Logistics!

After screaming loudly, going to the gym, getting a good night's rest, and screaming a little more, I regrouped and came up with a plan of how to attack adapting the blog LA Stories.

For a writer, getting started is one of the hardest things. To take that first step, you have to know where you're going. So I'm going to start with the unsexy part of creating a story... logistics! Sounds like something better suited for UPS, but it helps if you want to create a feature length screenplay.

Writing a screenplay requires Baby steps

Writing a screenplay requires Baby steps

Adaptation, I'm finding, requires a few extra steps. I first need to get the blog into a format that I can easily and quickly reference. So I'm going to cut and paste EACH blog entry into a Word doc. As I do this, I'll create Headings using the date and blog heading so I can quickly navigate.

Then, I'm going to highlight key sentences, dialog, characters, etc. I'm searching for the story in terms of voice, theme, and scenes. I probably should have done this as I was reading the blog, as I don't have much time to spare. This is going to take a little while.

The Path Less Traveled

I hate this acronym, but OMG!!! I just finished reading the entire LA Stories blog by Jaime Jessup. All 7 years' worth. EVERY SINGLE POST.

I'm tired. My brain box hurts. I need some fresh air. This is a hell of a story. If you haven't taken a gander, here's the basic rundown: Bright-eyed ingénue moves to LA with actor hubby to find her place in the stars as a screenwriter, but LA rains down meteors and crushes her hopes, her dreams, and all she holds dear. Said girl moves back to Orlando for a year to pick up the pieces, regroup, and rediscover herself.

A few key posts worth noting: The Mexico Plan, Origin Story, and if you're really brave, Porn Again Virgin Pt 1 and Pt2 (X-rated! - You've been warned.)

There's at least five different movies that could be made from this blog. At least. It's part movie industry insider story, part relationship/marriage/divorce story, part mental health/healthcare story, part coming of age story, part American Dream allegory... I could go on.

What have I gotten myself into!? I put on deodorant today, but I'm sweating profusely. Did I put deodorant on? Never end a sentence in a preposition, Jeff. Focus. I took the leap but am in way over my head. Where to begin? How do I approach turning such a daunting, far-reaching story into a concise 2-hour film? Maybe I should re-watch the Spike Jonze film "Adaptation." Maybe I need to reread Robert McKee's "Story." ...

Notice the book He's reading

Notice the book He's reading

… Maybe not. It’s mainstream schlock and I want to be original.

The outline alone could take a month. I need AT LEAST 3 weeks to write a first draft, another 2 for a second draft. Probably another 2 for a final. The deadline for a completed feature length screenplay is Oct. 1st and I don't even know where to begin.

Am I going to be able to figure this out? Am I going to be able to pull this off, or am I a goner? And why do I keep thinking of "Trainspotting" and the opening declaration, "Choose life."

Finding the Story

One of the toughest things as a screenwriter is finding the story. Sometimes inspiration hits you like a ton of bricks. Other times, it takes years. This is a story that found me.

While my previous screenplays have been very personal, often inspired by my own life experiences, this idea is based on someone else’s story. I’ve never adapted anything before, but what the heck. I’m always up for a good challenge. I feel like writing a script that isn’t so egocentric may be a good way to create something powerful and original, and set me on the right path to a screenwriting career. You know, that thing Faulkner said out in the woods…of course, it may lead off the side of a cliff, but let’s stay positive.

So a good friend of mine, Jaime Jessup, writes a popular blog called “LA Stories.” (she’s also doing a relaunch here).  Jaime and I met back in film school, and we’ve shared some interesting adventures over the years. She started this blog back in 2010 when she moved to L.A. from Orlando to become a TV writer. She's had some crazy professional experiences and heartbreaking personal ones, and, of course, decided to blog all the juicy details. Her writing is hilarious, surprisingly relatable (even as a guy), and always offers a powerful message. I've wanted to turn the blog into a movie for quite some time, as her storytelling is very cinematic. She's wanted to turn the blog into a novel, but I convinced her to let me take a crack at turning it into a screenplay first. It's a story I'd like to see on the big screen and feel confident others would too.

First step is to read the entire blog. Don’t tell Jaime, but I’ve only read a handful of the posts. There’s seven years worth of material in the blog, and I need to read every ounce to get a sense of how to turn it into a movie. I’m going to be off the grid for the next few days, reading. Catch you on the flip side...

Gotta love stock photos... Or you can pretend “Handsome-Guy-in-bed-with-laptop” is me

Gotta love stock photos... Or you can pretend “Handsome-Guy-in-bed-with-laptop” is me

Jeff George

Writer/Director Jeff George was born and raised in Clearwater and began his filmmaking career in high school as an intern with the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Film Commission. A recipient of the Commission’s “Linda Perry Touch the Future Scholarship,” Jeff began making films at The George Washington University, where his first short won third place at the school's annual film festival. 

A film school graduate of New York University and University of Central Florida, Jeff's senior thesis "g.p." took home honors from a number of national film festivals. Jeff honed his craft by directing short films, commercials, and industrials, working in a variety of on-set positions. Jeff worked with producers from Phoenix Pictures on "Basic," starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, while observing the direction of John McTiernan, then as the Camera PA on "The Punisher," working under D.P. Conrad Hall, Jr. and Writer/Director Johnathan Hensleigh. 

Writing has been a passion for Jeff since a young age. Although the focus has been on directing, Jeff has pursued the “Writer” part of Writer/Director more actively in the last few years, having penned a few feature length scripts. For Jeff, screenwriting allows a true expression of voice through an exploration of themes, characters, and questions. His stories originate from experiences, emotions, and people he’s encountered, with an emphasis on cultural issues that have personal impact. Using fictional narrative and the universal language of film, Jeff strives to both entertain and enhance understanding of ourselves and each other.

As a local, born and bred, Jeff hopes to make Pinellas County his home as a professional filmmaker, embracing existing talent and resources and encouraging a serious filmmaking community to thrive. Embracing both the creative and commercial aspects of the art form, Jeff looks forward to expanding strong visual storytelling in the area in a sustainable way.