Friday, May 10, 2013

Guess Who's Back . . . Back Again . . . Scotty's Back . . . Tell A Friend . . .

It's been a bit, hasn't it?  I just remembered you and the realization that I hadn't written in so long sent me into a tailspin of guilt.  Granted, we've had a lot going on (more on that here).  And don't think I haven't been writing.  I have.

Oh, how I've been writing.

When last I corresponded, I was in the middle of the second draft of Phileas Reid.  I'm still in the second draft of Phileas Reid.  I've taken a small break from Phileas to write a web series.  It's a story I had three years ago (or longer, depending on when you're reading this) back in the spring of 2010, but I've sat on it till now.

It's called Illumination, Inc. and the reason I've sat on this sci-fi rom-com for so long is that I've had a hard time figuring it out.  The story hasn't changed, but I've had a hard time figuring out how to tell it.  The original thought and outline for the story was as a feature-length film.  But not having the money to bring that film into fruition kept me from committing too much time to writing it.  So I flirted with turning into a novel or a graphic novel but neither really seemed to suit it.

Illumination, Inc. is and was always a cinematic story idea.  So when I heard that Point of View Pictures, the production company run by my long-time partner-in-crime Tom Goddard, was gearing up to produce a web series this summer, inspiration struck.  I called up Tommy and pitched him Illumination, Inc.  He loved it, which meant I had to write it.

Knowing that you're writing for a production that doesn't have a budget, you really need an idea that's bigger than the story you're telling.  That's the key element in all my favorite independent films.  The writer/director finds a big idea and then uses a small story to explore that idea.  The big idea overshadows the small story and makes the entire production seem grander.  For great examples of this, check out Pi, Primer, Reservoir Dogs and District 9.  Another way to distract from your small budget and small production is to fill your production with talent.  See also:  Garden State and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

At the heart of Illumination, Inc. is the idea of being able to control your dreams and live out whatever fantasies you have.  You couple that with the romantic idea of finding the person of your dreams and you have the basic foundation of the web series.

Illumination, Inc. will be a seven episode web series that will be filmed locally (in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee) this summer (2013).  Post production is scheduled to begin in August with a tentative release scheduled for this fall.

You can check out the website for it here, like it on Facebook here, and follow my (hopefully) more regular writing updates here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Second Drafting

I'm reading the first draft and boy, is it rough.  There's the occasional passage or paragraph that makes me smile with pride, but most of these sentences are making my shudder.  I still like the story and I try to remind myself of that:  This story is good.  It just needs to be told better.  The reader deserves that.  And I need to be able to sleep at night, knowing I've crafted the best book I could and that it's not out there, embarrassing me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fever Dream

I was in my house.  It was one of those situations where you've never been in the building before, but you intrinsically know that it's your home.  I was all alone, wandering the empty halls and rooms looking for something.  In the nursery, I found a chest.  In the chest were old yearbooks, photographs, and the thing I had been looking for:  A beat-up notebook.

I began flipping through the notebook.  It was filled with old and abandoned ideas.  There were story outlines, character descriptions, and questions that had once meant something to me but now I couldn't remember what they were connected to.  Exploring the notebook filled me with an intense melancholy.  There was so much unfulfilled potential.

Then, as if alive, the pages began pulling away from me.  They ripped themselves out of the book.  They began flying around the room.  As they flew, they filled the room.  It was an avalanche of ink-filled paper.  I tried to crawl to the door, but the ideas couldn't sustain my weight.  I began to sink.  I tried to swim,  but to no avail.

I woke up, sweaty and clammy.  My fever was broken and a deep, disturbing chill was clinging to my chest.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Artist Needed!

As I begin the second draft of Phileas Reid Knows We're Not Alone, I want to get the ball rolling on the next step, which is publication.  The dream, of course, is to be able to walk into any given book store and find copies of this adventure in the young adult section -- which means I'm preparing myself for a lot of rejection letters from a lot of major publishing companies.

But I want them to understand what they'll be saying "no" to, should they -- when they -- opt to say "no."  I want to put together a mock book for them.  I'll send the manuscript in several formats for their own ease of reading, but I also want to send them the most complete idea of what the book could and can be.  I also want to edit together a teaser trailer/pitch for them to watch, using all this same art.  I want it to be hard for them to say "no, thanks."

Which brings me to the subject line of this post:  I need an artist.  You don't need to have any kind of professional experience.  This is going to be my first book, it could be your first book too.  I'm looking for strong character and graphic design.

Because, ultimately, everyone might say "no" to this book.  But I believe in it.  I believe in the characters and I believe in the story.  While still a bit rough, I think it's great.  So if the publishers don't want it, we're going to Kickstart or Indiegogo or fundraise it ourselves and publish and sell it ourselves.  And if that's what happens, we'll already have the cover art.

So if you're interested, or know someone you think might be interested, please pass this blog post on.  You, or they, can contact me at  We'll discuss terms, rates, and swap ideas to find out if this is the right project for us.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

End of Draft 1

Stop looking at me like that.  I haven't been ignoring -- well, okay, actually, that's a lie.  I have been avoiding you, but it's been for a good cause.  I've just completed the first draft of what will hopefully be the first of many adventures of Phileas Reid.  It started like this:

And ended like this:

I've had a great many distractions, but I've finally completed the first draft.  It only took me seven months.  I feel like I should have been able to write it faster, I may have even gone an entire month without writing anything at all, so distracted and exhausted was I from the link above.  But it's done.  Not completely  not at all, but it's done.

I'm going to give myself a week or so before I sit down and read the entire thing start to finish.  I need to find all of its weaknesses and bludgeon them into perfection.  To accomplish this, I need to be more subjective.  I already know there's far too many "he said" and "she said."  But I want to be able to see what plot points don't work or what story elements need to be strengthened or what characters I completely forgot to give a satisfactory ending to.  Not only am I giving myself a week before reviewing it, I've sent it to a few near, dear, and trusted friends who will not think twice in crushing my spirit with their merciless reviews.

Then . . . then it's off to the publishers and my dreams will be in the hands of English majors.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

First Draft Hollywood

I'm not sure if I like pretending these are from someone who can't remember how the script really went, or if these are from some abandoned first draft of these now-famous scripts.  The first one (from Apocalypse Now) came from Stop Podcasting Yourself.  The rest (and future ones) are mine.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Writing Soundtrack

Everything I write has a soundtrack.  I find music that matches the tone of what I'm writing and create a playlist that I'll listen to as I write.  It's not something I stick to fanatically, if I'm in the mood to listen to Henry Jackman's score for X-Men: First Class, then I listen to Henry Jackman's score for X-Men: First Class.

But sometimes I need something to remind me why I'm writing what I'm writing.  Or I need something to remind me of what tone I'm trying to strike with this story.  When I'm writing about the kids on Oasis, I listen to the music of Michael Giacchino and Ramin Djawadi.  When I'm writing the adventures of Doctor Phileas Reid, the playlist is almost exclusively Alan Silvestri and Murray Gold.

It helps me.  Maybe it'll help you, too.