6.30.2008

They've really got a hold on me


I was going over my Battlestar Galactica spec for the last time today before I emailed it in for the Writers on the Verge program. My Dexter spec isn't ready, so I dug this spec out of the stack of things I wrote last year and read it over. It was pretty good, and I haven't used it for anything. So I decided to take a chance on it. I wouldn't say BSG is the smartest spec for a fellowship or program like this one -- but the show has about as much heat as it's ever going to get right now. And it felt right. I'd hate to waste such a good ticking clock.

But the thing I noticed during the read through is a pattern in my spec writing. I go into crafting a story for the show I'm specing with certain characters in mind. My favorites from the show usually. That's an obvious move. But usually, for whatever reason, not all of them make the cut.

Because of the story I land on -- or because of the work that happens in hammering out the theme and spine of it all -- certain characters take over and often I end up focusing on a character I hadn't planned on in the A or B story. They're better suited for the thematic elements, or I just end up realizing that my favorites just can't always compete with other characters in the show.

But, stubborn me usually tries to force the cut favorite character back into the script. They pop up in a subplot that peeks through maybe a few too many times.

And so it goes that it's usually not until the fourth or fifth draft that I realize a subplot is taking up some valuable real estate in my script. So I cut that shit out, and strengthen the foundation. And suddenly it gets easier to make things work. Wonders never cease.

I'm not sure if it's a lesson I'm learning and will soon avoid, or part of the process.

Also, I have a new theory as to why I'm having such a hard time with my Dexter spec:

Wedding planning. How did I not see that before? I'm making so many decisions that I'm starting to inflate decision-making to the point where I just don't want to make them anymore. Planning a wedding from 2000 miles away can do that. So it's time to deflate the decision-making-panic.

I've got work to do.

(Note: This isn't part of my Larry David Wedding Planning joke-excuse. Like the episode where Larry uses his mother dying as an all-occasions-excuse, I've enjoyed using wedding planning as a blanket excuse. It's fantastic.)

ps. My UCLA Extension class has me watching House as part of my homework. I can live that.

2 comments:

Josh said...

What class?

adam _______________________ said...

I'm taking the outlining class, the Intro to Writing for TV Drama at UCLA Extension. I never had any formal introduction to TV outlining before, I've read up on it and I have a handful of outlines for some produced episodes of a few shows.

So I'm looking forward to getting some feedback on the outlining stage.

I could never bring myself to pay the money before, but a handful of people (and your blog as well) convinced me to try it out.

So far so good.