New Circumstances

I’ve been a neglectful blogger - I apologize. I don’t really have any excuse either. Just that I’ve been churning out copy like a teletype machine these days and it’s taxing for me to even think about doing any “recreational” writing.

But here I am. Because that’s what you want isn’t it? Isn’t it, internet? More. Always more. You succubus of information, you.

I wanted to share a little writer’s victory with you. This victory is - as most writer’s victories are - a personal victory. It’s the victory of letting go.

You know how it is. You write something. It’s amazing. There isn’t a word that could be changed about it to make it any better. (I will now employ an automotive simile that will tie in nicely with an anecdote later on:) What you’ve written is like a beautiful road that you’ve traveled down so many times that you don’t even have to think about it because there’s no way it can change.

Until it changes. That is, until the circumstances change. Maybe what’s changed is the budget of the film or the location needs to be re-thunk or it could be that your amazing script just isn’t as amazing as you’ve come to believe.

I was driving along a highway this past winter (Look out, it’s my automotive anecdote!) when the driving conditions changed rather drastically. It was early afternoon but there was suddenly a whiteout of blowing snow and fog - I’m not even sure how that’s meteorologically possible, but there I was. Visibility sank to about zero. Despite this, most people on the road did not turn on their lights making their cars invisible, effectively putting everyone in danger. I’m not talking about hitting the hazards button and braking down to 30 km/h. I’m just saying circumstances had changed that required a measured response. In this case the measured response was overcoming the mental conditioning that tells us you don’t have to turn on your car lights before sunset.

All this to say, I had a minor victory the other day when I cut a scene of dialogue from a script. I’d been enamoured by my own witty dialogue and just loved the way the jokes were constructed. I’d be reworking the entire script for ages but never wanted to touch this precious scene. But what I’d done by editing the rest of the script around it was I’d changed the circumstances around the scene, the characters. On its own the scene was still a beat by beat gem but in the greater context it stuck out like a sore thumb. So I turned on my lights. Cut out my darling dialogue. Now everything plays smoothly.

I’ll miss the scene but its for the greater good. A personal victory. A victory over pride and self-satisfaction - refuges, both, of mediocrity.

Okay. Good. I’ve done my online social duty. Thanks for coming by.

Hey, by the way, have you seen Refrain yet? You have? That’s great. Did you like it? Got anything to say about it? Then what are you waiting for? Post your feedback online, (facebook, twitter, imdb, youtube, amazon, anywhere would be great)! Word of mouth makes all the difference.

4 Responses to “New Circumstances”

  1. jeffshattuck Says:

    Loved this post. I had to do something similar recently, but for a guitar solo in a song. I LOVED the solo, LOVED IT. God, it was my baby. But as all creative folks know, you have to be able to kill your babies. Which I did. With great regret. Here’s a link to my post on the crime:


  2. Tyler Says:

    And I don’t know about a guitar solo, but I know that when it comes to dialogue and scenes, there’s always a chance they can be used elsewhere in another script. So it’s not that bad. Reincarnated babies.

  3. straydogstrut Says:

    Yeah, “kill your darlings” is the message they repeat over and over in first year writing classes. That, and to leave your story/script in a drawer for at least a week and come back to it with fresh eyes. Liked the automotive anecdote;-)

    Haven’t seen Refrain yet *sob* I’m still awaiting the arrival of the DVD and unfortunately VOD isn’t available to international customers as far as I can tell. Eagerly awaiting it though, I’ll give you a full write-up on my blog once i’ve seen it=)

    Actually, i’ve realised today that despite how much I loved Minushi, and the regularity with which I recommend it to people, I haven’t yet reviewed it on my blog either. Well. it’s an excuse to watch it again and help spread the word (from the insignificant little corner of the web I call home).

  4. Tyler Says:

    I think this can go beyond the killing of ones babies or darlings (eesh). What I was also thinking about was how the circumstances surrounding a production can change. Maybe you’ve got a bigger budget (or more likely, a smaller one…) and so suddenly that location you’d been picturing for draft after draft is no longer feasible or can be beefed up to a new, more dramatic locale. It’s about measuring those changing circumstances and being able to roll with them.

    Thanks for purchases, Straydog! And though, I’m sure you’ll be happy with your DVD, just so you (and anyone else reading) know, the VOD does work internationally. Amazon is US only.

    Thanks again for watching and reading! Send me those blog links, would love to hear your thoughts.