Today, I welcome WAG Artist Raleigh Cain as our Guest Artist. This week, Dani Payne and I will meet Raleigh in Los Angeles for a table read of Comfort Food. As writers and producers, we couldn't be more thrilled or honored by the actors who will be joining us. We are stepping into the our next phase....securing funding, finding a team and ultimately heading into pre-production. It is both exciting and terrifying. After 2.5 years of hard work, these ladies wrote a beautiful story that is brave, honest and achingly funny. It deserves to be told. Please send us good artist energy as we embark on our next steps. We will keep you updated on our progress and Dani will contribute as a Guest Artist soon, as well.
The week is upon us! This coming Sunday we will conduct our 4th table read (sometimes it takes that many, lay off) of our feature screenplay, Comfort Food. Dani Payne and I started writing this 2.5 years ago. We have lived apart for the last 1.5 years yet still figured out how to finish the dang thing. I know, I know, super impressive. Oh stop, it was nothing really. Please, you’re too kind.
Dani and I got the idea when we were chatting about death outside of our acting studio. Typical conversation. As most actors do, we agreed we have all this time and no excuses, why not write something about it! Having no formal schooling in the subject of screen writing, and getting my first “D” in College English, what could go wrong? We found our subject that we were passionate about and a copy of, Save The Cat.
It was real cute at first. Favorite coffee shop, brightly color-coordinated note cards, flannel. We looked legit. The first draft was a short because a feature seemed too daunting and I wasn’t even sure if we were allowed to write that much. She and I made the beat sheets, we improvised bits, it was fun and new and distracted us from the lack of auditions. After the first table read, we quickly realized our writing was just too good to stay at 30 pages. It also made no sense at 30 pages, but whatever. Krista Gano, our guiding light/art mom turned producer, said it was time to go to feature town (other pending options, feature-land, feature-ville, feature-opia). Ok cool, so just add stuff in between to make it longer? No. You can’t do that.
I never thought of myself as a writer. I have a limited vocabulary and I struggle with commas. I fantasized of being one bundled up in a cozy cabin with a cup of chamomile tea and a leather bound diary with a quill as my only tool. I’m still working on that. As I mentioned, this is our FOURTH table read. You always hear once you finish your first draft, pat yourself on the back, and then go back to work. It’s very true. We spent a solid 8 months without making a single edit as the screenplay sat in the back of our mind. There were also 6-8 hour days where we sat without moving until those built-up ideas were put on the page.
Life as an artist is a real bitch sometimes. Sitting, pondering, pulling feelings from “the well”.
I often feel lazy as an artist. It’s always poking at me and yet I try to sit down and write and the best I get is 3 questions written on the page with no answers. Blehhhh.
If you ever think you maybe want to write something but don’t know where to start, here are a list of activities to consider from an amatuer writer:
-Read "Save The Cat" by Blake Snyder and "The Anatomy of Story" by John Truby
-Ignore those rules (for a bit) and just write
-Write as often as you can (morning pages count)
-It’s ok if you don’t write as often as you can
-Have other people read it and grow a backbone; but know it’s ok to disagree
I’m not trying to give advice (even though I just did) on how to write a screenplay. We definitely did all the wrong things and are still super lazy and still question most lines of dialogue and just want your approval! Yet, whatever happens with this baby, it still feels kinda super cool to say, “Hey, I made that”.
SHAMELESS PLUG & PLEA (because it's my blog...so, why not?):
Comfort Food is the story of a family coming together on the year anniversary of their father's suicide. It is an actor's story full of space to breath life into a family that is defining their new normal. It is achingly honest, funny, and ultimately hopeful. Our team were all touched personally by suicide and this is really a "love letter" to survivors.
If you are a magical investor or experienced producer (of features in the 2-6 million range) and you want more information on Comfort Food, we want to know about you! You can reach Krista through the Contact Page!
Want to check out Raleigh's recommended books on writing? Here they are!