17 Months Off

January 29, 2009 · by The Urban Shockah · Permalink · Category:

Wow -- we're really doing this, huh? I really have to learn how to use Ecto again?

Actually, I'm very excited to restart Spitball!, or as I think of it, Spitball! 2.0. The original Spitball! had a great premise, but one that simply wasn't going to live up to its potential, at least not with me. Or more accurately, not that me at that time. As Martin said earlier, in 2006 and 2007 we were still learning how to work together, and one thing we learned definitively is that I (and maybe Martin, but definitely I) need to work face-to-face. The written word is a great form of communication, but there's still too much ambiguity and too much time delay this way, causing problems that are easily solved (or wouldn't exist) when talking directly to my writing partner. So fuck this wack experiment in my opinion. (Apologies to the Cinemasters crew.)

So here's what's been happening lately.

Martin and I meet every weekend to go over our projects, something we've been doing for ... I don't know how long, but certainly since the last Spitball! post, maybe earlier. So about a year and a half. Technically, we don't live very far from each other, but getting together can be difficult, so this standing meeting time ensures contact with each other. I really think our writing, our communication and our work in general have increased ten-fold in quality since we started doing that.

But what have we been working on? Right now, we have three screenplay projects we're juggling, and one of them is the Spitball! Story Idea 2nd Place winner, known at the time as Black Little Stray, now known as Stray. That's right, not unlike Clay Aiken, winner of American Idol's second season, the runner-up has eclipsed the winner (in this case, Time to Die.) Time to Die is on the back burner -- it hasn't been forgotten, simply put on pause until we deal with these other three that, in our parlance, have "the energy" about them. In fact, Time to Die is next on deck as soon as we finish one of the other three (or if one of the three is shelved for intractable structural problems, which is always a possibility).

Along with screenplays, Martin and I have also jumped into the dark deep waters of prose fiction writing. (Martin moreso, but I'll let him talk about that.) I've started my first novel, which, wouldja know it, is based on one of our Story Idea contest entrants, The Atmospherist. (I'm gonna make it work, dammit.) I suspect that, despite this site's usual focus on screenwriting, we'll talk about the fiction side of things as well.

So basically, 2009 is all about the writing. Early last year, I was hired by the comic book website ComiXology to pen a column about comic book movies called The Watchman. It was a tremendous opportunity, and I think I did some of my best non-fiction writing ever there. But after doing it for almost a year, and finding more and more of time devoted to it (meaning more and more of time sucked away from screenplays and fiction), I had to make a hard decision. I decided to give up The Watchman. It hurt to do it, and it depressed me for a bit, but ultimately I think it was the right move. I have a kid now, Laura, who's almost two (!), so my time and my priorities are different. Everything that isn't about her has to go to, oh let's just call it all "storytelling". That's what I am now -- a storyteller.

And maybe one day, one day soon, I'll get paid for the privilege. But until then, I gotta keep practicing.