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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Taking Notes

I've gotten all the notes back on my spec pilot and, for the most part, they're pretty good.

'Good' as in useful, even if not entirely positive.

I know I used to cringe (or worse) when I got a 'bad' note. It's not always an easy thing to take; Especially the straight-forward, brutal kind of honesty I ask for.

The kind that makes the lil' boy in me want to do that whole fetal-position-spin-in-a-circle-thing.

And, no, I'm not a masochist. (Tho' sometimes I wonder...)

Truth be told, I'm still not entirely comfortable with the feelings that tag along with 'brutal honesty' but I can't argue with the results.

I've found that when people are encouraged to talk freely, they say all sorts of interesting things; they let it get personal. They get emotional.

And, to me, emotion is good -- better if it comes with all sorts of technical insights (better act outs, etc), but emotional impact lets me know I'm on the right track.

Though, more often than not, it tells me where I'm weak.

As I'm prepping my 2nd draft of this thing I'm looking over my scratch pad and... wow... there's quite a lot to run with here -- which leads me to my second point:

Finding the common denominators.

I've found that I can get 5 different sets of notes and each of them can have wildly different ideas of what works and what doesn't.

What some love, others hate.

And yet, often there are similarities; 3 out of 5 will like this or (if I'm lucky) 4 will think that plot point needs to be expanded upon.

Often it's not quite that cut and dry... and that's why the fun part is in figuring out which suggestions help me tell the best version of the story I'm trying to tell.

'Cause there's always that bit of 'I'd totally do it this way' or 'You should do this'; usually they're valid (and welcome) suggestions... but sometimes they can distract from whatever bee is buzzing around in my head.

The hard part is making that distinction between what's a 'great idea' and what's a 'great idea for the show I'm trying to put together'.

Sometimes that distinction is isn't easy to see. Sometimes I gotta just pick up a shovel and go exploring.

Find out the hard way.

That means a whole lot of scenes that'll never see the light of day or cool lines of dialogue that'll end up not working. Characters made and lost or changed irrevocably with a few bangs on the delete key.

Sometimes it means getting lost in the woods or hitting a dead end or getting trapped in a causal-loop.

Mostly it means getting my hands deep into the script while trying to remember why I wrote this damned thing and cursing myself for not thinking of that in the first place.

In short: It's really a whole lot of fun.


P.S: Hey, remember that new Oh Canada! Video I was talking about? It's officially up -- unfortunately Much Music is all against embedding videos, so you get a rather boring link instead.

Check it out here.

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