Checking In (also posted at Authors Lounge)

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Sep 4, 2006, 5:52:53 PM9/4/06
to Seattle Screenwriters
I'll try to make this quick and concise as possible. I'm usually
pretty good about taking out all my mistakes but today I am on the
"edge of night" so to speak, even though it's 2:30 in the afternoon.
I'm working overnights again (excellent for writing) and I am way past
my bedtime.

I wanted to let you know/document my progress and maybe drop a few
tidbits I've learned in the past week...hard to know where to begin...

My screenplay, Outlaw is coming along nicely. I believe the first act
is complete (minus revisions) and I am close to half way through the
second act. I'm not necessarily writing it in order but I haven't put
anything down past this point. The second act (apparently) is a "pill"
to get right. Meaning it's where you will lose your audience if it's
not done well. I think my ideas are pretty solid though it will be my
research on location that will make or break it. Johannes Linstead is
"helping" me write the second act; he's very inspirational. I just
picked up his new CD, "Cafe Tropical" today and it has kept the images

A friend of mine told me he was planning to go to film school next
year. Which is pretty exciting. If he does well, he has the
connections in Hollywood to get noticed. I thought about going myself
but have pretty much decided against it; and here's the main reason
why: Why would I want to write screenplays the same as all the other
hundreds, maybe thousands, of students who had gone through that class?
I'm probably way off in left field stupid (me, not you), but I feel
that there's a possibility of losing a lot of individuality that would
have made a film different; the essence of the film different. As I
said I'm probably way off base, but don't get me wrong. I see the
benefits. I won't go into them here.

Anyway, I went to B & N and picked up three screenwriter mags and have
been reading those. I have read books on screenwriting and all that
I've come across are similar when it comes to the basics. See, I learn
the basics but I get to put my own spin on things, not my teacher's or
some student who I think is better than me but really isn't....okay,
it's the Benadryl talking.

I shall continue my rant tomorrow. I want to tell you about my new

Keep Writing,


Sep 7, 2006, 10:04:22 AM9/7/06
to Seattle Screenwriters
I posted this half on MySpace blog first (search to
find it) so some of it may be redundant. It makes some of the points I
wanted to address in "Checking in".

This may be a little random. Like looking at a picture where certain
parts of it catch your eye. Each part is most likely viewed in random
order but it caught your eye so, therefore, interesting. The downside,
on your part, is that for this blog, I get to choose what's

I rearranged my room yesterday to accomodate my writing. I set up a
corner unit near the window and bought a $5 chair from the thrift store
to sit on. My wife was thrilled. The idea came to me from a magazine
I picked up at B&N last week-Creative Screenwriting. M. Night
Shayalaman was on the cover and caught my eye. (if I spelled that
wrong, forgive me. I don't have the magazine in front of me, it's just
past 5:30 in the morning, and this is just a random blog anyway. You
may however send me a certified letter, provided you know my address,
and I will certainly respond to you--make that registered mail. All
others will be ignored and filed accordingly.)

Where was I? The article was 36 ways to jump start your career. The
first, create a "space" where you can focus. I read this and,
considering some other things that had been going on, I stopped reading
the article and went to work on my "space"( <-- was that a pun?)

I guess you can say I'm half-way through my screenplay "Outlaw". The
first act is complete (minus revisions) and I'm half-way through the
second act. The third act is kind of a blur but I have notes. What's

Outlaw is (obviously) a western written in the spirit of Tombstone and
The Outlaw Josey Wales. I have not seen a western with this kind of
grit in awhile and decided I'd write one. Here's a shot at a logline:

Trapper Cross is accused of murdering his own family and pursued into
Mexico by bounty hunters and a dirty Marshal bent on his capture. In
Mexico, Trap learns the culture, how to love again, and why the Marshal
would rather have him dead than alive.

That's my first crack at a logline. It gives you an idea but can
probably be better. I'll work on it. The idea for Outlaw came to me
while listening to Guitarra del Fuego (posted here somewhere).
Listening to the music of Latin Guitarist (from Canada) Johannes
Linstead, images of the Mexico scenes appeared in my head. I built the
story around that.

You can read more about my writing including little things I've learned
along the way at Google groups: Authors Lounge. And I've just started
to post on GG: Seattle Screenwriters.

I bought 3 magazines that day at B&N. I can thank Shifty Henry or
Tommy Boy (whatever he's calling himself these days!) He mentioned to
me he was going to film school in Seattle. GO FOR IT, TOM! I don't
know if he knows this, but I was thinking he and I should go to school
together. I consider him a good friend and I think we share the same
dream, though our lifestyles are totally different. But the more I
thought about it, the more I realized that I haven't needed "school" so
far. I've learned plenty without having to pay someone thousands of
dollars to teach me (adding their own slant for free). Don't get me
wrong about schooling. It's a good thing and there's plenty I could
learn from it; I'm just not going into it here. My point is I decided
to continue the way I always have. So I went to B&N and bought 3 mags
on screenwriting and film.

Motivation. One talked about motivation, and for the life of me I
can't find that article. But it said the common denominator of all
great, Blockbuster (that word PAINS me, Tom--Thanks, Crystal.) films is
the character(s) motivation. It made a point that stuck with me about
the movie "Polar Express" (and others). I think this movie was okay,
but not one that really grabs you. Because the characters had no
motivation. I know I'm not giving alot of examples here, I barely
remember the details, but it made a lot of sense. Especially when I
look at some of the movies that should have done well and didn't.

Yes, this was a random rant. Unfocused and grammatically incorrect,
which is just like me though I fail to believe it. It gets better.

Keep writing.

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