Nightmares and Dreamscapes
 Monday  August 19, 1997




The Usual Suspects

Apropos of nothing, I've decided I want to have dreams about Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls. She's the redhead of the group, the one they call (not really, but they should) Hooker Boots Spice. The boots don't do a damned thing for me but I thought they might help identify her for you. How else am I going to point her out? As the one who lip syncs? They all lip sync. They're what Milli Vanilli would have been if they hadn't tried so hard to be butch and had three more lip syncers.

Anyway, I happened to glance over at my bookcase, where the bottom shelf is chock-full of movie scripts with the titles Sharpie'd onto the spines the way we like to do it here in Movietown, and one of them caught my eye: Space Cadets, by my online friend Tracie. It's a very funny script that takes a wicked swipe at Star Trek convention types and I think it's a crime that nobody's bought it yet...but that's not important right now. What we're focusing in on here is the title. Space Cadets. If your eyes casually sweep past those words while you're under the unconscious influence of a Spice Girl obsession, they can look an awful lot like Spice Girls.

So I thought I saw Spice Girls on my bookcase and that started me thinking about Geri and I thought it might be nice to dream about her. Not about the rest of them, although I happen to think Mel What's-her-name, the one with the pierced tongue, is pretty cute too. No, just Geri. She does it for me in a big way. I don't have any kind of agenda for the dream, I figure we'll play it by ear when she shows up. But she probably won't. I'll probably end up dreaming about a girl from the schoolbus when I was a kid in Florida, an unfortunate soul we all called Mullethead. She just now sprang into my mind in what I can only surmise is the emotional equivalent of Newton's Third Law, which states: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." I'll spare you the details; suffice it to say that she's a polar opposite from the lovely Ms. Halliwell and just about what I deserve for dreaming about other women with my wife sleeping next to me. That's the problem with sitting here, free-associating as I think about what to write tonight. One minute I'm pondering the intricacies of a Spice Girl liason, the next my guilty conscience ricochets me to the horrors of backwater hickdom.

Apropos of nothing.

Speaking of writing, that's what I did today. I was a good boy, I pumped out almost five pages of my pilot. "Almost" in this case equals three full pages and about half a page on the fourth, but when you're dealing with page counts every little bit helps. One line on a page can count as a full page if you're desperate enough, and half a page can legitimately be called almost another. Even so, "almost five pages" doesn't sound like much when you put it down in black and white. Trust me, it is.

I try to set a goal for myself of writing five pages a day. When I'm on a roll and the words flow like warm oil it's not a difficult goal to meet and even exceed, but when it's coming hard and I'm fighting for every line those five pages can seem like a thousand. Five pages is a healthy day's work but I still sometimes berate myself for such a small output, even though I know that even the bigshots do about the same.

Five pages a day just seems so small, so scrawny. Why not ten, I say to myself. Ten pages means a sitcom gets written in about five days, leaving the weekend open for anything, or that a movie gets written in twelve days. One or two weeks to fame and fortune. It can't be that hard, can it? These aren't book pages, after all, they're scripts, which means white space and blank lines galore. It means maybe 200 words per page. It's cake, it almost seems possible...until I start writing. And then I'm scratching and clawing to hit five.

I got close enough to five for government work, so I call that a good day. But tomorrow...tomorrow I'm going for... Five.





Copyright 1997
Chuck Atkins