Shooting for the Moon

Novelist and screenplay writer Heidi Linde shares her mantra in Rushprint: ”Shut up and write! Or put more mildly: Use your energy on creating amazing scripts, not on criticizing the absence of them.” (https://rushprint.no/2011/6/kunsten-a-kvotere-en-mann)

She says this as a conclusion in a discussion about the absence of female characters in film, especially in Norwegian films. Although there is much to be said about that specific topic (which I won’t here), it is her mantra that has been replaying in the back of mind all day since reading it. It is one I share and will hang on my refrigerator door as a reminder.

I have been giving a lot of thought lately as to what I think might be my road to creating amazing scripts. Because that is my goal. Pretentious as it may be, my (first) goal is to be one of the most sought after, successful and productive screenplay writers in Norway. At the risk of making a complete fool of myself by even publicly announcing this goal, I will wait to disclose my next goal(s) until after I achieve this first…

(One of my philosophies in life is that it is better to shoot for the moon and make it part of the way there, than to aim at climbing a small hill. Although the second one might be more realistic to reach, I think the first one will take you to higher ground.)

I think it was David Freeman who mentioned in his Beyond Structure seminar in Sandnes last year that some writers do write brilliant scripts on intuition alone. “Jerry McGuire” being his example of one. The problem is that this is much like winning the lottery. It can happen, but rarely does. And when it does, it usually is a One-Hit Wonder that writers cannot duplicate simply because they don’t have the slightest clue to how the magic touch was brought about.

It makes sense. So instead on relying on a lottery-winning situation, it is all about hard work.

My first attempt at writing a screenplay (purely by intuition method) was met with a response that I had some potential. I have gotten this response on my later screenplays as well. Nice as it is to hear, potential in itself doesn’t cut it. The moon is still far off.

The past 4 – 5 years has been a steady journey towards finding the magic keys to leaving potential behind and writing something that actually has that “wow” effect on a qualified reader. I am lucky to be working under the guidance of dramaturge Kirsten Rask (who is one of the best in all of Scandinavia) and having attended solid writing courses and seminars. And then there has been my own personal studies.

Lately I find myself arriving at a new consciousness, an awakening of sorts. I feel I have a new understanding of why the films I enjoy watching have the effect they have on me and I see clearer why my own scripts haven’t as of yet reached their level. I see my own weak spots and feel I know which direction I must go in to improve them. Hopefully rid my screenplays of them totally.

It will definitely be a process of trial and error, but at least it will be a far more conscious one than before. I am hoping that by working on a firmer fundament, the intuition part of the creative process will also be more valuable.

In order to keep me as focused as possible on what I am doing and why, I have decided to blog about it as I go about the process of shooting for the moon.

Since I am working on several projects at the same time, it might seem a bit schizophrenic as I jump between them. Especially since my role on two projects also involves being a producer in addition to writing the screenplays.