by Shelton Bumgarner
This is just a stray observation.
by Shelton Bumgarner
This is just a stray observation.
by Shelton Bumgarner
While I’m deep into working on a novel, I have an idea, a notion, a conceit for a screenplay that’s interesting.
I have the general universe — and twist ending — down pat. What I don’t have is much of a plot. But I do have another plot lying around and I may use it to flesh out the plot of this idea.
But it really doesn’t matter right now. I have a novel to work on.
I’m afraid I’m well on my way to becoming a cliche.
Because of circumstance, I’m soon going to become one of those guys you see in coffee shops and libraries hard at work on their screenplay. It’s kind of pathetic in its own way. But the issue is, I’ve finally come across a story concept that is strong enough that I really want to invest the time and energy into needed to flesh out.
The only problem with the concept is it’s very obviously a screenplay, not a novel. I have struggled for some time, trying to make it a novel, but it just doesn’t work. The story is a direct homage to the Big Chill and as such it takes place over a weekend.
The big difference is there’s a lot more drama in this concept than The Big Chill. A whole lot more. That’s what makes it great from a writing standpoint. There’s more than enough to keep me entertained. That’s been a big problem for some time with previous attempts to write either a novel or a screenplay — I just couldn’t keep myself entertained as the writer to finish the story.
They say you’re supposed to have a surprise on each page of a story and I think the one I’m working on now comes pretty close to that. I need to shut up and write. I need to stop writing and writing and just do the actual writing. But it’s kind of tough. I have to psych myself up to do it.
But my life is about to undergo a major change almost immediately, so maybe I’ll be more productive. Maybe. I hope. I really want to finish at least one screenplay before I die. I am going to write the screenplay as a novella first then go from there.
That’s the plan, at least.
I have vowed to myself that I’m not buying Final Draft until I finish a novella of the screenplay concept I’m currently noodling with. I am a complete novice and generally have no idea what I’m doing, but here’s a glimpse of what I’ve managed to write so far. This is the first scene where people are making their way into the house where they’re going to stay for a weekend to celebrate someone’s 50th birthday. It’s not much, I know, but it’s a start. You’ve got to start somewhere.
Anyway, in my fevered imagination, I see someone like Erykah Badu or Janelle Monae playing the Gaia part. Ms. Badu is the proper age for this vision, but I’m a big fan of Ms. Monae as well. Anyway, you’re not supposed to talk about who you want to play parts, but I always do what I’m not supposed to do.
It’s just fun to daydream and it keeps me motivated to daydream about who I would want to play this or that part. But I will try to control myself. Though, my birthday is coming up on the 26th, so I guess I am allowing myself to have a little fun.
The Big Shrug
A novella by Shelton Bumgarner
Blaze Union and his Korean wife Union looked at each other and grinned. This weekend was going to be an exciting one, no matter what, given the people involved. Soon enough, as expected, the door opened and a middle-aged man wearing a red Make America Great Again hat walked in and gave each of them a hug.
“Jackson!” Union said as she did. “My, your politics sure have changed since we last met.”
Jackson Colburn mugged sheepishly as he turned to hug Blaze as well.
“Well, you know,” Jackson said. “Things change. I’ve changed. Who else is here? I looking forward to catching up.”
Jackson shook Blaze’s hand and told him happy birthday.
“You’re the first person here, but the rest right behind you,” Blaze said. “There’s an envelope on the kitchen table explaining where everything is.”
As Jackson nodded and made his way past them, a gorgeous African American woman squealed and hugged them both passionately. She kissed them each on the lips as she did.
“Gaia!” Blaze said, his eyes wide open. “You haven’t changed a bit. What have you been up to since Seoul? Last I heard you were modeling in Phuket”
“Yeah,” Gaia said in a deep, silky voice. “I’ve been up to this or that. Seoul was so long ago. I try to keep my eyes on the future, not the past. Happy birthday, baby,”
She, too, pushed past the couple on her way to the kitchen.
Soon, a middle-aged man and a much younger, stunning woman appeared at the door. The mood was significantly different. It was more somber.
“Hey, Tagger,” Blaze said shaking Tagger’s hand firmly. “I don’t think I’ve met your daughter.”
Tagger looked at the couple smiled, then looked down for a moment and laughed.
“This is Manhattan,” Tagger said. “She’s my WIFE and you know it, you old bastard .”
The two couples shared a knowing laugh and the tension was broken.
“I haven’t seen you in person in close to 20 years,” Tagger said. “You haven’t changed a bit.”
“Neither have you,” Blaze said. “You seem to have done well for yourself since then. How many times have you gotten the Vogue cover in the last few years, half a dozen times?”
Tagger looked at his wife, squeezed her hand and nodded.
“Yeah, something like that.” Tagger said. “Life isn’t a straight line, you know. But it all started in Seoul. The whole thing changed my life.”
“Well,” Union said, “it’s good to see you are doing well. Like I told the others, just go straight into the kitchen and you’ll find the information you need for the weekend.”
And with that, Tagger and Manhattan pushed pass the couple with their luggage.
I only find myself thinking of screenwriting as opposed to writing a novel because, well, it’s much easier to write a screenplay than a novel. A screenplay has a very specific formula as to how to do it, while a novel is significantly more difficult to pull off for various reasons. I like the idea of my job being to simply write dialog and provide a vision for the director and producer.
Something about that is really appealing.
Now, of course, I’m probably going to write a short story or novella before I write the screenplay in an effort to flesh out the story some. That’s the only way I can think of to be ready to write a screenplay when the time comes. I have vowed to myself I’m not going to buy Final Draft until I’ve at least finished a short story to base the screenplay on.
That seems only reasonable, given that that would prove, to some extent, that I’m serious, for once, about writing a screenplay. I have a novel concept I interested in writing as well, but I’ve put that on the back burner for the time being for no other reason than the screenplay concept seems to be flowing a lot easier right this second. The key thing is, I have to put in the work. I have to stop just daydreaming about a concept and start to put in the elbow grease needed to get the job done.
Because I don’t have a muse to tell me to shut up and write, I find myself bouncing around a lot from concept to concept. I talk a lot about what I’m going to do, but too often when I actually sit down to write things out, I choke. But right now because my mind is on something else — getting a professional digital camera — it seems as though at least for the moment things are flowing a bit better than usually creatively.
I’m, by nature, a daydreamer, so I know that if I don’t do something sooner rather than later a few more years could go by and I will not have actually written anything. I’m hoping this is different, for once. I’m hoping that I’m going to actually get something done for once.
It’s difficult, though. It’s difficult for lots of reasons. But, I have to say, as I’ve said before, I really enjoy the culture of screenwriting a lot. It’s a lot of fun. I really enjoy how social it is, how communal it is. It’s a lot of fun to know that should I actually get anything done that there is a vibrant screenwriting community that might, just might welcome me into the fold.
But I have to get the work done. I have to actually do something. I can’t just daydream and then expect other people to do the work for me. I am such a daydreamer — and need a muse so bad — that it’s difficult for me to find anyone one thing to obsess about. I bounce around a lot creatively. So much so that no one takes me serious. Yet I’d like to think maybe I might be able to change that sooner rather than later. I hope, at least. That’s the goal.
I really like the movie The Big Chill and I find myself wanting to write a Generation X homage to it. I like the idea of a group of old acquaintances getting together for a specific reason and while The Big Chill is about death, my screenplay is about life. I’m thinking it’s going to be about a 50th birthday instead of a funeral like The Big Chill. I am also toying with the idea of a wedding, but there are added complications to a wedding that might make it a bit more difficult to use. And, yet, a wedding is also ideal in some ways. I guess a wedding has more potential for drama. Maybe. I just don’t know at this point. I may sketch the story out as a wedding and see what happens.
Anyway, here’s a video of me thinking the story out.
This v-log is meandering and random. I start off talking about ROKon Magazine, the magazine I started in Seoul about 10 years ago and veer off into a discussion of heading to Hollywood for a few days to find someone to write screenplays with. But it’s kind of pointless unless I actually put in the work. No one will take me seriously if I just talk about all these great concepts I have in my head. I actually have to put in the work and be prepared to show it to someone.
I found myself with some time today, so I finished the movie treatment I’ve been working on. Now to sit down and write a much more detailed novella using the treatment as a basis. Then, I will work on a screenplay. But I really enjoy the process of creation itself and so things, at least for the time being, are kinda humming along.
We’ll see how long it lasts.
I continue to creatively cool my heels while I wait to by a professional camera and as I do so, I’m developing a screenplay. The screenplay is supposed to be, at least, prism for the Trump Era. That’s, at least, my goal. I like the idea of what if humanity was forced to do the exact opposite of what it seems to be compelled to do now, which is to reject all forms of global unity.
Anyway, I really need to shut up and write. I’m going to try to do just that this afternoon. I’m going to try to write something, anything that moves the screenplay forward. I have to put in the work. I can’t just dilly-dally and talk about how could it would be to do this, I have to actually, well, do it. That’s the tough part.
But we’ll see, I guess.