Minor change in the blog here. It looks like part of the problem I had on the site had to do with a corrupted emoticon plugin. I traced the last three corrupted files to the plugin and when I tried to go to the site to see if there was an available update, their site was also messed up. As a result, I’ve removed that plugin and you will notice new emoticons here. There is supposed to be a table of them that shows up when you go to make comments, but since I post from the admin dashboard, I have no way of knowing if that’s true. If anyone tries to comment, please look for the table marked “wp-Monalisa”. It will hopefully have a bunch of smileys and the accompanying text codes that will create them. If not, I’ll try to figure out an easy way to let you see what they are, but for now, I’m more concerned with just getting the site running smoothly again.
Other news… last weekend was the 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) competition. Now, because of the terms of the competition, I still can’t talk publicly about any specifics. But speaking in generalities, I can say that I ended up pitching a story idea in a genre that I NEVER thought I would write in. But I would like to tell you a little about the experience. So let me give you an idea of how my weekend went. We (the writers) were supposed to show up on location at 6PM. I got there a little early because I wanted to know what kind of locations we would have access to. After all, it wouldn’t do any good to write a script about a car race if the only set we had access to was going to be a church, right? I also wanted to discuss what the other writers knew about the actors… skills, aptitudes, etc.
At roughly 6:45, we received the phone call letting us know our required genre, character name, line of dialogue, and prop. Each of these things had to be written into the script. Three teams of two writers (including yours truly) then began putting our ideas into pitch form. A few hours later the director and his team met with all three writing teams to listen to the pitches.
The pitch my writing partner and I made was accepted, and we went to work on the full script. Things went a little off course from where I thought they were going to go at that point. It had been my understanding that all six writers would get together to knock out the completed script, but someone had decided that having six writers working on a seven minute script would likely be a matter of too many cooks in the kitchen. That made sense, so my partner (a great guy named Aaron Stein) and I sat down and knocked out a collaborative effort, writing until about 2:30 AM. Between the writing, printing out the copies, and getting everything ready for the crew setup later that morning, I ended up getting to sleep around 3:30.
My alarm got me up less than three hours later, because the crew was supposed to meet at 7AM. Yeah, after less than three hours of sleep, I got to haul my tired old phatass back to work with them. This time I got to learn about setting up lights, power, how to set a boom mic just out of frame so it won’t show up in the film, but will still be close enough to pick up dialogue… it was both exhilarating and intimidating, not to mention incredibly hot and exhausting. We filmed at three different locations, and finished up once again at around 3AM. By the time I got home, got showered (I did mention hot, didn’t I? I was drenched in sweat and soaked through four shirts) and finally got to bed, it was about 5AM.
Let me tell you folks, I’m just too old for that kind of schedule anymore. I remember pulling all-nighters when I was in my twenties. I even remember literally working around the clock on rare occasions in my thirties. But I’m nearly twice that age now, and I paid hell for the excess the following day. I woke up with a migraine so bad that I ended up puking, and I was pretty much useless to MBH. To make things worse, she had strained her back while I was gone, and the two of us spent most of Sunday lying around the house, while Bella looked at us wondering what in the world was wrong with us.
Unfortunately, despite all the work everyone put into the project, the film didn’t get through editing soon enough to make the deadline, and we were disqualified from the competition. It was still an amazing experience. Hard, HARD, work, but amazing, nonetheless. It was also one hell of a learning experience, and I learned a new respect for the names that go at the end of a film… all the “grips” and “best boys”, lighting crew, and boom operators… Their work is thankless, tiring, and all it gets them is a little footnote at the end of the credits. Like writers, these are people who love their craft, work hard to advance it, and my hat is off to them.
I’ve already been asked if I would participate again next year, and I have to say… right now, I’m on the fence. As I said, I really liked it. I just can’t put in hours like that. This year was REALLY hard on me. Today is Wednesday, and I still had to take a short nap this morning. I’m still working to get my schedule back on track. I can’t afford that much of a disruption in my writing schedule. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there is a draw to the comradery of working so closely with a team of artists to make something you can be proud of… something you can point to and say, “I had a hand in creating that.”
So will I do it again next year? I don’t know. Part of me wants to. But next year I’ll be even older, my body will likely be less forgiving to the abuse, and I simply don’t think I can handle working back-to-back, twenty-something hour days. It’s been one hell of a learning experience though. I’ve learned that I can write under extreme pressure. I’ve learned a little about script writing. And as I said, I learned quite a bit about the work that goes on behind the scenes (literally) of a movie.
Now back to the reality of my own writing…
Crazy Larry hasn’t moved all that much. Between the prep for the 48 HFP, and recuperating afterwards, I’m sitting on just under 22k words, and I haven’t made any more progress on Payne and Suffering since last week, at all. But I’m feeling more like my old self again, and am going to try working on multiple projects at once. I’ve tried this in the past, but didn’t have the mental discipline to keep track of the various projects. I want to see if I can do it now. I need to make it work. Working on one project at a time seems to be bogging me down. I have a problem with focusing on a single plot problem and letting it bog me down. If I can make myself stop when I hit one of those proverbial walls, and move over to another WIP, then maybe that will give my subconscious time to chip away at the wall while I remain productive on another title. I’ll let you know how it works.
That’s it for now. Stay safe, and I’ll talk to you next time.