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06/04/2001
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REQUIEM FOR A SUBMISSION & THE GHOST OF COMMITMENT.

Paul Buscemi's column for June 4th 2001.

I've been having the strangest dreams lately. It's no mystery, why. You may recall this incredible old man I wrote about sometime back. He lived in the Motion Picture Home not far from a park I often write at. He and I had extraordinary conversations about story, theme and plot. He has been an inspiration to me. I was damn lucky to meet him, in this, the year I have set to launch my writing career. This year, by the way is reaching a halfway point. Five months - completed. Finito. Maholo. Asta lavista, baby. I have seven months left in this career launching experiment. YOU are my witnesses. YOU will judge for yourself whether this career has launched or remained on the pad.

Oh, and about those dreams I've been having.

In my dream, I wake up in the middle of the night. I hear a noise coming from the closet. Whispers. Talking. I get out of bed and open the closet door. As I do, fog rolls out and fills the room. Inside, the closet appears to extend into infinity. The whispers and talk is heard just ahead. I enter and begin walking. I walk and walk but the voices always seem just out of reach. So I call to them:

"Who is that?"
"You know, damn well who." The voice calls back.
"I do?" I say.
"Think about it - you twerp," the voice snaps back.
"Why don't you show yourself?" I say.
"Very, well," the voice begins, "but remember, you asked for it!"

Out from the fog, a screenplay appears. It looks like Little-Script but his cover is worn and torn in spots. He only has one brad left and it's condition is tenuous. Worse yet, Little-Script has changed. He's not just worn on the outside. He's hardened. Jaded. Cynical.

"Little-Script?" I ask.
"Don't you recognize your own creation?" It snaps.
"What happened?" I ask with trepidation.

"You sent me to the script factory - that's what happened." It angrily declares. "You sent me there ill-prepared. I've been read and re-read and covered. Praised then criticized. Criticized then praised. Packaged and unpackaged. Disseminated! Distributed and then...shelved!

"Sh-sh-shelved?" The word barely leaves my lips. (It's at this point I toss and turn in my sleep. That's what my wife tells me anyway.)

"Yes!" Declares little script, "and it's your fault! What the hell have you been doing to help me anyway?" Little-Script's words penetrate me like arrows shot at my body and then the shafts broken away - leaving the arrowhead imbedded into the flesh. As I stand there in my dream, wringed with pain another voice answers Little-Script's question.

"Plenty."

Another person appears from the fog. It is the old man from the park. "He did everything he could for you Little-Script." The old man is quiet. Almost motionless. Not somber. Calm. At peace. He is the only one that way, however. Little-Script is beaten but edgy - like he's jacked up on caffeine from an all-night write-fest. Me, I'm nervous, looking around, and realizing the path that brought me here is now obscured by the fog. But the old man is serene.

"Listen carefully, Little-Script. You've been gone awhile and Paul has been busy. Tell him Paul," the old man says. Next everything comes crashing down - my movements, my words are in this slow motion haze as I try to recap for Little-Script.

"For the past six months," I begin, "I have done the following:

Re-wrote my screenplay twice.
Re-wrote my children's television show pilot script and bible.
Wrote a first draft of a new television spec.
Obtained lots of feedback on these projects from writers, producers and directors.
Wrote 21 weekly columns for hollywoodlitsales.com.
Submitted my work to writing competitions and so far all submissions are still active.
Submitted and pitched my work to producers, production companies and agencies.
Attended three different entertainment industry seminars/classes.
Wrote or re-wrote 507 pages.
Completed three scripts
Made 40 inquiries to producers or production companies.
Made 12 script submissions to producers or companies.
Had 6 meetings or pitches
Developed 9 new relationships with producers or companies
Performed 96 networking actions (calls, e-mails, lunches)"

"That's all?" Little-Script asks arrogantly.
That little shit, I think to myself, saying nothing.
Little script screams, "Where's the big sale? Where are the agencies fighting to represent you? Where's the script bidding wars? The multi-picture deals!?"

I say nothing. What can I say? I sent that script out there and it came back a tattered shell of what it once was.

After a silent pause the old man turns to me, and says, "Sounds like he's doing fine to me." The fog grows thick and the old man is hard to see. Just before he disappears I hear him say: "Keep going." Then, he is gone.

It's at this point I wake from the dream - usually in a sweat. About a week after the dream started, it dawned on me that I hadn't seen the old guy in the park for sometime. I finally came across one of his friends from the home, there, at the park. I inquired about my friend.

"Hadn't you heard?" he said. "No one has seen him since he wandered out of the home a couple weeks ago."

I never had the dream again after that but every now and then I hear the faint echo. You know, the ?voice' from deep inside the carpel tunnels. It says: "Yes, he's here with us - ready to work until we burst."

"Write-on," he says, "write on."

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