Not fade away

Fade out.

Are there any sweeter words in the language than the two that mean your draft is done?

In the seven or eight months since this site has been active, 20 different people have contributed serially to our script Right of Way, some of them multiple times. Ive posted 29 installments in all, one each week, beginning February 7, 2008, with only two weeks off for vacation.

Today, with pages 116-121, I made the last such post. The pages were written by the same guy who kicked the story off, lo those many months ago. But unless youve been keeping up all along, dont just jump in at the end. You can read the whole thing starting here.

Be warned: I promised readers a dark, fictional look at the underbelly of LA transportation politics, complete with glamour, corruption, overweening ambition, betrayal and murder, and thats what my 19 collaborators and I have delivered.

Its a funny exercise, writing a spec feature in public for the whole world to see. One of my first bosses in TV used to say in the writers room we would be seeing each other in our underwear. I tended to give him a wide berth when our paths crossed after that, but eventually I came to understand what he meant: Constructing the bare bones of a story can be a messy and revealing business, best kept shielded from the eyes of the audience.

With the emergence of the Web though, I thought it would be fun to bring the process out into the open. And judging from the email Ive received from contributors and other readers, a lot of you have found it instructive.

The question Im asked most frequently is: What next? The answer: Im not sure.

After I take care of a couple of other assignments and try to pay some bills, Id like to write a new draft of the script, tying up the loose ends and eliminating the blind alleys that inevitably work their way into a story told by 20 different people working without an outline.

With that extra time investment, I believe our screenplay would be a marketable commodity.

In the meantime, I also hope to keep Script Notes running as an independent blog about Right of Way and other subjects of interest to screenwriters.

One such topic is an upcoming party in Hollywood to celebrate the completion of our project. Keep Sept. 25 open, and check back here soon for more details.

Id also love to begin a public discussion of Right of Way and other screenwriting topics, so please email me your questions, suggestions, criticisms and comments to this site.

Fade out, not fade away.

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