Days after warning Liquid Monkey that I may not have the time to participate in the song-inspired feature project, an idea popped into my head. It had been cooking for a while, and is a project I’ve been making notes on for months. Thinking about the song crystallized the idea. The working title is “By the Book”.
I’ll keep the blog updated on progress, but I don’t give away ideas for free – written screenplays, yes, but not ideas – so I’ll keep the concept and characters under my hat for now.
The set-up is formed, the characters are formed, and the conflict is formed, but I don’t yet know how the story will end. I’m hoping that will come to me as I get cracking on an outline. All my previous screenwriting has worked toward an established end. Other writers allow their characters to dictate the ending, but this is a first for me. I do know the conflict to be resolved – the protagonist will have to choose between faith and family – but I don’t know which will win out in the end. I’m going to write this one with the sequence approach (thanks, Warren) and see what happens.
The story doesn’t follow the song except metaphorically, extremely metaphorically. Make that ludicrously metaphorically. The song, the Greatful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil”, talks of a man with two women who is possibly in jail. My guy will not be a prisoner, but will be a penal security consultant. Well, he will be at the start, and only because of the song. I hope to move him to some more creative field, like architect or engineer, before this is over. Furthermore, I am interpreting his two families as home life and work life. See how I stretch the metaphor? Or should that be “allegory”?
In fact, I may leave the song behind entirely.
Bonus comment on my day:
A student interviewed me on blogs and journalism for a project in his TV class. I didn’t have much memorable to say, and I’ve forgotten most of it. Two points I made were that there’s no point in defining something as blog or not. Is Slashdot a blog? Is CNN’s Web site? Both have links and allow comments and we can argue that they are blogs or not – but what’s the point? They were around before the term “weblog”, and if anything prove the pointlessness of such debate. What’s an e-zine? What’s a newspaper? The line gets fuzzy as you near the boundary of definition.
I remember the first Web-based personal journal I ever read. It was Bryon Sutherland‘s “Semi-Existence of Bryon”. This thread at Diarist.net discusses the question of whether such a series of personal posts is a diary or a journal. No one writes “weblog” (coined in 1997) or “blog” (1999; see Wikipedia), but they are obviously discussing what we now use those terms to define.
The only thing that has changed is the development of specialized software and sites that make blogging a click-and-post process. But that’s nothing to base a definition on.