Bad Reviews

Usually, by the third time I read the review, I feel better. I feel like, “okay, this is not that bad.”

It’s that bad.

It’s “Am I wasting my time trying to break into an impossibly competitive business when I have no talent to begin with” bad. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but right now it doesn’t feel like it. The hardest part to take is that I really felt like I was improving in figuring out story structure, but it turns out I’m still way off.

“So there are some sequences that work well here, though I still don’t think you’ve entirely cracked it yet. So let’s tear it apart and kick at the tires, and see if we can figure some things out.”

This is why Scott the Script Analyst is great. He tells the truth, but does so respectfully. He’s honest and treats me like a colleague. He also always says something like: “As before, filter all these notes through what you want to do with the script, and any ideas I offer up now belong entirely to you.” I love that, because he makes it clear that he’s tossing out ideas and not telling me what to do. He does not think I should substitute his vision for my own. This is the mark of a truly great editor. Here’s some more fun quotes from the review:

– I think your first act is too long and rambly
– I kept wondering when the story really kicks in
– (in suggesting cutting a character) Because his whole bit really doesn’t add much drama or humor
– I don’t think you need the Hailey scenes either; they really don’t advance or illuminate the story.
– THE SECOND HALF. I think you really need to push the only real conflict here (The “only real” conflict. That’s pretty bad. )
– Of a twist that I thought was pretty good “way too obvious”. (that one hurt. A lot)
– Of one of my favorite scenes, Scott said “that scene works well, because her dramatic need is clear”. Cool. At least I got that right.
If I had a paper shredder, I would literally take this screenplay and feed it through one page at a time. It would be cathartic. As it is, I am resisting the urge to permanently DELETE any evidence of the script as it is.

Not because I’m giving up. Because I’m starting over.

Now it’s time to forge through all the self-doubt, all the fear and the pain, and start over.

I’m taking the rest of December off from this screenplay. I don’t want to look at it right now. I’m going to spend the rest of this month researching and writing articles for the blog. I can’t stand to be away from writing for a day, let alone a month. So I will concentrate on building up Wannabe Pride. Maybe I’ll research and write an article or two on story structure. God knows I need the help. I won’t touch the screenplay until after the New Year. Here’s hoping 2011 brings better reviews. They can’t get much worse.

That Was Fast….

Sometimes it’s just really, really, hard to be a wannabe…

Remember when I said it was dangerous to submit a script for a review when you barely had time to celebrate finishing the thing? Remember that?

I worked on that script for an entire year. And just like there – in black and white – a short one page review – it’s shredded into little tiny pieces. Just like that.

The review is in. It’s nowhere near done. I guess I haven’t come as far as I thought. I’m going to have to go back to the beginning and start all over again.

My beloved husband, who knows me so well, once gave me a sign that now hangs in our kitchen. It’s a quote from Confucius:

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but getting up every time we do.”

That’s goddamn right.

Fade in…