Saturday, June 23, 2007

Getting Traction

As a fellow writer, you know that getting those ideas on paper really makes you feel like a million bucks. That being said, I'm feeling pretty damn rich right about now. I've finally completed the outline for this story which, until recently, I've been messing around with only in my head. So far it looks pretty solid, but then again, I haven't set it aside for a few days to ferment and allow the nasty bits to rise to the top. Normally, I would think that the next step would be to write out the scenes on index cards and shuffle them around a bit. But I think I've done all the shuffling I can do for now in the outline. It really just needs to sit for a couple of days.

After that, my next planned step after double checking the outline again, is to start cranking out a first draft. Just writing it out, getting it on paper. I'm not really concerned with massive amounts of quality here. Just words on paper. I mean, I'll gut-check myself as I write, but not too much.

Now, one of my previous posts mentioned Alex Epstein's excellent advice about coming up with a story premise with a great hook, querying the logline to some people, and actually writing it only if it garners any interest.

And it is great advice. Just not for this script.

This script doesn't have one of those mind-bending hooks that makes studios go nuts and dream of merchandising offers. It's just a simple finding-your-true-self story.

But if it turns out the way I have in mind, it's a script that could be shot for next to nothing. No special effects. No exotic locations. No weapon or animal wranglers required. Just a simple character piece that takes place in a North Carolina college town.

The only thing I can see standing in the way of it getting produced is music rights. Let's just say there's a LOT of music in this story. Music that mostly isn't heard much anymore, but is recorded and owned by record labels nonetheless. But it's crucial to the story. In fact the story literally revolves around it.

This is exactly the issue faced by the recent DVD release of WKRP In Cincinnati's first season. There's a great scene in which Mr. Carlson walks in on Johnny zoning out listening to Pink Floyd's Dogs. Unfortunately, it was cut from the DVD release because of music rights issues. Damn, I love that show.