Hello, 2011. I didn’t look to you with nearly as much desperation or anticipation as I did 2010, but I think you will turn out to be a better year for me. I’m making some changes. Shifting focus. There will actually be something new about this New Year.
First and foremost, 2011, I have decided to name you “The Year of No Permission”. No more waiting. No more asking. No more chasing. Thanks to the web and digital everything, I don’t gotta ask. Nuts to all you gatekeepers. You weren’t doing your job anyway. You were supposed to keep the shit out and let the good stuff in. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re swimming in shit. So don’t pretend like I gotta ask. It’s never been about the quality of my stuff. Shit gets produced all the time. The difference is — those people didn’t wait for permission. Also, my stuff is not shit. My stuff is awesome. You, gatekeepers, cannot tell the difference anymore.
You are all fired. I fired you.
I’m going to bring the awesome to several projects this year. Any agents, managers, editors, publishers, producers, purse-string-holders, studios, etc. that want to come along are welcome. But I’m not asking. Because I don’t need to.
And because I’m going to do it anyway.
So, 2011, here are the things I’m going to fill you with (in no particular order).
Troop 51 Saves the World
This will be my first Young Adult Novel.
One of the chief changes I’m making this year is broadening my scope.
Before I was a screenwriter, I wrote short stories at took a stab at a novel. It’s time to return to fiction. A brave new world of digital publishing is changing everything. If Hollywood doesn’t want to produce my screenplay, I don’t really have the resources to produce it myself. But if publishers don’t want to publish my book — Amazon’s Kindle store is just a few clicks away. It will cost virtually nothing to get my book out there.
Troop 51 started life as a screenplay. It is, in fact, the quintessential David Anaxagoras movie. Unfortunately, a script with superficial similarities has sold, attached a director, and landed itself on the Blacklist of all places. The two scripts have almost nothing in common, but when reduced to a logline, well, I’m sunk. Now that there’s already a Boy-Scouts-vs-Evil-Menace movie in production, it’s that much harder to pitch.
While I haven’t given up on the screenplay version of my story entirely, I’m not waiting around for Hollywood to discover mine to be the better script. I’m forging ahead in a different medium — “print”. One I have much more control of, from the writing to the publishing and distribution if I so choose. No permission required.
Also on tap: The outlining of the next book in the series, and a middle-grade book from one of several ideas in the hopper.
I’ve been writing screenplays exclusively for ten years or so. Five of those years I was a student in UCLA screenwriting programs — first the professionals program and then the MFA. It took a couple years after that to really find my voice, my confidence, my mojo if you will. And now that I have, I’m moving on to writing fiction.
So what role will screenwriting play in my future? There will be less spec scripts (permission needed) and more stuff I can produce myself (no permission required). That means my current spec will round out my portfolio and be my last for a while as I concentrate on other things.
Other things such as a web series. Perhaps the founding of an Internet channel. Maybe the beginnings of my own media empire. Or perhaps it will all be so much more digital static crowding the intertoobz. No matter. I can make static if I want. No permission required.
I have two series ideas on tap. The first is something like “The Office” set in a world of superheroes. The other is a bit more ambitious, a sort of homage to kids’ shows like “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” or “Eerie, Indiana” with a little bit of “Pushing Daisies” thrown in. Coming soon to a content-starved Internet near you.
The Monster Test
I’ve written a play. I’m a playwright. I told you I was broadening my scope.
Inspired by productions I’ve seen at low-rent theaters, by literary greats and those destined to be great, I’ve decided to overcome my fear of not being able to cut to the car chase and write a stage play. A very producible stage play. Two characters and a cage.
I really like it.
It has a way to go, but the first draft is drafted and I hope, given the dark, monstery theme, that I can get a production mounted for Halloween 2011. I would like to write a trilogy of monster-themed plays, so I may start Monster Play Number Two sometime in 2011.
Non-Fiction and Blogging
And finally, there’s this. Blogging. I’m counting this as serious writing this year because I want to be a more consistent blogger and because I want to gather a few solid writing samples in case I want to write a column or feature for other web sites. Which I do. So you will hopefully be seeing some regular features cropping up here on the blog in addition to my ongoing posts about the writing life as I happen to be living it. Lucky you.
So that’s my year ahead. One last spec screenplay. A web series. A stage play. A young adult novel. Blogging. And a few other odds and ends and surprises. Maybe I’ll get it all done. Maybe it will all fall apart on me. Either way, it’s what I choose now, in this moment. All of it is completely accomplishable by me and me alone, from start to finish, from idea to mass distribution.
And you if you think it’s all a bit silly or wrongheaded, it’s just too bad for you — I don’t need your permission.
photo: “The word is no. I am therefore going anyway” Star Trek III
- I’m a big enough man, and a big enough fan, to admit if the other script was better — it just isn’t. Even if my script didn’t exist, I’d think the other script was just so much more crap clogging the system [↩]