Monday, July 6, 2009
TFS- Story Development Process, Part 2
It's a tough fact that when you're working independently, on your own film, the only way to test a story's worth is to work away at it with all your heart and brain and guts, to believe in it, and push it... and see what happens.
With the concepts I wrote about in Part 1 (and many others concepts I developed during this time period), I did just that. I believed in them, I nurtured them... but through the process of development, they proved that they just didn't have what it takes. Maybe in the future, but not for now.
And of course, this leads us to economics (?!)
When you're working for money, for an external client, you develop something as best you can as per the deadline, then hand it over. But when it's your own "baby" and there's no real deadline breathing down your neck, you can REALLY test a story's worth.
This is a blessing and a curse, because although it allows you to develop confidence that your story is "worth" taking into production, it can also lead to literally years of tweaking and pulling and testing, without anything actually making it to screen.
I'll probably post more about this tricky balance, probably labeled under "story".
And so, as I continued to test various concepts, trying to find one that would be meaty enough (for whatever reason) to throw myself at for a year or two, the final concept that I actually went with almost literally "wrote itself".
Now- when I hear or read of someone else using the term "the story wrote itself," I usually want to commit homicide, because writing a story is so incredibly difficult, 99% of the time. And the thought of someone having such an easy time of it makes me grind my teeth. But the term also drives me nuts because I KNOW it can happen, and I wish it would more often, for me!
It really can be that easy, a story can feel like it literally assembles itself in front of you, piece by piece, until it's done, with no more effort on the writer's part than to simply play the role of note-taker, jotting the story down, easy-peasy. The process can feel like someone else is actually assembling it, or that it's been presented to your mind pre-built. It can tumble out of your head onto paper, done.
It's rare for it to happen (at least it certainly is for me), but it happens. For me, it's happened exactly once before, on a live-action film I made years ago). Now I can say it's happened twice, and I swear, it feels like winning the lottery.
But to win the lottery means LUCK was at work. I don't think that's actually the case with story. I think this final story that "fell out of my head" on to paper was only able to do that because I had been testing and refining and pushing the other ideas, as I searched for the "right" story to produce. At least I like to tell myself that, so it doesn't hurt the feelings of the "failed" stories too much ("story is a living thing," as Buchbinder writes).
Don't worry, the next story development posting with actually address the particular story I went with, specifically.
Hey, it's my blog, I can stretch things out as much as I want! And there's only two of your reading anyway- my Mom, and someone in in Kentucky who thinks my blog is about washing machine repairs.
Actually, my readership seems to steadily climb, which is quite a nice feeling.