Archive for the 'Finishing the damn screenplay' Category

April 3, 2008

April 4, 2008

Today I met with the other people who were helping to judge work for the theatre festival here in NYC. I drooled at the woman’s large apartment and adorable pomeranian. We discussed the plays and justified to each other why we scored them the way we did. Afterwards I met my friend for dunch (lunch/dinner) in midtown at this horribly cheesy bar/restaurant with 10 huge t.v. screens. He was on Broadway for many years and it turned out it was one of his favorite places.

I then headed downtown in the West Village to the screenwriters’ workshop where I am participating as an actress. I loved it. The students had written the first seven pages of their screenplay. Unlike some writing groups I’ve been in, the feedback and comments were very helpful and insightful. After reading many screenplays I was able to discern what worked and what didn’t.

What works:

-Simple, direct scenes are better
-Allow the reader/viewer to get settled in their environment before jarring us into another (unless it’s a purposeful device)
-Less dialogue is better in screenplays
-Focus on one character, not five
-Show don’t tell
-Details are important, what a character wants, their relationship to each other and their environment

I respect the teacher, the students and the process. Being in this environment is useful to me as a writer because it helped me ask questions about my own script and character. Also, this class is extremely valuable not because it’s going to make me a famous star but because it’s feeding my soul.

My inability to live with stillness…

March 31, 2008

Writing was a bit challenging today. I wrote for an hour, but I’m not sure where the character is going.

I decided I’m going to take a screenwriting class. I feel that being around other writers would be very helpful for me. In a few months (with the hopeful arrival of the little one…) I won’t be able to do as much writing as I can. I don’t want to fritter time away in my office by myself when I get stuck. I want to use this precious time I have to create fruitful work. Plus, the consistency will be good for me.

I met with my career coach today who steered me in the right direction in terms of perceiving what’s happening in my career. One week I’ll be auditioning for a network television show, the next I’m sitting around, depressed, on my couch wondering what to do with my life. I realized that without a full time job, the lulls of non-activity are really unsettling for me. Being able to focus solely on my acting career can be scary without the constant whir of motion…even if that motion is counterproductive. One of the major benefits of being pregnant (thank you, unborn child) is that I can only focus on one thing at a time. Physically I don’t have the energy.

After the feature and two shorts are wrapped up, I told my coach that in 2009 I wanted to put up a one-woman show. Surprisingly my coach was super psyched with that idea and, as it turns out, is an expert on one person shows. Winning various awards three years in a row at the New York Fringe Festival, teaching at Second City in Chicago and helping others launch their one-person shows nationally and internationally. I was a bit shy about the endeavor but now I’m quite excited about it.

Later in the day, I spoke with my best bud from high school who has THREE children. She was telling me inane jokes that she found through email. Usually I hate them but for some reason coming from her they struck me as funny. 

I find talking to my friends who have kids keeps me a bit sane. Especially in understanding how physically uncomfortable I can get sometimes. You can’t really explain it, it just is and they get it. Even if our loving husbands don’t.

Just got a call from a really cool casting director at ABC to be a reader for some auditions tomorrow. I love being there and seeing those guys. They are a compassionate group of people who care about actors.

Good habits for successful writing…

March 28, 2008


So I’m on a slight roll and I don’t want to stop for lack of will, depression or laziness. Or because I can’t stop watching America’s Top Model re-runs.

I’ve come across a few websites that discuss good habits for successful writers. One specific question I had was how long should I write? This site suggests 1,500 words a day is sufficient. I thought that was more tangible way of looking at a daily goal.

This is a funny list of what countless famous writers did to get their words from pen to paper.

I liked how this list made sure a writer should add the element of enjoyment and fun to the mix.

20 pages…100 more to go!

March 28, 2008

I spoke to a buddy of mine out in LA who is writing a script. We talked about the writing process and how easy it is to get distracted from writing. (Distractions like talking about how hard it is to write or blogging…)

Syd Field’s book is great because it talks about common roadblocks that writers come across and how they begin to doubt themselves like crazy. Before I read this book, I had a reading of my screenplay and my script was simply awful. I had no concept of structure or plot or anything. It was a bunch of half baked ideas randomly thrown together. I felt that I definitely could never write a feature because I was not qualified. Field’s sentiment is that everyone goes through that feeling. And that’s usually when people have strong feelings of self doubt (check) and feel they must bring on a writing partner because they are stuck (double check).

His theory is that if you are stuck, don’t continue to plow through the writing without addressing the nagging feeling that something doesn’t work. Rather, examine what doesn’t flow and work with it. Go back and examine what the character wants, why they are there, how they feel, what happened in the past and explore the specific details.

I went to Starbucks, had a tall soy creamer and wrote for two hours straight. I have 20 pages so far, and it’s very exciting. Instead of frantic scenes thrown together, it flows and makes sense.

Also, other story lines and relationships that I hadn’t even thought of are really coming along nicely as well. For the first time in a long time I like what’s going on.

Woah, dreams CAN come true…

March 27, 2008

A few days ago I had written how I wanted to work with a few people like Sophia Coppola, Wes Anderson etc. It just so happens that I’ll be doing some readings of screenplays in a program headed by one of the people on my wish list! Israel Horovitz. Very exciting.

I went to the library to write at 10:00 today and wrote for an hour. It was a good writing session. This writing in the morning I plan to do on a consistent basis.

Afterwards I met up with B and got the footage of my short that I will finish once and for all. I thank my husband for yelling at me this morning to get my projects done.

March 20, 2008

March 20, 2008

For the first time I woke up and felt well rested. I attribute this to yesterday’s yoga session.

I’m having breakfast with one of my managers to break the pregnant news to him.

Today I go for an appointment to check the baby out. I’m crossing fingers that all is well. I wish hubby could go with me because seeing the baby is always the coolest experience ever.

I had a good session of writing the feature on the train yesterday. I thought about where the characters are coming from and the backstory of their current relationships. It was really good to step away from it for a little bit and come back to it.

After a little while, I decided to write a list of people that I want to work with:

Wong Kar Wai and Christopher Doyle.Mr. Wong is going to be at speaking all over New York next month.


Alexander Payne. I LOVE Citizen Ruth, Election Day, Sideways and of course his short film in Paris Je T’aime. The short film is such a hilarious piece and yet quite touching.

Wes Anderson


Kenny Longergan


Sophia Coppola


Playwright Israel Horowitz