Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Grand and Glorious Adventure

"We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz..." (apologies to Judy Garland, cos I don't sing as well as she does).

Ruby red slippers. Check.

Gingham dress. Check.

Pigtails. Check.

Toto in basket. Check.

Tornado approaching. Check.

Haagen Daaz Vanilla Ice Cream. Check.

Yes, boys and girlz, ladies and gents, PJ is off on an adventure. Where I'll land, nobody knows, but so long as I don't land on my head, I should be okay. Whether a Wizard (or Wizardress) will be waiting at the end of the Yellow Brick Road, I cannot say with any degree of certainty. But I'm packed, I'm loaded, and I'm going. Feast or famine, fair or foul.

I'm constantly challenging myself. More ideas. Bigger ideas. You get the picture. Since I finished THE RETURN, I'm not happy settling for the same old crapola. It has to be better. It has to be more. It's like pornography, I may not be able to explain it, but when I see it, I knows it.

Writing should be like that. An adventure. A leap of faith. A kick in the butt. If it isn't, what's the goddamn point? Just to regurgitate hackneyed character and boring dialog we've all seen and heard a thousand times before? Fuck that.

Am I tough? Damn straight. But as tough as I am, I'm even tougher on myself.

Time to change it up.

One house falling on the Wicked Witch and away we go.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Falling In Love

Now that the whirlwind of the day job is finally winding down, I'm finally able to catch my breath. Life, kids, family, writing, there is always some drama or crisis to deal with. But my monthly column at is now at an end (anyone looking for a screenwriting columnist, call me), so I'll be musing much more often here (which, depending on your point of view, is a very good thing or a very very bad thing, like eating beets).

But today I'm full of love. I want to fall in love. Oh, yes I do. I'm an incurable romantic. When I'm in the mad crazy throes of it, I'm like a woman possessed. I want to feel the heat, the passion, to the point of obsession. I want to be overtaken, overwhelmed, overcome, so I think, breathe, live it down to my very core, my very soul and being, until I'm left emotionally raw, sore and battered and bruised.

I push myself until I think I can't go any further....and then push myself some more. I can't eat, can't sleep. Everything---everyone---is pushed aside until I type FADE OUT. For those 100, 110 pages, 120 pages, whatever it winds up being---I'm in a love affair, damn the torpedoes.

That's how I feel every time I start writing a script, and it's how I want to feel when I crack open another screenwriters script. None of the writers I know set out to write a shitty script. Hell, I know I don't. Spend three-six months (if not years) on a lousy script? No thanks. I'd rather cut off my head and boil it for stock.

But it's also true, like all love affairs, that some of them do end badly. I've had my heart broken time and time again. After I cry in my Diet Pepsi, I pick myself up, lick my wounds, and flit around from idea to idea and script to script...until Cupid's Arrow strikes me again and I'm off to the races. Some scripts are just flirtations. Others are one night stands. Then you have the rare ones, and I do mean rare, that leave you gasping for air the morning after. You have no idea where it came from, but you hang on for dear life. I think it was William Martell (yeah, Google him) who said words to the effect that if your script doesn't drive you crazy, it's not doing what it's supposed to do. And he's right.

In other words, if you're not in love with your script, why should I be? I'm so easy.