Thinking critically.

I have to apologize for being distracted this week. Problems in the family, which are all the more unsettling because I don't know what the problems are. But it's Thursday night now, on the eve of the end of the week, and I was told at the end of last week I'd be told just what the hell is so important that my mom wanted to make plans to get together, and "talk privately."

Knowing my family's penchant for overstating, this could all be nothing. But. Someone says they want to have a talk to me, and I always feel like I'm 14 again, wondering if someone's discovered where I stashed my porn.

Funny story about hiding pornography. In late middle school/early high school, before the wealth of internet porn was available to me, I actually had the box of dirty magazines, musty and from god knows where [maybe they just... materialized when I hit puberty]. They were mostly Playboys and Penthouses from the 80's, which is probably why body hair doesn't freak me out, but fake breasts kind of do. Anyway, they were stashed away in the cellar house, a place where we kept things like the Christmas decorations and the canned food, and as soon as everyone was out of the house, I'd rush up there and grab the box.

Since time always felt like a factor, I'd usually just put on sandals, or go barefoot. It wasn't, after all, like I was going to be out any particularly long time, and despite living in the country, there weren't a lot of obstacles between the porn and me but the distance [important to plausible deniability]. Well, almost. There was a chestnut tree.

I don't know how many people who read this will know about chestnuts, but wild ones don't actually look much like they do when they come in a bag. For one, they're really green, and for two, they're covered in spines, like an...urchin, and yes, they fall from the tree[i.e., might as well be the sky, which is dangerous enough], and then they wind up on the ground. Green, and covered in spines.

In my defense, and I mean to make myself seem even stupider, I was running. And, as is the reason I no longer wear sandal, I slipped, and stepped on one of the spiky green nuts, jamming their natural defense mechanism into my heel. And I suppose if I had any coordination at all, that would have just hurt, and I'd have limped back to house with my box of Playboys, no longer in the mood. But I didn't have any coordination [not at all!], and when I stepped on it, I spastically tossed the magazines into the air as my feet flew out from under me, all the while yelping in pain [manly pain].

Now I lucked out, because when I landed flat on my back, the only chestnut that had been on the ground was the offending one, and it was now lodged in my foot. And upon hitting the ground, I realized this moment could have been an epic one, where I looked towards the heavens at the rain of moldy centerfolds, Kurt Vonnegut excerpts, and stories about alien planets with no men on them, and time slowed, and I had some deep realization about the path I was on.

But back then, I wasn't looking for a sign, or self-realization. So a lot of porno mags just fell on me in real time. Now, it's hilarious. Earlier, when I had to take a kitchen knife and a bottle of rubbing alcohol to my foot to get the chestnut's spurs out?

Well, anyway.

Most of today has been spent bouncing things back and forth in my head, specifically as it concerns the script [Re: Trendsetter]. For the record, if you're ever getting paid for a job by something other than the word, these are called "conceptual hours" and they totally count.

All seriousness, as the script goes, I have several things on my mind. The first is how to get to feature length. My plan, at the moment, involves a subplot ["parallel plot?"] with Brandon's mom, dad, sister, her possible lesbian girlfriend, and an anniversary party... or some kind of party, I haven't nailed down all [many] of the details yet. The point of these scenes would be to show more of Brandon's old home life, to address why he can't/doesn't want to turn to his family, and also play into the theme of relationships TS is supposed to be focusing on-- specifically [maybe specifically], why Brandon puts so much emphasis only on relationships that have, in his eyes, longevity. "Serial-monogamy," as Kyle put it.

But doing the first set of bios, and including characters from that part of the film [which doesn't exist in any form yet] made me realize a few things. The first is that I am still not looking forward to adding the extra pages, but more specifically the actual grafting of new pages onto the current draft. I have written about this before -- it is a largely uncreative part of the writing, and small screw-ups can fuck everything up. Because of this, I've yet to wrap my mind around the mechanics of it.

The second thing is, after writing a little bit of new stuff on legal pad, I am no longer sure that bringing Brandon's family into this is a great idea. I mean, yes, I like it because it allows me to address something I only hinted at in the beginning -- Brandon's estrangement from his folks-- and because it gets us some time with the character of Faye that isn't post-coitus. But when strictly talking about importance to the existing plot, only the latter is really feels necessary to me. Because of this, I am suddenly hesitant with my plans.

And the third, final, and slightly more troubling thing is that, in an almost "Meet the Parents" sort of way, the trials of Brandon and Faye at Brandon's parents' house, showing why he pisses them off, and having some fun with his too-hip little sister and her lesbian girlfriend, might actually be its own kind of flick. And while for me that only means another 66 pages, that runs the risk of rendering things like Eddie and his phantom marriage obsolete over a two hour film. Plus, I don't think this would work at a full two hours -- which means cuts would have to be made, and if there is one universal voice in the limited feedback I've gotten thus far, its that nothing existing in the draft can stand to be cut.

Because of this, and partly because of the other two things and their "becauses,"I'm wondering if I didn't jump the gun deciding the party and his parents are the right way to go. Already I've had a few other ideas. I have a really dreadful one about Faye and Brandon going to Eddie's bachelor party together, which centers mostly on the hilarity Faye having way more fun there than Brandon. My major knock against this idea, other than the obvious cliches, is because it seems somehow unfair to me to not use wedding, but use Eddie's bachelor party, as if to say I only want the fun things, and I'm going to cleverly write myself away from the shit. And [watch, I'll say this, and end up doing it] I'm just not comfortable with that kind of "slight-of-hand" scripting. If I'm going to do something, I should have the balls to take the good with the bad.

Not that a gimmicked event even has to be involved with extending "Trendsetter" to feature length. As of right now, I am at almost 70 pages [it's a light 70], and an acceptable length for a full movie, especially with my pacing, is 90-100 pages. When you factor in some of the things I could do; a non-sexual scene with Faye, a little more time with Tess, Brandon on-call for the Tech Deck, maybe a couple more things with Eddie... well, that's like 30 more pages right there, especially now that I'm considering rewriting the last scene entirely. Hell, Kyle's even requested more Mailman, which I don't really want to do, since I like how he bookends things, but... that is also a possibility, and takes us well over the top in minutes. And as Lex recently pointed out, I have so much nuance in this damn thing, I could probably even do to tell the audience a little more, so...

Be damned. It was hard enough thinking of scenes when I had a rough plan. Now I guess I'm just going to have to start taking notes, and hope the first thing that's comes across semi-realized will work for the extra pages. And all of this without ever doing something as filler.

So there's that. It is probably not as big of deal as I'm making it out to be, but I still can't stop thinking about it. We'll see as work progresses.

I'm also not sleeping again. Big surprise, but the depression and the irritability came back awfully fast too. I just need to deal with it -- picking the writing back up means means my mind goes back to not shutting down. I stocked up on a few of those Power Shots just in case, mostly for acting normal during the daylight hours.

I also need to find some cash... either in savings, or some sort of employment that isn't going to hindered by working on this, or the insomnia. I need a new pair of shoes [$30-40], a suit for when Kyle and I start begging [maybe $100? Probably less], and a laptop [$700! Way to make those dreams seem like a reality, Dell] so when shooting begins I won't have to bounce back and forth on other people's computers. It is a shame those last two can't be budgeted into the film [that's how broke I am right now] -- but I have a feeling the belt's going to be tight enough as is. Best if I don't make it worse.

On the upside, Kyle's found someone to pledge $2,000 to actually making the movie. I don't know the details yet, but it's great news. And yes, I will continue to link the shit out of my other blog.

Ian recently got me his feedback on the script. I'm hoping to catch him on the phone soon, just to get a little bit more out of him, and maybe explain myself a little bit. I really appreciate him taking the time though, and I hope sincerely he knows that. I'll be telling him a lot, that's for sure. As for the rest of you, it's not too late. God knows, reading this, you can see I need the help.

Pixie even offered to take a look for me, after seeing the bios -- she texted me about them, and I sent her the script today. I am truly happy for every extra set of eyes I can get.

On an upbeat note, I've started noticing marked improvements in my writing these days. Between the script, the comic, and the blog, plus everything else, my typos have been greatly reduced, and I think I'm starting to type faster. Not exactly what people think when you say your writing has improved, but still... the fact I noticed at all means a difference has been made.

Even with all this, I know I'm forgetting something.


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