Posted by Kelli Joan Bennett
Day 37. The thing that strikes me after I reach the end of the screenplay is, “wait, it’s over? I need more!” I think that’s a good sign. I hope it’s a good sign because I’m moving into a new phase: development. I have a first draft and now it’s time to develop it into a final shooting script. I’m excited. I’m nervous. A nervous excitement if you will. There are so many choices, so many directions to go in. Which way should I go? Which way will I go? Which way is right? As my enthusiastic nerves begin to dangerously resemble anxiety, I wonder, “Is this process going to be heaven or hell?”
To be coming at this strictly from a creative producer’s perspective to take a script from a potential filled lump of coal into a diamond in the rough into a polished gem is new to me. When I was running my old company, Scriptapalooza, with my partners, we read thousands of scripts. We were like treasure hunters in search of that perfect screenplay that was for all intents and purposes already ready to be made into a movie. Development wasn’t a part of it. As a writer, you’re in the writing process. It naturally involves “development” but it’s still different than this, to me anyway. I can’t just jump in and rewrite a scene—well, technically, I can but I don’t think my screenwriters will appreciate that. I don’t know. I can’t know until I do it. Ahhhhhhhhhh! Not knowing is such a bizarre place to be.
When I slow down and think outside the box inside the box I instantly realize that even though “I don’t know” I still hold all the cards. It’s completely up to me what kind of experience I have. So, before I go any further, I must set the tone. I must focus on what I want, not on what I don’t. And what I want is for this next step, this development stage, not to suck. I don’t want my blood pressure to be off the charts from the sheer terror of fucking up. In fact, I don’t just want it not to suck I want it to be awesome! I want it to be amazing. I review the original concept of my new venture. I calm down. The simple reality is I can’t really fuck up because there are no rules. If there are no rules I can’t break them. To quote Rumi, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” That’s where I’m heading! There is no “wrongdoing” in the creative process. (That will come later, once it’s done and everyone judges it as right or wrong.) But for now, there’s only “right doing” and the tone I’m setting and the field I’m playing in from this second on is one of fun, joy and bliss. I’m choosing heaven.
Until tomorrow, create from what you have…the power to make it heaven.