03 Jun 2021

Update for May 2021:

First Draft

I submitted the first draft of the feature script on time. Deadlines are important to me — both adhering to them and as a motivator. I had miscalculated the dates and ended up having an extra week, although I’d also started writing about a week before signing the contract, so the writing period ended up being about seven weeks. But then there was a week where payment was delayed and so I became unfocused and got nothing done. So six weeks is an accurate total for the first draft.

Having a two-step deal is invaluable. To any screenwriter negotiating a deal, I would say it’s worth pushing for a two-step deal even if you just get paid the same amount split in two. It’s foolish to think anyone will get it right the first time — writing a draft of anything is like getting through the Overlook Hotel hedge maze — you’ll take wrong turns. Your best hope is to try to improve on your second attempt. Knowing you have a guaranteed second attempt frees you to be more relaxed and less less self-critical with the first, and thus derive more enjoyment from the process.

Although I didn’t plan to, I wrote the draft out of order. The advantages I see to this approach are: you have more fun because you’re jumping straight to the scenes you want to write instead of wading through whichever scene you’re up to, and you ultimately give yourself more time to percolate on the more difficult scenes. The disadvantage of this approach is something I hadn’t anticipated, which is that the difficult scenes still need to be written, they’re going to take longer than expected, and leaving them until when the deadline is within sight can be stressful. There’s also the risk that you accidentally leave in a line or moment that made sense when you wrote it, but then looks utterly ridiculous after filling in the interim scenes.

That said, I still think I’ll continue to write out of order. It feels like painting a picture. No one starts at top-left and works their way down.

Having made extensive use of my screenwriting program for some professional screenwriting (or “dogfooding” as they say), I made a lot of little improvements along the way (read the NEWS). Cumulatively this has meant greatly reducing the overall amount of code in the program — if I compare the ULOC of the final version 2 release with the latest version 3 release, there’s a reduction of more than a third:

git show v2.8.5:fountain-mode.el | sort -u | wc -l
cat fountain-mode.el | sort -u | wc -l

I also wrote yet another Emacs program, this one called Side Hustle, which allows navigation of any file’s Imenu via a nifty side window. It’s influenced by Imenu-List but uses a simpler approach, while also working with multiple buffers.

I’ve done some work on a speculative version 2.0 of Olivetti, which will allow the interface to look much more like writing on a page, with both page margins and page boundaries. Here’s a screenshot.

Google has started rolling out its worldwide plan to insert advertising in all videos on YouTube (but not paying the video creators, obviously) so I’ve started hosting my videos on a nice little video art community called scanlines.xyz.

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