Is This What's Been Missing?This evening, I followed my own instruction and I scribbled down everything I knew about Sick Day. I did so in the sloppiest, most freeform manner I could muster. I put Fletch Lives on Netflix streaming, which chased away my intellect completely, and I doodled down the movie.
Until that moment, I'd honestly forgotten about all the scribbling and doodling I've done on my past screenplays. But tonight, in pieces, I remembered sitting in the LA courthouse hallway, waiting through at jury duty, drawing circles around ideas for Zaniness Ensues.
I remembered sitting in backseat of my car, in the rain, on break from my all-night hospital job, scribbling as quickly as I could in cursive, until I sorted out Blaring Static.
I remembered laying on my stomach on the carpet, drawing lines all over dozens of notebook pages, until I cracked the third act of Storybook Park, which became Gravedigger's Son.
I remembered the rush I felt each of those times, when the answers started appearing as though from a muse hidden in the wall, and I remembered, these things have never come easy, but when they finally come, they come flooding out in freeform.
But What About Sick Day?In less than twenty minutes, I realized I'd already thought thru several things I'd forgotten to write down. Ideas from morning showers, from walking the dog, from waiting in line for lunch. Ideas that I hadn't realized were ideas when I had them. And quite miraculously, I was able to recall them tonight, punch-lines and all. With only momentary pauses, they sputtered and then poured out.
Then, I hit a wall. But at least, now, I could SEE the wall I was up against.
What I needed was some sort of third act direction. Without it, I'd be aimlessly grouping and sequencing gags with no purpose. I couldn't make any hard choices without that third act, because I couldn't tell what the story needed.
It was time to start working backward from the ending. And to do that, I needed to start fresh, from the beginning.
So, I took a bath.