June 13, 2012
My day began very early in the morning. 5:00 AM to be exact. Last night, I worked until midnight so you can imagine how tired I was. I was flying home to attend my high school’s graduation ceremony as an Alumni. It was a great excuse to hang out with my family as well.
My girlfriend (now my wife) gave me a ride to the airport before heading to work but there was a catch. I would have to wait for 2 hours in the airport lounge. All I could think about was finding a quiet corner to work on the new screenplay.
Unfortunately, there were a ton of people around and few seats available that would hide my work. (I’m not a fan of people looking over my shoulder. But who is?) Eventually, I found a suitable spot but I couldn’t get in the zone. I was too tired to break new ground. I decided to go through the 60 pages I had written and write down notes and potential changes. But I kept getting distracted by my surroundings. It’s tough to write in crowded places. I don’t know how ‘Starbucks Screenwriters’ do it.
But then it hit me… Since I didn’t want to write the next logical scene in my story, I decided to create some new experimental scenes. Basically, I sat there thinking up different scenes that could find a home in my script.
I opened up PAGES and CELTX for my iPad and started brainstorming. I wound up creating and writing notes for 5 new scenes. Some were potential replacements while others were brand new. I wasn’t worried about the overall story. It was fun to just experiment with my characters without any pressure. Just before they began boarding my flight, I realized that TWO of the scenes I created worked really well in my script.
I started figuring out the logistics of inserting them into my story. They worked perfectly and featured a couple key character moments that I wanted to include but overlooked. By the time the 50 minute flight landed, I had written both scenes and smiled.
You never know what will happen.
I made a ton of excuses to avoid writing that morning. Too tired. Too many people. Too many distractions. I could have easily played games and wasted those two hours of free time but instead I made my script better.
You have to write. Find a way. Anything is possible.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to work on the bus or the subway only to be spied on by curious strangers. Have you ever pulled out a book in front of someone? It’s human nature to check out the title. I’m just as guilty. I want to know what you’re reading.
It makes me somewhat of a hypocrite because it drives me crazy when people glance down at my iPad. Although, it’s a lot more intrusive when I’m trying to write. I don’t want people to read my work like that. As a result, I try to ignore people who are drawing or writing in public places. It’s fascinating to watch people sketch but I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable because I just can’t look away.
However, there is a flip side. I’m sure some of these people want you to check out their work. They want you to read the poem they’re completing or the cartoon they’re touching up. I’m not like that. I simply can’t write unless I know that no one can see what I’m doing.
Regardless, that day worked out because nobody was sitting next to me on the plane. More importantly, there were empty seats behind me too. I was free to work on those two scenes. Unfortunately, one of them ended up getting cut out during the rewrite phase. It didn’t really add much to the story. The other scene wound up being one of my favorites.
It was a successful plane ride.