30 Days With Aristotle And Me

The Famous Greek Philosopher Helps Me Finish My Screenplay…In One Month?

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Day Five – Walking

November 14th, 2009 · No Comments · Ace In the Hole, Billy Wilder, Day Five - Walking, Myrath, Solving Creative Problems

Myrath - Hope Two things came up today that sidetracked my writing.

1. The gorgeous weather. West Michigan isn’t known for a whole lot of gorgeous weather, at least not at this time of year. So my wife and I spent nearly four hours outside walking around – hiking in the woods, walking the rail trails, and just breathing deep the warm late-Fall air. I love being outside, especially in the Fall. And I absolutely enjoy getting exercise. While it’s true that writers write, writers who write too much get fat asses.

2. I’ve been ruminating on a format problem with the script. I have an Act II that exists almost entirely of flashbacks, with voice overs in the present, cuts from the past to the present then back again, etc. I discovered last night and early this morning that I was bogging down with my writing because I wasn’t sure how to properly format the scenes.

Whenever I encounter a creative challenge I tuck it in a corner of my mind and take a drive (my favorite way to solve a problem), visit a book store, or take a walk. Today I did a little of all three.

Sure enough. I discovered a way to solve the problem: write it out in Word, as prose – pretty close to how a novel is written – and then, later on, work out the kinks regarding proper formatting.

Aristotle's Poetics for ScreenwritersI realize that doesn’t really solve the issue. It merely postpones it. But it does enable me to write a lot of pages – perhaps far in excess of my required daily average. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

So, this evening, I’m reading Michael Tierno’s excellent book Aristotle’s Poetics for Screenwriters and listening to a superb Tunisian progressive metal band called Myrath. Both will jump-start my energy tonight and enable me to start fresh at 8:00 a.m.

For I am now behind in my writing and, therefore, I need to write 10-15 pages tomorrow if I am to get back on schedule.

Hence, the progressive metal.

Rubinstein’s noodling on Chopin’s nocturnes is fine for when I’m on schedule. But it’s going to take some serious tuneage to get me back on the wagon now that I’ve fallen off. So tomorrow I’ll load up the 5-CD changer with my very favorite prog metal bands, with Myrath leading the charge.

Billy Wilder's Ace In the HoleOh, another sure-fire way to get my creative juices flowing is to watch a Billy Wilder film. To my eyes and ears, there was no finer writer/director than Billy Wilder. He is my hero, my role model, The Man.

Tonight’s Wilder movie is Ace In the Hole, the 1951 film starring Kirk Douglas. Better still, it’s the Criterion Collection edition. So it’s loaded with special features and boasts a pristine remaster of picture and sound. I love Criterion movies.

And I go nuts for Billy Wilder. If he did nothing else but create Some Like It Hot he would earn my undying respect. But Wilder is responsible for such classics as Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, Witness For the Prosecution, Sabrina, The Seven Year Itch, The Apartment, and The Fortune Cookie among many others.

So when Billy Speaks, I listen.

And, right now, he’s screaming at me to get writing.

“I will, Mr. Wilder! First thing tomorrow morning!”


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