One week ago I finished the latest draft of my screenplay (tentatively titled MATRAMANIA). It took me more than a year, which is much longer than usual for me. However, it only took this long because I kept getting pulled off the project to work on other stuff – my script RAIN ON THE WATER was optioned and I have been helping the producer with that – yay! I also took time out in between script drafts to build this website. And oh yeah – I also wrote a novel during the year (book version of the script that was optioned).
The script is far from done, but I pounded out the first draft and I’m thrilled about that! Throughout the drafting process, which involves initial brainstorming, drafting outline, throwing outline away, starting over, writing a whole new outline, getting it reviewed, getting a bad review, starting over again…all the way through banging out actual pages, I always have music that serves as the “soundtrack” to the story.
When I finally finish a first draft, I love to crank up my favorite song from the “soundtrack” and celebrate my accomplishment. I usually have scattered songs that fit certain scenes or parts of the story. With this script, I was lucky enough to find a song that fit each part of the story from beginning to end. Just for fun, here they are:
GOTTA BE SOMEBODY by Nickelback – great song for the beginning that describes most people’s longing to find The One. Fits my main character’s (Imogene Hart) mindset at the beginning perfectly. “Nobody wants to be the last one there, everyone wants to feel like someone cares” and “gotta be somebody for me out there”. Also doesn’t hurt that it has the phrase “silver screen” in there, which I shout along with like the “O” for Orioles during that national anthem that we Baltimoreons are so fond of….
HERE I GO AGAIN by Whitesnake – Again, perfect for Imogene. She gave love one last try when she really, really didn’t want to and it ended in heartbreak again. Especially the beginning of the song where it somberly says “I ain’t wastin no more time…” Imogene’s sentiments exactly. She’s giving up. Also – great toward middle of the song where it gets loud and the highpitched part where it goes (Here I Gooooooo) – fits the part where she sends a large glass vase of flowers crashing down three stories. Cool.
OWNER OF A LONELY HEART by Yes – probably MATRAMANIA’S signature song. Nothing more satisfying than the opening notes of the electric guitar. Listen to it again sometime. And picture a lonely, angry woman who’s had enough and she just SNAPS.
YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME by Bon Jovi – also lots of fun. For when she decides to take on her enemy Kary McDaniel (former American Idol finalist turned reality star who thinks women who don’t get married and have kids are selfish losers) and she launches a boycott of Valentine’s Day in support of singles rights.
GOOD GIRLS GO BAD by Cobra Starship – also goes along with the Imogene vs. Kary smackdown.
DANCING WITH MYSELF by Billy Idol – after the Valentine’s Day boycott crashes and burns, Imogene focuses on the more positive- singles rights. She’s not anti-marriage or anti-romance anymore, just pro singles rights.
WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT by Twisted Sister – okay, okay. Horribly overused and probably cliché but I don’t care. It’s impossible to listen to this song and NOT get fired up, even if you have nothing to be mad about. Imogene does, though, as she prepares for the first national Singles Day. She’s fighting Kary and everybody else who thinks just because you don’t have a spouse and kids that your life has no meaning. She’s out to prove that everyone’s life has a purpose – married or not.
NEVER GONNA BE ALONE by Nickelback – a lovely song that fits the ending of the story very well. I interpret it differently that the song’s original meaning, but it’s perfect. This is the part where Imogene starts a singles group – NOT a matchmaking place but instead a group where friends meet and get together – go to movies and even plan trips to places like Aruba- why wait for a honeymoon to go? Also, celebrates the often overlooked relationships in our society. Husband-wife relationships are supposed to be our “everything”, but what about parents, siblings, coworkers, friends? Single people are never really alone.
SINGLE by Natasha Bedingfield – a great end credits song. “I’m not waiting around for a man to save me..”
You better believe I blasted most, if not all, of these songs during my Victory Ride. I’ve termed it that because I’m almost NEVER able to blast these songs at home. First, I was at home with my parents (damn, I have been writing for a long time), next an apartment, and now a house with kids. The car is usually the only place I have to myself to blast loud music.
On days like last Thursday, it’s enough just to be a writer. It’s enough to have a whole story done – a whole world of my very own. My good guys and my bad guys. Funny moments and poignant moments. It’s enough to listen to my songs and really feel my characters. I don’t have to wait for a publisher, a producer, an editor, or an agent to tell me I’m a real writer. When producers and publishers receive thousands of submissions a year, they must turn the majority of them down. Even if you’re a really, really good writer (which I don’t know if I am), you might still get rejected. There are hundreds of potential bestselling books and blockbuster films that will never get made, just because they never got seen. This is the reality that I have to deal with.
But when I finish a screenplay or a novel after months of hard work – something that relatively few people accomplish – it’s enough. I know it’s a big accomplishment. It’s been sixteen years of writing and I haven’t made it. If I die tomorrow, it will all have been worth it, because I have loved this writing process more than anything. Even the tough times and the rejections, which have made me stronger. I want to have a script made or publish a novel more than I’ve ever wanted anything. Not for the money. Not for the fame. Because it’s who I am.
But today, it’s enough just be a writer. It’s enough.