Wonderland

Nelson Mandela once said, "It always seems impossible until it's done." Good words to live by when you're writing. There's a million reasons to give up when you write. You sacrifice your social life, your sanity, and even your personal relationships - DON'T F'ING INTERRUPT ME! But if you give up, you're dead.

Getting the script down from 160 to 120 pages was a Herculean task in and of itself. The original source material, a blog called LA Stories, was a seven year journey of one girl who dreamed of becoming a screenwriter, but crashed and burned and "died" before she was able to achieve her dreams. After sharing the script with a few writer friends, listening to suggestions, and being open to making changes, I took one more stab at editing the story to see if a 2-hour film could be scaled to about 100 minutes. 120 pages is for amateurs.

I took the "truncated-action approach," turning full descriptive sentences into raw action verbs and beats. It's not how one talks, but how most scripts are written. I took an even closer look at some of the voice-over... and threw out good portions of it (see "Kill Your Baby" for more details). I looked at some dialog towards the end and turned it into a title card preceding the film. And I came up with a killer title.

100 pages was the goal, and I almost got there. 103 is the final page count. I'm happy with that. It's done. It's ready to share with the world. Well, at least some literary agents and producers. Gotta get this baby made!

I present to you... "Monarch."

monarch.jpg

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