Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Talkback: Collaborative writing project

I got a recent request to update everyone on the Collaborative Writing Project. There aren't too many details, but I'll oblige.

Right now I have three teams going, with each person advancing the story ten pages from where it is when they get it. My original goal was only to put eight people on each team, as once you add in my original ten pages, that would put the script's length at 90 pages. However, I had so many people interested, I decided on 9-person teams, which would give us some leeway in the event anyone dropped out.

As it turned out, that was smart. One of the teams had a person drop out due to unforeseen circumstances. Unfortunately this didn't happen until their deadline, so they fell a week behind the other two teams. This same team experienced another delay when one participant's server problems resulted in a several-day delay in delivering the pages.

At the moment, one team has 50 pages completed, one team has 60 pages done and the third team has 30 pages done. I also have four alternates standing by in the event that any of the teams drop below eight members.

At this point it's been very interesting to see how my early threads have been taken in completely different directions by the subsequent writers. When the project is done, I'll write up a post going page-by-page through my contribution and explain my thinking for the plot strands I was setting up. My goal was to open a lot of doors for people as well as imply connections between seemingly unrelated threads. That ambiguity has given the writers a lot of room to play.

As we're more or less at the midpoint, it's time to start thinking about what to do with these three scripts once they're done. I need a way to make them available for download, so that any interested parties can read and contrast them.

Also, what would make the best use of these as they relate to screenwriting lessons? I thought about trying to stimulate discussion here, but it also occurs to me that it might be a good idea to see if anyone over at the GITS Club was interested in any discussion on the three VERY different scripts that are resulting from the same initial ten pages.

There's also a very wicked side of me that is considering putting one or more of these up on Triggerstreet just to see what sort of reviews we'd get.

So sound off - what do you think we should do with these scripts once they're done?


  1. Stimulation here, feedback from GITS and the wickedness of Triggerstreet all sound like awesome ideas to me.
    And I don't think it wicked at all. =)

  2. I'm incredibly interested in reading the other two scripts as well as the one I have already participated in (and seeing where it has gone since my last pages). So I hope at the very least the participants can see the pages.

    I agree that having it over at GITS Club would be great to get more to read and provide their own feedback. I'm sure you and Scott can also come up with a numerous amount of topics relating to this project alone.

    And going back to your original post about this and wanting to see whether anyone can recognize the changing styles (if any), I think putting one or more on Triggerstreet and seeing what happens would be great.

    In short: I'm for it all.

  3. It would be fun to put a room together and do a rewrite/punch-up pass. There might be enough people from the teams in LA to give it a whirl, or possibly try a teleconference. I'm sure the scripts will need at least a quick polish.

  4. I would love to bring it to GITS Club and do a what worked and what didn't work in relation to all three scripts. I'm still waiting to contribute to mine. Now I'm super excited to read what came before me.

  5. I love all the ideas. Throw it up on Triggerstreet. Create a fake person who wrote it and see what kind of reviews we get. I'd be willing to do some reviews to give us credits (is that still how it works).

    I think there should be your break down and then possibly have each person write what they were attempting in their 10 pages. We can talk about how well they succeeded.

    Plus I like Steve's idea of a rewrite/punch-up pass.

    Seriously, these three scripts could be their own blog.

  6. Post them on Trigger St!! -- You'll get lots of comments along the lines of "I'd definitely turn this into a movie" and "I thought it was awesome, but how about changing Jack's name to Jake?

  7. GITS Club all the way!! I will rip these stories apart!!! hehe jk. But definitely interested to read. I dropped the ball for not getting involved earlier. Was there post about getting with a collaborative group and i just missed it?

    Oh well, next time around. But always interested to read what other people are cranking out!

  8. @Steve: The room would be a nice idea. Also a good way to get a few of the writers here together and talk, get to know each other (I don't really know anyone that wants to write for a living). However, I'm in New York so I'm more for the teleconference then the actual meeting area, but I also realize that there are many more LA folks here at this blog so I can't stop all of you.

  9. All suggestions sound great. I'd really love to see what happened with my group's pages versus the other groups. Can't wait to read the scripts. And getting GITS input would totally rock.

  10. Well considering I was fifth in line for my team and haven't seen anything, I'm guessing we're the stragglers. Oh well, slow and steady wins the race I suppose.

  11. Never heard of Triggerstreet. What is it?

  12. I like Steve's idea of writing our intentions for our ten pages, and the room would be fun - alas, I'm way across the Pond, so timezones would be Hell.

    I can't wait to read what people ran with from my pages - and how the other scripts turned out! Are we expecting a finished product around October?

  13. Here's what I like:

    GITS Club - I agree that this is a must at some point. I think it'll be an interesting exercise to see which plot points are followed up on, which are dropped, and how subsequent writers reinterpret earlier works

    Speaking as someone who's been reading these as they've come in, I'm going to suggest that we don't put all three up at the same time. I've gotten a little twisted and confused myself as to which revelations are a part of which script because they all started from the same core characters and situation. It'll certainly be a lot easier to follow when we can read the works as one unit, but I'm thinking maybe we release these a week at a time, discuss them as individual works and then compare the differences.

    I also love the idea of everyone writing their intentions for their pages. That will be a must to feature either here or at GITS Club.

    Triggerstreet - Here's where we'll have to be sneaky. I'm not sure how much overlap there is between my readers and Triggerstreet users. For this to be effective, the Triggerstreet readers MUST NOT know that the script they're reading is one of the Collaborative screenplays.

    First, I need someone willing to upload the script. If one of you has an active profile already and are willing to put it in your slot, so much the better. That way the new profile won't raise any red flags with readers. On the other hand, if one of you is willing to take the bullet by setting up a profile and doing however many reviews are necessary to do an upload, so much the better. If you've got thoughts on this, feel free to PM me.

    My thought is that if we're going to use Triggerstreet, that script has to go up there before the scripts are released via GITS. Otherwise one Google search might give away the ghost.

    A rewrite club might be interesting, though I think that should be the absolute last thing we do with this. The whole point is to see how well this team works without a polish. Maybe after all the GITS discussion and Triggerstreet reviews we can figure out how to do this.

    Just be warned that it seems that a LOT of the participants are outside LA, so I don't know if there's a single team that has a majority of people in the LA area.

    Patrick, I think you can expect your pages within six days or so.

    And yes, my hunch is that all of these will be complete by early October. Possibly sooner in at least one case.

  14. I am wondering also when I will get my pages?

  15. I like the idea ghost-posting the script for discussion. I think that should be easy, because no-one knows (outside this project) what the script is about. And the fun part is - no-one inside the project fully knows, what the scripts are about :)) I think the thing to do - is just to write one fake name on the title page. That will solve the problem.

    I also love the idea of the rewrite club, but I'm on the other side of the World, not even close to LA :)