The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Zero Hour

by Steve Gajadhar

The zero hour is upon me. No more excuses. No more distractions. It’s time to start the screenplay that’s been kicking around my skull for the last 3 months. I need to get it on paper. I need a deadline, so I’m going to give myself 6 months. December 1, 2006, a rough draft must be complete by this day. Ugh.

I’ve got a basic idea of what the story will be about and some characters floating around. I’ve also spent some time building general knowledge of screenplay writing, including a fresh reading of Robert McKee’s Story. The task is now upon me to tell my tale in a new and interesting way. That’s it, and it should be easy except for one thing, I fully expect to fail horribly. Expecting failure is essential if one wants to succeed with this writing thing. The other key factor? Expecting success…eventually. No wonder so many writers end up completely insane. I don’t think my first go around will be any good, hell, I still can’t even write a decent short story, but I do think that if I stick this thing out and keep at it I’ll get it eventually. I hope. See? Stupid self doubt.

Music is going to be important (speaking of which, selecting songs for movie soundtracks would have to be one of the coolest jobs out there) so is imagery. The flagmen will become important metaphors because the whole semaphore thing has always fascinated me. As for the rest, well, I can’t give everything away. But there should be some juicy bits in there and come the first of December I will have the beginnings of a cathartic growing older tale that approaches my version of truth.

I’ll post some of the stuff I learn from writing a screenplay, dialogue tips, how to actually make sense of plot and causality in fiction, etc. Now I have to start. Right now. Tuesday, May 30th, 6:49pm. No more excuses, it’s the zero hour.

Here we go:

The front landing gear of a commercial airliner, a block wedged in behind. The opening bars of Sam Roberts Uprising Down Under. The airport staff mills about getting the plane ready for departure. The whine of the turbines warming up. The block gets pulled out and the flagman motions the plane back. A shot of the wheels rolling back. Cut to a man inside the plane. His head is leaning against the inside of the plane and gazing out the window at the airport workers below.

The plane takes off.

I’m excited and terrified at the same time.


Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

I'm excited for you, as well, Steve. And yah, it would be great following its progress, and maybe picking up a tip from you here and there. Go to it, my man!

Wed May 31, 09:25:00 am GMT-4  
Anonymous Anna McDougall said...

Go for it, Steven!

Wed May 31, 10:40:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

Take off Steve!! this is sooo exciting!! Keep us posted..xo

Wed May 31, 01:16:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

That is thrilling. And the perfect metaphor, at least for me. Airplane travel terrifies and excites me. So does starting a screenplay. McKee's Story is a great tome, as well. It was a life-saver for the screenplay I had to write in 2 weeks (for a deadline, which I met and was surprisingly shortlisted. I attribute that to the book not any secret talent).

I'm looking forward to watching your progress with your project. Bon voyage!

Wed May 31, 01:54:00 pm GMT-4  
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