I recently completed a first draft of a half-hour pilot script. I immediately sent it out to two friends. I rarely share first drafts so quickly, if at all. Normally when I complete a draft, I table it with intentions to come back and read it in a week or two. During that time my first impulse is usually to move onto another project. This time I stayed with my pilot. I continued to write — character descriptions, new pages of script, timelines and scene descriptions.
I write ideas down constantly. I have legal pads full of ideas for films, TV shows, essays and businesses. I have journals full of personal thoughts. I have poems on the back of envelopes. I never revisit most of these writings. Maybe I’m too impatient to go through this minutiae. Or maybe I’m afraid of seeing how worthless most of my ideas are. Either way, I often lack the patience to go through my own notes.
I also have .doc, .fdx, .pdf, .jpg and . mov files in a master folder on my laptop. Again, most of these are never revisited. This time though I created a #VISualization folder and moved all the .jpg and .mov files I’ve collected for this project there.
Doing this doesn’t only help me the next time I sit down to write, it also helps me stay connected to my fictional world on days when I have to pay the rent. After spending six hours shooting in a Cal Tech science lab, my Northeastern Arkansas characters feel about as far away, culturally and geographically, as they could possibly be.
Here are some of the images I’ve collected in my #VIS folder, as well as a simple sketch I made of a brain. I took the color photos on a road trip through Northeastern Arkansas, where the pilot is set. The black & white image is from a book on the South that I found in the Monrovia Public Library.
These images speak to all of the themes I want to address in this TV series: poverty, space, prejudice, history and the human brain.
Did I also mention it’s funny?