Posted by: steveonfilm | May 6, 2013

Writing with a Partner

While I’m wrapping up my rewrite on “Blowback”, I’ve started on a side project with a friend of mind. This will be the first project I’ve worked on with a writing partner. I don’t know if this will lead to more down the road, but for now it’s been an interesting experience.

I’ve never met Adam in real life. He’s a friend of a friend who’s read some of my work and I’ve read some of his. We’ve been friendly over instant messenger for a few years and bounced story ideas off each other quite a bit.

Recently Adam tossed a high concept comedy idea my way to get some feedback. I thought it was a hilarious idea and worth exploring. We went back and forth for an hour or so on IM throwing out some ideas and a few possible story beats. Adam took it back to his normal writing partner who evidently wasn’t as high on the idea as I was.

A few weeks ago Adam asked if I’d be interested in possibly taking a stab at writing the script with him. I figured, what the hell.

It’s been an interesting process so far. I live north of Atlanta. Adam lives in LA. So, right off the bat we’ve got to deal with the 3 hour time difference. That’s been a significant, but certainly not insurmountable challenge. So far we’ve tried to meet each Sunday on Skype to brainstorm and beat out the story. We managed to get a pretty good handle on Act 1 this weekend.

I don’t know if we’ll be able to develop it into something worth writing. But it’s definitely been an interesting experience so far. The whole process feels like something that five years ago wouldn’t have been possible. But now, thanks to the internet, I can call up Adam, share my screen, and write on a document at the same time with someone a thousand miles away.

Writing with a partner is definitely different. I’m not used to having to justify my ideas and story beats with someone. On the flip side, I’m not used to having to do that to anyone else either. It’s sort of like learning how to share, there’s some give and take you need to get a handle on so everyone doesn’t get all pissy. It took a little while to sort of figure out the cadence of how Adam and I work. We’re not friends in the traditional sense, so we don’t have that sort of innate non-verbal comfort level a lot of long term fiends have. Toss in that we’re not doing this face to face, and you’ve got a whole extra layer of shit to deal with.

Though, it has been very rewarding to work through story problems with someone. You get INSTANT feedback. On more than one occasion one of us has said something in passing that triggers an idea in the other person. A simple comment turns into an completely developed story beat. I can certainly understand why some people prefer to work with writing partners.

Keep writing,
-Steve

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