Spending so much time at home during the pandemic, I’ve finally opened some storage boxes and plastic bins of odds and ends with mixed results. Listening to an audio book or a commentary track, I’ve been able to get into the groove of this tedious task of deciding what can be thrown out and what is a great forgotten find and what might have been too damaged from a flood a few years back. It reminds me to more urgently find a place that can extract digital files like scripts from a floppy disc. I keep finding more of those as well.
Along the way, I can’t help but scan my eyes over any documents or partial drafts or full stories and scripts that can still be salvaged or that might even read as better than the drafts that followed. I can see some attention to detail and manic energy that went into some decent output. It may have been a mistake to participate in some screenwriting groups that threw off my own process. Material that would have said what I meant fifteen or twenty years ago might still ring true but would also be in conflict with the temper of the times.
A love for cinema itself motivated most of my writing. I would say storytelling but story is a container for the stuff that I would care about. I might find the unrequited love story or any variation of it and think it is cringe-worthy and overly personal. Maybe it isn’t quite me anymore, and I could still honor it by combing through it for craft clean-up but would I even be brave enough to maintain the original intent for the sake of others who might still identify with it? Or would I fall prey to the same process that so many notorious IP follow-ups do, the ret-con or the revisionist approach to a story or character that undermines it with false modern spin?
I’ve also found some strange visual support for one of my scripts, where I had cut out groups and individuals whose pose or expression could be imitated by actors for a montage of alienation at a party. It is like found storyboards. I know I have to do that sequence one way or another. Even if a bland, politically correct story thread supports it. Along with writings and magazines and excessive books weighing down so many storage bins, I’m reminded how many cameras I have and some gear I rarely use that has to stop going to waste. Minding manuals that make me sleepy to even think of studying, but that is a process I have to go through. It feels like excavating someone else’s life. It forces a gentle personal inventory.