I sat in the coffee shop this morning trying to figure out why this script I’ve been working on seems so familiar. It’s something I’ve been toiling at every so often for the past three months. It’s not my “top” script, meaning it’s merely a side project that I’ve been working on when I’m tired of working on my top script. So it’s been growing by bits and pieces. Little pieces of the plot have begun filling in. The other day I wrote about five pages in about two hours’ time, and I felt pretty good about it.
So this morning I’m writing and thinking and straining my aching head from not getting enough sleep last night, and I began to notice little patterns that added up to a big “Oh Crap!” moment. I reviewed the story as it stands currently. Main character is an outsider trying to break into Hollywood. He’s got a killer idea. He pitches it to a relevant person. They like it. But this person is up to their eyeballs in failure. They don’t have the push and clout they once did. That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far, but it’s clear this is a remake of Get Shorty, the phenomenally hilarious mobster comedy starring John Travolta as Chili Palmer as a Miami gangster who finds the cut throat world of shylocking is much easier to survive than Hollywood’s dog-eats-you universe of self-absorbed movie producers and their overworked, underdressed, untalented girlfriend, criminals who want to be movie producers, and the egotistical shenanigans of movie stars and strange bumblings of embezzling accountants. That film was genius. With a killer soundtrack to boot.
And I realized that I had the first fifty-five pages of a DNA match to that film.
Like I said, it’s a moment of pure, nightmarish realization. Nothing is quite so painful as knowing that you’ve just spent countless hours writing something that someone has already done, and better than you could ever hope. Discouraging? Yes. Horrifying? Absolutely. Confidence killer? Yup. Did it dissuade me from continuing? No. But it did divert me. Better to have only half a twin script than a full one. By realizing this now, I’m able to head off the further assimilation of my script. I can rework, retool, reinvent. I can, and I will. I must. Because my dialogue is pretty killer. And I’m not going to let it go to waste by bowing down to an acknowledged superior effort. I will reimagine the plot and make it my own. Now that I know what sins I’ve committed, I can use this knowledge for good, or at least for a better hope of profit.
I do apologize for my lack of blogging of late. Especially this week. This is my final week of work on Red State, and it’s been an exhausting process. For those who don’t know, I had acquired a sound designer for the film, someone who not only had the experience and ability to design sound for film, but also the equipment and facilities. In fact, he works for a post audio processing facility doing mostly ADR, and had promised me great return for my investment of lunch from a Chinese buffet and credit and a copy of the film.
Alas, his company happened to be moving from Hollywood to Burbank the very week he began work. He worked long, late hours there, lost his phone, and I lost touch with him for a few days. When I finally caught up with him, he was deathly ill and he confessed he couldn’t work on Red State. I was bummed. I mean, really bummed. But business is business, and I couldn’t really fault him. He was sorry for leaving me in the lurch.
I had no choice but to take on the task of designing the sound for the film, something I am woefully and inadequately prepared for. But desperation breeds invention. It’s been an interesting experience, as this is a sound-rich film; my specs for sound design were specific and necessary to make the illusion work. I set out to create a sound experience that mirrors and enhances the visual design of the film. I am now in the finishing stages of that; hopefully by Friday or Saturday I should have it completed and ready for viewing.
All that is to explain my exiguousness the last few days. I hope things will get better once things wind down. They always do. I was like this the last week of Zero Sum.
I should have a review of Flight Plan up by tomorrow. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Until then, have a great day!