Hi, I'm Greg and I write screenplays and work as a teacher.

#Momentum – 6th Sense

I stopped numbering weeks, I’m back to numbering posts. 🙂

So, love was really busy but there’s light at the end of the tunnel and I started writing “Alaska” yesterday. Well, I typed “FADE IN:” and thought of some character names but I felt the excitement building. There’s still a lot of work to do and I’m already preparing for some heavy rewriting but I just felt that I needed to stop outlining and start writing. Hence this short post.

I need to get back to Alaska, I want to get at least another page done today maybe even two, remember, I need to get the #Momentum going. 🙂

Iditarod Dog Sled Race Global Warming

No Spoilers!

#Momentum – Week 5 (?) – November

… I hate November.

It’s not that November is a bad month or anything, but for some reason everything has too happen in November. I don’t know who decided that everything has to happen in November. It’s probably the busiest month in the year and there are so many things I have to do, that I don’t have time to spend them on anything else.

I’m correcting exams, rehearsing for a concert, doing teacher training, a lot of meetings, matura preparations, …. I can’t even name al the things I’ have to do. I obviously enjoy some of these activities but I’m looking forward to a time where I actually have time to focus on other things, like writing.

I came around, and I’m now trying to implement Orlindo’s idea for Alaska. I’m not totally sure that he was right but the fact that I have new ideas is a good sign. I’m confident that I can tell the story I want to tell with these adjustments. I obviously won’t go into details, you have to wait a couple of month for those, but I hope that I write a first draft, or at least part of one around christmas time, once crazy busy November is over.

I’m actually so busy, that I don’t even have time to blog. I’m basically stealing myself away from schoolwork. So many exams and meetings but I want to offer a quick update on Red Dead Redemption 2. I finished the main story. I like the game but I don’t love it. The game is a tremendous achievement, very immersive and the story is fantastic but I’m still yearning for better fast travel. There were instances of a “long journey” that made perfect sense and had purpose but sometimes it felt like a chore to ride across the map. Unlike some other people I don’t have issues with the gameplay or the controls, hey I love Witcher 3, but I still, prefer to play Spider-Man, maybe it’s just because I prefer web-slinging to horseback-riding. 🙂

Red Dead Redemption Detailed Game Map

Damn, that map is big. Really big.

#Momentum – 2 – This is not a review

Greetings my friends. It’s about to be November and even though I’m not starting to write a novel, I decided to use NaNoWriMo to get me writing again. I need some kind of reason to start writing again until the momentum sets in and I get excited again. I’m just a bit rusty, but if I remember correctly, that’s what #Momentum and NaNoWriMo is for.

So I hope to give you some good news on that front and I’m confident that Alaska will make some progress in the following month. I won’t finish the script but some words on a page is a start.

Meanwhile… I played some games during the last couple of weeks, research… who am I kidding…..so I decided to write about that. Full disclosure, I’m not a game reviewer but I want so share some thought’s on three games I played recently.

Spider Man PS4 cover

…does whatever a spider can.

Spider-Man

What a game. So much fun. Spider-Man has always been one of my favorites and this game showed me why. The character is spot on and very likable and the story and the gameplay is just a blast. It’s just awesome to swing through New York, probably the most fun I had playing a game in years.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

ACOdysseyCoverArt

This is Sparta!!

Is the Assassin’s Creed series perfect? No, is it fun? Yes.

Black Flag is still my favorite but I had a blast playing this game, up to a point though, and then it got a bit tedious. Not that the gameplay or the story was at fault, I just didn’t progress fast enough to get to the things I wanted to get to. My biggest complaint ist that the game is too big or too long. I love the world they created but I don’t have 100 hours to see everything which makes me sad because I want to. So plus points for the amazing world (Athens looks stunning) and the gameplay, some deductions for the grindy parts of the game.

Red Dead Redemption II

Hi-yo, Silver!

Red Dead Redemption 2

I’m in Chapter 5 and I don’t know if I like this game.

Part of me obviously does, I mean I’m in chapter 5 but for everything the game does right, there are just some really annoying things. It’s a slow burn and I don’t know if it’s too slow or just very deliberate. The game is definitely highly immersive but sometimes I yearn(ed) for have Witcher 3 like fast-travel (the signposts). I spent hours riding out and back to camp and I just feel that I’d enjoy the game more if the made some of the mechanics less realistic.

Don’t get me wring, the game’s momentous achievement but sometimes, less is more. I’ll continue playing the game but so far there were only a couple of missions that really captured me. There should be more (successful) heist missions.

So, all that being said, what’s the one take away from my gaming experience I’ll apply to my writing? Easy; less is more. 

#Momentum – Week whatever – Do I really care anymore?

I lost count, well losing count would imply that I actually counted but let’s just say that I have definite proof now, that I don’t do well without pressure. I have absolutely no excuse for not blogging and not writing. None, zero, nada… I was just too lazy and I basically had too much time on my hand. I literally postponed everything to tomorrow… yes, hat magical place where all the things happen and get made….too bad that tomorrow is always one day away. I have no-one to blame but myself, well there was a bike accident I was involved in, but I didn’t get much done before that as well, so I can’t really put blame on that.

It’s not that I didn’t do anything. I worked a bit on “Alaska”, that’s the working title of the new project and I’m quite happy with how the story is evolving but I need to get off the brakes and go full throttle with my writing and my life again. It sounds strange, but I’m feeling a bit too content right now. Most of the things in my life are going well and I don’t or didn’t feel the urge to change too much, so I fell back into old habits. I gained a few pounds and I have to admit that I’m probably a bit too comfortable in my own shoes.

I think I have to change my ways again. I need to get my shit together and start “adulting” again. I need to take better care of myself and I need to focus on the things I want. I’m not giving a timetable right now, and I think the change has to be a bit slower than last time. I strongly feel though, that I need to start logging my activities and my calorie intake again. I hope that this blogpost is a first step in that direction. So, I guess I need to get the #Momentum going again.

Orlindo just gave me new idea for “Alaska” that I have to think about. I’m not totally against the new idea but I need some time the get used to it. Maybe that can be first foray into writing again. I’ll keep you posted.

On another note: Skyscraper finally has (some sort of) a poster. Lisa, Orlindo’s girlfriend designed as a title page for a treatment we sent in to a competition. I totally love it and not just because it might be the closest I ever get to a movie spotter of one of my ideas. Please enjoy.

Skscraper Cover3 Title

#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.

IMG 0040

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 place.

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.😉

IMG 0032

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.

img-alternative-text

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.