Earlier today, I had a phone conversation with a friend of mine. He’s a very accomplished screenwriter who spent nearly two decades as a development executive and in-house re-write master at a few of the major studios. Now he’s on his own and putting together a new company with an A-list screenwriter and a former studio head.
Anyway, so he’s working on this re-write for the screenwriter he’s partnered with, and he’s talking about the difficulty he’s having making everything gel together.
"It’s hard," he tells me, "because the scenario is set at one point in the story and then at a later point in the story, and my job is to fill in the gap between. I know basically what I need to do, but I am having a devil of a time in the execution.
"I heard a quote–I can’t remember who said it–that just at the point where you’re about to throw your hands up and quit is when the answer comes to you. I’m about at that point."
I am not happy that my friend is having a difficult go. Of course, I know and he knows that he’ll find the answer, and everything will work out fine. This is what he does.
At one point in our commiseration, he asked me, "Do you know what I mean?"
"Do I ever," I replied.
Uh…yeah. Trawling in the cracks? Trying to turn those lame "placeholder" scenes into real, full fledged, creative and dramatic ones that jump off the page and suddenly make the whole story work on a whole new level? Story of my writing life.
I take a measure of comfort tonight knowing that guys like my friend struggle with the same problems as I do. Makes me feel a little less lame. And a little more like I belong here on the playing field.