Thursday, April 11, 2013

15 Pages of Destiny

I'm subscribed to a daily e-paper that scours the web for screenwriting and writing stories and delivers them to my inbox in a condensed list. Random statement? I think not. I told you that to tell you this. A few days ago there was a short story about a contest closing soon. I didn't pay much attention but it was a slow news day and I was trapped in a waiting room so why not? 

What else did I have to do? Wade through the old issues of Reader's Digest and Golf Monthly? My horror script has been retitled 'Camp Wishaway' and shipped off to my script reader and I'd devoted all the thinking time I had to 'Keeper', my current project. I still haven't found a scriptwriting app that doesn't suck for my phone so I couldn't work on it. I was torn between reading old editions of People or trying something new. You know me, I decided to try something new. 

The contest details: Write the first fifteen pages based on their logline and win fame, fortune, and most valuable of all, a professional mentorship while you finish the script. It includes professional feedback every ten pages and I can tell you, that's not to be sneered at.

It's only fifteen pages. I could do that in the roughly ten days remaining before it closed. Because why not? I think that's the tagline of my life. This is what I have to work with. 

'After a storm destroys her small farm, killing her mother and father, an adolescent girl is sent off on a journey of survival.' 

Well. That's a bit boring, innit?

It had Wizard of Oz written all over it. I was suddenly less interested. But the logline wouldn't leave me. I spent the next two hours sitting in the waiting room turning it over in my mind. How could I possibly make that interesting? Could it even be made interesting?

Challenge accepted.

What's the most dangerous thing they could be farming? Velociraptors? 

Maybe the location made it dangerous? What if they were lava farmers? 

Maybe the time period wasn't healthy for a child to be alone. I edged into 'Clan of the Cave Bear' territory for a while, then swung the other way and went more 'Journey of Natty Gann'. 

Maybe it was on another planet? Uncle Owen and Aunty Em were moisture farmers. Everything was great until the Empire attacked.

By the time we left I had a rough outline, three acts, characters, and what is hopefully a very dramatic first fifteen pages jotted down. I was more productive in those two hours sitting and thinking about my story than I've been all week. Cornered like a rat in a trap with nothing else to do, I can come up with some awesome ideas. Go team me. Now to polish the bastard and send it in...

UPDATE: I hereby take back every uncharitable thought I had about that logline. This script is going to amazeballs. 


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