Posted by: steveonfilm | January 19, 2010

Pride is Forever: Day 44

You know, it’s funny… you work and work and work on your outline, or script, and you know something is wrong. You can feel it. Something isn’t clicking in the story. Maybe something seems forced. You hit a point where you can’t move forward because you know the problem is big. And then you sit. You sit and wait. Sometimes a short amount of time. Sometimes a long time. But finally, when it hits, and that problem is solved, HOLY SHIT does everything rush out all at once, like a damn bursting during a flood.

I hit that moment earlier this evening when I was working on my outlines for Act 2A, Act 2B, and Act 3. Like I mentioned a few days ago, something just wasn’t clicking with how I was setting up Act 2. I couldn’t put my finger on it yet, but I wasn’t satisfied with how the story was moving. Beats were off. Things seemed rushed in some areas. To slow in others. Then I figured out what was wrong. I had a major plot point occurring WAY too early in Act 2B.

I shifted some note cards around and moved the event from the middle of Act 2B to the end, making it the central plot point of Act 2, and that seemed to fix everything. It released all the pressure, and my head started to spin as everything started to come together again. All in all it was a productive session this evening.

In a somewhat unrelated note (but you can be it’ll be related since I’m bringing it up), I managed to get my hands on some Bob Ross “The Joy of Painting” DVDs. I’ve been a fan of Bob since I was in like Junior High. His painting show used to come on when I got home from school, and I’d watch and usually pass out on the couch. I found myself doing the same thing in high school. And eventually in college. I was pretty bummed when I heard he passed away.

About two years ago, I started finding myself having a hard time winding down in the evenings before bed. Since Bob Ross was such a sleeping aid in the past, I decided to go back to him once again. The calm and soothing voice is the perfect way to relax, and watching him paint is like having a dream created in a convenient 30 minute package. I went on YouTube and sure enough there were a bunch of full length episodes. So I started to watch a bunch of them. Then, one day, they were gone. Evidently, Bob Ross Inc. sent out cease and desist letters as part of the DCMA to YouTube, and YouTube took them down. I was pretty bummed.

Over time, I’ve found a few other things I can watch in the evening to calm me down, but none of them worked as well as “The Joy of Painting” did. Fortunately, a few days ago a friend of mine who paints said he had a bunch of “The Joy of Painting” DVDs he was going to give to Goodwill, and asked if I wanted them instead. I instantly jumped on it. I encoded a bunch of the DVDs today and I’ve got a group of episodes I’m ready to watch on my Apple TV tonight.

One of the things I always liked about Bob Ross was that he never made mistakes, he just had “happy accidents.” I kind of feel the same way about my writing (told you this would connect back in). When I’m stuck, or not happy with what I’m putting together or writing for the day, I don’t let that get me down. I just remind myself that it’s part of the learning process, and that it’s not a mistake. It’s a “happy accident,” and you need to have those to learn and get better. This kind of thinking brings me out of the negative element, which is the type of mindset that prevents you from doing just about anything, and keeps me in a positive frame of reference. I look at things as a learning experience, and take whatever I’ve done and turn it around into something that’s right.

In a round about way that’s what I’ve been able to do with my outlines. I took a problem, or “happy little accident,” which was a plot point coming up too early, and moving it to somewhere that makes more sense. This minor adjustment was all I needed to do to address my accident, just like Bob using his 2 inch brush to turn the blob of paint into a bush.

Until next time, keep writing!
-Steve

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