Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Writing yourself into a corner...

happens. I'm currently writing a romantic comedy script about a guy and a girl who meets, fall in love, get disconnected, stop loving each other, and then start loving each other again... I know, a novel concept. However, the problem is that I just don't care about romantic comedies. They aren't my thing. And, since I'm not writing on assignment, I have no motivation to make the project something I care about. I'm just writing here and there, the inciting incident happens on page 6, but the character doesn't motivate his change until page 26. So far...it's boring. And that's the crux of my problem, the script is B-O-R-I-N-G, and that has made me write myself into a corner. Is it the usually corner, no. I can easily get myself out of it by restructuring the first act. The corner i'm writing into is not the normal corner (i.e. a situation that is wholly unsolveable by the main character), it's more of the corner of DO I EVEN WANT TO FINISH THIS SCRIPT and WHO THE HELL CARES ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS.

In fact, this happens with screenwriters more often that they would like to admit. I was talking with a screenwriter the other day who was talking about a great idea they had for a script, that 50 pages in they just stopped loving. Is this not the same as having an impossible situation that a character can not escape from?

Here is my dilemma. I have 26 pages of a spec script done. I know that i'm going to have at least a 120 page first draft for this script, because I am adding a lot of information I know I will either adjust, take out, or trim. I want to have every possible joke, slap-stick incident, and dumb, lumbering paragraph because I want to be able to edit judiciously.

This leads to a conundrum when dealing with a script you just don't care about...

a. is it that I will care about this script after editing, or do I hate the script?
b. is there a flaw in the moral distinction of the characters that will bite me in the ass later in the development of the story?
c. do I want to spend the next 2 months working on this project in order to sit back and say...yup, this is crap.

Do I think this is a project that can be saved, have some meaning, and succeed at being sold/produced?

This is the reason I love TV writing, 60 pages and you're done...max. Okay, maybe 70 for a long pilot or an hour long script. But revisions are easier, and finding the flaws is simple, if its not essential, it's gone.

So, as I sit writing this, staring at my script, I wonder if I wrote myself into a corner, a boring, unproductive corner, from which I should abandon and look at other projects. Maybe something violent, slick, and edgy.

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