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November 14, 2008

Working Together

Tonight I attended the class of a producing student that I'm working with to develop a screenplay that I will ultimately write and she will use as her graduate thesis. She'll have to put together a full marketing plan and package to try to get it set up.

I'm mostly doing this for the experience, and to create good relationships with the producing students. Also, the story we're writing is intriguing to me. And, this producing student works for a very prestigious organization, and may be able to get some of my scripts to the right people there, which could make for a great opportunity (vague, I know. Hit me up for more details if you know me and want them.)

I like working with this producer, but so far this hasn't been easy. It's easier, of course, for me to just write a story and go with all my own instincts because that's what I'm then excited about and these things build upon each other. Even if I have to go back and change things after the fact, for that first rush of storytelling I personally like to move forward quickly. Anyway, there are just some different styles at work here, and again, this is a great learning experience for me to be able to work within this different process.

So tonight, at the class, all her producing peers were discussing the treatment we had submitted. And it's just funny working with someone else, because inevitably they will throw a curveball, intentionally or not. So we're talking to everyone about this fantastic, enchanted world in our story, a faraway foggy island that cannot be reached by normal boats because it's magical. People are asking what this island looks like, and my partner says, "Oh, everything there is very high tech and modern!" Now this was the first I'd heard this, and I had always thought it would be idealized chinese / asian architecture with a magical / fantasy overlay. but this started a pretty big uproar among the producing students, all of whom wanted to know why I would make that choice for this story, and what I'm trying to accomplish with that...

Of course, I'm not one to reveal any stresses on a team, so I rolled with it, saying that we're still working to flesh out the details of the way the island looks and feels, and some of the technology might actually be magic and enchantment, that kind of thing, not really ipods and skyscrapers.

It was a funny, but strange experience!

PS. She apparently also slipped an American Idol-like scene into the treatment that people didn't like, and this choice was again attributed to me. I just kind of said we'd examine that and see if maybe it doesn't work in the flow of the story.

PPS. Overall it was a good experience, don't let me give you the wrong impression. I like this relationship. But as in any relationship, things can get unpredictable!

Posted by jason on November 14, 2008 03:36 AM


It always feels surrealistic when a member of a team says something in public that the rest of the team hasn't actually agreed to. Kind of makes you do a double-take. Not a good team member. Is this just something you have to accept or can you talk it out so it doesn't happen again?

Posted by: Mom on November 14, 2008 07:28 AM

Yeah, working on a team, it can get unpredictable. As the great Jenna would say, "seriously?" sometimes is the reaction to a curveball that was never discussed.

Posted by: Jonathan on November 14, 2008 07:57 AM

I don't know anything about this person or her work, of course, but I like your idea better, Jase. I also thought you were very diplomatic in not embarrassing her in front of everyone. If she continues to insist on these ideas, and you feel strongly about yours working better, it would probably be a good idea to mention it to her privately.

Posted by: kathiek on November 14, 2008 08:18 PM

If it is a potential sticking point, your world can be both technological and magical - a combination of technology and real, science-free magic. Or it could be technology that is fueled by magic. Or, it could be just technology - a friend of mine always says that the best advanced technology always comes off like magic rather than tech.

Of course, I don't know the story, so I'm just guessing. I have a feeling that, as long as the magic/sci-fi isn't a keystone in the storyline, it doesn't really matter where the abilities/creatures/places that don't exist in our world come from. It's just a backdrop, a contextual device to highlight the drama. I think you could take just about any magical story and rewrite it using technology instead of magic, and if the writing is good, the story remains just as good. I'm interested to hear (see?) how it comes out.

Not that you asked for or need any of these comments. It's just interesting to think about. I guess it's also interesting that politics come into play constantly in any group situation. The way that people act and react in day-to-day life can be just as mystifying as a magical world with elves and wizards.

Posted by: Mike on November 15, 2008 02:01 PM

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