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05/26/2006: The Tiny Joss in Your Head
Just now, I cracked open a fortune cookie. The fortune says: "You will be advanced professionally without any special effort on your part." The hell? Does that mean: "You're going to be promoted, but you won't really deserve it"? I guess it's good news, sort of. It could be kind of soothing if I'd been dreading some big exhausting burst of special effort I felt about to surge up in me.
Truth is, effort is usually required. Right up to the last minute. We are, right now, in the submission period for the ABC Writing Fellowship, if I'm reading their web site right. So, many of you are probably getting your specs all ready to send off. Maybe you're waiting for a visit from the Script Elves. You're heard of them, right? Tinker, Polish and Tweak? Put out a big plate of chocolate-coated brads and they'll work all night.
There is actually some real work that you can do at this point, cleaning up all those parts of the script that still aren't working. But first you have to figure out where those parts are. This is the part I used to routinely screw up. I figured out something was up when I kept having this weird experience in note sessions – I would *know* which scenes the show runner was going to have trouble with, seconds before he or she pointed them out. But, for some reason, I wasn't able to identify them until that very moment. What was happening, of course, is that I knew them all along. I just wasn't trying very hard to listen to the internal voice that was tickling at me the whole time.
Now, as I reread that script for those last few days or moments before I submit it, I try to notice where I'm rushing through the read, where I'm jumping ahead, where I get a tiny shrug of doubt. Pay attention to that little shrug. There is no notes process for a contest. Just in or out. So you have to be your own show runner. Give yourself notes *even if you have no idea how to go about fixing the problem.* Then figure out how to fix it. Or avoid it. But do something with it, because your subconscious isn't going to be the only one to notice.
Lunch: tofu pups with sauerkraut. That's a favorite.