by Shelt Garner
For a time, I was all excited about having two creative “tracks” that I was going to have going forward. On one would be the novel I’m working on, while the other would be a screenplay. This, however, did not work out. I’m so completely consumed by the novel that I simply am not able to pull myself away from it.
But I continue to occasionally think about different potential screenplays. Being a screenwriter is much, much different than being a novelist because, well, Hollywood. I know myself well enough that if I did ever manage to finish a script I am so good at self-promotion — and socializing — that there would be a decent chance I would find myself in Hollywood (which is on the other side of the country from me) on occasion to hunt down family people to hand my script to. I’m fairly good at meeting famous people and so that part would be a cinch.
Screenplays have a whole different internal logic than novels. With a novel, you have to explain in a lot of detail why something happens. In a screenplay, lulz, you can think up the most bonkers conceit and get away with it with not a lot of explanation because that would really, really slow the story down.
I’ve been working on one idea for about a decade because it’s something of The Impossible Scenario. I love scenarios and there’s been one I’ve been working on for years and years that I simply can not figure out. But I’ve thought it through so much, that I find myself returning to it again and again. I won’t give you details, but imagine if humanity got an astonishing offer but with a catch — we had to work together as a race to figure the specifics of something out.
I like the idea that the audience would be on the edge of its seat as I walked them through the Biggest Event In Human History that kept getting hung up on the stupidest of differences between humans.
Another idea I have is The Martian, but for time travel. I have a decent method through which you could get some regular guy stuck in the past and you’d see how he if not escaped, at least made his life a lot better. But that one is problematic because I would want to do it absolutely hyper-realistic. So that might make it a bit more difficult to place it in the far past. I had the idea of maybe The Martian meets time travel meets Mad Men.
That would be pretty cool.
Anyway, one issue is buying FinalDraft. It’s so expensive that I think buying it would be the end of the beginning of the process of writing a screenplay. I would have gotten all my development finished and would be literally about to sit down and write when I bought it.