05 May 2010

The Reviews are in! Episode 1 is a MISS!

First of all, I just want to say I'm sorry I've been so remiss in posting here! Believe me, I will, at some point, retroactively add those posts I indented to submit earlier. They should eventually appear here once they've been properly edited. I have a huge post that I may make into it's very own blog given its length. It recalls my adventures in the hectic month of April 2009. But that's for later – or sooner, as the case may be…

Anyway, I've been getting a steady stream of input on the script to the first, maiden voyage of the initial Project KronoSphere crew and I think in summary you could say this: I don't know how to write my characters. I've had numerous suggestions that my characters should have an affectation or some other delineating personality trait. More recently, I've been simply told they are flat, wooden and uninteresting by a number of people. I wonder if this is what Harlan Ellison told J. Michael Straczynski when the later first contact the former? I really wish I knew, because if that was it, then I can't help but feel I'm in excellent company. But it doesn't belittle the fact that my story, at least the initial, and in some way most important, episode, is really quite flawed.

If that were not enough, the woman who runs one my primary meetup groups, the Verge Writers of Reston, has been ill and quite busy and unable to schedule any meetings since March, 2010. Well, technically a lot of meetings have been scheduled since then, they've just always been canceled at the last minute, meaning that I get all excited about giving and getting feedback from my fellow writers only to have my hopes continuously dashed just before the appointed hour.

But in the end, another group, the Loudoun County Writers Group run by a wonderful woman named Susan, has been very welcoming and helpful for me to hone my writing skill. But at the same time, both groups have repeated again and again how my characters are uninteresting each time they get a new piece of my script and I don't know quite what to do. I have some very good suggestions that would change the story around a bit that I will try to implement at some point before I release the Tag to the writing groups – So far, at least the Loudoun group has read the Teaser and all 5 Acts and are just waiting for the Tag. Of course, with all the missed meetings in the Verge group, they're still on Act 4, but it's good to have feedback for most of the script from the Loudoun group.

In the end, I will probably move the climax at the end of Act 5 to be the new Teaser and make the current Teaser, as of script revision 856, the beginning of Act 1. As it is, that would mean the Teaser takes place about a week before Act 1 and, assuming this becomes a Radio play, this is is very hard to do without some narration indicating that Acts 1 - 5 now occur in the past relative to the Teaser and Tag. I don't want to use the crutch of narration because it breaks the suspension of disbelief and although that practice was common in the 1940s, it's relatively frowned upon today. There's also the problem of the ever-growing Acts. Acts that I'd like ideal to be 5 - 10 minutes at most are now bursting at the seems with 20 or so minutes of action! I really don't know what to do. I don't think Episode 1 should be a 2-parter – Episodes 2 - 3 already are and not enough happens in Episode 1 to sustain it through 2 full episodes! That means a lot of dialog is going to need to be cut. That, too, breaks my heart, but at least I have the version control software to recover the lost content should I ever so desire.

As for the bland characters, I will probably put more of the Professor and Yuseph's back story in the Auditorium speech and may do more exploring in Act 4's environment to make it seem less mundane and explain why the characters are so restricted in their actions. But overall, it's as I feared long ago: there's too much technobabble. Of course, I don't want to give away too much in this public forum, but needless to say, there is work I can do to improve the script but even then I think Episode 1 is a total failure and as Episode 1 fails, so fails the entire Project KronoSphere concept. Alas and alack, I knew the Professor well!

But even if I do edit the script 1 more time, as I've said in my Twitter Feed @TimeHorse, "Editing my own work a third time would get me fired if I worked in Television." And yet, that's what this is: a third draft. To be making such major edits so late in the script just demonstrates how poorly a writer I truly am. And as for my pipe dream of seeing Project KronoSphere Television, that dream is utterly hopeless. Ironically, when I was googling to find a link to the Verge Writers of Reston, I actually came upon this link: NBC Universal Careers. Oh, would that I were young, unencumbered and able to just hop on a plane and spend more than 5 months in Los Angeles even if it would be a stepping stone into a much less lucrative dream career, one in which, in 10 - 15 years, I may be able to build up enough of a reputation and enough experience to pitch and sell the Project KronoSphere idea, write it the way it should be written and finally garner the $50,000,000 per series that a proper dramatic television series needs to survive. Then, promptly get canceled 13 episode in because I didn't have and Daleks and go on to try produce the rest of the story as a cheap radio program.

So be it!

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