Wed. 2 / 6 / 08
Is there a hidden convergence of energies linking together various events now happening in the public eye? Let’s find out…
GETTING READY FOR THE BIG EVENT
I probably shouldn’t be making the time to write this, as there is a lot of work to do in getting ready for my five different events this weekend at the Conscious Life Expo. Let me get these personal things off my chest and then we’ll get into the big picture. If this bores you, just skip ahead… I won’t mind.
I am deeply involved in another major rewrite of the CONVERGENCE script, which I am very excited about. The majority of my time since 2008 began has been poured into this complete re-envisioning, with an anticipated completion date of March 1st. Talking to you about it will probably make it a lot easier for me to finish the job.
LEARNING THE CRAFT
As you may know, I’ve now worked for three years with various industry professionals on the craft of screenwriting, including two different professors from top film schools who are also working directors and script consultants.
I’ve now worked through eleven different books on screenwriting craft, with the same dedication and intensity I’ve poured into all other CONVERGENCE research over the years… and finally I feel as if I have a unified, cohesive understanding of all the different elements that must be juggled in the course of crafting a deeply moving and influential story.
As more than one screenwriting book has said, building a successful screenplay is as complex as designing a Swiss watch from scratch, and getting all the gears to mesh perfectly together. As a writer, there is a major difference between "going through the motions" and really living the process.
Watching a film is now an entirely different experience than it used to be. When certain key elements are not there, you notice it immediately. You also notice when someone is sticking to "the rules" too closely. You can actually count the minutes and know precisely when certain things will happen, and what those events will be, more or less.
I wrote the previous script last summer, under almost unendurable stress — particularly in the sense of time pressure. We had spent six months discussing the content that became the first 30 pages, or the "first act" as it is called, and had never mapped out the remaining structure.
These discussions focused almost exclusively on one character’s storyline, and a perpetual re-envisioning of how the different scenes would fit together to most effectively tell that introductory story.
I literally wrote most of the script in three and a half weeks, and the last 30 pages were written in the course of two very long days.
More importantly, my co-producer Billy Blake kept me under constant watch, day by day, so there was never a chance to breathe — I had to have provable ‘news’ to report every day when the phone rang. This was extraordinarily frustrating and caused great tension which we have since resolved.
The problem with this, of course, is that I tend to be very Zen about my writing projects, particularly when dealing with something as absurdly complex as screenwriting.
I like to have the majority of the story worked out in my head BEFORE I start generating "pages," which as far as I’m concerned simply represent the final stroke to complete the process that has remained largely within my own mind.
One of the absurd problems I was saddled with was that the majority of our team insisted that there be two main characters, with two completely separate story arcs.
The complexity of each character’s story was significant enough that it was at least 30 minutes into the film before they actually even met each other. Each character required a great deal of "pipe" to be laid before we could get to what they were really doing in the film.
I never wanted to have two main characters, and in fact every book I had read up until then warned you that it was extremely difficult to do it with any proficiency, given that you only have 120 pages to tell your story from start to finish.