Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chapter Two - Part Three - Clod Building or Busting?

The resistance of this clod is indeed insanely stronger than I am, and I have considered many other options. I feel like David next to this Goliath clod of resistance. It is so outsized to my strength that I don't know that there is any way to bust it up, but dang it, I'm going to try. It isn't even like when I was a kid I would lay on the lawn dreaming of one day being a screenwriter. I stumbled into screenwriting because my ex-husband wanted to direct movies, and I thought it would be neat to be partners at some level (the fact that we're divorced ought to be a clue about that logic).

I have always wanted to write. Why? Because I like to read, of course. I love to read stories that transport me to other worlds. I love plays that bring to life episodes of change in a few lives. I love to read essays and articles that make me think. I love to read poems that make me see this world in a new way. Loving to read, led me to want to write. Lots of people love to read and don't want to write, and so I can't really explain why I thought to make the leap, but I remember reading some books when I was my son's age, or my daughter's age and praying that someday I could write that way. That way was for me defined by one thing: the story changed and deepened the way I thought and felt about the world.

A great movie can do that for me, too. Can't it do that for you?

In fact, my other childhood dream was to act in movies because I felt like a great performance did that one thing: changed and deepened the way I thought and felt about the world. My father convinced me that it was the writing, not the acting that did that for me, but I didn't completely believe him until I met up with my ex-husband and stumbled into screenwriting. Once I had just the slightest understanding of the screenwriting craft, I was hooked by the notion that a great script could do that one thing: change and deepen the way people thought and felt about the world. I've never been about subtlety. I had stars in my eyes because I also saw a world that was becoming less and less literate, and thought to write screenplays would be to reach the most people. Har.

Back to reality. Hardly anyone reads a screenplay even if it is an Oscar-winning screenplay. As I worked in the industry longer, I understood that the screenwriter is the low-man on the totem pole, because literally, no one but the cast and crew reads the work. Maybe other screenwriters will read a successfully produced script because they want to see how a writer did it, but your average kid in the library is not going to pick up a screenplay, or now, rent it for their Kendal. Screenwriting is the first basic part of a huge collaboration with dozens, if not hundreds of collaborators. Just like most people who admire a building never look at its blueprint, so is it that most people who watch and love a movie never read the screenplay. The best a screenwriter can hope for is 1.) They'll direct their own scripts, or 2.) Their screenplay will attract top-notch talent and 3.) That top-notch talent will interpret the screenplay as it was intended.

Argh. It feels like the clod is growing in resistance as fast as I bust it up. Where are those inevitable points of weakness in this clod? Can it be that even after 20 years of consideration I haven't yet found out how to make this clod into fertile soil I can plant a seed idea into? It is possible that I am finally reaching a turning point in my life where I look at this clod and toss it out of the field instead of breaking it up because, God, I am sick and tired of pounding away at its resistance. Of course, I understand that the resistance, the clod, is in my heart not out there somewhere. So, now, I believe I will simply sit down and contemplate this clod and wonder for a while.

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