For the last 14 weeks, the Questers have been sharing their experiences with us through weekly Dispatches. Now that they are typing FADE IN and plunging into the page-writing part of the process, I have absolved them of this responsibility in order to focus on the task at hand. If inspired, they may post an occasional Dispatch over the next 10 weeks… or not.
Today: Christian reflects on where he is as he heads into his first draft:
This week’s quest was discovering our Narrative Throughline / Outline. As someone who gets paid for his project management skills, I see great value in planning. In fact, spending more time in planning makes for the smoothest execution. Through this process I have learned that the same is true for screenwriting. That being said, the final step in planning is the project plan or the outline. Surprisingly, this has been the most difficult for me. My left side brain feels like it takes some of the magic out of the process; but my right side brain loves having a road map.
My left side brain keeps trying to sabotage this process. He really wanted to “zen” out; just “let it happen” and let the magic flow. My right side brain isn’t any nicer to my outline. He sits in his high pulpit judging everything I write down: “Is that a strong enough open?” “Does that capture the theme?” “Would my protagonist really do that?” “Do you need that character?” “Is that funny enough?”
In the end, my arbitration skills failed miserable as I wasn’t able to get the brain halves to come to any agreements or compromises and so my outline is lacking. SHIT! New voices in my head, and now this; might be time to talk to my doc to up my meds. So my only nugget of wisdom this week is to quote screenwriter Barbie, “Outlines are hard.”
All right, 14 weeks are in the books and “Fade In” starts this week. This could be my last dispatch; unless of course there is some need to vent or share other random observations / pseudo-wisdom with you fine people of the internet. Here are some quick hits for you before I disappear back into Shadowlands of the Ethernet:
+ Rereading my dispatches and according to my daughter, I sound like a drunk. Truth is I haven’t had milk, caffeine, or alcohol in about 6 months, and honestly, milk has been the hardest. Try drinking sparkling water with a brownie.
+ I got a lot of shit from my family about the “shanty” reference in my first dispatch. So to clear that up, I was raised in a wooden townhouse about a mile away from a swamp, and actually, outside of the Audubon Zoo, I’ve probably seen maybe 4 alligators “in the wild” and maybe a couple were really a floating log or something.
+ I really do totally think that tubas rock!
+ And last, working with a group of writers and with Scott “work-shopping” my story has been an amazing process. My story would not be a hundredth as good without these awesome people. I’m looking forward to spending the next ten weeks writing with them.
Ready, set, “FADE IN.”
Thanks, Christian, for your Dispatches!
Tomorrow: Another Dispatch From The Quest.
About Christian: From Louisiana, now in Seattle. Turns off street lights with his mind. Regrets not learning the tuba – TUBAS ROCK! Storyteller. @cmfontenot.