10

35

The Man Comes Around

UPDATE 2 The World's End

I am going to be working well past the deadline, so I won't be able to upload corrections in time. But I really appreciate everyone who has taken (and will take) your very valuable time to read through and point out errors and make comments and suggestions. There are some amazing writers in this class. I commented (and will try to comment) on your projects. I hope y'all know who you are. :)

And I hope you keep writing. Everyone in the universe can find reasons not to write- especially writers. It's practically part of the job. Try to be mindful that you don't need peace and quiet to write and you don't need special space and you don't need a trust fund. All you need is your brain and your heart and your will to press on through all the nonsense that life constantly threatens to swallow you up into.

You need to be ok with someone tearing your work to pieces and then asking "We're still on for lunch, yeah?" Because, if this is your vocation, that will happen to you just about every day for the rest of your life. All you gotta be thankful for is that, hey, at least you're getting lunch. And maybe, one day, James Franco might read your script.

It's been a real pleasure reading these scripts and learning so much from this class, from the teachers and from each other. If nothing else, I hope it made you more brave than you were when you started. Keep it up.

Be brave. Keep writing. Always remember that you are amazing. :)

------

UPDATE 1 New logline and Spoiler Alert!

YAAAAR! There be SPOILERS (which, strangely, pirates still called spoilers) DOWN BELOW (in the comments).

So don't scroll down there until you wanna read 'em!

And, the very wise Megan, so nicely guiding us through this process, asked me to number my steps. I put them here in the wrong order initially, so now they're in reverse order. You're welcome (That's what an idiot says when no one says Thank You.)

------

STEP 3 (with many thanks to Mighty Molly Wolchansky - that's your new MMA name, should you decide to take it up. And, everyone, read her script. It's awesome! :)

The Logline:

A small-town reverend begins to doubt his dedication to both his vocation and marriage when he starts to obsess over a woman he glimpses through a window.

STEP 2

The Script:

https://thetwelvepercent.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/the-man-comes-around.pdf

STEP 1

Adapted From:

"The Strength of God" from Winesburg, Ohio: A group of tales of Ohio small-town life

by Sherwood Anderson

Why?

I have never written a short before. But, I had the most vague idea many months ago: a man of religious means, dressed in black, who appears at funerals quite randomly. I think the initial idea was going to be set in mid-century America, probably because I was writing about a very different part of mid-century America at the time (and there's a nod to this in the script). I couldn't figure out what this character would do for a 90+ minute long feature, but I thought he would make a great lead in a short film.

Over many months, this guy, whoever he was, has never left my mind. No matter what else I've been writing over the past while, there has been a story lurking about a man dressed in black who was showing up at funerals where he didn't belong that needed my attention. 

Still, nothing happened, until I heard the magic words: "Why don't you write 'The Strength of God?'" (That utterance, by the way, had nothing to do with any mysterious charater. That was my mom.) 

I admit, I had another deadline one short week before this one and didn't have time to both write and read through the course materials I'd bought (though I had read the Steinbeck before, I have no memory of it). I asked my mom to sift through the stories because she is insanely smart, reads really fast and of course she's awesome and all the other things moms should be.

Besides, I was never going to pick one story. I would have gotten stuck trying to Franken-Write too many bits and pieces of different things together. With zero time, I was going to have to start something brand-new from scratch anyway. Yikes.

But, suddenly, I wasn't starting from scratch at all. That man dressed in black, who kept showing up in the back of my mind for these many months at non-existant funerals, wanting his story to be told? There he was, on the page: Reverend Curtis Hartman in Winesburg, Ohio.

The only thing I had to do was not muddy it up.

Because I suddenly wanted to delve into literary critism of the original text (A tip? Don't. Just don't.) and research all the period references (Fountain pens? Really? Who knew?) and, if I did everything the way I so often do, I was going to muddy it up (SHUT UP BRAIN! I ONLY HAVE A WEEK!). Overthinking plus lack of time equals creative kiss of death.

But I took this class to stop this nonsense, didn't I?

So I applied the Pegasus theory (you know, the one where James explained letting the work speak for itself and resist turning everything into flying pegasus? Pegasuses? Pegasii? Anyway, I doubt it's an actual theory, but I decided it was one, in order to get this finished). I will often write with an actor in mind, but that wasn't so necessary here, as the character was so clear to me. That whole story was utterly clear to me, so it went mercifully quick.

The result is that my very first attempt at writing a short screenplay has now been posted to my blog (thetwelvepercent.com which is also, strangely about screenwriting, if you're looking for something else to read)... The link should be at the top. I hope it works.

And I hope you like it.

(PS: The title is from a Johnny Cash song. I have always given my screenplays song titles, just because they seem to work. I was going to retire that tradition with this short but, once I typed it in the box above, it felt like it fit.)

(PPS: I should further mention, if you like what you read and want to read a feature of mine, I've tossed a couple of scripts on The Black List. They'll be active for the next few weeks. Just search my name and they should pop up. I am looking forward to reading as many scripts as I can from this class!)

Comments

Please sign in or sign up to comment.