WRITING: Looking Back on 2011

I’m a regular reader of Scott Meyers Go Into the Story screenwriting blog. I think it’s a fantastic resource for writers. And two things I really believe are important are taking stock of where you’ve been, and keeping an eye on where you’re going. So when he recently suggested writers write down what they’ve accomplished in 2011, with an eye on making goals for 2012, I thought that was a brilliant idea. So… What did I get done this year?

Blogging

When 2011 began, The Diversionist was only three months old. I could have easily let it slowly die (and for some stretches in 2011, it seemed to). And yet, despite facing one of my busiest years ever, I kept the blog going throughout the year, even if my output was pretty spotty. In 2011, I released 62 blog posts at The Diversionist, covering topics from writing, to social media, to music. 

Meanwhile, when 2011 started, The Signal was approaching its one-year anniversary. We’d recruited and lost writers, and the one-year mark was the time to decide whether we were going to keep running on a skeleton crew until we could grow things, or give it up. We decided to keep pushing on. And now, a few months away from the blogs 2nd birthday, we approach 2012 with a renewed direction and dedication to making the blog what it always should have been. In 2011, I wrote 115 blog posts at The Signal, including episodic reviews of Eureka, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, and the launch of my One Season Wonders project that is building steam this month.

In 2011, a new initiative was launched by myself and my good friend Stéphane Lachance: The Writers Bloc, a blog totally dedicated to writing resources for screenwriters. Unfortunately, the toll of running two blogs each (The Signal and our respective personal blogs) on top of busy professional lives meant the Bloc just didn’t get enough of our attention to be able to sustain the work put into it, and it faltered after a ahndful of blog posts… for now. In the short time the blog was active, I published 5 posts there.

This means, in the past year (minus some 10 days), I’ll have written and released a total of 182 blog posts. That’s an average of 15 posts per month, or just under 4 posts per week. Considering the unpaid nature of the posts, I like to think those are pretty strong numbers, and I hope to better them next year.

Best of the Year:

I don’t want to look at 2011 just from a quantitative perspective, but from a qualitative perspective as well. So, my personal favourites from this year of blogging…

Scriptwriting

Despite having a summer with few inspirations, 2011 was a huge period of creativity and growth for me. Coming off of a bad pilot experience the previous October, I bounced back with a fertile spring, and after a quiet summer rebounded with a strong fall. Between the various scripts I penned in 2011, I racked up a grand total of 575 pages of script written this year. That doesn’t include some of my more negligible projects or rewritten pages (except in cases where the rewrite consituted a whole new script), either.

And what form did these pages take?

  • Three completed pilots, doubling my total output of pilots ever. I wrote Timeless, my best-received script ever, and the first variation of Black Dog, inside of two months (both for class); then, over June-September, I polished off my second-ever comedic pilot, Characters. [You can view Timeless at my Stage32 portfolio here, and Characters under my pseudonym at MZPtv here. Black Dog is currently not publicly available.]
  • An additional Characters script, a follow-up to the pilot. [Not publicly available; currently being rewritten.]
  • An Archer spec script entitled “Klaus”, written for my Writing For Animation class. [Not publicly available.]
  • An episode in the final season of long-running virtual series Slayer Academy. My last, in fact, after serving on staff since 2006: season five episode sixteen, “Darkest Days”. [Available at MZPtv, under my pseudonym, here.]
  • Two sequences of a scripted dramatic webseries I started last year, Darken House, comprising altogether of ten short “webisode” scripts. [Available under my pseudonym at TEN, here.]
  • Two episodes of another dramatic webseries, Dead City Blues. [Pilot available at TEN under my pseudonym, here.]
  • Two episodes of a third dramatic webseries, a restructuring of the dramatic pilot I wrote in late 2010, Lifeblood. [Not publicly available.]
  • An episode of another dramatic webseries, Tom East’s X-Men: Rebirth; season one, episode nine, “Prisoner”. [To be released at TEN in January 2012 under my pseudonym, here.]
  • My major Practicum project for university, a twenty-episode dramatic webisode series titled The Inhuman Condition, pending major revisions after first draft.
  • Two freewritten scriptlets, Sparks and Blood For Blood. [Blood For Blood posted in a Diversionist post here.]
  • Three partial pilots, to be completed in 2012: Songbirds, Wreckage and a reimagined Black Dog pilot. [Not publicly available.]
  • Five short episodes for future sequences of Darken House. [To be released in 2012.]
  • A partial draft of a Virtual Mutant movie, follow-up to Slayer Academy. [To be released at MZPtv in 2012, under my pseudonym, here.]

This is a far sight better than previous years. My speed and patience for writing have clearly grown from previous years, as has my commitment to always producing pages. This year, I’ve seen some of my strongest successes, and begun to defeat the fear and anxiety caused by my failures.

Career Development

Without going too much into detail, 2011 was a very successful year for me. I completed my sixth and seventh semesters of university, now only four months away from finishing school and entering the workforce. Thanks to the help from professors and contacts, I was able to secure an internship that will offer me massive benefits in the new year, as well as help me establish the beginnings of a strong network. I received a small scholarship, notable because it was based around my use of dramatic dialogue in a script. And, most importantly, I got my name on IMDB!

I enter 2012 with a decent portfolio and resume, and a strong feeling things are looking my way. In my next post, just as Scott Meyers suggested, I’ll lay out exactly what I want to accomplish in 2012.

What did you get done in 2011?

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