Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action!

Uncle Vic loves movies, and Uncle Vic likes to tell stories. So of course, sooner or later, it just figures, I was going to start trying to write screenplays. There's been no great demand from the public that I do this. Robert Rodriguez is not waiting by the phone for me to call and tell him his next picture is ready. Nope, this is just something I've decided all on my own to blunder ahead and try.

Well, maybe not completely all on my own. When pal Anthony Neil Smith and I were in grad school together, we met every Monday night for a cheap six-pack and puked out a ridiculous pulpy crime screenplay. And more recently, A. Neil and I have collaborated again on another project which we hope comes together. I also wrote a feature based on my own short story "Silent Harvest" which was optioned by a producer in New York. Silent Harvest -- the screenplay -- is intended to be a very inexpensive, small independent film.

The screenplay I just finished is a big step in a more commercial direction. Details to come at a more appropriate time. At the moment, what I want to say in this blog post is that I've learned a lot. I feel like all of these screenplays could make great films but I also feel like I've been going to Screenplay State University. The first draft of this most recent screenplay was actually done back in October. The director/manager/producer team I've been working with have been champs and true professions. I implemented the first round of notes, sent it back, and got a second round of notes. Did those too. Then they said "Let's show it." I'm excited.

Do I think I've graduated from Screenplay State University? Probably not. I still feel like I'm bumbling around, but, frankly, I usually feel like that no matter what I'm doing.

Yesterday was "formatting" day for the screenplay. To my eyes, even a perfectly formatted screenplay looks like a cluttered mess. Hey, not my problem. If that's how it's done, then that's how I'll do it.

I'll tell you more when there's more to tell.


Bryon Quertermous said...

Glad to hear things are coming together for you screenwriting-wise. Do you think you've been give these opportunities because of your success with the novels? Was there a reason you put your major effort into books first?

I've toyed with a couple of screenplays and would like to do more of it but it seems so hard to break into that I suspect I'll have a better opportunity to do movie work if I get some success in the prose arena.

I'm like that nerdy kid in the front row of Screenwriting 101 at Screenwriting State University

Victor Gischler said...


I love stories in all forms, but novels give me the best opportiunity to tell the most fully developed story possible. I like writing screenplays and comics. A lot. But those efforts need artists and inkers and directors and actors and a TON of people to see fuition. Novels are different. I mean, obviously an editor and publisher is eventually invovled. But during the creative process it's ALL ME with a novel. But I do think I've met some people thru having my novels optioned, etc., and this fact has encouraged my eagerness to give screenwriting a try.


Unknown said...

What screenwriting software are you using? Do you use formatting software when you write your books? Thanks for the update and continued success... loving your Deadpool stuff by the way.

Victor Gischler said...


Actually, I use good old fashioned MS Word ... but some Hollywood pals recently sent me Final Draft for formatting, and I'm looking forward to using it more.

Thanks for reading merc with a Mouth. That makes you officially awesome.


Unknown said...

I'm a special ed teacher in NOLA so I definitely don't have the extra cash to shell out for Final Draft... been using a free Mac program (Celtx) and have enjoyed it for the most part.

Sorry, my inner Fan-boy is screaming at me right now... Will you be continuing your run with Deadpool?

Victor Gischler said...


I'll be doing Deadpool in one form or another for a while. Stay tuned!


p.s. Yes, Celtx is good too. Somebody made a gift of Final Draft to me. Otherwise, I'm with you. Too expensive!

Don said...

I am delighted to have stumbled onto the work of the late Mr. Emerson LaSalle thru your posts here and there. And that a screenplay was written about him. I am delighted to discover Mr. LaSalle, whose work I have honestly not read before. There are only a few such writers like that in my life, mostly in sci-fi but also one in mystery (James Loftus, the neglected noir master.) I was wondering if you knew whether Mr. LaSalle had ever had any interaction with that other sci-fi genius, Jeff Lint?

Gerard said...

Lee Goldberg recently wrote about the Gun Monkeys project. He sounds like a good guy to learn from.

I myself posted him my idea for a television series. Strangely, he seems uninterested. I posted my pitch in the comments in this post:

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Randy Johnson said...

A bit off topic, but what's up with The Deputy? Amazon just sent an email canceling my preorder.

Victor Gischler said...


It might be because the book has switched from Bleak House books to Tyrus books. i'LL LOOK INTO IT.


Mike Lamb said...

I'd have to agree with the advantages of novels over screenplays as far as creative freedom and the ability to put out something that is 100% yours. When I started writing Jack's Inferno, it was meant to be a graphic novel (illustrated by me). But once I started writing it I realized that I really, really enjoy the raw storytelling aspect of a novel. Now that the novel's finished, I can do anything I want with it. Graphic novel adaptation, sceenplay, animation...whatever. The main problem with doing a screenplay from scratch is that it doesn't truly exist in the proper sense of the term until it becomes a finished film. And when it does, the screenwriter's name is usually pretty far down the list.