Apr 15, 2010

The First Draft Begins Today [Sick Day]

Today is the big day. I'm sitting in a coffee shop in Westwood. It's called It's A Grind Coffee House. This is not a "shop" that serves coffee, this is a "house" where coffee lives. Which makes it disturbing that I should burst in and devour it in its home.

In any case, the parking situation is less than ideal. There was a metered spot immediately in front, and it was a dollar an hour, so I fed it an hour's worth of quarters. The coffee was about $4. Which still puts me at a significant advantage, financially, over Norm's. I see there is also a parking garage; I'll have to explore the parking options when my hour is up.

In any case, today is the big day. I have my outline. I'm not going to persist with the treatment. I'm going to start writing the screenplay.

It opens with my main character, Maggie, sitting in an ER waiting room, looking like a wreck. I've taken some notes for the description of her. I'm trying to find just the right detail or two to capture her looking like a wreck - but not unappealing to an audience. I have a central, persistent worry: that producers and actors will read the script, or just the concept, and think, "No one wants to see someone looking sick and horrible for 90 minutes." I want to reassure them, these characters look sick and also look sexy.

"An arousing disaster."

Can I say she has bed-head? Sex hair? A hot mess? A photo from a Playboy spread called "ladies of the big earthquake?" The CNN headline picture for "modeling school sorority house collapses?" I want a simple one-liner, but I don't want to overplay it, don't want to come across as irredeemably sexist, or hokey.

All the same, the Playboy line made me smile... Maybe I should use Maxim?

I like the word "steaming" (for her mood and her appearance). I like the word "cock-eyed," because the word cock is in there, which is unsubtly suggestive. I've written, "Flannel jammy bottoms are smeared with black ash" and "bathrobe inside out" and "the pajama top has one spaghetti-strap snipped" and "even the little bow on her pajama-top decolletage is wilted and unraveled"

I just reviewed the screenplay opening of THE HANGOVER, and, yeah, they do essentially what I'm trying to do: they underline the word "mess" and add "his aviator glasses are bent," along with a few injuries.

Man, I'm not nearly as clever as I thought I was.