I'm going to write about something a bit different today. Instead of discussing my personal thoughts on a subject, I want to explain how this blog all came about. This'll be a relatively short post, but one that is important for me to write.
Nearly 10 years ago (god, that feels like a long time) a friend and I collaborated on a script. The script was short, maybe thirty pages - yet we planned it as a 90 minute film. If you're not familiar with screenwriting, a single script page should roughly translate to a minute of film, so a ninety 90 movie would require a script that is probably somewhere around the 90 page mark. Our script didn't require 90 pages of material however, as it was conceived as a sort of 'artificial' documentary. Scott (the aforementioned friend) and myself would essentially be acting as ourselves (did I mention we planned to film this movie as well) through a script that was based on some of our personal experiences, albeit somewhat exaggerated. We'd scripted ourselves as amateur filmmakers (which we were), and we planned on setting up interviews with regular people, as well as having some actors perform some scripted dialogue, in order to form an opinion as to whether or not "true love" was something that could actually exist. Now, if you know Scott or myself, you would know this film would not be a positive experience. We, in fact, scripted a brutally negative ending that could have played like a sort of psychological assault - if we had the capability to pull it off.
We'll never know, because we obviously never made the film. In fact, I still have a copy of the original script, and I look back at it and wonder how we thought we could have made something out of that script. It's not very good, and it shows our very childish attitude toward the subject matter at the time. But I loved the idea... still do. I love the thought of taking something that everyone sees as the most beautiful thing you could imagine, the one thing that can conquer all obstacles, and prove to be true through all manner of adversity, and turning it on it's head to make it completely painful and capable of sgnificant emotional and physical destruction.
Maybe one day I'll return to that idea, as I'd still love to do it. But it's not something I'd do alone; it was conceived as a collaboration, and if it's ever resurrected, it will be as a collaboration. It was the first thing I'd ever written, and as 'less-than-perfect' as the script is in it's current state, I'm immensely proud of it. It was written in a single evening, in essentially one 12-hour sitting. We took a single break to go for a walk and rest our minds, but we buckled down and did it. Something I have to regrettably admit I haven't done since.
During the conception of the 'documentary', we thought that if we were going to pass ourselves off as amateur filmmakers, perhaps we should each tackle a project of our own. Scott wrote his, completed it too, if I recall correctly, and I started my first solo project, "Many Splendored Things". I wanted to approach the same sort of material as our documentary, so I began writing characters that appeared to be intoxicated by all the joys their lives had provided them - money, love, the briest friends anyone could ask for, underneath they were bitterly unhappy, jealous, and simply wanting 'more'.
I never finished that script, I got carried away in the characters, but never found a way to craft a believable story around them. While thoughts of actually making our documentary died around this time as well, I realized that there would be a common theme in any work I would try to create - what I like to call the 'psychology of the situation'. What this means is that whether I was writing about behaviour or something more physical, I love the thought that underneath it all, things are much different than even we can see. This is easy to develop if you're writing about emotions, because you can make a distinct line between what the audience sees, and what the characters actually feel. It can be revealed through dialogue or action; it requires a good actor to accomplish, but it's do-able. For me it's harder to keep this theme in a physical environment, where things are not as they appear. How do you show the audience one thing, yet by showing them this 'thing', suggest something completely different?
It's from here that I had my next idea, one that I was sure I could finish (Keep in mind, this was about six or seven years ago). I was going to write a ghost story, one in which the ghosts were not malevolent or evil, but one in which they were trapped in an environment of some kind, only wanting to be set free. What if someone you loved were one of these 'trapped' souls? That was the basic idea, anyway. It originally started out a s a horror script, but soon become more of a emotional drama, as I wrote out another potentially psychologically harrowing ending. So, I had an idea, and ending, and a few (potentially) really good scenes, but nothing to connect them. The same problem I had with "Many Splendored Things". So, what did I do? I gave up. Every now and then I'd have an epiphany, realizing another key piece of the story, but shortly afterward the project would again be dismissed. This has gone on for years. Imagine what it's like to be thinking about the same thing now as six years ago. It's horrible.
Which brings me to my original point, although I've already written much more than was originally intended. This blog was started as a means of writing every day; to make a routine. I have a script or a novel or whatever it turns out to be, in my head, and I need to get it out. Even if it turns out to be the biggest piece of garbage anyone has ever written, it needs to be done, if only for the reason that I need to move on to something else. But, maybe, just maybe I can make something great out of it, something that you would want to read.
I won't know until it's finished, but I plan on starting tonight.