As the end of the year approaches, so does Six In 2006, my big plan to complete six screenplays in one year. Here’s a quick recap.
January & February: rewrite STRANGE ANGELS. Done. Though, it needs yet another pass. Can’t quite seem to crack that one. It’s difficult and rather large in scope.
March & April: Write ELEMENT. Done. It’s an obscure idea, but turns out closer to my original vision than I’d dared hope. I end up finishing it in the second week of May, so I’m a little behind schedule.
May & June: Write BLOOD & MIST. I get a late start, but nine weeks later I’ve got a 139 page script printed and waiting for the hedge clippers. Way too long. And it’s got focus issues. It’s the prequel to BLOOD & DUST that I’d been wanting to write for a long time, and my original idea was sort of a Heart Of Darkness on a Mississippi riverboat in 1886. With teeth. The result has promise, but it needs work. Since I can’t nail where the problem is, I move on to…
July & August: BLOOD & GLASS. It’s the conclusion to the trilogy, set in today’s Los Angeles. And it works beautifully (again, way better than I’d hoped.) Though, since I’m now about four weeks behind, I don’t finish it until the end of September. The finale comes together so well that I realize how I can go back and fix MIST.
October: I have to decide what to do. I have a couple more scripts to go and no real expectation that I’m going to pull them off. And one of the scripts I’d finished needs work. I decide to return to MIST and work out the bugs because I really want that Blood Trilogy to be done. I want to stack ’em up and look at ’em. I want to hold them in my hands and come up with synonyms for “heft.” I just want the bloody things to be done. So I jump back into the river.
November & December: The final act of the year. I find myself working more doing the freelance web design because funds suddenly grow scarce. Amoeba kicks into higher gear as the Holidays rush in. I find that time gets thin. I’m tilting at BLOOD & MIST but it’s becoming quagmire-ish. I’ve almost worked it out, but there are still problems. Who’s it really about? What’s the best spot for the sex scene? When do we find out how John Kelley lost his arm? I decide it’s time to do something I rarely do when screenwriting: I pull out the index cards.
I make a quick stop at Staples and pick up four cork panels (smaller and lighter than a regular cork board.) I affix them to my wall using the provided sticky tape, which is really annoying because I can barely peel that tape off my fingers. It’s like super glue in rubber form. I arrange a ton of index cards on the boards. I play with them. I arrange them. I move them around. Oh yes. This is helping.
But two weeks later, I haven’t returned to the project. My to-do list is getting long and a depressed aimlessness has entered my flat like a shambling, oafish creature and is now taking up the whole couch. I’m like Luke, Leia, Han and Chewy in the Death Star compactor, caught between Thanksgiving on one side and New Year’s Day on the other while Christmas coils beneath the water with its single, unblinking eye.
Then a couple days ago I’m cooking vindaloo and sugar cookies (not at the same time) and I hear a commotion from the living room. I emerge from the kitchen, cook’s hat askew, apron blood-stained and blackened, to see that in spite of the supertape, three of my four bulletin boards have just given up the ghost and dropped to the floor. The only one remaining is the last one, and on it, a single card:
I don’t know what it means, but somehow it seems oddly appropriate. In the end, Six In 2006 turns out to be Four in 2006. Four’s not bad, but it lacks rhyme. I should have tried this two years ago. So now… Seven in 2007?