26 March 2009

Meetups, Script Writing and Getting Downtown

Well, it's about bloody well time I has a update already, hadn't I?

When I started this entry originally, I was planning to report how I had finished writing Scene 13 of a planned 16 of Episode 04a.  Now that that script is mostly complete, it seems I should focus instead on the beginnings of the production side of my saga.  So, to that effect, I would like to present a continuation of my series of stories revolving around my experiences with various meetups and social gatherings in and around Washington D.C.

When last you heard from me, I was telling you about my adventures in Green Screen at the The DC Podcaster Alliance.  Man, that was fun and informative.  But, there's more.  Since then I've joined a bunch more Meetups including The Washington Screenwriters Meetup, Digital Video, Audio & Animation for Profit and Networking and the newly resurrected Arlington Screenwriters Meetup, each with its own sets of highs, lows and adventurous experiences.  In this post, I shall be discussing my escapades with the first of these, the Washington Screenwriters Meetup.

On Saturday, 17 February 2009, a bit before noon, I drove my car over to the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride and waited for the Fairfax Country Connector 950 (pdf) to take me to the metro so I could get downtown to my first meeting of the Washington Screenwriters Meetup.  Strangely enough, the WMATA website suggested I take the metro to McPhearson Square and then take the 52 Metrobus down to the 14th Street Borders Books and Music.  This last step I found to be quite silly because by going one more stop to Metro Center, I'd just have to walk 2 blocks East along G Street and another block along 14th to get where I wanted to go.  I actually did try to get off at McPhearson Square that day and walk down 14th Street NW the 5 short blocks necessary but crossing New York Avenue is a pain, so Metro Center is my preferred stop for this destination.  But enough about my commute.

So, I get to the Borders and assume automatically that the meeting will be in the coffee shop of the store which I spot upstairs.  I order a white hot cocoa from the barista and have a seat next to the nearest electrical outlet so as to give my poor, starving iPhone a bit of extra charge so he can get me safely back to the Metro thanks to his clever GPS.  I sit there, drinking my cocoa and observing the people coming and going, scanning an old Project KronoSphere script draft for the pilot, waiting.  I was a half-hour early; apparently, walking is much faster than taking a bus.  Eventually, the meetup sponsor, Matt, shows up.  I don't recognize him per se and there's no way he can know what I look like, but I have a feeling he's the guy and I introduce myself.  We chat for a bit and he mentions a book that spent years on my Wishlist, The Complete Book of Scriptwriting by one Mr. J. Michael Straczynski -- my hero!  You see, I sometimes imagine my serial as a radio drama and nobody can cover experience in writing radio drama like Joe Straczynski in this book.  And indeed, it's the serial nature of the Great Maker's Babylon 5 television series which first inspired me to create my own rich tapestry of people, cultures, worlds, times and space.  But more on this later.

So I return to my lonely, charging iPhone and allow Matt to continue to set up his meetup table.  As more people arrive, I return to the gathering place, my phone now sufficiently charged.  There I meet many interesting, aspiring screenwriters, most of whom dream about the glamour, fame, glory and riches with the aspiration of having a Hollywood blockbuster hit commissioned based on their script.  But, don't get me wrong, we are all writers and none of us want to sell out.  We each have our stories, our children, that we long to see the light of day and each of them are hard-working and very thoughtful individuals.  The only contrast I can draw with my own goals is that I seek not fame or riches, though would never refuse either.  For me, it's all about the story, and as a story, it's not one you could tell in a mere 90 minutes.  That is why I write for television or radio.

Only by limiting myself to television or radio can I achieve a true serial drama, with ups and downs, highs and lows, trauma, tragedy, joy and elation.  As I've said before, my second lowest rung of productional aspirations is radio but it may be that in terms of financial commitment and potential popularity, radio has the best potential to allow my story to be told.  So, I presented my tale as radio and received a number of accolades for my original approach to story telling.  I don't honestly know how well radio can accept the return of the idea of the serial drama after what seems like a half-century of market loss to television, but the lowest of rungs for me was always podcast and even if I was able to produce my show as radio, I would want to see my story released in that digital format.  None the less, I learned a great deal from these discussions and have a page of notes that I may transcribe here at some point for the edification of others.

Anyway, so the meeting progresses and the thing is, Matt, clever individual and documentarian that he is, has pipe-lined 3 of his related meetups each to follow the other in logical succession.  I, of course, came to the first of these, that for the aspiring Screenwriter.  So, as we are discussing the finer aspects of Hollywood screen plays and productions, a series of editors, filmographers and incidental musicians start to trickle in and I am happy to chat further with each of them.  One fellow, Paul, is an accomplished musician.  Another women, whose name I forgot, was an aspiring cinematographer.  Many of the screenwriters, including myself, continue to socialize and meet all the newcomers as topic shift from writing to production.

Then, an hour later the actors start to stream in.  I didn't have a chance to interact with many of the actors and really only spoke to one woman who is an aspiring voice actress.  Her appearance was fortuitous since she may make a great candidate for a demo production of Project KronoSphere as an audio-only presentation, even though I think I believe her vocal register is a bit high for one of my female regular characters.  None the less, I shall keep her and all that I've learned in mind as I progress in my quest to bring Project KronoSphere out of the dark shadows of my mind and under the lights of a studio production.

Finally, as things wound down, I left the Borders and made my way home, wiser, happier, more fulfilled and in eager anticipation of my next scheduled meetup with the Digital Video, Audio and Animation for Profit and Networking at the Fairfax County Public Access studio on Saturday, 14 February 2009.

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