Some News + Recap: 19 January 2009

So, back in October 2008, I entered a screenplay called MUTE in the British Feature Screenplay Competition. I found out last week that I’ve made it through the first round of judging. I’m one of 412 who made it through. I have no idea how many total entrants there were, and I’m pretty convinced at this point that it must have been the equivalent of getting a point for remembering to put your name on a test in school. But I’m still ridiculously happy.

I’d been having a rather unfortunate day when I sat down at my computer to write and decided to pull up the Web site on a whim. When I saw the heading that they’d announced their first round qualifiers, I actually said to myself, “Great, one more disappointment for today.” So, all depressed and frowny-faced, I scrolled down, saw my name, and proceeded to scream, cry, laugh and pretty much behave like a maniac. One of my dogs actually went and hid in her kennel.

Even though I’m obviously quite excited by this turn of events, there are still five or six more rounds of judging, and I have zero expectations of making it through the second round. However, I’m still thrilled. This is only the second script I’ve entered in a competition, and it’s nice to know I’m heading in the right direction after a year of toiling away. I worked very hard on this script, including a complete rewrite of the last 20 or 30 pages and a number of other changes in the 62 pages prior in the last 10 days before I submitted it. So, even if I did only get through the first round because I managed to mail my script to the correct address overseas, I’m OK with that.

So, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here’s…

What I Watched

  • The Reader (2½ stars): I’m a fan of character-driven dramas. But the key to character-driven stories is that I, as an audience member, must connect with at least one of the characters. For me personally, I wasn’t able to do that as fully as I would have liked with this movie. It’s an interesting story, but I just wasn’t as moved as I felt I should have been.
  • The Age of Innocence (2½ stars): Again, I had a lot of trouble feeling for any of the characters in this film. I haven’t read the novel, but I have read Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, which is one of the only books that’s ever made me cry, so I doubt it’s a problem with the source material. It seemed there was a lot of focus on the (admittedly beautiful) sets rather than on the characters and their motivations. I didn’t find anyone all that likeable. So, yeah. I was disappointed.
  • Valkyrie (3 stars): Again with the character development. Less time could have been spent on the nuts and bolts of the plot in order to give us better insight into why these people were willing to make such a sacrifice. A character can say he’s willing, but unless we understand the circumstances of that specific character’s life that have led to that stance, it doesn’t feel authentic. That being said, this film didn’t deserve a lot of the ridiculously harsh criticism it received. It was a solid effort that could have used another half hour to really delve into the characters, I thought.
  • Man on Wire (4 stars): A pretty fantastic documentary about a man and his obsession with completing a tightrope performance between the two World Trade Center towers in 1974. Seeing his single-minded determination, his artistry, and the people who believed him and helped him was quite moving. The film ends on a bittersweet note that left me wanting to know more about what happened to the people post-performance, but, all in all, it’s a wonderful story.

Last Week’s Goals

  1. Hit 94,000 words on Fairytale Redux: Passed 93k, but didn’t quite hit 94. This is OK, though, because of Goal No. 3.
  2. Finish Earnest outline: Done.
  3. Write 5 pages of Earnest: Actually wrote about 15 pages, thus excusing my bare-miss of Goal No. 1.

This Week’s Goals

  1. Get through the three Netflix rentals I have at home. (Yes, this counts as a goal!)
  2. Break into Act Two with Earnest, which will put me at about 25 pages in.
  3. Hit 96,000 words in Fairytale Redux.
  4. Finish reading Eclipse.
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