story, story, story

That's what I'm up to my eyeballs in these days: Story.

What will happen to Jen in season 1? Where will she start and end? Will she get what she wants? Will she get what she doesn't want? What about her friends? What do they want? Will they get it? Who will be dating? Who will be single?

And of course, the two most pressing story questions:
-- Will it make sense, from a story perspective, if aliens come down to earth halfway through the 4th episode and turn our lovable heroine into an evil anti-Jen?
-- And will it be believable, from a character perspective, if the evil anti-Jen jumps out of a plane in the season finale with a parachute, a "family-sized" package of Charmin, and a diabolical plan to toilet-paper the entire city just as rain clouds are rolling in?

Important Note: Please don't repeat any of the above information to anyone. I'm telling that to you, my faithful readers, in the strictest confidence. It would be terrible if the world at large knew of the alien invasion and Jen's "evil" side before the show even got on the air! There would be no suspense... no drama... no reason to tune in! So I thank you in advance for your discretion.

Anyhow, back to the point - which was about story stuff. And the point I was trying to make (before I got sidetracked, as I tend to do) is that there are so many questions to ask and so many possibilities to consider when you're figuring out what could happen in the life of a character...

Slowly but surely, I'm finding the answers.

One of the most important things I've discovered is that if you listen hard enough, the stories seem to tell themselves. When you start with solid, layered characters, then it's not so much about trying to "create" somewhere for them to go... it's more about "realizing" where they're telling you they need and want to go. That's why character work is so important. In my opinion, if you don't know where the story should go - or if you're banging your head against a wall because breaking down the story is proving to be so difficult - then the reason is because you don't know your characters well enough.

There. That's my 2 cents on writing for today. For those of you who aren't writers and don't care what I think about writing, my apologies for having bored you.

Let's get back to something more interesting about story: How the process works.

The process now is much the same as it was when we were working on the pilot. Billy and I talk about where we think the characters are going, I write it up, and we send it off to the network. Then we talk with them, get their feedback, and incorporate their notes into the next draft. Once we have a high-level summary of where the characters are going this first season, then we'll break it down into a high-level summary of where the characters are going in each individual episode. Then we'll work with the network on that, and then break that down into a detailed summary for each episode... and from there I'll write the actual scripts.

It's a lot of work and there's a lot to do. Winter (when we're shooting) may seem like a long way away... but it's not. From my perspective, with 5 scripts that need to be written and approved, winter is right around the corner. And that said, I hope you'll excuse me now because I really need to get back to work! :-)



That's right! "The Rules" is officially coming to LOGO!

Pop the champagne, blow a bubble, run naked through the sprinklers... it's time to celebrate! :-)

The network picked us up for 6 episodes the first season. We're scheduled to shoot this winter and then we'll hopefully be on the air by spring of next year. So you'll have to wait a little bit until you can see what we've been working on this whole time, but it'll definitely be worth it!

And what happens now, you may ask?

Well, tonight, I'm going out to paint the town!!

And then starting Monday, I'm getting back to work. The next few months will be a lot - A LOT - of writing, since we're starting from scratch on the rest of the season's scripts. I will, of course, continue to update the blog so you can follow along with the progress (notice I've already taken out the word "possible" before the words "television series" in the subtitle).

So here we go! Let the rest of the adventure begin!

Thank you all for your comments and for your support. I really appreciate it.

Have a great weekend! I know I will!

and p.s. to "MsBeeCharmer," I wrote about the history of the project on the very first posting I made... I hope that answers your question... if not, post again!


picture lock! (and now we wait...)

Picture is locked!!!!

What that means is that we've done the re-shoot and all the editing... and as of now, no more changes will be made to the pilot. At this very moment, the post-production folks are making it look extra pretty and it will go off to New York early next week. Then we wait...

But that's the big-picture summary. Here are the details:

Last Friday (June 9) we did the actual re-shoot. Everything was great! We were in and out of the location on time, all the performances were fantastic, and both of the scenes we shot (a new opening and a re-do of a previously existing scene) felt like they were making a huge difference to the overall tone of the piece - even as we were shooting them. The network executives were all on set the whole day and they were really happy with how everything turned out... as were we.

This past week has been all about editing. Our editor spent Monday and most of Tuesday locked away in a room on the 2nd floor of one of the MTV buildings taking all the footage and putting together a cut for us. Billy, Lee, and I went in on Tuesday afternoon and worked with the editor until after 11pm making adjustments. The next morning (Wednesday) the network execs reviewed the cut, then we went back in and made more changes based on their notes. Yesterday (Thursday) was all about working with the music supervisor's choices and laying in the new music. And as of today, we're done.


As in: This is it.
As in: There are no more re-shoots in our future.
As in: We either get a yes or a no.
As in: We'll know very soon whether we're making a TV show or going back to our individual drawing boards.

So how am I feeling at this point, you may ask? Honestly, I feel GREAT. I'm really proud of the work we've done and how the pilot has turned out. The show feels classy, substantive, interesting, funny, heartbreaking, and it looks amazing. I feel more confident about this project than ever and I think the Big Boss who ultimately makes the decisions is going to love it. I really do. Something came together during the re-shoot and the editing that wasn't there before... and if you'll forgive me for sounding a bit stereotypically Southern Californian, the "something" that came together felt almost magical. Like it all just fell into place. We first noticed it on set, then felt it again in the editing room when it became crystal clear what needed to stay and what needed to go, and the fact that the network notes were relatively minor - even from the first pass - is something that we all (including the network execs) felt was a great sign about how the project was progressing.

But I digress.

And at the end of the day, it's not up to me anyway... so please send out good vibes on our behalf. As soon as we know when the pilot will be presented again, I'll let all of you know. And shortly thereafter, we hope to get some excellent news... :-)