I be a good righter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The deep end of the talent pool.

So, I've got this talent. It's not one of many. It's one of one. And that talent is... reading other people's scripts and finding what works and what doesn't. I have, after all, been reading scripts a lot longer than I've been writing them. This talent fails me in one major arena. My own work.

Somehow I am able to gloss over glaring inconsistencies, poor dialogue, and major plot holes. I'm able to pass right over the fact that I've got eight scenes dedicated to revealing the exact same point of information.

This failure of mine to objectively read my own work has not gone unnoticed. In fact, teacher brought it up last week. Damn his eyes.

Unfortunately for the Hubby, I've figured out how to best become objective when reading my own work. This revelation came Monday. See, work was due on Sunday evening, and as is my way, I wasn't ready on Sunday. Especially given that Wed-Fri I'd been banging my head against the wall in the hopes that I'd either, A) put self out of misery or, B) jostle a story into my brain. A never happened. B came late, ergo work was handed in late.

When I hit send, I was proud of the work I'd done. Impressed that I'd managed to pull two acts out of my ass and have them make some semblance of sense. I felt a sense of completion; a job well done. Until...

I got the Hubby to read the acts. Now, whenever he reads something of mine, I annoyingly (to him) always read over his shoulder. This day was no different. Except, when doing that, I'm apparently once removed from the work, and have now found that this is the secret to my reading my own work with an objective eye. My other tried and true way of looking at work objectively has been to put the script in a drawer for a few weeks and to pull it out once I've distanced myself from it.

Sadly, the acts were not great. They weren't even good. I thought about sending an email to teacher and my little subgroup in the class to apologize profusely. Something kept me from doing that. I guess I didn't want to hang a lantern on the fact that, uh, it sucked. I didn't even want to admit it.

Monday night found me out to drinks and dinner with some friends. One of the friends had brought a couple of his friends along. People I'd allegedly met on many an occasion. Chances are... I was drunk on those occasions.


These new (or old) friends asked me what I write. Still raw from having seen that my emperor was, in fact, stark staring naked, I replied: "Really bad scripts." Oh, this was met with much laughter. I even chuckled a bit. Ha ha. If y'all only knew the truth I spake.

So... imagine my surprise when I got to class to find that the teacher thought I was brilliant. My pages were brilliant. I am unashamed to say: I think teacher has finally gone off the deep end.

No, I'm not being unnecessarily harsh on self. In fact, I think in recent years, the untapped talent pool in Los Angeles has gotten increasingly, well, more talented. Read John Roger's very scary post where he doesn't believe that he'd get on his own show, given the swell of incredibly great scripts out there. I think this has a lot to do with there being a lot less open slots in the writers' room available, and people have actually had to push themselves. And, it appears, a lot of folks have risen to the challenge.

Since reading his post, I've been questioning my own talent. I used to be secure in the knowledge that there were a handful of GREAT writers out there, a bunch of GOOD writers out there, and the rest... well, they'd never get work. This security was based on the numerous scripts I'd read for various production companies. Also adding to this security was taking writing classes. In a group of twelve, it seemed, there were like, three talented folks. This is also true in my current class. Less true in a class that I take every Summer, where, to my eye, there's only one untalented person in the group of twelve. That person, I feel certain, will never make it. This is incredibly bitchy of me. To soften that: good on her for continually trying. I wonder, some times, what would happen if someone were to tell her: hey, you know, maybe this writing thing isn't for you... I wonder what I'd do if someone were to tell me the same thing? Probably tell them to go fuck themselves. Which is always an appropriate response. To many statements. Try it!

"Have you seen ATONEMENT?"

"Go fuck yourself."

See? It's satisfying.

But this one chick notwithstanding, I'm pretty impressed by the level of talent out there. I'm daunted, too. But, being competitive by nature, I'll just have to write BRILLIANCE. So, learning that the quickest way (instead of drawering the script for a few weeks) to get back my objective eye is to have the Hubby read it, and to read over his shoulder. This means that the poor guy's gonna have to read a lot more. Unless he tells me to go fuck myself. I'd probably suggest something a little different, but that's not something we need to discuss here.

Off to find brilliance...


  • At March 22, 2008 6:50 PM, Blogger Julie O'Hora said…

    Yay! I can't wait to hear what you came up with!

    And your hubby doesn't have to actually *read* while you're reading over his shoulder, does he? Maybe he can just sit there as if he's reading, but really be listening to podcasts on his ipod or something...

  • At March 28, 2008 9:22 AM, Blogger Shawna said…

    I've given myself a hard deadline of two weeks to finish this latest draft of pilot. Hopefully my writer's group will reconvene at last and we will all be joyously firing on all cylinders.

    Wouldn't it be nice?


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