So I'm in the middle of story lining six eps of my new spec project. And it hurts. It hurts because I want it to be really good. I want every scene in every episode to resonate thematically. Not that I'm doing much more than a page per Ep, but the story possibilities on each page have to have some linkage with the theme and still be a story with rising dramatic conflict and a slam bang ending.
Pretty damn hard. But that's what we get paid for.
Only it isn't, though it should be.
You see, should this spec project be optioned, I'll make a nut and a bun out of it. A few grand, tops. It's only if the series gets commissioned that I'll see any real money.
But all the really gut-churning, mind- exploding work has already been done in the Bible and story lines. The part you get the least amount of money for. Writing actual scripts is a doddle compared to this.
The major reason for this is pretty obviously that no one is going to shell out big bucks on an iffy spec project that may never see the light of day. An excellent reason and exactly the same one why prodco's option your spec feature.
But as we all know, that's cold comfort when you're slogging away in the trenches pouring heart and soul into something that is likely to be dismissed with a 'Not for us at this time'
And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.
This is the one time when you do it for you. No producer, director, studio exec or script editor throwing in their two cents. You and a blank sheet of paper. I think you only write in your true 'voice' when you have a 'fuck you' attitude. I don't necessarily mean write angry, I mean when you write and you don't care what anyone else thinks about it. Because much as you might try to think otherwise, as soon as you start getting notes, you can't shake the impression you are working for someone else and have to try to give them what they want.
I'm not saying that's bad. Scripts and projects often [even usually?] end up 10 times better thanks to intelligent input. However, input is much easier than creating. Those times when you as a writer have no agenda, no one to please, just passion, imagination and the solitude of your computer?
Heaven. And Hell. But mostly Heaven.
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3 years ago