Saturday


Time for sweet, creamy coffee!

I normally drink my coffee straight during the week, except for those mornings you wake up and feel like you tossed and turned all night. Those days, I drink bulletproof coffee.

Once I am a published author-screenplay writer who does nothing besides write… I will drink much more coffee.

Sending Off Your First Screenplay


Saturday, I sent off an excerpt of my first screenplay. I’m counting it this way because although I sold some scripts back in the 80’s, it was to a local independent film company trying to get established called “Two Guys Productions”, and I think it was more that my script was something that was currently popular in action films, inexpensive to film, and would give the company a product they could market – rather than the quality of my script.

But Saturday, I sent an excerpt off, not trying to sell my script, but to sell me. A new film company had put out the word they were looking for a screenplay writer, and I jumped on it.

So I sent Empty Hand, the life story of Gichin Funakoshi. It’s a drama, not a karate movie. Although there are scenes of Funakoshi training under Asato, there is no competition, no sparring, no dramatic fights. Funakoshi to my knowledge never once struck a man in anger. Those who knew him said it was a VERY good thing he never did, as it would have been terrible, even though he was a small man.

I finished up a few pages of it on Friday, sent off the excerpt (along with scenes from my books) to the film company. I felt good enough to take a couple of hours off, and sit and play Age of Empires.

Then the jitters hit. See, when you’re sending off your work for someone to decide if they’re going to hire you or not, or buy your product or not, the feeling is tantamount to, “Are you accepting me, or rejecting me?”

Rejection is terrible. Trust me, I know. You always get this feeling of “I don’t love you” when you get it.

But I’m sitting here lying to myself, because of the two scenes I sent off, one of them was the wrong scene. So now I’m sitting here and cheerfully telling myself I’ve hit a career milestone, and am eagerly anticipating my first rejection letter.

After all, every screenplay writer has been rejected at least once. I can think of one who actually was hired to write a movie because he’d done a script or two that was sold, and his script was deemed too strange, and it was promptly sent to another writer.

The director sat on the second script, and after a couple of years, felt that there was something unique about that script. He went back, and took all of the “Weird” parts of the first script, mixed it with the “Normal” parts of the second script, and one of my favorite movies was the result – “Patton”.

Or how about this story? A man writes his first movie script, in a genre that hadn’t been done in 30 years in Hollywood. The studios shuffled it around to see if anyone had interest, and the answer was no, because that Genre was dead.

Then they gave it to an actor best known for action movies. He too passed on it. But it was stuck in his mind. After an aide asked that actor what his next project was, he answered, “I don’t know, but I’ve got this script…”

And “Braveheart” was born in that moment.

So, I’m betting my future on ten pages and a single line of dialogue sitting at the end of a script excerpt: “I am still a Samurai, father.”

So, I’m anticipating my first rejection letter, and trying not to waste my weekend jittering and being unable to relax.

Where will I move To, I wonder?


Once I get signed to a publishing contract, and my books start selling dozens of copies (!), the question is – where will I move to?

I’ve thought of two places, of course. I won’t stay where I’m at, because where I’m at is pretty… well… it’s a city in search of an identity. It didn’t even really become a city until the 1960’s. It’s widespread, no centralization, and I simply can’t stand it much longer.

I know, most authors who make the money to just write end up either already living in some place that is conducive to writing, or packing up and getting out of attitude-ville.

Where would I move to? Two places… Montana (“Where you from Yoder?” “Big Fork, Montana” “oh great, the Army finds us guys from Daiseyville.” “HEY!!!!”), or Rhode Island.

By the way, the quote is from one of my favorite war movies, “The Lost Battalion.” EXCELLENT movie, and every aspiring author should study the movie for examples of how to introduce a character to an audience, how to show interplay and conflict between characters…. no kidding, its like a university course in writing.

Yes, I know, every inspiring fiction writer either wants to move to Montana or Rhode Island.

Positives about Montana? You can step out your front or back door and be inspired by the scenery. Pull your laptop out onto the porch with coffee, and you’re guaranteed to get three thousand words before lunch.

What’s the negatives about Montana? You’re outnumbered by Grizzly bears six to one. AAUGH! Well, not too bad. You just get an orange tabby and let them sit out in the yard during the day. Guarantee the Grizzly takes off like a shot when the tomcat starts chasing him.

But… wolverines. Yeah, uh… wolverines. Montana has wolverines. A lot of them. Gulo Gulo is one of my least favorite animals. I stayed in Maine for a few days some time ago, and I could hear one outside. The farmer who owned the farm (which incidentally was the inspiration for Jordy Verrill’s decrepit house in “Creepshow”) had an electric fence for exactly that reason.

If you’ve never seen a real wolverine, they’re kind of like a small bear. Think of a bear crossed with a badger, and now take the killing brain of a Bull Shark or Great White and stick it in a warm blooded animal. Wolverines will kill just for the fun of it. They break into a sheep pen and kill two or three, then eat one and leave. They just were having fun killing.

No thanks.

Rhode Island… the two best states in the United States. Absolutely. Yes, Rhode island is two states. Rhode Island technically is a small island a few miles offshore, connected by a bridge to another Island, connected to the mainland. It has three cities, Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth. The capital of Rhode Island is Newport.

The rest of the state is Providence Plantations, and the capital of that is Providence. For convenience sake, Rhode Island lends its name to Providence Plantations, and allows Providence to govern them.

Benefits? Step outside anywhere in Newport, and smell the salt air. You walk to the movie theater in washington Square, and… hey, that alley right there? That’s where General Rochambeau surrendered his sword to George Washington. That house right there? George Washington slept there. Benjamin Franklin paid for a pew in that church right there, the one with all the bats in the steeple. You can hear them making a ruckus half an hour before the sun goes down. The town almost STINKS of history.

If you’re into Creepy, Rhode Island is the king of Creepy. It even out-creeps Maine for creepiness. Try walking down Farewell Street at midnight. Or better yet, go to the midnight showing of Dawn of The Dead, and THEN go walk down Farewell Street after the movie is out.

I double dog dare you. “Oh, those movies never bother me.”

You’ve never lived in Newport.

Drawbacks to Newport… The neighbor can pass a cup of sugar from their kitchen window to you inside yours. If you live next door to someone who likes loud music, you’re doomed to listening to their particular choice of bad Rap.

And of course, Newport is like Israel. How do you make a small fortune in either place? Bring a large one. THe house I grew up in apparently is valued at $750,000. For that price, I can buy ten houses in Montana.

So… what do I choose???