Thursday, September 12, 2019

Writing the Goddamn Screenplay Already

Hellooooo, Readers!

And helloooo, Autumn. NEPA winters are long so I don't mind when summer ingratiates itself well into October and November. On the other hand, who doesn't relish the break in humidity? Last night, it was a sauna in my house. This weekend, it might only be in the 60s. The pendulum of air pressure can wreak havoc on a girl's sinuses, but who doesn't love changing leaves and apple picking?

And now all my kids are in school. That's right. It's just me and my dog from 9 to 4. I've been working on a little porch decor project, finishing my outline for a detective fic, scouring the job listings, AND finally writing that screenplay.

For years I have been wanting to write a television show, which probably sounds impractical. I'm a mom of three who lives in the Poconos. I'm not getting staffed on a Netflix series. But it is a dream. I think I'm well-suited for TV writing, I just realized it too late. And, sadly, there is such a thing as missing the moment when you have three kids. And yet, screw it.

I asked for Syd Field screenplay books for the holidays. I studied the pilot scripts of my favorite programs. I would listen to film and TV podcasts. But I never got the courage to start my own script. I kept thinking I should just focus on my novel writing. And only novel writing.

But the lure kept tugging.

I deliberated taking a screenwriting workshop, but couldn't justify the expense.

I was afraid it would all be too hard. That I'd get bogged down by the formatting, overwhelmed with camera directions. That I would struggle to describe what was in my head because I would have to write it all from the viewpoint of a camera lens.

I thought, I know I can write, but can I write this?

But I have spent so much time analyzing and examining television. Trying to figure out exactly how a scene I am watching might look on paper. And then I googled screenwriting software and found Writer Solo (shout-out!), a free cloud-based screenwriting program. It's dummy proof. I'm the proof.

Two weeks ago, I opened up the app and set to work adapting my latest novel. After all, I am very familiar with the source material. I know the heroes and the villains. I know what it all looks like. I know the murderer and the string of events to get there.

Do I know how to turn a novel into an eight-episode season? No. 
Have I constructed subplots to round out the story? Not yet.
Am I overwriting? Probably.
Will this ever get picked up? Not in a million years.
Am I having fun? Yes.
Do I want to keep doing it? Yes.

As of now, I have drafted 47 pages of a roughly 60-page script. That's a one-hour show!
It's a draft. I have to go back and see how it compares to proper, finished scripts. I have to have a screenwriter read it, tell me if it's amateurish (which I'm sure it is) and where I should revise.

But the point is, I freaking did it. The thing that scared me is no longer scary.

I seized an opportunity (free software + chunks of uninterrupted time) and did the thing I wanted to do.

I am incredibly proud of myself.

There are lots of writers who work in various mediums--novels, screenplays, journalism. Maybe I can be one of those people.

Because scouring the job ads when you've been out of work for a decade is demoralizing. Because living in a rural area where there isn't a lot of job opportunities for over-educated moms means I need to think bigger than I used to.

It means I need to do the shit that scares me. Now. And not later.


Carrie Beckort said...

Way to go! The scariest stuff is often the most rewarding :)

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

You're right.

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