Still drafting the post that gets everyone up to speed on my TV development. Just dropping a quick post to let you know I will be live tweeting screenwriting lessons from “Back To the Future” with a few other writers. We are using the hashtag: #B2tFtweets so if you want to mute that hashtag to not get overwhelmed please do. Follow the hashtag to see other writers’ thoughts on the 80s classic.
If you look through the old posts you’ll notice a large vacancy between my last post and the one before it. What happened in that little black hole called 2013-2014? I became a television writer. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s all that matters in the end. It was new, and challenging and I didn’t have the courage to write about that while I was transitioning from playwright and novelist. It seemed a dream I couldn’t possibly achieve. And while I still haven’t actually achieved it—I am much closer. And I find myself giving this blog a new purpose. I’m going to share some of my writing journey with you, in the hope that it can help you with yours. I will try to be transparent, and I will answer questions, but I cannot risk any professional relationships and my projects success, so forgive me if sometimes I must be vague, or omit some details.
Where things stand now: I have two series I created last year. The first draft of the comedy was in the fall of 2013. The first draft of the drama was in March of 2014. The plan was simple. The comedy was going to be submitted to contests. The drama was to be pitched, in meetings earned from having some heat from the contests. Bold, right? Well, it worked.
The comedy achieved semi-finalist status in a number of places, notably Page and Tracking Board and a few others. With those minor feathers I was able to leverage that information with the logline of my drama into actual pitch meetings. To sharpen the pitches and practice I used the services of Stage32 Happy Writers. The summer of 2014 I took 24 meetings about my drama. I got 19 script requests, and when asked to see something else, I sent over the comedy. In September 1 script request lead to another meeting with a producer. And then another meeting, with that producer’s partner, and now we are actively developing the drama. Meanwhile, another producer who is married to a friend of mine, who fell in love with my comedy, decided they wanted to make it happen. Now, I’m developing it with them, for production this Spring, with the goal of submitting it to festivals like NYTVF, and Austin, as well as Amazon and any other network that will consider it.
So the drama proceeds in a traditional way, while the comedy proceeds down the independent path. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I’m taking them both.
I’ll discuss each series in more detail soon. More to come.
Watching the panic, frustration and anger fill my timeline today was rough. So many of us, i.e. minorities, women, or just broke — those who don’t feel our voice is felt in Hollywood, dream of having a series, or even just a job with HBO. I’m not going to get into what happened, or why, or offer solutions to something I don’t full understand. But I didn’t apply because I have two television series moving forward with different producers in different ways. And I didn’t have a fellowship. I didn’t have access — at least not that kind.
I’ve decided I would record this journey I’m taking and be as transparent as possible (without risking the projects or my professional relationships). I can’t promise sharing my journey will give you any ways to make your own journey shorter, but maybe you will glean what you need to keep going.
More to come soon.
I’m juggling a lot of things right now, knives, chainsaws, bowling pins…
Almost done working on my portfolio of scripts for potential agents. Currently I have a full length play (in development at The Director’s Co here in NYC), I have a 30 minute spec sitcom (going to NBC), a 60 minute spec comedy/drama for cable, a 60 minute drama spec adaptation of a book, a horror/coming of age drama spec screenplay on The Black List, and another screenplay posting to the Black List later this week that is a WWII/ Horror spec.
Along with some referrals and some potential deals in the pipeline, hopefully I can nab a few meetings with some reputable agencies next month.
From previous posts you may have noticed I have a lot of things I’m working on. I have a play in development. A screenplay I’m actively rewriting and submitting to every festival and contest under the sun. And a novel, that gets the writing energy I don’t know what to do with. Sadly, my blog has suffered, but that’s a good thing.
A ton of my energy is devoted to this screenplay that is very personal, and conversely very entertaining I hope, and not like anything I’ve ever seen, though that makes it hard to help people see. Hopefully a few choice results at various festivals and contests will help its traction and if nothing happens with it this calendar year, my intention is to produce it myself. “Not another Kickstarter!” you moan. Don’t worry, that’s quite a ways off. And if I still owe you cookies– I apologize and have faith!
The other piece of my creative life is for my play, “Secondary” which is getting a new title. AND a read with the Director’s Co. again on May 17th. I’m still convinced the commercial potential of the piece is huge and the timeliness of homosexuality in sports and the culture of violence that infects my beloved sport of football will help people realize that the piece could really succeed Off-Broadway and even Broadway. But the goal is to improve the script. Sharpening and sharpening until it cuts all who experience it.
My novel, while 2/3 of the way done, is still not far enough along to talk about. It’s safe to say though, it’s a labor of love, and my expectations for it, when it’s done, are minimal. I needed to make an attempt at the form, and I see it as the first attempt at something I will try a few more times in my life time.
So there we are. Looking at taking some classes later this year and entertaining the idea of attending grad school, though my responsibilities to my family limit my options, I will remind my self that my will makes many things possible. And those of my friends who have been supportive, even if it’s only in spirit, I thank you.
I took a pretty long break there. I’m proud to report I haven’t been writing in my blog because I’ve been writing. I finished a screenplay I started with the intention of submitting it to the Black List and submit it I did. Here’s the logline, that I’m still trying to improve:
The Figure Of A Woman (Horror/Mystery & Suspense/ Supernatural Thriller) During a black-out at a secluded boarding school, three boys compete for a new girl’s attention by sharing personal ghost stories. When she joins the fun, her creepy recollection reveals a sinister secret.
It’s 103 pages, takes place at the Athenian School in 1989 and it was so much fun to write. I had a reading of it at Ripley-Grier with some fantastic actors who really helped me sharpen it and now I’m waiting to see what the Black List readers rank it. If it does well, maybe some folks who are interested in that kind of film will pick it up. Probably not. But I’m very happy to have accomplished part of my creative resolutions for the year which was to upload one script, and my goal is two more for the year.
How’s the novel coming? Good. I’ve slowed down mostly because the aforementioned screenplay which I wanted to make sure was complete in time for Sundance submission. The novel is a great back ground project, and one of the first things I’ve ever done that I feel my momentum doesn’t affect my ability to write it. I always pick up right where I left off and it comes out quite easily when I focus on it.
And what about your play, you want to ask. I am almost done with the rewrites and I have a meeting next week with the Directors Co. to discuss it’s future which I’m hoping includes a mid May presentation for a few producers. Thanks to great suggestions and inspiration from seeing “Golden Boy” on Broadway as well as “Lucky Guy” I’m adding two actors and a new character. Originally I was trying to keep the cast as small as possible, but I kind of shot myself in the foot. I’m going to go ahead and add the character I need to to increase the conflict and not worry about two of the roles doubling like they did before. If the play ran for a year on Broadway then I’ve probably increased the operating expense by $140k but that’s hardly a deal breaking number.
So that’s the update. I’ve already begun the next script to upload to Black List, but my number one priority now is THE PLAY. Who is getting a title change. More on that later.
For everyone who writes or creates anything that incorporates events, places, people or things from their lives: Please Read this comic. Amazing.