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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



Ah, Duran Duran...

This isn't about writing fight scenes.

Though, let me say, I hate writing fight scenes. Not so much because of the violence. There's nothing like a bit of the old ultra-violence as a bloke used to say.

It's got more to to with mapping out the fight in text. If you're doing a fight scene right, there's a lot more than jsut a fight going on, so the fight itself becomes a form of communication and in doing so, I am loathe to simply write "They fight" and be done with it. Especially when I want certain character's to suffer in certain ways and blah with the blah blah right in the blah blah and he just blah blah blah blah.

I fucking digress.

This fight is the fight of ideas. And I don't mean democracy versus whatever the United States government is now or existentialism versus...not existentialism.

Sometimes I get in a position where I don't quite know what I want to write next. I can't seem to prioritize or the ideas are clunky. All I can do is find reasons to not write this or that. I keep holding off on putting any significant effort into a Heroes script because that series seems very volatile and my spec might have a shelf life of forty-something minutes. I hate writing something that I can't use for something. The Unit isn't especially viable as a spec, but I wrote that before the first season was even over. I rolled the dice. There's competitions I suppose.

So I get to a point where I've got three or so serviceable ideas. In this case, A Heroes spec, a sci-fi pilot (that could expand out to a sci-fi screenplay) and a weird kinda of heisty thing for a screenplay/graphic novel. Oh, four...there's another sci-fi pilot. I feel like sci-fi isn't represented strongly enough in my spec rotation, hence the genre tilt in this stack of ideas.

I get them all into my brain and let them fight for dominance. When I start writing something, it usually starts with a huge burst of pages. Teaser and act one usually come quickly. I try to see which idea can get there first. That's usually the winner.

I got one that got there. Not the Heroes. I'm not sure if it's really going to stick (which generally means it's not going to stick), but sometimes stuff I cast off as crap I go back to later and a new angle presents itself and I crank out something really good (if I do say).

My House spec was like that. I slogged through a draft sometime ago and decided it was crap. Then, a couple of months back I started looking at House again to fill a hole in the rotation and I went back to that same idea, but this time with a better B-story. That B-story had a profound effect on the A story and initiated a page one rewrite that I burned though in about two weeks and I'm using that script for anything I can find to use it for.

So even if this idea of mine craps out now, it could be gold later. I've got ten pages and an outline of notes of an outline. It's bleeding, but it's still fighting.

Though the coming advent of Heroes: Origins might give one a peculiar spec alternative, that one need only role the dice on one Heroes character while giving a great deal of weight to a character of one's own devise. Kind of a half spec.

That's not just now, though.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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