The Two Script Challenge Conclusion, Life Happens and Comedy Writing

Well, it is August, so what became of the two script challenge?

These last few months have been a hard lesson in one of life’s unpleasant realities. Sometimes things just happen.

In the end, I did succeed in the two script challenge, but not in the capacity I so hoped. My feature script for City of Wolves was in fact finished, and is currently undergoing a 4th draft, which should be finished in the next few days. As for the B movie comedy and the nuclear war thriller, they didn’t come to fruition. Instead I wrote a 26 page Outer Limits style short film. Not a bad short film, and defiantly something to make in the future, but I was unable to complete the second feature screenplay.

The reasons why have been the source of much stress since January of this year. My living situation was, in a word, pretty horrible. I moved into a studio with three strangers, and it was supposed to stay three. For the first few months things were fine. We hung out and did things together, and even worked on some short films.

Then my landlord threw in another guy and said it would only be temporary and go back down to four. Then he threw in another and said it would go back down to five. Then he threw in another and said it would go back down to six. The rent went down, but the stress went up, and before I knew it, I was sharing a pitifully small apartment with six other guys.

The moment I walked through that door, I had no privacy, no peace. no solitude. So I would go to work and it would be the only time I had any measure of peace. I would sometimes go to work as much as six hours early just so I could concentrate and work on the book, because I sure as hell couldn’t do it at home. And whenever I was off work, it was right back into the fire.

These guys always fought. And I mean always. There was always some new thing in this place. The meth head coming home high and soiling himself, the Christian and the pothead fighting over a guest, and the many, many intrusions of bedbugs.

I had some good times with these people. They did play a big part in getting my short film made, and for that I will forever be grateful to them. But even then, there was always a feeling of alienation and a complete lack of belonging in this group. That they would regularly quarrel with me caught in the middle was not something that was doing wonders for my writing. I sank deep into depression and tried to find a new place.

Last month around the 20th, I finally managed, and now have what I lacked for a crippling nine months. A place of solitude and safety to come home to at the end of the day.

Of course, even after the move, I hit a roadblock on the two script challenge, namely with that B movie comedy. That script was intended to be the second work to be completed these last two months. It stalled due to my own shortcomings as an artist.

I am not terribly good at comedy.

This second script was very much in the spirit of 80s romps, most notably John Carpenter’s energetic masterpiece Big Trouble in Little China.

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Big Trouble in Little China is an absolutely wonderful movie. After only earning modest returns at the US Box Office in 1986, it went on to have a lucrative life on home video, becoming a bona fide classic by the 2010s. It has since spawned music video parodies, action figures, been a major influence in video games such as Duke Nukem and Mortal Combat, and is even slated to be remade by none other than Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

There were many other such films in this era, notable competition being The Monster Squad and The Golden Child, but neither of them found the life that Big Trouble did. It is astonishing as a comedy because the one joke in the movie is the dialogue by Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton. Had it not been for his lines, the movie would have played more or less straight, as an imaginative but not too memorable fantasy action film. Burton changed the movie to something else, and that is what made it so special.

My script had a similar premise. A straight up horror film featuring Nazis, the occult, and cannibalism with one lead character providing the majority of the humor. But the dialogue I wrote was just not that funny. Without this dialogue, the script quite simply wouldn’t work. I struggled to find lines as good as “ten foot tall road block” and “It’s all in the reflexes”, but to no avail. With much disappointment, I set the project down for another time, and in the remaining time before August, penned the short film instead.

So August began with the closing of the two script challenge, with a feature and a short under my belt before I returned to work on the novel. Not a failure, but not nearly as much as I hoped for. I do however think it is important to recognize one’s shortcomings. When I return to this project in due time, hopefully I will have more experience in writing comedy.

In the meantime I have returned to Tygan and have already polished up the three chapters of the book, and my San Francisco supernatural thriller is five pages away from completion. Perhaps I am a bit too hard on myself. That is an awful lot.


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