Aaaand… action!Posted: September 17, 2009
Oh thank god. This morning, on the way to physio (rotator cuff injury probably from over-zealous drilling during the summer of making decks, compounded by incessant Snood playing, and furious typing of screenplay treatment), I figured I’d better give some serious though to the problems posed by the screenplay. Those in charge feel I haven’t quite found the right place to start the film. And I can dig that. I tried to put in a bunch of backstory, but I think it’s just too much.
So, there I was, rolling along Summer Street, past the graveyard, giving it some serious thought.
And as is my habit, I was talking aloud to myself. I find the quality of my thoughts is best while I am in transit…in the car, driving, or on foot (not so much on the bicycle, mainly because I need to concentrate on not falling off or getting killed or maimed), and the talking to myself is very helpful, and it’s tough to do that while on foot (though the temptation is strong), so, given a few minutes alone in the car, I figured I’d best make the best of them.
And as I pulled up to the physio’s office and put the car in park, it all began to fall into place. I plugged the meter, and noticed I had in my bag the tiny, bird-covered notebook Kit gave me before I left for Toronto in July. No pen or pencil though. I was, for once, without my trusty pencil case. I cursed everyone who’s ever mocked me for carrying that glorious thing, and then I cursed myself for not popping it in my bag this morning. And then I hustled into the building, the elevator, and the physio’s office, trying to hold the whole thing in my mind. This is very, very difficult to do. It is quicksilver, and I was panicky. Got there, receptionist on phone. Saw someone I know somehow, made small talk about our respective injuries. But wanted to rudely command him to be quiet and her to stop her phone conversation and hand me a damn pen, woman, can’t you see I’m on fire here!
I was raised better than that, and so I chit-chatted till Vera was off the phone, then politely procured a pen and began to scrawl and scribble. My physio kindly hooked me up to the prickle-machine first (no doubt that’s its technical name) so that I could scrawl in peace for fifteen minutes. Which I did. Possibly to the detriment of my shoulder, which had been feeling much better, but stiffened up some whilst I was on my back, scrawling with a spotty ballpoint in a teeny tiny notebook propped on a clipboard. But no matter. One must suffer for one’s art, and so there I was, very bourgeois in my suffering indeed. In any event… fifteen minutes later, the prickle-machine sounded its we’re-done-here alarm, and I finished capturing my notes on Act II. Act III I think will stand almost exactly as its written in the first draft of the treatment.
Oh my god, the relief at solving that problem. And now, I may not have solved it to anyone’s satisfaction but my own, and even that might disappear once I really start writing it out. But what a weight off, to have at least an alternative place to start.
Remind me to muse on that sometime. On how, when you’re writing a novel, the things in it happen the way they happen because…that’s the way they happen! Whereas, it seems, when you’re writing a film, maybe things happen this way or maybe that way. Or maybe some other way. Not because that’s the way it first appeared to you, but because that’s the way it works best for the film. Or maybe this way. Or that way. Or let’s ask that guy, he can probably figure out how that thing should go.
It’s a strange shift for a writer like me (for a writer of the kind that I am, that is to say), but not an entirely unpleasant one.