Sometimes I like to clean the kitchen at 2 a.m. when I can’t fall asleep. I’ve already been told by a friend, with probably the best deadpan I’ve ever seen, that “only crack addicts do that.” In retrospect, instead of laughing it off, I probably should have said something like, “Hey, what you just said, it’s called representative heuristic. Google it. It’s uncool.” However, this post isn’t called How Psychology 101 Taught Me to Be a Pedantic Smartass so I won’t go into how that’s a burn (which it totally is).
Anyways, at 2 a.m. I wasn’t scrubbing wine off the stove, but reading what I wrote for Script Frenzy 2012. If you haven’t heard of it, Script Frenzy is an annual online event where writers challenge themselves to come up with at least 100 pages in 30 days during the month of April. It may sound like pleasure derived from self-inflicted torture, but when you think about it, what art form isn’t?
Now, looking over my screenplay after letting it sit for almost 2 months, I can tell you with confidence that it is really, really bad.
Still, I read all 101 pages of utter suck and managed to find bits that made me smile and laugh and, best of all, made me eager to start working on it again. If a project has the power to make me excited and not want to drag it to the trash in shame then all the long hours of straining my eyes in front of my laptop and the sunny days spent indoors, writing, were worth it.
I’m yet to decide on a title, but I have been calling it #Persona. I’ve jokingly described it as Citizen Kane meets 500 Days of Summer and so far it’s stuck. I’m yet to find anything more accurate.
I love how re-reading my writing can turn into such a self-reflective process. The script mirrors my interests and my sense of humor, things I didn’t realize while preoccupied with page count. After taking Popular Culture my sophomore year of college and writing a term paper on fan culture, I’ve been extra sensitive to looking relationships whether it be between two characters on a screen, people right in front of me or an audience I’m sitting with and their “interaction” with the celebrities onscreen.
My intrigue lives through my main character, Alex, who finds himself constantly asking: Why do I feel such an affinity for someone I’ve never met in real life and probably never will? Is it the person I’m fascinated by or merely their persona? Is it possible to stay objective and be critical of the thing (or person) you’re obsessed with?
These are all questions I toy with through the narrative. I’m not even sure if it’s easy or possible to find answers since the level and focus of fascination varies from person to person. I just use these questions to tell a story. That’s what I love about writing. Mine is just one voice that contributes to the vast discourse of life. Some will get it and relate to it and others won’t, but that’s okay.
After successfully completing Script Frenzy for the first time, I can finally say it isn’t as painful as it sounds, especially if you can get as easily pulled into the world of the story as I can. This first draft is a beautiful, disjointed mess, but at the very least, I wrote it all down, which means it’s out of my head. It takes some people years to get this far and thanks to Script Frenzy I did it in 30 days.
Was this a productive 2 a.m. moment? I think so.