Since the middle of April, I’ve been spending my free time (and some of my not-so-free time) writing The Connor Wars. I’ve never had so much fun writing in my life, but even I have to admit that I’m looking forward to taking a short break.
Here’s the deal. When Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TSCC) finished up its second season, I was energized by the story possibilities. I hadn’t initially planned on writing a season’s worth of scripts, but I did want to present to the studios a view of how the story could evolve in a very specific way. I quickly developed a story bible, I plotted out a season for both plots and characters, and then I started writing in the hope of getting two scripts out before the “up-fronts”. While the signs were there that a decision had long been made as to the fate of TSCC, a tenet of the franchise is that “there is no fate except what we make for ourselves”. If they could see actual scripts, perhaps they might grant a third season.
The third season renewal didn’t happen. What to do? What to do?
I had hoped to have some budding writers sign on to learn how to write teleplays, but that really didn’t pan out. It was soon clear that if there was going to be a third season, I was going to have to write it. Even though I knew what a commitment that would be, I wasn’t quite prepared for how large a commitment it actually was. My life is this project.
Keep in mind…I hadn’t written a complete screenplay in almost ten years. Now I was committing myself to writing 22 1-hour teleplays with the expectation of releasing each new episode in fourteen days or less. A full season in 9-10 months by one writer. Even in the world of paid television writers this sort of thing is considered a bit nuts.
As of now, I’m about ready to post episode 12. After the next episode (which would be a series’ normal mid-season hiatus point), I’m going to take a few extra days off, maybe up to a week, just to recharge a bit. For five months my head has been filled with dozens of characters, several plot lines in two different time periods, major battles, and very annoying and time-consuming real-world web problems.
See…here’s the thing about writing. It’s sort of like one part induced schizophrenia combined with an equal part of pre-visualization (like athletes do). The very act of creating and “living” in a world your mind creates is taxing. Think of those times when you’ve had a dream so vivid that when you woke up from it you were exhausted. Now magnify that to doing it for many hours each day, every day. It wears on you a bit.
And yet I can’t think of anything in the world I enjoy more than writing. From tweets to novels and everything in between, I love to write…but scripts most of all.
Now all I have to do is figure out how to make a living doing it. Anyone need a really enthusiastic screenwriter? I’ll work for money.