Backstop, ScriptFrenzy, Writing

Fade to Black

Backstop - Fade to BlackComing in at 121 pages, the first draft of Backstop is finished. I feel both highly relieved, and incredibly strained, because now the real fun begins: attacking that draft with the Red Pen of Death™ (as my old English Lit professor called it). As it stands, Backstop is in definite need of that merciless editing, but I can say I’m glad to have gotten this far so quickly. Still haven’t beaten my old record, though — a decade ago, I wrote my second feature in six days.

Anyway, there’s much more to write on the subject, but my brain feels like mush, and I’ve got to spruce this draft up as much as possible before sending it off to an interested party (more to come on that later).

Backstop, ScriptFrenzy, Writing

ScriptFrenzy 2012

After weeks of initial development, I began working on the first draft of Backstop to coincide with this year’s ScriptFrenzy competition, run by the awesome folks over at The Office of Letters and Light. For those who have never heard of ScriptFrenzy, it is an annual contest that invites writers everywhere to attempt to write a 100-page document (screenplay, graphic novel, play, etc.) during the thirty days of April. It’s a great way to motivate writers to finally get around to working on that one project that has seemingly eluded them for some time.

As of yesterday (April 21), I passed the 100 page mark for Backstop, finishing nine days shy of the thirty day time limit. While I’m glad to have gotten so far, so quickly, my work is far from finished. Backstop, itself, is still just a mess of written scenes and dialog that somewhat resembles a screenplay, and still about thirty pages shy of reaching a logical conclusion that I can consider the ending.

After the first draft is completed is where the real — and often painful — work begins: editing and revising. As I said above, my first drafts are almost always, and without question, a mess of inconsistent characters, gaping plot holes, and characters that serve no other purpose than to move the plot along. Despite these issues, I’m not actually bothered by their precesne. My first drafts are always rushed, done more to get the building blocks of the story and characters onto paper; it’s only the later drafts that I’ll come back to mold each aspect into something I can be proud to put my name on.

So, while the more taxing aspect of the writing process is coming to an end, another part is about to begin that involves me re-reading the entire first draft, wondering why I should even bother, and then re-reminding myself for the millionth time that the level of brilliance I am expecting of myself just does not happen in draft one.

Here come the fun times!

Backstop, Writing

“I’ll create a GUI interface using Visual Basic…”

While I’m waiting to hear back from some readers about their thoughts on The Days Never Know, I’ve decided to hop right in to my next project.

No title, as of yet, but it’s one of those ideas that has been on my mind for quite a while; I’ve been wanting to write a realistic technological thriller for quite some time. After seeing so many god-awful clips from CSI and other media on the subject (Hackers, The Net, and who can forget Swordfish), I felt the time had come to write a film that deals with the world of cyber-crime. It won’t be a “explain it to me like I’m five” film on the subject, but it also won’t be confusing as hell to those who don’t know the subject…all while being not only interesting, but hopefully thrilling.

Basically, I want to do what Phil Alden Robinson, Lawrence Lasker, and Walter F. Parkes did with Sneakers twenty years ago (yikes, that was twenty years ago), but have it take place in a more…realistic world. I love that movie, and I know they worked hard on keeping it grounded in reality (technologically speaking), but it’s a little too lighthearted; I always wanted to see that same group of characters in a different setting.

So a few weeks ago, I began working on a very, very rough outline. It’s still in the outline stage, but I powered up Final Draft and decided to write out the first few pages just to see how it would play out. Here’s a sneak peak:

NOTE: This scene below is completely gone from the current draft. What I wrote below was just a rough idea of a scene I had in my head.

Howell's about to wish he had coughed up the extra money...

For the time being, this is probably all I’ll be doing in Final Draft. I’ve still got a lot of the plot to flesh out, but I wanted to throw this out just to see how it felt.

And as for The Days Never Know, several of the reviews I have received so far have been better than I hoped for. These two, in particular, made my day when I read them:

That, right there, is why I’ve always wanted to make movies!

Oh, and I can’t forget to thank Ashley Mimnaugh, Chelsy Ellsworth, and Kirby Ritter for taking the time to read The Days Never Know for me. You guys rock!