I’m going to go ahead and give the screenplay another shot this week. I didn’t get very far last time. I know why—I tried to think too big. I had some interesting concepts to play with but couldn’t really come up with a coherent story. It’s easier to do that when writing short stories, but not a 90-page (or so) script. I also think that a lot of the ideas that I did have for the screenplay I was going to write have been done a lot lately. I realized that by throwing these things together, it would be hard to avoid some really corny writing.
I was thinking of this while watching all three Matrix movies today. They’re visually stunning with some intriguing plots and concepts, but the actual writing could get really hokey at times. Of course that’s easy to say as a movie-viewer who has some sense of what would work in another writer’s movie. Who knows what will come out when I write mine. None of this is to say that I absolutely hated any of those movies, either—although they could have cut out large chunks of Reloaded without losing much in terms of story development—but as I have a tendency to watch movies more critically than casually these days it helps me think about my own work. (I also realized that I too included the idea of a human brain interfacing with a virtual world in the script I was going to do. The situation was quite different, but again, watching the movies reminded me of how using that idea could lead me dangerously close to hokey writing.)
I followed the Matrix movies with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. While obviously not a big budget blockbuster (although I’m sure some of the cast didn’t come cheap), it had much better writing and garnered more of an emotional response from me. One of the central themes of the film had to do with taking risks to get the most out of life. This also inspired me to get back to work on the screenplay. Maybe sitting at a computer typing a way script isn’t the most exciting way of going about it, but it’s my way. I also need to get out and live life more. I’ve been a loner for a long time and can’t say that I don’t enjoy it. But I think some of my solitude came from shyness as well. I want to experiment going out and actually interact with people. Maybe I could even develop some new relationships. Or maybe I would hate it and go back to being a loner. But at least I might get some material for a new screenplay. Now I have to figure out the balance between the time it takes to live and the time it takes to write about life… if I can.
I’m faced now with the decision of what to cut out of my life in order to pull this off. Should I really quit practicing music altogether? I keep skipping days jogging—what if I were to give it up? That doesn’t sound like a good idea but it’s definitely worth thinking about.