly hear his voice, his values, his opinions and I have to admit, I share a lot of them or at least I find the presented arguments compelling and worth talking about. The show was sometimes panned as „The Left Wing“ and I can see where these people came from but I have no problem with how left-leaning the show is. In fact I think the show might have influenced me politically.

So If you’ve never seen The West Wing go watch it, keep two things in mind though:

  1. Yes, Bartlet would have been a great real president.
  2. Yes, the show is „old“ but isn’t it embarrassing that we’re still trying to solve the same political issues?

So, what are you waiting for. Go watch it. I fully endorse The West Wing and while you’re at it, go watch Sorkin’s movies as well. Molly’s Game was fun and who doesn’t like A Few Good Men.

(Im)Possible Spoilers: Avengers 4

I promised to post and write more and I intend to keep this promise. There’s been nothing new on the “Skyscraper” front so I have to come up with something else.

I’m eager to get more writing done over the summer and that includes blogging so I decided to come up with some new Featured Segments. Inspired by a discussion I had with two friends recently., I’m starting a new feature called (Im)Possible Spoilers.

The idea is to look at recent movies, usually part of a franchise, and imagine how the writers are gong to continue the story or resolve some leftover plot-points. But I don’t just want to speculate, it’s going to be more like “what would I write”. I’m obviously not trying to spoil things and I’m not going to research these posts, just my imagination and my writing muscles. Don’t expect a full outline and a complete story either. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun, I see it more as an exercise for me. I would love to write big tentpole franchise blockbusters but since I’m probably never gonna get the chance to do that I’ll have to find ways to scratch that itch. So without further ado, two ideas about Avengers 4.

–BEWARE OF (IM)POSSIBLE SPOILERS–

I assume you’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War. Good movie, cool and devastating ending, so where do Markus & McFeely go from here? I have no information about their plans but I have some ideas on how they are going to save the world.

  1. They are not going to save the world.
    Here’s the thing, many people liked the fact that Infinity War ended with a bang snap. We’ve seen glimpses of the repercussions and they can’t just reverse that in 3 days. The new status quo needs to establish itself. We need to see what bad (and good) Thanos’ actions had. So how are they going to show that. The (Im)Possible answer: Time Jump. Let’s skip 5 years ahead. Let the world live and change. Let people live, love get married (Tony and Pepper, I’m looking at you) and maybe even have kids. We all now that some of the people who died have to come back but we still need stakes so how about a brave new world that only exists because of Thanos’ actions and if these actions are reversed, so is this new world and everyone in it. I’d be OK with stakes like that. But how do we defeat Thanos?
  1. They don’t defeat Thanos.
    It’s not Thanos that needs to be defeated, it’s the Gauntlet, the Infinity Stones.
    But how can you do that. Well, in the final Gamora scene it’s implied that she or at least part of her is trapped in the Soul Stone. I’m not saying that everyone who vanished is trapped inside the stones, that would be stupid but Gamora has a deep connection with Thanos, technically he has one with her, that might be of importance, so how do we get her back? We send someone in. Enter Ant-Man (or the Wasp). Remember the Quantum Realm? Maybe he goes alone, maybe he takes some Avengers with him, or gives them the tech to go themselves but if I were writing this, I’d take the fight into the stones.

Obviously there are details associated with these ideas and we all now that Captain Marvel will play a part as well but this is not about spoiling Avengers 4, this is just a thought experiment and this post a time-capsule to prove that I was right or totally wrong.

About that Toy Story 3 Ending

It has been a while and I know that I wrote that sentence a lot lately, well a lot would require a lot of posts and that is exactly the issue. I haven’t felt like writing during the last couple of weeks, life and work have kept me pretty busy. I did some translations and feedback for Orlindo but my own projects have been dormant. I need to change that and get the #ProjectMomentum going again but that’s for another day, today I feel like something (completely) different.

It’s just a short excerpt from a great scene at the end of a great movie and for those of you who’ve never seen Toy Story 3, shame on you but you can remedy that, just drop everything your doing and watch the movie right now. Everyone else, go and watch the whole scene, I couldn’t find a good video of the whole scene online. There are many great Pixar moments and all being said and done, I think this scene, this moment, is probably my favourite one and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

I also have a confession to make, I cry every time I watch this but it’s not because it makes me sad, on the contrary, it’s actually really endearing, uplifting and a celebration of the relationship between Andy and his toys, Woody in particular… but yes, it’s a little bit sad as well. There’s this moment, little Bonnie sees Woody and says: ”There’s a snake in my boot!”, one of Woody’s catchphrases and I don’t know why, my eyes just start to tear up and then we see Andy, not sure what he should do, he initially indented to keep Woody but he has no chance against Bonnie’s big eyes and I have no chance to hold back my tears. The moment is beautifully animated and one of the most emotional moments in cinema history1. Andy decides to let go of Woody, his favourite toy. He basically let’s his childhood go. We are witnessing the moment he grows up but not before one last playtime. A (last) rite of passage if you will.

I like how the moment plays out. It’s not just a heartfelt goodbye, it’s a celebration and a reminder of the great times he had with his toys and let’s face it, a college kid with too many toys is weird and Bonnie will take good care of the toys, she will cherish them just like Andy did and he will always cherish the memories he made with Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, Rex, Jessie, Hamm … and the Aliens. Andy will miss his toys but he knows that he has to let them go. They had their time together and now it is time to let go, move on and let someone else have their fun with them and even more importantly, let them have fun with someone new. It’s not just him saying goodbye to them, it‘s also them (especially Woody) saying goodbye to him. Damn, I’m already tearing up again… and when Andy leaves, Bonnie waves with Woody’s arms. Damn you.

So, why am I writing about the ending of Toy Story 3? Let’s just say I’m feeling bit like Andy at the moment. I have/had to say goodbye to my 7th graders. They’re writing their matura right now, so we already had our last lessons together and I had to try really hard to hold my tears back but just like Andy not because I was just sad but because I knew that our time together has/had to come to an end2 They need to move on and I need to let go, but I’ll always remember the playtimes we had together. It was mostly a lot of fun and I’m thankful for all the memories.

I’m pretty sure that my students don’t read my blog, I mean, let’s face it, this post, while honest and heartfelt, is also a bit embarrassing but I don’t care, I embarrassed myself more than once. So, if “you” do read this, I’ll just wish you all the best in your future endeavours. I hope you find someone who plays with you like Bonnie. And don’t worry about me, I get new toys next school year. 🙂

But let’s end this sappy piece of writing the only way I know how. The way they did it in the movie….

“Thanks guys (and gals).” 
“So long, Partner.”

…and with a video of Jennifer Lawrence tripping at the Oscars3 because, well you know why.

  1. You disagree? I don’t care. 🙂
  2. That being said, due to the fact that they have two subjects with me…let’s just say I still have options. :-).
  3. Note to self: Be more like Hugh Jackman.

Home sweet home

So, that was that.

I‘m fresh off the Festival and I think it‘s a bit too early to fully reflect on the last few days. But first things first, we didn‘t win. I‘m not too sad or surprised about that, we never really thought that we‘d have a real shot and it‘s definitely one of those „an honor to be nominated“ cases. Congratulations to Petterchens Mondfahrt

I don‘t know yet what will come of this weekend but I have a good feeling about it. The nomination proved that the things we write are decent and we got some contacts and new people to send the screenplay to. I‘m cautiously optimistic that something might develop out of these new contacts. fingers crossed.

The festival itself was nice and if I get another chance I‘ll go back. I visited some FMX panels, some talks and one animated short presentation. I didn‘t attend any of the competition movies, I had my own one. 😉

All in all, I had a great time and… who knows. 

I’ll do a longer write up once everything settles down and maybe I have more news to share then.

ITFS 2018 – Here I Come

I have to admit, I’m getting nervous. I leave for the ITFS today. I have a 4 hour trainride ahead of me but I’m so excited that I don’t mind. Slowly, the fact that I’m attending a festival where I’ve been nominated for a prize, starts to really sink in. I’m not fully there yet, I’m quite sure that it will happen once I have my lanyard with my name on it that says filmmaker. I’ll post pictures. 🙂

I’m probably going to use my instagram account this weekend and the plan is to write a follow up on saturday on my way home. I don’t really know what to expect from the festival, I just know that I’m really excited.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Orlindo, my partner in crime (in the flesh), again. A long time ago we started this journey together, on somehow diverging paths but it’s fitting that we can experience this together and that “Skyscraper” is the screenplay that made it happen.

I obviously have no idea if and how this weekend will influence our careers and to some extend maybe even our lives, if at all, but I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s going to be a great weekend and because we worked hard and long for it, karma should reward us at least a little bit. A journey that started on April 7th 2007 and that had its ups and downs, lead us to this weekend and as I said, I have absolutely no idea what will haben but I know that we are going to have some serious fun this weekend.

Stay tuned. 🙂