Progress Report 32 – Year Two

Keep calm and enter year two

Yeah…keep calm. I wish…

#ProjectMomentum year 2, let’s kick some ass in 2017.

2016 is the past now and so are all the past accomplishments. Not that there were many but at least I wrote one decent screenplay. The plan is to pick up where I left off. I started a new script last week and I hope to finish it within 2-3 month while also continuing to improve “Die Klientin”.

Last week I focused on doing as little as possible. I just needed some time for myself and I finally feel ready to sit down in front of the keyboard again.

Let’s do the numbers.

One book/screenplay: Some school reading.
Two movies: I watched quite a few movies over the Christmas break. I’m using www.letterboxd.com to log my movies this year and I also started a list where I log all my consumed media. I might do something with that on this blog. The three things I want to mention this week are “John Wick”. “Kubo and the Two Strings” and the documentary “O.J.: Made in America”. Three very different but equally interesting offerings. I highly recommend them. “John Wick” I especially watched in preparation for my new Project.
Seven pages: I started a german version of “The Eternal” (the title will change). It’s going to be a no hold barred action romp with some genre stuff thrown in, John Wick meets Memento and Underworld or something. Just action, a decent MacGuffin and lots of dead bodies. That’s exactly what I need right now. I scraped the idea I talked about in my last post, at least for the moment.
Seven hours: I’m still outlining the rest of the story but I have a good grasp of the tone and where I want to go, I just have to get the details nailed down. Orlindo finally delivered the first draft/version/pages of his screenplay. It was a long way coming but he’s on track to delivering something really interesting. I was a bit skeptical about his idea but he fleshed it out and it makes sense now. I see what he’s trying to get at and it has potential. I’m really looking forward to the rest.

This is it for today. I have to get back to outlining and there are other things that require my attention but stay tuned, there’s more to come, 2017 is going to be the year I take my writing to the next level.

Progress Report 31 – Going Rogue

It’s the last week of work and to be honest, I’m a bit behind on my writing but I’m confident that I got through that little rough patch. After completing the current draft of “Die Klientin” my batteries were empty but I’m confident that they are about to recharge over the next couple of days. I finally had some creative ideas and I hope to put them to good use in the next couple of weeks.

But lets do the numbers, shall we:

One book/screenplay: That Hamilton book is really thick, especially if you have school reading as well. But I introduced my students to Watchmen this week, at least I have that going for me.
Two movies: “Rogue One” was decent and stupid me started rewatching “The O.C.” and “Friends”. I’m not a film critic so I’m not going to review “Rogue One”, let’s just say it’s the best of the prequels. I also don’t have to say how good “Friends” is, from the get go it’s just a good show and please don’t laugh, so is “The O.C.”, it gets really bad after a while and there are some stupid , very stupid storylines but the first 10 episodes have been great.
Seven pages: I started to rework “The Passion of the Geek”, not a page one rewrite but it’s going to be different, I have to streamline the whole thing and get rid of everything that’s not working and focus on the characters. I also startet working on another dialogue driven idea. I’d pitch it as “Before Sunrise meets Burried”. I’m writing that one in German and I wrote the first two pages. I don’t have a real title yet.
Seven hours: This week has has been a mix between developing and writing. Orlindo promised me some pages and I’m really looking forward to them.

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Not in the movie.

The new idea just came to me. I started outlining a much bigger version of it, a complicated story about love, rejection and whatnot. But I soon realized that I’m only interested in one scene so I decided to skip all the boring parts on focus on that one scene. I have no idea whether it’s going to be a short or a feature length script. I know how I have to set the characters up and how to get them to where I want them and from there on I let them speak and hear what they have to say. I’m not ready to go into details let me just say that it’s cheaper than a therapist.

On a side note. I’m below 80 kilos and I never felt better. People (some) are noticing and it feels great. I just hope that Christmas isn’t going to be too bad but then again, who cares, you have to enjoy some things without thinking too much about how many calories they have.

See you next week for the last post of 2016.

Progress Report 30 – Loglines

You might remember some of my post about some of my random ideas, some of them I’m working one others are on the back burner. Last week I had the opportunity to take part in a little logline competition. I didn’t win (Orlindo has a different story to tell about that) but it was a good exercise and I feel a lot more motivated now. I handed in two loglines, one about the Idea I’m currently working on “The Company” and of about an older idea that I keep coming back to. Guess which one was more popular?

I call it “The Eternal” and this was the logline I submitted:
John has a problem – he keeps dying but he doesn’t stay dead. Too bad no one explained that to the Russian mobsters after him. John needs to hide and he has to find answers about his past but that’s almost impossible if you lived too long to remember who you are.

The second sentence still makes me smile. The feedback I got was encouraging and I think I’m going to pursue this project more than I intended to. Positive feedback is really encouraging.

“The Company” wasn’t that successful but working on the logline helped me define the project for myself: A young ambitious engineer invents technology that enables her to talk to her future self. Trying to prevent a family tragedy leads to even more hardship and soon she has to realize that she’s turning into the problem she’s trying to solve.

Before I share the winners with you, lets do the numbers:

One book/screenplay: Not too much time to read this week. Still reading the Hamilton biography.
Two movies: Arrival was amazing, finally a smart alien invasion movie. Great performances and great direction. Looking forward to Rogue One.
Seven pages: Still rewriting “Die Klientin” but the end seems nigh.
Seven hours: Time spent with the loglines and thinking about my other projects.

Orlindo dominated the competition. He entered three ideas and two of the took the top spot. I like to think that I helped a bit (I translated them from German to English) but the ideas were his.

Spacewhale: A starving moon sized creature threatens earth. Humankind descends into chaos but a young boy connects with the creature on the only level that exceeds its hunger.

One million Ways to die in the Holocaust: A girl in a concentration camp has to relive her last days again and again but trapped in hell on earth she finds hope: Freedom for her and her family could just be one death away.

I really liked the Holocaust idea, both of them are touching on an emotional level. I just hope that this success translates into hours spent at the keyboard. 🙂

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Writings on the Wall.

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

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…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.