Sleep? Highly overrated!

August 14, 2009

Okay, fine — I don’t actually believe that. But, yes, as you may have surmised, I’m not always getting as much sleep as I should.

The problem is passion — doing something that I enjoy so much that other important things (sleep, meals, friendships) sometimes take a backseat while I’m locked on passionately to something, such as when I’m working on a screenplay. But as passionate as I am about screenwriting in general, and this story in particular, I usually don’t dive right in to that thing of passion, whatever it is…

First, I percolate it

I may spend weeks or even months “circling the beast,” so to speak, before I finally start writing. With this current story, for instance, I orbited around the story concept for nearly four months, letting the idea take form upstairs. Only in the past few weeks have I begun to write.

When the mental picture of the story I want to tell is sufficiently formed, I begin the work of it. The project then consumes me for a time, capturing the bulk of my waking moments until I have it fully fleshed out.  At those times…

I often make poor company

…because, when my mind is zeroed in on creation, I can leave the computer physically, but I can’t easily leave the creation. Something I see or something you’ve just said or something that passes through my mind will suddenly spark an idea for the project, at which time I must either immediately go and do something with the idea, or else it won’t shake loose from my conscious thought.

So, if I appear to be looking right through you when you’re talking, that’s probably why.  Sorry.  But I think that when anyone is doing something they’re that passionate about…

It’s an endorphin free-for-all

Words cannot describe how exhilarating I find it, to plumb the depths of a good story idea, “whispering” it into something worth reading or producing into a movie.

In fact, I find that the process is quite the power trip. Think about it; where in our real lives do we have that kind of control? Being a fiction writer is like being the master puppeteer, or even like being God; you are, after all, creating a universe, deciding what it will look like, creating the souls who inhabit your story, deciding what those people are capable of doing or not doing, and even how they will do it…

See what I mean? A real power trip. 🙂

And all the better if you can make a living from it!

George Fishbeck said, “The secret of success is: Find a job you like so much you would do it for nothing. Then do it.”

Of course, getting paid for your work is the most commonly accepted measure of success, and it’s nice to have food on the table and the rent paid. On the other hand, it was Jules Renard who said, “Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” But I like most what Malcolm Forbes said about this: “Success follows doing what you want to do. There is no other way to be successful.”

I’ll drink to that.

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Filmmaking: Just a bigger sandbox

July 25, 2009

In the immortal words of Doctor Who, “There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.” That, I think, is one of the greatest allures of film making. It’s Lincoln Logs on steroids. It’s like all the mighty wars that raged in that backyard dirt pile, fought with little plastic soldiers and using pebbles as mortar rounds. As filmmakers, we’re still creating make-believe worlds, just with bigger budgets, bigger kids, and bigger toys.