Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Almost Done


My 21 day journey began earlier this month and the time has really flown by. There was something I just read in this book by Vicki King: that whatever time you give yourself to write a screenplay is the time you will take. In other words if you say you’ll write something in 21 days you can do it. If you say you’ll write something in a year, then that’s how long it will take you. Neither time schedule is better. Some stories take a long time to put down on paper. Some don’t.

Edward Albee claims that he never rewrites. He sits down and a play emerges from him, like giving birth. He works it out in his head (which in itself is really just rewriting without pen and paper) and then starts typing.

As quoted from a recent NY Times article by Jesse Green:

One day he finds himself “knocked up” with a play that had been gestating unbeknownst. Then he merely “delivers” or transcribes it, pretty much intact.
“Literally?” I wondered.

“Creativity is magic,” he said, “don’t examine it too closely.”


Personally, I find it hard to believe.

I’m not saying it’s not true. It's just hard to imagine anyone being that good. The only other person I can think of who did that was Mozart. But Albee is one of the best playwrights in America working today (The Play About the Baby, Three Tall Women, The Goat, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?...I mean, c'mon...)so honestly I don’t really care how he says he does it. I’m just glad he does it. And I like the idea that there is a certain magic behind creativity (perhaps its this magic that so baffles those who don’t practice the “arts”, like say…producers).

But I don’t work that way and most writers I’ve talked to don’t. So that’s reassuring.

Here are a few changes that have been made to my script since the rough draft:

Title of “TYA” to “The Honeysuckle Tour” to “Honeysuckle Road” to “Making Time”.
(and yes, I still don’t think that title “pops” and says, “hey watch me!”)

What was 126 pages is now 108 (on the light side maybe?)

Not all of the rewrites were cuts—I’ve added several scenes, between Jack and Eric, between Courtney & Eric, etc.

Added scene of Jack falling asleep at the wheel—hence he doesn’t get to drive the van anymore…

Weak opening is now stronger active image (monologue from the protagonist is now a visual image showing his compulsive behavior).

New favorite lines:

Courtney: “Whatever. It’s not sexual harassment if you’re in the theatre.”

Jack: “People say we live in a male dominated world. I have yet to find the proof.”

Jack again: “If we wanted easy, we wouldn’t be show people.”


So what’s the plan now? I have done my major rewrites and now need to finish with some minor tweaks in the third act (pps 90-120). Then I have my “closing ceremonies”. And I take a break and eat some turkey.

A month or so from now I’ll read through the script and see what glaring ugliness there might be and do my best to beautify it.

I'm looking forward to going back to writing some plays. Or rewrite some plays. Theater is my first love. Screenplays are really just a diversion. Who else but a writer would procrastinate from writing by writing in some other medium? We are crazy.

Here’s this lovely quote from Albee about theatre:

“Theater should be a tough experience like anything else, but it also has the responsibility not to be boring.”

Well said.