I'll quit procrastinating later

One of the major Shakespearan flaws I have, and one that speaks to my being born as one of Nature's Writers is that I procrastinate beautifully.

On the other hand, a hostile witness to my being one of Nature's Writers is that I can, actually sit down and write. Rather easily, alas.

Quick story.

I have a great pal. She is a For Real T.V. Screenwriter. You've seen her work. I mean, YOU'VE SEEN HER WORK. She and I started working on something a while back. In the middle of this, she started working on something else with another writers whose work you might have seen.

They had a deadline.

In Hollywood there is, I think I've figured out, a tacit understanding between producers and writers. The writers turn stuff in VERY late and the producers pay the writers less than the contract stipulates.


They were coming up on what they called "a hard* deadline" and they were stuck on a couple of things. First was a thorny plot issue that was bedeviling the first half and the second was that they had no second half.

She emailed me, her font practically scrofulous with pleading: "Look, the guy I'm doing this with isn't half as good** as you, so please, could you take a pass at this?"

She then explains the problems they were having; one character was not even remotely believable, the "set-up" less so -- if such a thing was possible -- and the dialogue was stilted and therefore there were no 3rd & 4th acts.

"Send what you have, I'll look."

She explained the agonies her and her co-writer had suffered over the last three weeks. The torments of the damned were undergone by the both of them as they bounced from one problem to the next, each seemingly less soluble than the previous. She sent the first +/-30 pages of an expected +/-60 pages at 10am on Day 1. I asked her for permission to do whatever I believed was correct without major, invasive surgery to the structure and basic premise, which she kindly granted. She said I HAD to send her whatever I would within a week.

So, by 3pm the next day, she had her 60 pages.

Her response was:

"That's PERFECT.

I hate you."

The point of this narrative being that I don't have (probably to my detriment) an Artistic Temperament. I don't suffer about what to write. I just (once I can be bothered to sit down to the task) issue forth streams of prose*** with relatively difficulty and with a modicum of charm for the reader.

The trick, as has been amply evident to all of you who have stuck around throughout the Leo episode, is for me to actually sit down and write.

Now, if only someone in Hollywood would care to throw massive cash my way to inflict my non-delayed charm upon the masses...


* "If it's not in by this date, the deal is REALLY off."

** Pretty flattering, and likely true, but the guy in question has a fat contract and I do not."

*** I have, after all, been speaking in prose my whole life, so it comes naturally.


reader said…
DH was advising a colleague about improving her writing and said "Get it right the first time." Will we see this show soon?
OH yes, let us know what happens!! Very cool!!
JMG said…
Two things I have learned:

1- In the TV industry, NOTHING happens "soon."

2- I have never met so many neurotic people in my life. I mean, practically needing handicapped-parking-access neurotic.
Paola said…
Oh you would be a fantastic writer.
1. My main life goal - after wanting to be a writer for National Geographic was to be a scriptwriter.

As you can see, I do not just fail, I fail SPECTACULARLY.

2. You need to talk to Eleanor - she's in the thick of this sort of thing right now.

3. I too procrastinate with such flair it still ceases to amaze me. Chef has this sort of Admiration of Disgust at just how good I am at it. Can you imagine a chef procrastinating?

4. The neuroses. I'm thinking that if I were perhaps IN the 'industry' as such I would a) look positively sane and b) get shit done because c) I might procrastinate but I don't navel gaze. Much.
Oh, and you need to go and check out Blackbird's blog - K and the boys are doing things with bacon. I figure as you are the King of all things Porcine you must have some input.
JMG said…

1) All you need is the right software and a willingness to send scripts to people. Eventually SOMEBODY will read one of them and like it. The catch is being idiot enough to not quit writing. (My main goal was to be, simultaneously, indolent and smug.)

2) Whither Eleanor?

3) I procrastinate (usually) by writing. This has caused certain Professional Writers to look at me the way a harlot might a nymphomaniac.

4) I'm actually underselling the neuroses. we're talking about Emmy-nominated people who remain in bed for days, riddled w. self-loathing(!) over a plot point.

That was not a joke.

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