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Saturday, 10.2.02: The Week in Review

Saturday.  Nursing a bit of a hangover from too many margaritas. Maria called to rehash a ridiculous debate over which alpha male (between 2 in our acquaintance) has the higher IQ. What's the diff? They both can apparently count the rungs on the corporate ladder and know how to spell D-E-L-E-G-A-T-I-O-N.

Sunday - Tuesday. Where the heck did these days go? I am poking away at my screenplay. I finally came upon the chapter in my McKee book that discusses the actual process of writing a screenplay. If you have given yourself 6 months to write a screenplay, then the first 4 months must be spent only writing scene ideas on 3 x 5 cards -- only a sentence or two, then assembling the best scenes into a step-outline (all the while doing lots of research on your settings, characters, etc.) From your skeleton outline, you do a treatment -- describing in depth each scene and what the characters are thinking. Only then do you start writing the actual screenplay and the last step is adding dialogue. This was a surprise to me since I was ready to launch into some snappy dialogue. But no. McKee says if you start with your dialogue you fall in love with it and start trying to build your story around your good bits - a recipe for disaster. You have to be able to structure and tell a good story first. Visualize pictures and actions, not words. Since I have the time, I might as well teach myself the correct methods.

Wednesday. B.O.R.E.D. meeting. A red and white whine-athon. It was comfortable being with my old pals, even with that expatriate feeling. I was the first to arrive and last to leave.

Thursday.  My creative work now apparently depends on the number of colored gel pens I have at my fingertips. I threw out about a dozen that had dried up and set out to find additions to my supply of Sakura GellyRolls, which seem to be the most smooth-writing and enduring.

Friday. Breakfast with another old pal from the Institution. Then I went to poke around at the Central Library downtown. I listened to too much radio this afternoon, listening to the aftermath of the Bush-Kerry debate. We now have a liberal talk-radio station in town (950 AM), which carries all the New Air America stuff. It's as obnoxious as Rush Limbaugh, only for my side. The high point of the afternoon was a call from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. They want me to be a commenter on the op-ed page for the Vice Presidential debate on Tuesday. This means watching the debate, writing while I watch, and e-mailing them my 250-word opinion the minute the debate ends, for publication in Wednesday morning's paper. Cool.

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The PBS series, based on the book by John LeCarre.

Clerks (First Cut). (1994). On-the-cheap indie by Kevin Smith (aka Silent Bob). I was afraid it was going to be one of those goofy stupid-young-men movies. On the surface, it was. But when it was over, Jim and I were comparing it to The Hours (or for you literary types, Virginia Wolff's Mrs. Dalloway) -- a day in the life of someone carrying out their responsibilities but hovering on despair.



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