Friday, January 4, 2008


You may see me occasionally with my eyes closed when I should be working.

I am.

You may think I take exceptionally long showers some days when I should be working.

I am.

You may wonder why I’m walking all the way down to La Brea when I should be working.

I am.

I call it “pre-viz” and it’s similar to the early boards artists do on animated films or CG wizards do for stunts or effects. They draft up early images on the computer to get an idea of how things will look, whether something will work or not, and just how much time and effort and resources will need to go into it in order for it to look really cool.

I do the same kind of thing. I close my eyes or stand under the shower or take a walk and imagine the next group of scenes in my head. I will play out key pieces of dialogue and responses from my characters, then switch it up and try something different - all before I put one finger to the keyboard. For me, the act of typing is not simply a means of transcribing what’s in my head onto the screen; I use it to feel the rhythm of the dialogue, the flow of the words in a sentence and paragraph.

And this pre-viz stuff works especially well for problematic scenes, for sticky story points that I thought I had worked out in the outline but when it came time to see them on the page, they fell apart - or I went in a direction that made that point moot and now I have to do something different. And heck, sometimes my characters just do things I hadn’t planned on so I have to play with scenes to see how they will react.

So sometimes when I look like I’m sleeping, I’m actually working. Then again, sometimes I actually am sleeping. In that case, don’t wake me up.

Your Hollywood connection,