I didn't really get along with my writing teacher in college. I thought most of his ideas were stupid and his schedule of writing, every single day at an increasing rate, was ridiculous, especially when we had so much else going on in our lives. Who actually writes every day, anyway?
Of course it turns out 99% of what Peter Christopher (RIP) said was correct. Well, maybe not that much, but a lot of it, particularly his point about not being lazy and putting in work every day, was on the nose. If you're curious, I made a C in the class - Peter said my portfolio was one of the most disappointing and biggest wastes of talent he'd ever seen.
There are several lessons of his I could talk about, but one I definitely can see has had a big influence on my stories. His mantra was "Go for the jugular!" He hated stories that took forever to get going, tales that wandered around aimlessly until the good parts arrived to get them going. He wanted us to skip past any needless junk and get right to where the "action" is. In other words, the reader is there for a reason, so get to the point.
For example, let's say your story is about wooden furniture coming to life and attacking a ship full of scurvy-stricken pirates. Your first draft has a lengthy back story detailing how the pirates all arrived on the ship which all comes back around later as they fight off the killer chairs and tables. However, this takes up several pages in your story meaning the action doesn't really get going until page 7 of a 20 page short. Wouldn't it be better to reconfigure the story so you get to the point and reveal the rest during the action? Just jump right into it.
Of course this blog is about films - and honestly I think it applies even more than anywhere else. You have a finite time to tell your story in a movie. A feature is the "novel" version of a movie which is, if you think about it, still fairly short. Why waste any time beating around the bush?
This is especially pertinent when you consider that your first 10 pages of a film are arguably your most important. When a producer or the intern at Big Fancy Agency LLC first looks at your script they'll check out the first 10 pages. If you spend five of those pages yawning about pirates walking onto a ship rather than setting sail and having adventures, they're not going to give the rest of the script a second thought.
The "go for the jugular" mantra also does wonders for individual scenes. Go back and look at your last script - how many scenes start too early and end too late? For instance does your main character "walk into the room" to confront the evil sorcerer controlling the killer furniture? Why not jump right to the confrontation and skip the pointless walking? If you're looking for ways to make your stories as tight as possible this is a great place to start.
Ultimately I believe Peter knew the writers who take the job seriously would take what we wanted and leave the rest behind. And while it took me some time I look back and realize while he was bullheaded it was for a reason. Hopefully he knew before he died that some of us eventually admitted to ourselves he actually had solid points and wasn't interested in coddling us.
So in that spirit: stop beating around the bush and go for the jugular in your story. Stop being a disappointment to your story and your characters.
Of course I don't mean physically hand out chew toys for all the crew members of your film...unless that's just how you roll and everybody's cool with it, no judgement. But we hear so much advice about giving every one of your future actors something interesting to do, a meaty part they can sink their teeth into, etc. What about the other 200 people on set, though?
Make no mistake: you absolutely want to make every part in your script amazing. Even someone delivering a pizza or arresting your main character can have something that makes them stand out in some small way.
***WARNING: NAME DROPPING AHEAD***
Stephen Tobolowsky, who my writing partners and I contacted about our latest film Detriment, gave the script a great review. He said "there are a lot of colorful parts for me to play" in the film which was very nice of him to say. That exemplifies what I mean about making every role a good one, too; not only did he like the story, each individual parts were good enough for him to possibly be interested in coming on.
To preface, I know what I did was utterly stupid. I knew it was stupid before, during, and after the fact. I think I'm going to regret posting this, and I entirely expect any and all replies to exacerbate that fact. Most of all though, this is a story about why I'm falling in love with this game and it's community.
Sorry if this turns out long.
I started playing mid-last year, on and off, never really got hooked. Started again last December and it really sunk it. Got hooked into pvp with one account and quickly decided to start another for highsec/industry shenanagins. I'm learning more and more about the game every day, but I still have so much to learn. I am a newbie in every regard.
Then I learned I loved to haul. LOVE it. People kept telling me it's a waste of time, bad for making money, too risky, etc. But I love the fact that I'm directly providing a service for someone, I love it when I get jobs done quick, and most of all it's entirely relaxing. I love hopping from station to station enjoying the scenery and bullshitting in chat. Better than mining!
I'm 5 days away from being able to fly a freighter but have been having great fun still just in my t1 industrial. After expressing an interest in it, a friend seeded me about 1billion to start out. Told me that as long as I was doing public contracts, I would need a large amount of collateral.