Scriptwriting

When I first started to get serious about writing again a few years ago, the first thing I wrote was not a short story or a laughable attempt at a novel. It was actually a script. There was a new reality show coming out called “Situation: Comedy” where they wanted people to submit original Sitcom scripts, and the top entrants would be featured on a reality competition where they would try and win the top prize of a pilot on some network or another. I had this great idea for a show called “NERDS”, featuring four friends just out of college who lived together in an apartment and were, well, nerds. I think the pilot featured an awkward attempt at a party, the slightly normal one pining for some attractive girl he could never have, and one guy getting beat up by a cop because he accidentally busted his lip at a racquetball game earlier and inadvertently verbally assaulted the officer because of his resulting speech impediment. It was, quite frankly, one of the worst things ever written.

Needless to say, I did not win the show. I did not make it to the first round even, nor was my script ever considered in any serious way that I know of. Also, I don’t even think the show itself ever made it to air, or if it did it tanked in the ratings and was not renewed. All this to say, it was bad enough to be rejected outright by a show that was in itself pretty awful.

(It is interesting, however, that a show called “The Big Bang Theory” did come out on CBS just a few years later featuring, you guessed it, four nerds and their crazy adventures while the one slightly normal guy pines for the affections of his attractive next door neighbor. Coincidence? Honestly, yes, it probably is, because nothing I wrote in my script was even half as funny as TBBT is, so I’m glad that show made it and not mine.)

Why do I drag up this piece of history? Because after years of sticking solely to prose, it seems I’m being drawn back into writing screenplays. A good friend of mine, who is basically an amazing photographer whose name everyone will know one day, asked if I would collaborate with him on a little short film he’s going to be shooting over Christmas. I was pretty honored that he would ask me, because he’s an actual professional and I’m… nothing really. Regardless, I said yes of course, and now I’m working on developing the script for this short film.

Let me tell you, it’s tough. I’ve become so accustomed to constantly allowing the reader full access to all the innermost thoughts and feelings of my characters and the freedom to dive in as deep as I can to anyone’s head. The difference between this and film is enough to make my head spin. Suddenly, the old mantra of “show, don’t tell” is more than a mantra. It’s an absolute law, like gravity or electromagnetism. It definitely gives me a whole new respect for people that do this for a living.

In any case, not much more to report on that front except that I’m pretty excited to finally be collaborating with this guy, who’s not only a genius photographer but also happens to be one of my best friends since childhood. I’m mostly hoping I don’t just totally screw the whole project up. We’ll see how it goes I guess.

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