Progress Report 29 – Hamilton!

I know I repeat myself but the break went on way longer than expected but it was necessary. I’m focusing on school and rewriting “Die Klientin” at the moment but I think I have finally decided on my next idea. I figured out a way to make “The Company” work. It’s going to be 500 Days of Summer meets Primer, sounds a bit strange but in my mind it makes sense.

I’m outlining and I hope to get started over Christmas. But let’s crunch the numbers.

One book/screenplay: I listened to “Hamilton” again and I finally decided to read the biography by Ron Chernow the musical is based on. He had quite the life.
Two movies: I watched a few movies but nothing worth mentioning.
Seven pages: Rewriting “Die Klientin”.
Seven hours: Outlining “The Company” and waiting for something from Orlindo.

There’s another idea I’m working on. A few years ago I wrote an opening scene about an immortal guy waking up after getting killed. It never amounted to much but a couple of weeks ago I rediscovered the file and I think there’s something there. I have moments and some plot-points but not a full story yet. But I’m optimistic that I can turn this idea into something worth my time.

As for the title of today’s post: Hamilton seems like an awesome musical, I have to see it but do I plan my next vacation before or after I get tickets?

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I need to see this!

Progress Report – 28 Days Later

28 Days Later main

…almost 28 days…

That little break went on longer than expected. November is just a busy month with exams, concerts and meetings. But my break isn’t/wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think that my writing batteries are charged again and I’m looking forward to using the new found energy and get some stuff done.

Unfortunately I’m still looking for my next idea, but I hope that once I finished work on “Die Klientin” and did some feedbacking on Orlindo’s project, I should have formulated my new idea. I’m toying with the idea I shared a couple of month ago, “The Company”, but I haven’t cracked it yet.

But let’s turn to the numbers, they are depressing though:
One book/screenplay: The Martian for school and I’m prepping Watchmen.
Two movies:The Fantastic Beasts movie was surprisingly good and the Gilmore girls revival was fun as well, the musical sequence was a bit long though.
Seven pages: No new pages, but I’m on it.
Seven hours: Still nothing but I’m ready.

That’s it for today.

Progress Report 27 – Better late…

As predicted, I’m a bit late, but I’m not worried. There were and are good reasons for the delay and there are just 24 hours in a day. I’m back in the saddle and I hope that the momentum returns, I’m very confident though, the only thing I have to manage is my drinking, I drank way too much in the last two weeks. 🙂

The concert was a success but I’m glad that we have a break now (see drinking). November is also a busy time in school but as soon as I’m done with my schoolwork (later this month/ early December) I’m back at the keyboard.

It doesn’t really make sense to talk numbers today. I did absolutely nothing. I was busy remember, I hope to find some time next week to log some keyboard time. I’m still struggling to find a new idea. There are bits and pieces but nothing fully formed. I have some ideas though on how to get there, one of my next runs is going to be dedicated to coming up with one.

I guess this is it for today. Not much but it has to do for today.

Progress Report 26 – Too many Cooks

Greetings, another week ha passed and I have to admit that it wasn’t my most productive one. I didn’t write anything and I didn’t come up with that great idea for my next project. The Firefly thing seems to be dead. The Project leader was absent for a week (work related) and the momentum is gone and I doubt that it will come back. I have some intensive days ahead of me and I doubt that i’ll be able to put in the necessary hours, I’ll try though. I’m pretty sure that this will turn into one of those “Too many cooks” scenarios though. 5-6 people is just too much. Everyone thinks that the others should and could do more, me included, and in the end nothing gets done.

With the concert ahead I’m really busy, I’m not even sure that there will be a post next week but I promise that November and December are going to be very productive. I toyed with the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo but I’ll focus on December and a screenplay.

But let’s do the numbers, even though they are terrible.

One book/screenplay: Didn’t do any reading besides the Firefly reading I mentioned last week.
Two movies:I saw Doctor Strange and I really liked it. I also saw some silly romantic comedies (…I know…) I’m not going to mention.
Seven pages: No new pages, still waiting on feedback.
Seven hours: Still nothing. I’m also waiting until Orlindo has something new to show me. If you’re reading this…I’m waiting.

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83.6 kg

There’s one other number I want to mention today and It’s probably the number I’m most proud of at the moment. I weight in at 83.6 today. I had some celebratory dinner afterwards but for the first time in many years I’m considerably below 85kg. I have about 10kg left to go but things are looking good. I’m really proud and it was the right decision to start this journey. I’m feeling fitter and healthier than ever and maybe even a bit more handsome. I’m trying out facial hair at the moment but it seems that’s not going to be a success. I hope to hit my weight goal early next year, Christmas might be a bit of a problem but I managed worse.

This is all for today but don’t worry I leave you with something funny, in German this time.

Progress Report 25 – An anniversary and more Space Cowboys

Firefly class ship

Serenity

Another week, another post but this time I actually have something to report. First of all, I think it’s time for some celebration, 25 progress reports, #ProjectMomentum is going strong.

Congratulations to myself. 🙂

A couple of weeks ago I told you about this Masterclass I’m taking. Aaron Sorking talking about screenplay, it’s really interesting and enjoyable. I decided to participate in one of their group assignments. Together with some others, I’m supposed to write the next episode of Firefly, yeah, more space cowboys.

The group seems nice so far and I’m pretty sure that we’re going to be able to come up with an interesting addition to the firefly universe.

I’m a little worried though, I never worked with so many people on a story. I’ll keep you posted.

One book/screenplay: Got some homework from that writing group: read 3 Firefly teleplays. I cheated a bit, I read the Train Job, Out of Gas and Serenity (the movie, not the pilot). Afterwards I felt really annoyed, why was that show canceled again?
Two movies:Some episodes of Firefly, Serenity and I’m on a West Wing Marathon. Seems like I left that silly romantic comedy and action movie phase behind. I just hope it doesn’t come back, If it does…it’s time for the big guns, Richard Curtis and Stallone, but fingers crossed.
Seven pages: No new pages, waiting on feedback.
Seven hours: Still no concrete idea, I have a few things floating in my head but so far nothing worthy has emerged. I probably focus on that Firefly thing though, maybe afterwards the new idea will present itself.

So how did that Blacklist feedback for The Passion of the Geek go, you ask? Well, good and bad. It’s no surprise that they criticized my lack of thorough proof reading, they also disliked the meta jokes, no surprise there, but the one thing that made my day was the fact that both reviewers liked some of my original jokes/set pieces. They liked the absurdist nature of it, even though they criticized a lack of escalation. It’s starts pretty wild and there’s no room for build up anymore.

They disliked quite a lot though, some of it deservedly so, with some of their findings I plainly disagree, they didn’t get it and maybe I did’t do a good enough job of explaining or setting those jokes up properly.

What do I take from this? Well, apparently I have (at least in some sort of way) a voice. It’s still in development and I have to stop hiding it behind the meta crap. That’s probably what I’m going to do in the long run. Write a Passion of the Geek with the meta turned down and the humor turned up.

Maybe that’s what my next, german project could be as well, a german Passion with less meta and more fun. There seems to be a market in Germany for comedies, who knows, maybe I could write the next one.
The downside to this is the fact that I’m planing to write something with a female protagonist and The Passion is too personal for me to gender switch and I doubt it would work as well.

So I’ll probably do something else first. I’m toying with the idea of a workplace romance comedy with a female protagonist, a single mom or so, new job, stupid boss, strange coworkers and some gender reversals like a male nanny or something like that. The more I think about this, the more I like it.

Stay tuned.

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Mal and his Crew.

Progress Report 24 – The One with the unique Voice

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Voice! Where are you?

A new week but unfortunately no real news. I’m still on track though, the rewrite is going well and I really think I have a decent TV movie there. I’m not saying it’s perfect and there is a lot of work to do but I feel that I’m definitely on track. Who knows, maybe I can report my first sell sooner than later…but maybe not.

Lets’s have a look at the numbers.

One book/screenplay: School reading.
Two movies: I’m still in “that” kind of mood s it’s still mostly silly action movies and cheesy romantic comedies. I saw “Playing it Cool” with Chris Evans and for some reason that movie hot way too close to home. It reminded me a bit about the “Passion of the Geek” obviously not that crazy but I’m pretty sure that the writers had to work though something. I also watched “New Year’s Eve”, what a messy dud of a movie.
Seven pages: Not new Pages but reworked pages, besides “Die Klientin” I also polished “The Passion of the Geek” but more on that later.
Seven hours: Orlindo is giving me great feedback and I hope that his new office makes him productive enough to return the favor. I’m also trying to come up with my next idea. I have some thoughts, but nothing conclusive yet, I wrote a bit for my immortal idea but that was just finger stretching, all I know is, that I want to write something with a female protagonist.

But let’s talk a bit about why I decided to polish, “The Passion of the Geek”. Every time someone talks about breaking into screenwriting, well writing in general, they talk about finding your voice, your unique voice, that thing that is special about you, the story only you can write. When I look at everything I’ve written, for me that’s the “The Passion of the Geek”. It’s my strangest but also most personal movie. I’m not saying that I loved through all of that but some of the moments, some of the emotions are 100% real, and that’s saying something for a strange movie like that.

Full disclosure, I’m not sure if “The Passion of the Geek”has a unique voice or if I even have one, but it’s definitely the thing I’ve written that comes close. It’s totally me on every page, I still love all the jokes and all the choices and there are countless moments in the script I’d do almost anything1 to see them realized. That has to count for something, doesn’t it.

I decided to add the current version to the Blacklist site to get some feedback. I doubt that they’ll discover my voice but I might get some pointers on how to discover it and maybe I get some ideas on how to improve the script and get it to the next level.

Stay tuned.

  1. If some studio executive is reading this, I’m really willing to do almost anything. I’m sure we can figure something out, I’m willing.

Progress Report 23 – Back in the Saddle

Saddle

Doesn’t look too complicated.

Howdy, friends. After two weeks on the road I’m back at the keyboard and eager to get writing again. I had planned to get sone work done while on the road, once more I had to realise that not everything is going according to plan.

I’m going to skip the numbers, there’s not too much to report. Maybe a quick word about my last post, everything is alright. Not alright, alright, but I’ll live. Writing my thoughts down actually helped me a lot. I felt a lot better afterwards and I continue to see things much clearer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’ve come to a conclusion but I understand the problem. The options haven’t changed and I’m still not ready to make a decision but for the moment this “limbo state” seems like “as good as it gets” so I’ll guess I’ll have to take it. It’s not too bad for my writing so I don’t care too much. Obviously it’s not a long term solution but sometimes “not making a decision” doesn’t necessarily has to be a bad thing.

The two weeks away haven’t been that great to my weight-loss project but as of yesterday I’m back on track. It might take a few days to get back to where I was but it seems that I’m losing the pounds I gained while away fairly quickly. At least one thing is going according to plan.

Orlindo sent me some feedback on the current version of “Die Klientin” and I’m working through that, this is probably the rewrite that either turns this into something good or makes me quit it for something else. I hope (and I have a good feeling) it’s the former though. After the first 50 pages I’m having a good feeling. The characters are finally turning into real people and some feel needed cuts improved the flow of the story. I’ll keep you updated.

Oktober is also the time when TV season starts again and watching pilots is one of my favourite things. Some of them are quite promising others don’t excite me but that’s just the way it is. I’m really excited about “Westworld” though. The pilot was awesome and I hope they continue to deliver. On the other side of the spectrum, how many silly boring procedurals (or formulas for procedurals) are they going to try and shove down our throats? I get that many people like them but can’t we just agree that it’s not enough to get a lead character with a problem and bad social skills to solve crime in a ridiculous way.

That’s it for today. I have to get back to work.

Progress Report 22 – Writing is Rewriting

NewImageI’m a few days early but who cares.

I’ve spent a few days with my first draft and I received some great feedback, not feedback that my first draft is great but feedback that will help me get there. The script has many problems right now, some are fixable others are part of the story, I just hope that they are not too big for the people in charge.

One big change I made though is the ending. I completely changed the ending. I tried to do something different at first but I was told in no uncertain terms that the ending sucks. It did, in part intentionally but I have to admit that id did not work with the rest.

I’m currently waiting for some more notes and then I’ll tackle those issues. I have some ideas on how to dress some problems. The supporting characters need some more space to breathe, something to do and I think I have an idea to accomplish that. The script is still a couple of pages short so that should work out nicely.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy with what I wrote but if I really want someone to buy it, it needs to be better, a lot better. In preparation I watched some German TV, and while I think that my story is better than what I saw, my execution is still a bit lacking. I think I have my work cut out for me.

Let’s get down to the numbers.

One book/screenplay: Does my own screenplay count?
Two movies: Writing is going really well but other aspects of my life are seriously lacking, so I do what I always do when I’m in “that” kind of mood: Silly action movies and cheesy romantic comedies. No, I’m not going into details about “that” kind of mood, I’m way too obsessed without involving you.
Seven pages: I think we established in the last few weeks, that seven pages isn’t the issue anymore. Seven good pages, that’s harder.
Seven hours: Orlindo is hard at work and I’m already thinking about my next, probably also german, project.

I’m currently filling a piece of paper with some random ideas. I don’t know which one is going to make it, they all seem equally bad but If I’m totally honest, now that I’m looking at the piece of paper, I think I have a favorite. I’ll probably have to sleep over it but I think I know what my next thing is going to be. I know that I should probably return to “Down Under” but I don’t have an idea on how to include a villain yet, maybe after this one. Who knows maybe I have a great idea tonight.

Coming up with ideas is probably one of my favorite parts of writing. That feeling you have when you think of that crucial part of the story, priceless. Unfortunately it’s hard work after that and for my next Project I’m starting with the characters and not with the plot. I have a setting but then it’s about the characters, what they need and what the want and then I’ll try to figure out a story that helps them achieve that.

It’s going to be a different process for me but I’m optimistic that it will improve the finished product.

Progress Report 21 – First Draft

The first draft

He was right.

This is a big one. I did it. I finished my script.

Well, not really (you’re never really done) but I have a first draft that I’m quite happy with. I’m not doing the numbers this week. You can probably imagine that I spent most of my time writing and everything else had to take a little break. I have to give some props to John August, his tweets about his write sprints were really helpful and made me write regularly.

“Die Klientin” is probably the fastest I ever wrote a script. It took me less than a month. I mentioned in an earlier post, that I’m really focused at the moment and I hope to keep that momentum (#ProjectMomentum) going. I’m a bit short at the moment but that’s something I’m going to fix in the next couple of days and weeks. I’m confident to have a decent 90 page version by the end of September.

I don’t know what I’ll do after that, I might go back and rework the Australia idea or I might start something from scratch (or a really old outline). I might have to do a vision quest or something to figure that one out. Riding my bike to work and my (almost) daily runs have proven quite fruitful in this area. Seems there is something to the saying: “Mens sana in corpore sano”. I feel really great. My weight is dropping and the more weight I drop the more pages I churn out. I should have started this years ago. In a way it’s fitting that I finished my screenplay roughly around the same time I reached the 10kg weight drop point. If 10 kilos of weight loss equal a first draft, I think that another then should get me to the final draft.

I’m going to tell you more about “Die Klientin” and what I learned during the process in the following weeks, while I rework it and correct all the silly mistakes I made but let me mention I few things while the memory is still fresh.

“Die Klientin” was my first german screenplay in a while. It was really strange at first not to write in English. I’m so used to writing in English that I had to look up some german words. It’s strange feeling when you have to look up words in your mother tongue. I think I have to start reading german books again and maybe even watch some German movies or TV shows.

I mentioned in an earlier post, that the idea is actually quite old. I found a document with a 2003 timestamp on it. It felt strange to come back to such an old idea but it was fascinating how fully formed most of it was in my brain. I’m not saying that the 2003 outline didn’t change but you can’t deny that it is the same story with the same basic plot points. Even more strangely, it seems like I had similar experiences 13 years ago that made me write something that I can still relate to 13 years later.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

There’s other exciting new though. Orlindo finally did some writing. He cleaned up his pitch for his current idea and it’s finally something one can work with, in the sense of there’s enough there to actually think about how to improve and tell the story. I’m really excited about his idea. It’s really different from my sensibilities and that’s what makes it interesting.

Stay tuned.

Progress Report 20 – Not A Teenager Anymore

Progress Report 20, #ProjectMomentum is not a teenager anymore and I feel confident enough to call it a success. I’m especially happy with the last couple of weeks. If you read my last few progress reports, you know that my writing has been quite steady and that #ProjectMomentum bled out into other areas of my life. Overall I feel great about how much I improved (writing wise and personally) over the last couple of weeks and I hope to keep going at this pace. I’d be a shame to fall behind again.

There’s one thing I have to admit though. 20 weeks doesn’t equal 140 pages, far from it. I’m a lot better than Orlindo but that’s not saying much (…sorry…but it’s the truth…). My Australia script amassed a decent page count but ultimately that project is doomed in its current form. I still have a great feeling about “Die Klientin”and the plan is to be done around October. I’m away the for two weeks (end of September beginning of October) and I hope to use at least one of those weeks for finishing touches on the first draft.

But let’s look at the numbers:

One book/screenplay: I’m reading along with Aaron Sorkin’s Masterclass and I started with another Graphic Novel “Black Hole” by Charles Burnes, good and inspiring stuff.
Two movies: I caught up on some movies and queued a few for inspiration and research. “Sing Street” still stands out as one of my favorites this year but “500 Days of Summer”, “The Assassination of a High School President”, “Billy Elliot” and “The Man Who Knew Infinity” were all really enjoyable.
Seven pages: They keep coming. I had to adjust a few things and I’m probably have to add a few things in the beginning but so far I feel really confident with my 43 pages. I went through it and I really liked the fact, that there is almost no “fat”, every scene leads somewhere or introduces something new. I know that’s supposed to be the car ein all screenplays but it never came together so easily for me.
Seven hours: Still waiting on stuff from Orlindo. I cobbled together the idea/premise for “The Company” but that doesn’t really count. Through the Masterclass course I met a german writer and we exchanged feedback on our projects.

That’s it for today. I’m quite busy and can’t think of anything interesting right now.