Let’s get right to the chase. I managed to sweat out exactly fifteen pages to cover Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but it was at the cost of not sleeping in on Sunday and not getting to choose between Hoarding: Buried Alive or Leverage on Sunday night TV. I also heard there was a new episode of My Boys…
My husband knows that when I’m in the zone I write pretty fast. Before I wrote my first screenplay, I studied for two weeks and read every book I could find from the library and our town’s lone bookstore. I’d seen an article in the local paper for Tribeca Film Festival’s very first screenplay competition, co-founded by Robert De Niro, and I knew I had to take a shot at it.
There were only two problems; the deadline was one month away and I had never written a screenplay. There was one additional criteria; the theme had to involve science, math or engineering. I chose science. While I studied and crammed, my husband ordered the screenplay software I’d strongly hinted at for an early Christmas present, no strike that—begged for and with two weeks left, I wrote a 102 page screenplay.
Yes, I stayed up all hours of the night and slept in two hour increments during the day and woke up mumbling about Robert De Niro. You see, I wrote the main character for him.
I mailed it off and waited several months knowing a miracle would happen; I would be discovered and sometime within the next two years I would be attending the Oscars.
You may have guessed already, but my entry didn’t win. Or place. Or anything. Nada.
During my wait though, I wrote another screenplay and started researching other competitions.
As soon as I received Tribeca’s rejection notice, I reread and edited (even though Robert could have made all those awkward scenes work if he’d wanted to); then reprinted, and mailed it with my second screenplay off to another competition. It ended up winning third place and the second screenplay won eighth place.
The reason I mention this story is because my husband doesn’t buy it when I’m not producing written pages. Okay, I don’t buy it either. Nor do I have to be in the zone. I just have to stay focused and write. But when I am in the zone I’m so excited to write, when I wake up I press My Documents before I check Facebook.
The laundry is still piled high and the weeds in the back yard are even higher, but “Yaay” the protagonist of my current novel, Tess Trouvé, is already squirming to escape her current predicament.
It ain’t pretty yet; it’ll need a lot of editing, but for now, I’m going for my five pages a day and not looking back.
And when it gets published, and I adapt it into a screenplay, I might consider letting Robert De Niro play the male lead. ~ JD here.