I've Started, So I'll Finish

Posted Saturday, March 27, 2010, 9:58 PM


I am very good at starting things and then never finishing them. I know I am not alone in this skill, but it is frustrating how many good ideas I begin and then abandon, even though they would probably be really brilliant if they'd been completed, maybe even fortune-inducingly good.

Since completing my first screenplay, I've been aching to write another. Each time I think I have a good idea, and it will thrill me to start on it, I get lost about halfway through and interest starts to wane. This is a bad thing on many levels, not least of which is if I ever want to dabble in it as a career, not motivating myself enough to finish it is not encouraging for prospective Agents or Producers. But then, if I had time and money as part of my motivation, provided by said Producers, I'd be sure to make it a priority and do a better job of it.

But that's a poor excuse for my appalling level of non-completion. My motivation should lie in the strength of the story, and the entertainment I get from creating the characters and sending them on their adventure. Being discouraged at a plot hole is no way to operate. I really have to kick myself into gear if I want to be a writer, even on an amateur level.

When I grew up in the 80s, a series of movies for young teenagers came out with a similar structure and setting. Not the Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink series, though they were certainly significant for many. I am instead referring to the Fantasy/Science Fiction movies where young kids in a small town go on a fantastic adventure, with no interference from adults except as potential enemies. Goonies, Gremlins, E.T., Explorers, Back to the Future, Time Bandits, etc.

But films like that just aren't made any more, and it's a shame. The fantasy films of today are all based on book series. I can understand how Harry Potter might influence a few incidental releases, but every single one, bar the occasional unique animated film? What's going on with that?

I want to write a film like I remember from the 80s. With kids having adventures, involving a small fantasy element, but with only a localised threat to contend with. None of this "Saving the World" nonsense. Just saving their own lives or their neighbourhood is enough of a challenge for most kids, so just leave it at that.

So while I was watching a DVD of one of the recent kids movies, inevitably based on a book series, I wondered if I could come up with even just an original concept that would fit my wishes. Could I come up with a story with a solid beginning, middle, and end, with all the potential for comedy, thrills, and threats, plus a few fantasy elements, something original, that has not been done in a film before?

And rather surprisingly, I thought of one. As I considered each individual element I wanted to include, it all began to fall into place remarkably quickly. I was so excited, I started to write it all down.

So far I have about 60% of the main plot, but the other 40% has to be sorted out before I can begin the script writing itself. Crucial elements aren't yet determined. But as I piece together what I do have, I can see plenty of opportunities for fun sequences, both action and comedic, which hopefully will only strengthen the plot, and lead to ideas to fill in the crucial blanks.

I am so excited by this story, and its originality, that I feel as giddy as I did when I first started putting together my first screenplay, Pegasus Rampant, though I had the bonus of being in recovery mode from my wisdom teeth surgery, giving me time to seriously concentrate on one thing. Nevertheless, it feels very much like I'm in a similar place for this project, so I hope I can maintain that enthusiasm and follow through to a finished screenplay, even if only a first draft. I really want to complete this one, because if it works it will serve as an excellent second example of what I'm capable of.

An interesting thing happened when I was looking through the Thesaurus for some keywords to create a title from. I stumbled on another word, not appropriate for this film, but perfect for another story idea, a short film in fact. So I took the opportunity to scribble down some notes on that idea too. I may revisit that one when discussing our next big project, whatever and whenever that may be.

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