Friday, August 17, 2018

Premature Script Announcements Won't Happen Again!

Forget I ever wrote my last blog post. Revisiting From Sea to Shining Sea was more like a fleeting aha moment than an enduring script idea. Like my idea to revisit A Place in the Puzzle, this attempt at reviving a past story was an obsessive feeling that grew to an enormous size, then faded away.

So I've cancelled the script idea, putting the revised From Sea to Shining Sea in a box with Target, Audi, Miracle on Tryon Street aka #JustChecking, A Place in the Puzzle, and not in a box with Shea and Sheryl and Seuss. These were characters and stories that I could endure and spend time with for my whole life if I wanted to. This story, and its characters, didn't belong in that context.

So what am I going to do next?

Well, I know for sure, I will think about the sustainability of project/screenplay ideas before I start working on them.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Blasts from the Past Setting the Future in Motion

As you might recall, in my post about Things You Didn't Know About My Scripts, I discussed ideas that I had never turned into scripts, such as Target Presents The Holiday Odyssey, Miracle on Tryon Street, and a proposed script based on this Audi commercial.

But what about ideas I had for stories even before I started writing scripts?

In addition to literal notebooks full of Star Wars fan fiction, there were others. There was a teen/slasher flick that was just ghastly in its writing and story. There was a version of the musical Annie that was supposed to run 6 hours. There was A Place in the Puzzle, a take on R.J. Palacio's novel Wonder that I wrote when I was 12. There was a story about a young man who tagged along on another family's vacation for personal gain but found himself doing impersonal things.

And then there was the story that defines one of Mr. Leo Finelli's key traits. Leo wonders occasionally, "Who is that female on my TV screen?" And if he figures out, Leo may wonder, "How do I reach her?" (Now I have ispot.tv to tell me who most TV commercial actors are. I say "most" because I'm still in the dark about one woman in a Special K commercial, but I'm working on that.)

And for over ten years, I have asked this question about many different people. They have mostly, but not all been, female. In the early days, when I didn't know these names, I would make up names. On January 1, 2008, I was flipping channels on TV when I found myself attracted to a 40-year-old woman with bouncy, curly hair. This was children's music legend (and now children's musical composer) Laurie Berkner. But I didn't know this. I called her "Rhonda Shaw" for a while in my head, until I realized her real name and invited her, to no avail, to my 7th birthday party. The same TV show that Laurie had featured on also brought me nine-year-old Jamia Nash (of August Rush fame). This was the first time I became truly obsessed with a child who I'd seen on TV - to the point that I even started writing a script about it.

From Sea to Shining Sea concerns a normal boy who becomes obsessed with a young female TV commercial and children's television veteran and meets her in Los Angeles. It was to feature this song, performed by the normal boy and the TV-star girl, embracing the fact that they're both fun-loving kids at heart, and this song, which in the link provided is performed by somebody who is trying to channel his inner Paul Simon, but in the script was performed by the TV-star girl on the playground with a bunch of other kids.

I don't remember that much else about From Sea to Shining Sea, except that there was something in the script, a plot point, maybe, about the endangered California condor. I do remember, though, that the second song I've linked to, as well as the children's book it was adapted from, was a MASSIVE factor in transforming me into a proponet of social justice. It was just such a good song, a song that the world needs to hear more than ever in the Trump Era.

So, could From Sea to Shining Sea, or a revised version of it with a different title, be my next project, or better yet, break TV ground? Rarely are TV musicals based on original stories. It hasn't been since the 1970s that a written-for-TV musical was based on an original story. (I believe the most recent example is a Rankin-Bass Christmas special entitled Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July in 1979.) All the most recent made-for-TV musicals have been adaptations of existing musicals or musicalized versions of previously existing stories.

I was all ready to work on L8-L9, a story about a robot torn between loyalties to his master and a young child who is clearly in need, but this story is being delayed due to requiring the name of the Special K commercial actress, who L8-L9's leading lady was to be named after. Since I am still working on securing that data, there is a holdup on L8-L9. Therefore, I need something different to work on.

This post is not a formal announcement of a new version of my 2009 story idea From Sea to Shining Sea as my next story. It is, however, likely that my next story will be a musical that either is about an incident that happened in my past or is based on a story I first came up with the idea for in the past.

And as for the 6-hour version of Annie I mentioned earlier, I hope I never have to make that, or sit through it. 

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