Monday, May 23, 2011

Malware and a completed screenplay

My computer had an invasion last week by one of those malware viruses. It actually stopped me from accessing anything on my computer. Fortunately a friend of mine is pretty good at these things and he managed to wipe it out from his Winnipeg home to my place in Sherman Oaks.

And I have all the good virus hunters, etc. So much for that.

But now I'm back on and much more confident that, even if it happens again, I know what the process is, and it's not the end of the world.

But the good news is that I finished the screenplay for my new Christmas movie and I think its not bad at all. As you know, there are 4 people who want to read it. And that's not saying any of them will buy it as those days of buying specs aren't what they used to be.

I wrote "Christmas Carole"as a spec for several reasons. First and foremost, I get to write what I want and not what "they" want. I've been lucky that way, count only 1 script of mine that had a rewrite not done by me, and that was because the 2nd writer was a friend of the development executive.

So the odds of my script not going through several changes is more in my favor. The first script I ever sold was Betrayal of Silence, which was made for Lifetime. It was a drama about teen abuse in a Catholic foster home and the screenplay was written in 2 weeks with the producer at my side and was handed to the production manager 4 days before production was to start.

Basically it was a first draft with a little tinkering. It was sold to Lifetime and aired sometime in 1990.

I watched it on VHS recently and found it hard to believe I wrote it. It's not bad, in fact it holds up quite well. Unfortunately it's impossible to find anymore and even my VHS copy was made from a copy the Director of Photography had.

It's strange how I find myself not remembering the writing I did and it's not about years, it's just that you forget a lot of the words, especially after working on dozens and dozens of scripts over 30 years.

I talked about this to other writers, both young and old and they all agreed. There are times when I watch an older film of mine and wonder who wrote a specific line or two. When I check the screenplay, the words are mine.

Take my last movie, The Town That Christmas Forgot, I watched a bit of it a few weeks ago and was convinced the actors and someone else changed the dialog. So I took out the script and checked it.

And yes, the words were mine. 

I think maybe it has to do with the actors saying the lines. Good actors add their personality to the dialog and that can confuse a writer because good actors make your dialog better and make you feel a little better.

Bad actors can make a writer depressed. Okay, and bad writers can make an actor depressed too. A good actor.

But onward.

Now that my Christmas script is done, I can focus more on Ghostkeeper 2 as I still want to film it in November 2011.

And my computer is still working fine.  So far.