I should have written some of Intelligent Design today but the logistics of selling ALGORITHM’s Blu-rays took up most of my morning. It turns out it’s not easy to write/produce a 36hr series while at the same time handling distribution for a different, independent project.
At times like this it would be really nice to have an assistant or partner, somebody to lighten the load. Alas, it’s just me. Freedom comes at a cost.
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I wrote about 15 pages of Ep 001 of Intelligent Design last week. I actually wrote closer to 30 pages, but 15 were based on an inaccurate understanding of history and had to be scrapped.
It doesn’t always sucks to write something and find that it doesn’t work. In this case it was sweet because the real history is so much better than what I’d written. It’s simultaneously harder to believe and true. The best part is, it gave me the perfect beginning for the series.
With ALGORITHM I used a cheat, by skipping ahead and showing the middle of the story at the beginning, I let people know what kind of story they were in for. The problem was that that middle scene required a single locked off degraded shot with bad video and bad sound, which was intentional. The problem with that is that when that’s the first thing people see, they assume the entire movie is going to be of a similar quality.
It’s a mistake I knew I was making and couldn’t do anything about in ALGORITHM. It’s a mistake I will never make again, at least not until I’m famous enough so that people will watch beyond 2 minutes because they know the quality I produce.
I’m not there yet, so Intelligent Design starts with a bang!
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I still have that fear that I’m not good enough to write anything as good as ALGORITHM again, that ALGORITHM was a fluke and much better than anything I’ve written before. The last part is definitely true. That fear is compounded by my desire to not only match ALGORITHM’s quality, but to do better.
As I typed above, I made some mistakes in ALGORITHM. They are mistakes I’ve learned from. There were also a lot of things that weren’t mistakes but caused me to learn a lot anyway, and those lessons will be incorporated into Intelligent Design as well.
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I’m keeping two journals, a public one that gets released as I’m working on Intelligent Design, and a second journal that goes more into the story, and the backend logistics that will make such a massive project possible. I’ll post that second journal each week when Intelligent Design gets released.
The reason for that is, I was very open with my plan and some people took advantage of that. They took my ideas and my style and made something that doesn’t include me. That hurts. It’s not an homage because they never mention my work. It’s stealing. When I tell Memi about it she gets really pissed. She’s an amazing life-partner and I love that she wants to help me fight my fights.
This fight, the stealing of ideas is common in Hollywood and the worst part is, there’s nothing that can be done about it. It’s the nature of creative pursuits. The only thing you can do is learn from how you were attacked and make a better machine next time, one that’s not vulnerable to the same kinds of attacks.
That’s what I’m doing with Intelligent Design. That’s why there are two journals. That’s why I’m not telling anyone who’s not directly involved in the project much about the back end or the story. It’s too good, too original, too much of a game changer for the entertainment industry.
I don’t have money to pay to get publicity, which is how most movies and shows do it. Instead, I have to make news, legitimately. I need to actually do things that are worthy of news, things so big that they can’t be avoided without the press looking stupid or their biases clearly showing to the point that no one will trust them anymore.
That even happened a little with ALGORITHM, but this news has to be much bigger. So, two journals.
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At this point, I’m writing the first three episodes. I need to get the structure down before I can talk to more writers. I mean, there’s the day Wallace and I figured out the bulk of the story, but there’s a difference between story and structure. And there’s a difference between structure and tone. I have the general story, but very little of the structure and tone.
Getting the structure and tone right is the bulk of the work as a writer. It’s the difference between everyone who has an idea (read: story) and someone who can write a script that’s so good everyone who reads it wants to be a part of it. It’s the difference between an after-school special (do they have those anymore?) and an academy award-winning movie (that whole gig’s rigged, but you get the point).
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I’m having troubling digging up the source of my fear. ALGORITHM did really well, so why do I still feel like the guy who can’t do anything right? That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the sentiment is there. Why is fear blocking me? I don’t remember having this feeling while writing ALGORITHM.
Each morning I wake up feeling like I’m not up to writing the section I have to write for that day. What’s even stranger is, this feeling has been going on for over a week, and I’m really proud of what I wrote last week. It’s not 1st draft material, but for a rough draft, it’s pretty amazing!
So, why the persistent doubts? How long will they continue? Will I still feel them if Intelligent Design does as well as I hope it will? I can’t accept that. It’s a flaw in my psyche and I WILL dig it out.
I’m not saying feelings are bad. Quite the contrary. Feeling this sense of inadequacy compels me to confront the demons of my past, to look on my broken self with empathy and to attend to my wounded nature in a healing way. When I’ve done that in the past, I’ve been healed and become more capable of seeing the true nature of things, of being compassionate toward others, of being a better person.
It’s a painful journey, to be sure, but one I’ve found to be well worth the effort and struggle.
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I’ve referenced the fact that I feel off a dumpster when I was four years old and landed on my head. I wrote about how that experience changed me.
Last week, while on my afternoon walk, which is where I do my best thinking, I was for the first time able to look on that event with thankfulness. That thing that had haunted me and told me I was a failure is slowly being re-contextualized and viewed appropriately as a core memory that was vital in making me who I am today.