I’ve never much cared for New Year’s Resolutions. They don’t tend to work and honestly, most people see them as a joke, even if they do try and plan for them. However, in keeping with my annual goal setting, and now reinforced by my VISION, evidenced in my MISSION STEPS, I am setting a very specific goal for myself for this upcoming year.
And this year, I’m asking you to keep me accountable, if you’re up for it.
But first, a little explanation.
In the essay, towards the end, Heinlein, feelingguilty for writing the article primarily for his own amusement, offers a group of practical, tested rules, which, if followed meticulously, will prove rewarding to any writer.
These rules are:
- You must write.
- You must finish what you start.
- You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.
- You must put it on the market.
- You must keep it on the market until sold.
A couple of months ago, I came across an ebook by another science fiction writer I enjoy, Dean Wesley Smith, that discussed how he discovered Heinlein’s rules, applied them to his own writing and found both inspiration and success (as did his wife and their good friend Kevin J. Anderson, who joined Smith on his quest). Smith made a decision to write a short story a week for the next year. At the end of the first year, he had 44 stories. In his second year, he completed 43.
Of course, short stories are one thing, screenplays are another. I have no need of writing 52 short films that I would not have the time or resources to produce – nor would it gain me much in the current Hollywood climate beyond the film festival circuit. And my primary focus and immediate goal is to be a screenwriter, not a director or filmmaker. Those can come later. Focused niche first, establishment, then expansion.
Smith and his friends had a larger goals as well. They wanted to be novelists. So in his third year, he modified his weekly goal to reflect chapters instead of stand alone stories.
I am trying to break into writing for TV and film. I have a pilot – Daddy’s Girl. I have a slightly dated spec script – a season 1 episode of CBS’s Scorpion. I have a feature adapted from a novel – Walker’s Vale. And I have a handful of 3-4 page scenes and a couple short film scripts. Plenty of writing samples, but less than I might feel comfortable with, calling myself a screenwriter, and I want to prove to everyone, including myself, that the stories I want to tell are worth telling.
So for 2017, it is my goal, written and publicly recorded here, to complete at least one full feature, pilot, spec TV episode or stage play, each month for the next twelve months, not counting the feature that I am halfway finished with.
One of my professional goals for the next 6 months is to get representation. The most effective way to do that is to generate ‘buzz,’ so I am taking astrategic approach to selecting my schedule of writing.
This part is subject to change, based on the currents, but is my plan for the moment:
January – This Is Us spec script for the popular NBC show from Dan Fogelman. No details for obvious reasons, but I have an idea I think would fit cleanly into the show.
February – A superhero movie that I have been concepting for a while. A popular, current hero in comics by aDistinguished Company, one that I do NOT have the ‘rights’ to write. This is an exercise in getting attention. While I would love to see this film as I foresee it made, it is intended as a writing sample and if it only generates a “This is the movie they SHOULD make” buzz, I’ll be thrilled. If it becomes Deadpool, then I’ll be ecstatic, but I’m not worried beyond telling a really good story that hasn’t been told, in a way that fits with their current Extended Universe.
March – A stage play about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Germany during the rise of Hitler. I started thinking about this one two years ago when I noticed that there were several parallels between Bonhoeffer’s Germany and the state of politics. Two years ago. Now it seems realer than ever.
April – an unselected TV Pilot. I’m going back and forth between two ideas right now. Both are good, one is more soap opera-y, and the other feels almost too on the nose – again, concepted months ago and now seeming less fictional and more realistic, if not post-apocalyptic as some would like to suggest.
May– a spec episode of Steven Moffat’s Sherlock on the BBC. An unusual choice to spec, to be sure, and I have a delightfully stunt-y twist to throw in the mix that might only please myself and Mr. Moffat, should he ever read it, but I am excited about this one.
June – a toss up between a broad feature film idea and the first of a series of serialized film concepts that I’ve been bouncing around for a couple years, loosely based on real events in my own life, although the characters are entirely fictional.
The rest of the year is open, and will fluctuate based on what happens and what stories catch my attention, but that’s a good start.
I was serious about keeping me accountable. Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time (preferably towards the end of the month) and ask me about my progress. The response will likely be short and sweet, but I will respond. Thanks!