Coming Soon: SFWC

Wish you could attend the San Francisco Writers Conference? But, you know, can’t? Well, I’m here—and there—for you! In mid-February I’ll be at SFWC, and I’ll be posting everything I’m learning in various sessions here on this site. So you’ll be able to get the scoop, too! Think of it as a SFWC Correspondence Course.

Of course I can’t be everywhere at once, but I’ll be primarily attending self-publishing and marketing/business sessions. Should be a lot of good information flying around . . . And landing here. Don’t miss it!

Progress Report

Well, I’m sorry to have to say 20 August did not make the Top 15 in RIFF. Still, I know that being a Finalist is something to be proud of. And on the up side, I can say there is definite interest now in the script. I don’t want to jinx anything, so I won’t say more until things are signed and settled.

Adverse Possession is still in post-production. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished film, but of course I do want them to take whatever time they need to make it the best it can be.

I continue to hammer away at this thriller script, too. It’s become more complex than I originally planned. But maybe that’s a good thing.

In a week and a half I’ll be on a break in Vegas, so I’ve got to make progress now else I’ll feel like I don’t deserve the trip! And I have SFWC coming up in less than a month now, too. After that . . . Dunno. Lots of projects lined up, but I also hope to be able to get out and about. I do have both a high school and family reunion in June. That will mean trips to Texas and Louisiana respectively.

Alas, I do not see London in my future, and that makes me very sad. I’ll try to keep my head down and focus on my work, though. In work there is progress, in progress there is satisfaction.

Busy

We’re in the last month of 2013, awash in the holiday furor, and already my 2014 looks to be just as busy. Or it looks to start off that way at least:

2–5 January: Half Moon Bay
31 January–2 February: Las Vegas
14–16 February: San Francisco Writers Conference

I continue to work on this thriller script as well as on St. Peter Ascends and I’m mentally hashing out the K-Pro sequel which I think will be titled Ms. Fortune. I also have the pilot of Hunting Victor Frankenstein to script. These will be my key projects for 2014.

I can’t say I achieved all my goals for 2013, but other opportunities came my way, so I can’t be sorry either. Flexibility is needed when one is given chances and choices. And not everything has panned out the way I might have hoped, but . . . Am I further along than I was a year ago? Yes, I suppose I am. Let’s hope the trend continues.

Projects

I have a heap of projects that I’m juggling at the moment. It doesn’t help that I was sick for a week and then my youngest son was sick for another week, putting me behind. And now the holidays . . .

I’m doing two screenwriting projects for two different people: a rom-com that has gone through multiple drafts and a thriller than I’m trying to get the first draft hammered out. Kind of bizarre jumping between the two—just completely different head space as you might imagine.

And then on the prose side I’m dabbling with both a K-Pro sequel and St. Peter Ascends as well. But I don’t think I’ll have anything finished to pitch at SFWC in February, which makes me feel kind of bad.

Also making me feel bad: a number of rejections. That always brings my momentum down. Hard to be excited about the work when no one seems to want it. I need encouragement, and I don’t seem to be getting any.

Oh, but then I’ve also been asked to record some voiceover lines for potential use in a movie. Don’t know if they’ll be used, but I’m game to try.

Projects

People keep asking what I’m working on, and really I’ve got a couple big projects on my plate, both screenwriting related. First, I’m doing a rewrite of another person’s romantic comedy. It’s a really cute story with a lot of potential (I think), and the writer and I hammered out some changes, and now I’m implementing them in the script. And then the rewrite will go back to him so he can do some more rewriting. Because I know what I’m putting in won’t be perfect. Not on the first go.

And then I have this thriller script to write. I’ve outlined a general plot and sent that off to the director who seemed to mostly like it. (He wanted me to change some character names.) I’m feeling a little pressure on this one because it’s not my usual genre, and the director is a little impatient to get going. But I’d committed to the rom-com prior, and I told this director that, so . . .

I’ve also had a nice response from the few people I pitched to at Screenwriters World last weekend, so we’ll see what, if anything, comes from that.

Headshots went well, and I didn’t even need any wardrobe changes because the blue shirt I chose really made my eyes pop and my red hair stand out. From what I reviewed on the camera screen, I looked a little like Emily Deschanel. Of course, that could change once I see larger versions of the pictures. Watch the sidebar for the finished product once it’s ready.

Screenwriters World Conference West 2013

I’m currently in L.A. at the SWCW, learning lots, pitching, and hanging out with writerly friends. “My tribe,” as one other writer put it, “people who speak my language and make me feel like I’m not the only weirdo in the world.”

I’ve attended quite a few sessions and panels, ones on how to pitch, how to write log lines and queries, about getting agents and/or managers (and how to know when it’s time to look for one) . . . It’s funny how, from one industry professional to another, a lot of the advice can contradict itself. What one person abhors another finds commonplace. “Do this!” and “Never do that!” It’s enough to give you whiplash.

I came in feeling pretty confident, but of course the moment I started hearing the lectures, I began to doubt. “Dramas don’t sell,” I heard again and again, and what do I have? Two drama scripts. But then again, didn’t Jeremy Zimmer of UTA just say that dramas will almost certainly come back? Trends in this town change fast. I may yet have a chance.

I pitched to six production companies and reps. Of those, four requested my contact information, one gave me his card and asked to read my script, and the one and only woman I spoke to passed. “It’s a good story but not my thing,” seemed to be the sum total of her response. (Honestly, it was difficult to tell; she wasn’t very clear about it.) I never know, when they take my contact info, if I should actually expect to hear from them. I like to think they wouldn’t bother taking my business card or writing down my name and e-mail unless they were actually interested. Otherwise they’d just pass, right? Or are some of them too nice to say no outright and find it easier to disappear (like the guy who never calls)?

Still, I’ll count the day as a success.

Tomorrow is the last day. It’s been a busy couple days, but at least tomorrow I can relax a bit because there will be no pitching involved. I don’t fly home until Monday morning, so I’ll have a chance to see some friends and unwind. Always nice to be able to combine business with pleasure.

A Random Collection of Information

A lot has been going on. I have Screenwriters World Conference West to ready myself for this coming weekend. Must work on making all my pitches short, sweet, and smooth.

And I also have two scripts I need to be working on, plus the new Sherlock Holmes story. Because I am, after all, a writer. And writers are supposed to, you know, write.

But before I dart off, I’d like to share two of the cutest children on the face of the planet:

IMG_4760

(Yes, they’re mine.)

Pitching

I have two conferences scheduled at the moment: Screenwriters World Conference in L.A. at the end of this month, and San Francisco Writers Conference next February.

I’m starting to get a bit nervous about the screenwriting conference because I’m expecting to pitch to a few people, and though I’ve done literary pitches, I’ve never done movie ones. I don’t suppose they’re so different, except movie people think in pictures while literary agents are more about the words. Well, I won’t have the luxury of visual aids when I pitch at the screenwriting conference, so I’ll just have to paint pictures with my words. Hopefully that will be enough.

In the meantime, I’ve been asked to do up a treatment for one of my scripts, so I need to go pull that together, too. And keep pounding out the scripts themselves as well. I had always considered being a writer a kind of leisurely pursuit, but as it turns out, it’s quite demanding. Just as well. Gives me something to do and keeps me off the streets.

Busy. In a Good Way.

I’m supposed to be working. I have quite a few projects on my plate at the moment:

  1. Adapting St. Peter at the Gate to add to the St. Peter in Chains script, thereby extending it to full length
  2. Two other script rewrites (for other people’s scripts)
  3. Writing the Hunting Victor Frankenstein pilot
  4. A number of prose projects, including: St. Peter Ascends, another K-Pro novel, more Sherlock Holmes stories, plus I have ideas for at least two other books
  5. A couple plays I keep meaning to finish

And though I’ve done some rewriting for 20 August, I’m pretty sure it needs another bit of work.

Also, these blank canvases are not going to paint themselves.

It’s good to be busy. Good to have projects. Really, really good to have scripts that people want to turn into movies, and then also have people wanting me to help them with their scripts besides. Exciting. Exhausting. But I like to take my opportunities as they arise, and in this work it’s often feast or famine. Today we feast!

Which reminds me. I haven’t had anything to eat yet today . . .

(I keep candy stashed in my office, but I try not to resort to eating any until mid-afternoon at the earliest.)

Anyway, must get as much done as possible in advance of the Screenwriters Conference at the end of September. It’s good to have deadlines of a sort, too, really. Otherwise it becomes too easy to drift. So onward! (Cue Man of La Mancha, as sung by Scott Bakula in that episode of Quantum Leap. Cuz that’s just the kind of nerd I am.)

Burning question: Why didn’t Weird Al ever write a song called “Keep Refrigerated” based on “Keep ’em Separated”? Or did he, and I just missed it?

May Day

We’re one third of the way through the year. Have we accomplished anything? Well . . .

Yesterday did see me cross over the 20k mark in sales and downloads of my books! Not bad for 10 months.

And I’ve finished one screenplay. That two independent producers have shown interest in.

Other things that have happened since the start of the year include my having won Table Read My Screenplay (with St. Peter in Chains), having attended the San Francisco Writers Conference (where I learned a lot, even if I didn’t get an agent), and having published The K-Pro.

So what’s next? Well, finishing St. Peter at the Gate tops my list. And I’ve got a list of other projects besides, but I’m trying to take things one at a time.

Plus, travel in June and July. Really looking forward to seeing London again.

AND . . . Blogger Book Fair in July as well! I’ve never done it before, but I think it will be fun. I’ll be doing a couple giveaways of The K-Pro and St. Peter in Chains the week of July 15th, too. Want to join in? The sign-up forms for BBF are here. Deadline is June 15.

I hope everyone has a lovely Beltane. I hope your year has started well, and that it only continues to get better as we go along.

Blessings,
~M