Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Been a long week. Forgot my cup.


Okay, I've now sat down every day since Monday with the intent to write something here. Inevitably I've been called away for this that or the other thing.

Did you know that the average hour-long TV series script can range from 56 to 70+ pages? I didn't. It sounds like such a simple thing that any writer would know but nope - I've never even seen a finished shooting script before (yeah, I told you I was green...).

So, I've been fighting to keep up my writing regime and I'm finding it harder to do these days without the deadline to keep me motivated. I still do it but I'm starting to feel those stupid 'why bother?' pangs. I know, I can't let myself slack, but I can feel them there, scratching at the back of my mind whenever I hit a brick wall in my stories.

I've been going to the gym for the last few weeks - not just motivated by guilt, apparently I've officially nibbled my way into the 'obese' category (thanks, doc...). I've been kind of teetering on that ledge for a while and Christmas didn't help me any. I'm guessing that gaining 10lbs in 2 weeks is considered a bad thing across the board no matter where you live. Especially in my case where both sides of my family have histories of diabetes, heart problems and other such fun things. And thus I've been out there sweatin' to the oldies. Actually, I've been sweating to the poorly remixed Rihanna tracks played ad infinitum - and cutting down my food intake.

On the bright side I've actually lost some weight and have started to see some muscle - not much (only 3 weeks in) but enough to keep me motivated. The downturn is that going to the gym 3 nights a week tends to leave me waking up sore and cranky - not the best disposition for getting my imagination all fired up. Once my body gets used to the new strains I think things will clear up but I've found this last week to be especially challenging.

I woke up this morning and did not want to write.

I sat there, still in pain from Tuesday's Tae Kwon Do class and just couldn't do it. It was like a whole other side of me was resisting with every fibre of its being. And today it won out.

Practitioners of Martial Arts often talk about the Mind-Body-Spirit connection and I think the 'body' aspect of me has been out of whack for a while. I can't give up on the physical activity aspect - I've seen where my parents are - and I can't give up on my writing; I'm going to have to find a way to make both come into some sort of harmony.

So, to that end, I've come to a conclusion in that I'm going to have to shake things up a bit. I'm a morning person when it comes to writing but once I start having to force myself... well, I shouldn't have to. I'm going to try and shift things around a bit, maybe do some after my workout when the energy levels have peaked and my body is tired but my mind is still active. We'll see how that works for me.

In other news, I want to thank Patrick Hanratty and Peter Rowley for their amazing and infinitely helpful critiques of my spec script. Both of you knocked it out of the park and your insights have helped me a lot as I go into starting my 2nd draft. My first draft clocked in at 43 pages and so I've got about 15 to 20 more to play with over 4 acts. I've got a good idea of where I can flesh things out, the hardest part for me will be keeping the pace that I worked so hard to set in the 1st draft. It's a challenge that I readily accept however, as I think it'll only make my story stronger in the end.

Also, I want to take a moment to revisit The Border. I've seen the first 3 episodes now and while it is growing on me there are just some things that are kind of jabbing me in the ribs.

I've grown to love the constant sense of action, that this is indeed a team. I'm loving the culture, the unabashed joy of jumping between our languages as quickly and easily as the scenes change. I love that every single one of these stories so far has a distinct air of plausibility about it.

My problem - and this is really my biggest issue - is that I can't relate to any of the characters. There are none that are really 'likeable'. I can appreciate Slade's humour every once and a while and like some of his quirks (is eating the new smoking? Just wondering...) however, often he comes off as, well, obnoxious. And he seems like he's supposed to be the 'likeable' one, the one the young, hip, lawlcats are supposed to relate to.

On the bright side, the series is still young and these characters have yet to find their way - I'm hopeful that they find their stride.

I'm still watching - I even watched episode 3 on TV, commercials and all! I'm hoping to see something that's going to grab me. Preferrably some character interaction that leads me to understand/believe why these people are there. These people got into this business for one reason or another and so far I haven't seen anything that gives me real insight into who they are or why they give a shit.

And lastly, before I go, I want to express my only gripe with Episode 3: Lagarda said earlier in the ep "I couldn't stop these guys even if I wanted" and yet in the end she's yelling into the phone "abort! abort!" and they do. I mean, I know they haven't really established what the limitations of her 'powers' are but it comes off as if she had been lying when she said she couldn't stop them. Which leads me to believe she has her own agenda and that actually makes me like her less as a character. I mean, it's one thing to be there on the pretense of 'helping' us poor Canadians but to lie to Kessler's face in order to get what she wants - well, that seems to me like the characteristic of a villain more than anything. Certainly not someone with a lot of scruples.

Other than that, episode 3 showed more potential than the earlier two eps. I really started to get a sense of where things stood and how the team was going to work from episode to episode. I'm truly hoping it only continues to go up from here.

Cheers,
Brandon

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