Monday, December 20, 2010

SCREENWRITING WITH CAKE

by Gina Sestak

Given the date, I probably should be writing about a Christmas theme but, seriously, don't you think there's enough Christmas stuff going on already?  I'm not quite as tired of it as I usually am this time of year, but that's probably just because I'm still procrastinating on the present-buying part.

So instead of obsessing about the approach of Christmas, I'll obsess about the approach of something else:  the December 31, 2010 deadline for entering the 12-minute screenplay contest sponsored by Steeltown Film Factory.

I'm working on an entry which is, as of now, an 8-page long incoherent mess.  Let's reserve judgment on that one.

I'd rather write about a different planned entry.

The critique group I participate in decided to write and submit a screenplay.  While a few of us have written screenplays before, most of us are working on fiction and/or memoirs, so putting together even a short movie is a stretch.  We'd been knocking the idea around for weeks until someone suggested an overnight writing session, which we've been calling a retreat and/or a pajama party.  [Actually, everyone stayed fully clothed in day-garb for the writing sessions.  It wasn't that kind of party.]

Several of us met Friday evening at one member's home and, fueled by Chinese take-out, cake and cookies, worked on the screenplay until 2 a.m., then got up Saturday morning and worked on it some more.   We got a lot done, and the collaboration was amazing.  Ideas flying all over the place.

Plus it was fun.  Did I mention cake?  Take a look at what our hostess provided:


In case you can't tell, the little writers around the cake, sitting on cupcakes, are made of icing and holding tiny books on screenwriting - it's hard to read the titles, but those are real covers on those little booklets (the only inedible part of the arrangement).

Throw in some wonderful home-baked cookies, a smidgen of wine, and coffee as necessary.  What a recipe for creativity!

16 comments:

Martha Reed said...

Wow, Gina, that is some cake. Best of luck with the screenplay entry. What's it about? Can you tell us?

Ramona said...

I love the screenwriter's pajama party! Your critique group sounds like fun.

Ditto what Martha said about wanting to know more about the screenplay.

Joyce Tremel said...

Did your hostess make that cake herself?

Good luck with the screenplay!

Gina said...

I'm not at liberty to divulge our plot at this point. Sorry. The contest entries don't identify their authors when they are evaluated, and I'd hate to accidentally let one of the judges know which one is ours.

And, yes, the cake was spectacular. We almost didn't eat it.

Our hostess had the cake specially made at Shop 'n' Save; she printed out the little book covers herself.

Gina said...

I am also not identifying the critique group members by name because I wrote this late last night and didn't get a chance to ask anyone whether they minded. If any of you read this and want to comment and identify yourselves, please do so. [Especially you, ____, who took the lovely cake picture.]

Annette said...

Shop N Save did that??? Wow. I'm impressed. And it sounds like a lot of fun was had by all.

PatRemick said...

I'm sure you'll have a winner with such an imaginative group, including the member who was so creative with the cake! Let us know more!

Jennie Bentley said...

That sounds like a fun time - and what an awesome cake! Not sure I would have been able to bring myself to eat it, actually. Best of luck with the contest entry!

Dave S. said...

Ha, what a fun post. If I hadn't in fact been there I sure would've liked to be. And re how both fun and productive the session was: Unlike fiction-writing, which is solitary and, well, HARD, as any fiction-writer knows, the give-and-take of screenwriting collaboratively can include a liveliness and animation that makes sessions a kick.

Another plus: Writing alone, to gain the objectivity you need while revising, most writers rely on Time -- you set the pages aside a while then read them again "cold" to determine what works or doesn't; but when writing collaboratively you get that feedback INSTANTLY, from your co-writers, which can make for fast writing.

Of course the session was also great thanks to that cake....

Gina said...

But, Dave, you didn't take credit for that lovely photo!

Patg said...

Great cake, but I'm really impressed with the collective effort by a group of writers to put something together like this with such dedication.
Well done, and I sure hope you win.
How many are Sisters or Guppies?
Patg

Gina said...

Pat -
I'm the only Sister, and I guess I'm an unofficial guppie, too, since my only publications to date have been non-fiction and short poetry.

kathy said...

Gina, I really enjoyed reading this blog - and what a fun and productive time it was! We are so fortunate to have such a great group who all like and respect each other and as we now know, work well together! Great picture of the cake thanks to Dave. Now all we have to do is finish the screenplay - and hope for the best!!

Gina said...

Thanks for the kind comment, Kathy, and thanks even more for hosting our little shindig and acquiring the spectacular cake. I was tempted to just leave my things upstairs and stay!

Apollo said...

A truly awesome cake, Gina:) Write a screenplay about cake figures coming alive and creating havoc and mayhem amongst party goers.

Gina said...

Henry -
This is PITTSBURGH. They would also have to be zombies!