I try to get these posts done pretty soon into the new year. Last year it was out on January 4th, after all. January 2014’s almost over and I’m just trying to write this now, I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted, last year… But that’s not just it. I hadn’t had a webseries pilot shot or a professional project released. I hadn’t been to Banff for the World Media Festival or co-founded Compass. I was, in a lot of ways more than now, master of my own destiny, because everything was a lot smaller than now.
This is the first year where big things feel like they’re on the way. Which makes it a lot harder to predict where I’ll be, come December 31, 2014. Will I be in the same place or fall even further back, disillusioned and disappointed? Will everything have changed and evolved into something amazing? It sounds the height of arrogance to expect that, but the past year has been so eventful, it’s hard to know what to expect. What’s realistic.
Either way, if 2014 is half the year 2013 was… It’ll be one hell of a year!
Last Year’s Goals
Pagecount: Last year, I’d hoped 2013 would be a return to the furious writing blitz that was 2011. Instead I moved in the opposite direction, professionalising in a lot of ways that left little time for denting my serious To Do list. In fact, though I wrote quite a bit in 2013, I actually finished nothing on my To Write list from last year; The Wish and Forever have largely been abandoned; Wolf and Steele, Midwinter, Otherside, and The Dead Girls pushed to 2014 or later, and the rest in limbo.
That said, I feel much more optimistic about a To Write list for this year, especially as a number of the pieces on it will be part of my MFA coursework and thus have firm deadlines. Here’s what I’m hoping to complete this year:
- More, a romantic drama feature about a songwriter revisiting his abandoned dream after a new relationship throws life into a new light. Draft due February 10, and revisions due a month or so later. Writing.
- Kin, a sci-fi feature which I’ve been writing and revising for a year. Revising.
- Otherside, a supernatural procedural pilot I’ve had in my back pocket for a while that I’ll be developing a bible and pilot for as part of my TV Writing class. Developing.
- The Waiting Room, a romantic drama feature I’m developing for my MFA thesis about two men who develop feelings for one another when their pregnant partners become friends. I want a draft polished off by the end of the year. Developing.
- Black Dog, a supernatural pilot which I rewrote last year but need to continue to revise after putting the draft on a long pause. Revising.
- Midwinter, a thriller feature I conceived in August 2012 while in LA and have kept in play since. I want to finally at least outline this one by end of year. Developing.
- Formative, a webseries concept I’m developing to follow the format, though not connected at all by story, of The Inhuman Condition. This one’s kind of experimental and we’ll see if I can get it to work. I’ve got a (weak) draft of the pilot to work with, thankfully. Developing.
- The Disappointments, a supernatural drama feature I developed an outline for in class, and which I’ve written 25 pages of. I’d like to finish this one off and air it at Compass this year. Writing.
I’m sure there are others I could tackle (With Another and Call Your Girlfriend, two concepts that kind of complete a tonal quartet with More and The Waiting Room, for example), and some of these will probably fall by the wayside. But these are my big goals to have at least written to first draft by next year.
My other goals were..
Get Organised: Check. I’ve now got a pretty handy folder system on my desktop, with project sorted by quarter to help me keep things organised and scheduled. I keep it very fluid to prevent me from getting stagnant, moving projects around as I feel is appropriate. It’s been very helpful.
More Collaboration: Writing-wise, I didn’t start any new projects with co-creators… but I accidentally stumbled into collaboration when assigned story editors for The Inhuman Condition and Kin. While I’ve had friends story-edit projects before, this was an entirely new ball game. In all three cases, the story editors were fantastic resources and elevated the projects to something new, and I’d happily work with any of them again! Which helps, as I’m still working with one of them on Kin. In fact, I got to see one of them (the delightful and brilliant Michelle Ricci) recetly at a panel I helped organise, so I don’t think any of these relationships end with the first bout of collaboration.
Moving forward, in addition to working with story editors, I’m starting to play with others in the creation phase. I’ve brought fantastic comedienne Megan MacKay on board my comedic script series Characters at Compass, and she’ll be helping me revise the pilot and run the digital room on that project. I’ll be working as story editor myself for some feature projects at Compass as well; we threw a logline contest and took five projects into development, and I’ll be helping them turn those loglines into full screenplays. I still haven’t written something with a writing partner, but we’ll see if the opportunity arises this year.
Enter Contests: I ended up skipping the contests last year. Too much to do, plus my main contender (Timeless) needed a heavy edit, which I spent all summer doing. I might try them this year, if I’m happy with how my above projects go and if I have the time/funds. I’ll be applying to the Humanitas New Voices program this year, at very least.
Submit to the Black List Site: I did this with After the Fight and Timeless, and came away with a few scars. Either I’m not quite ready, or my work isn’t what the readers at the Black List are looking for. Either way, I’ve stepped away from that with some great notes and a handful of industry views that hopefully left a mark on somebody.
Read More Scripts: I read more scripts this year, but not nearly enough. With a potential ongoing feature like my Script Showcase posts, though, maybe this year will be different.
I have no idea where I’m going, from here. I can go in any of a dozen directions, and the foundation formed in the next year will really be what determines what the next 5 years look like.
What could happen? Kin could make its way out of development and into production, which would be a big credit to my name. After the Fight could get some traction on its road to production, which would give me some buzz in the features world. Development on More or The Waiting Room could go well and maybe even intrigue a producer, as both are budget-conscious drama features that could score interest if I nail the scripts. The Inhuman Condition could go back into production and finally get a public release of some kind, launching me into the webseries world. Another webseries project I recently pitched could go forward, giving me more exposure and some hands-on producing experience. Compass could grow, expanding on my role as an organiser, teacher and leader. I could score one of the 4 New Voices spots, somehow. My attempts to turn Timeless into a crowdfunded graphic novel at the end of the year could bear fruit. I may have the opportunity to do more app work. I could dabble in zero-budget production this summer as I wrote about last year. I feel like, if any of these happen, that’s a big event in my timeline and something that would shape 2014 in significant ways I can’t see.
I’m so hungry to do everything that I’m happy to dig into whatever opportunities arise. It makes me scattered but it keeps me vital and learning.
So that’s the year ahead. Let’s see how it goes…