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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Memorable Pages

Wow... what a night.

First things, first - I got back from the photo shoot on Monday night (late, like at midnight). It was quite the adventure - I worked HARD for about thirteen hours a day, but then was able to eat and drink (whatever I wanted) on the company's dime after that. So as long as I went to sleep early, woke up early, and didn't stop working my ass off until the end of the shooting day, it was totally worth it. And I would do it again in heartbeat.

So I got back last night and worked all day today in Job #4 I have right now. While I was there, I received a messengered package (more on this later)... and then I headed to the Writers Guild's Christmas Party. With the Beau in hand, I headed to the hotel, and caught up with numerous people I haven't seen since the picket line. The first thing I noticed immediately is that with the exception of ONE WRITER, every other daytime writer I saw there was currently unemployed. I don't know what to make of it, but with the exception of one, every one I caught up with there goes under the title of "Former Soap Writer". Weird, right?

But back to that messengered package.

For reasons I can't get into, I was in need of some old scripts I wrote YEARS ago, that I had saved on a computer that has long since crashed (years before I truly understood the meaning of "back up your stuff") So a good friend helped me out with the material he still had on his computer, and on the subway ride home, I got to read what Tom Casiello of the early 90's thought to be "good dialogue".

Some of it was bad. I mean, REALLY bad. But some of it - some of it was kinda pretty cool to read. The thing about writing scripts is that it uses a TOTALLY different part of your brain than writing breakdowns. Richard Allen once told me that you use the part of your brain that writes a screenplay to write a script, but you use the part of your brain that solves a crossword puzzle to write a breakdown. And I think he's totally right. Writing scripts is all about detecting the nuances in character's voices, whereas writing breakdowns is all about making sure every scene is about something, while trying to get from Point A to Point B, in accordance with your head writer.

But it's always interesting to read your past work, and reading what Tom Casiello thought of dialogue back then was highly entertaining. In fact, I'm signing off now to read a lot more of Ryan and Kendall, Carly and Alexis, and Craig and Sierra. And what I thought of them back then.

In writing, so much of it, no matter what the show or who the characters are, it's an interpretation of what's going on in your life. And piecing together the style I wrote with the things going on in my life back then - good or bad, right or wrong, it's the kind of thing I can spend all night doing.

So you'll forgive my intense sense of nostalgia at the moment.

In the meantime, I've taken on a whole slew of freelance jobs, and I know I have another six myths to discuss in my blog. It might take longer than I thought, but I will get there. Just bear with me. Unfortunately, the bills have to get paid, and I'm going to try and juggle the jobs and my blog as best I can.

Thanks for hanging in there with me. In the meantime, I can't wait to dig back in to Greenlee being a BITCH to Kendall, and lovin' every minute of it.

xoxo --tom


MarkH said...

I know you can't do this...but what a GIFT it would be if someday you could:

a. print an excerpt of what then-Tom wrote, and then

b. a critique or analysis from now-Tom

Man, some of us would salivate to get that insight into a writer's process and evolution.

In the meantime, enjoy the variety of experiences you are having. I hope they bring you both satisfaction and wealth :).

Scott Berg said...

I was cleaning my room the other day and actually found a bunch of old scripts that I had written while I was still in school. I had completely forgotten that I had even kept them but I was pleasantly surprised to find them.

I mean, I did just graduate in May so the stuff I'm reading isn't too old but comparing the stuff from my freshman year to where I am now...well, I'm glad I stayed in school.

Scott N said...

I agree with MarkH. It may not be possible for a variety of reasons, e.g. rights issues on those scripts, but time permitting in your schedule, maybe you can share at least some insights into what those old stories were, how the dialog that appeared on screen evolved out of your life at that time and thoughts on what modern-day Tom would tell his younger counterpart to do differently today.

As someone who changed careers completely after a firing, I can empathize with you. The bills have to come first, so I can only hope that this series of jobs you're taking leads to something that rewards you enough, and I'll be grateful for every bit of time you can spare from that to share your soap insights with us here. Thanks for all the time you give to these blogs.