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Monday, December 14, 2020

2021 To-Do List Extravaganza!

'tis the season once more.  And so, let me take a little breather and check up on my progress in 2020.  Does it matter that this was one of the weirdest, most stressful and oddball years of my lifetime?  I think not.  I've been running under the belief that this has been my most productive writing year EVER, but this recap will certainly tell the ultimate tale.

So let's get right into it, as we look at each of 2020's items on the "to-do list extravaganza", and how it all turned out!

1) Finish Rope-A-Dope: the feature script I've been working on with my friend Motown.  With a plan to call it "done" by the end of January, 2020, I can anticipate tabs for 2nd, 3rd and 4th drafts.  Currently, there are no plans for a reading or to submit to festivals/competitions. 

How did it go?  This is a big old DONE!  Motown and I continued to work on this, pre-pandemic/quarantine, and met up in person to finish up our final draft (only weeks before lockdown began).  We're keeping our eyes/ears peeled for potential interest on this piece.  So happy to add this completed script to my list of spec scripts.

2) Finish Trip Having begun another feature script of my own (Trip) late in 2019, I'll put this on 2020's list.  Tabs will include the usual multiple drafts, out to readers, reading/reading prep.

How did it go?  DONE!  I had a virtual reading, completed several drafts, including the all-important "final" draft.  This marks completion of my 12th feature spec script -- sometime in April of this year!

3) Trip to Festivals:  The usual tabs for these tasks.  And as is the norm, I'll plan to submit to at least 5 festivals/competitions.

How did it go?  DONE!  I've already been selected for 6 film festivals/competitions, with a few more to still hear from.  Trip also marks the most entries EVER for one of my scripts.  Throw enough s*** at the wall, something's gotta stick, right?

4) Complete 1st draft of SCRATCHER:  Considering I didn't make my 2019 goal of 40k words on this (my first novel), this goal could prove to be quite a monumental undertaking.  But, I've got a whole damned year to make it happen.  So on the list it goes!  This will require ONE tab on my board

How did it go?  FAIL.  I don't quite recall, but I don't believe I did ANY work on this.  So, hopefully, 2021 will see some serious work on this novel-in-the-works.

5) Complete ESP:  This is the feature script collaboration with my buddy Scott.  While we don't yet have a first draft, I've proposed to him that we have the script out to readers by the end of the first quarter in 2020.  Even if that doesn't come to fruition (it's a bold goal), as long as this piece is "done" by year's end, I'll be ecstatic.  Tabs will include the usual multiple drafts, out to readers, reading/reading prep, etc.  Unsure of festival/competitions for this piece, so will not place that on the list or in the tabs.

How did it go?  FAIL.  Not that this didn't see some good, productive work, but finding time to align schedules, proved to be a block to getting this one done.  Not even a first draft yet, I plan to make this a high priority in 2021.

6) Move Penelope's Site:  Putting this on the goal list again, as it needs to be completed.  Frankly, I believe this will end up being less work than anticipated... meaning, once it's done, I'll wonder why it took so long.  (see explanation from last year's list, above).  One tab needed for this.

How did it go?  FAIL.  I've realized that moving this over to give my friend Penelope total control, would require more work than just keeping it up for her, adding items, updating, etc. as needed.  So not a "fail" per se, just a better understanding of time management.

2020 tab board!  Empty pins equal completed tasks!

7) Passports Renewed:  It seems this next item on the list -- is a recurring one for years.  And seemingly one of the more simple ones to actually complete.  I need to get my passport renewed.  What are the chances of some international travel in 2020?  Who knows, but for heavens' sake, I need to be prepared, right?  So back on the list it goes.  One tab needed for this.

How did it go?  FAIL.  Obviously, any and all intended international travel was put on the back burner.  Can't imagine why.  We'll see if this might be an option in 2021!

8) 30k Words on ISLAND HUNTERS: Mentioned above, my second idea for a novel, tentatively titled "Island Hunters" saw an initial inspiration and some beginning work (a bit of writing and brainstorming) in 2019.  My hope is to have a completed first draft of the other novel idea in my head, so for Island Hunters, I'm going to shoot for 30k words written in 2020.  Do-able, but with so many other projects, we'll simply have to see how it goes.  One tab needed for this.

How did it go?  DONE!  I put a lot of work into this project, in the first half of the year.  While I surpassed the 30k words, I've not looked at this piece in at least 5 months.  Hoping to get a first draft of this novel-in-the-works in 2021!  It'll definitely be back on 2021's list! 

9) Read 12 Books:  Made my goal of 10 books read, in 2019.  So gonna up the ante and make it ONE book per MONTH.  How ever will I achieve this?  Tee hee.  Obviously 12 tabs on the board for this task.

How did it go?  Currently at 9 books read.  I mean, I still have 2.5 weeks left in the year to complete three more books.  Do-able, but will leave this unmarked at press (either Done or Fail).

10) Movie Franchise Screenings:  Since my "see every Oscar Best Picture winner, yet unseen" task failed so miserably in 2019, I figured I'd try something else, seemingly more prone to find completion by year's end.  I'm tasking myself to update my education in several well known movie franchises.  Many of these, I've seen a good chunk.  Some I've seen only one.  Bottom line, fill in the gaps on these series.  I'm going to put 10 different series on the board.  The goal is to revisit those I know or have seen, and move into all of the sequels/prequels, etc. which (til now) are foreign to me.  10 tabs, 10 franchises.  Franchises on the list:  The TerminatorThe MatrixAlienPredatorJames Bond (a frigging massive undertaking), Back to the FutureGhostbustersIndiana JonesPirates of the CaribbeanRocky.

How did it go?  FAIL.  I just never made it.  You'd think that with all of the time in quarantine, that we'd have passed this with flying colors.  Of all of these, we revisited the original The Matrix, and never even got to the sequels.  This is a major fail.  Ugh.

11) First Draft of Screenwriter:  A brand new feature script idea, which came to me at the tail-end of the year.  I am hoping to get at least a first draft in on this baby.  One tab.

How did it go?  FAIL.  I barely even remember what this potential script was about.  Not one word, one minute spent on this piece.

12) Three Acting Gigs:  While I've not been pursuing much in the acting world as of late, I'll put this back up there, in the hopes that some fun opportunities will arise.  Three tabs for this goal.

How did it go?  DONE!  I shot two short films in quarantine, for other folks.  I also shot my short film Chair (it's in post) and did a few cold virtual readings and rehearsed virtual readings.  Happy to say I did quite a bit on the acting end during this year.

13) 5 Projects for KSC:  My script consulting business (Klugula Screenplay Consulting - as mentioned above), created in the first half of last year.  I'm going to get back into promoting it and will plan to complete at least 5 editing/consulting gigs within 2020.  Five tabs.

How did it go?  FAIL.  I did three total "test run" gigs for folks, but did not make the intended five goal.

14) Physical/Mental Health:  While not easy to quantify success, I believe if I continue in my current therapy, continue my daily exercise, and potentially introduce some smarter eating habits in 2020, that'd be a success.  I'm not getting any younger, and with "the diabeetus" ever-present in my life and my body, continued steps toward healthier living, can only benefit me.  Let's do it!

How did it go?  DONE!  I finished therapy with one therapist, and started chatting with a new one.  While my diet is still a never-ending battle, my exercise has continued.  I've also taken to (almost) daily meditations to try and keep my anxiety at bay.  While not "cured" by any means, I feel like I've taken adt'l steps to being physically and mentally healthier!

15) Complete Bear:  Inspired by an in-person visit with an old friend and former co-worker, this supernatural thriller (a feature screenplay idea) should be a hoot to tackle.  The usual tabs here: multiple drafts, register with WGA, reading/reading prep, out to readers, etc.

How did it go?  FAIL.  While this script saw some work in the first half of the year, I didn't even get to a completed first draft.  Back on the list for 2021!

16) Bear to Festivals:  As usual, plan for 5 festival/competition entries for Bear, so five tabs on the board.

How did it go?  FAIL.  Obviously, since the script was unfinished, no festival entries took place.

17) South Dakota Trip:  It's been discussed, that we'll return to my homeland for my eldest niece's high school graduation in the summer of 2020.  Hoping for another epic road-trip to SD (36 days), as we did in 2017.  Lots of planning to be done here (if the stars align for it to come to fruition).  One tab.

How did it go?  FAIL.  Um.  World-wide pandemic much?  No massive road trip, but what we had planned was a real barn-burner!  Next year, maybe?  Won't count those chickens before they've hatched.

18) Produce The Chair:  See notes above.  I don't think this will be such a massive undertaking, that it'll elude me for the second year in a row.  Many tabs for this one (pre-production, production, post, etc.), but putting it out into the universe to find completion.  And since I plan to act in this piece, that could be an adt'l tab off the board from the "Three Acting Gigs" task above!  Bonus!

How did it go?  DONE!  So, this is not technically completed, as I've done no work in post.  However, pre-production and actual shooting are done, and that's no small feat.  Which means, I'm gonna give myself a little leeway and chalk this up to success (despite post-production still looming -- that'll be on next year's list!)

19) Completed Unknown Screenplay: Since there were some write-for-hire screenwriting gigs in 2019, and since I always find other script ideas to pursue, I'll make this group of tasks as generic as possible.  I'm going to put in for five tabs -- for five drafts of ANY script (not already specifically listed above).  This could be one of my own, or one which I will (note "WILL") be hired to write in 2020.

How did it go?  DONE!  I conceived of and completed a feature script called Boys in 2020.  Inspired by something I "saw" in a daily meditation, I started this one in May and completed all steps in September.  It's already out to over a dozen script competitions/festivals, with 2 acceptances already!  Much, much more on this project in 2021!

20) Mom Died Rewrites/Steps:  While there is no promise that this project will move ahead in 2020, by placing this here, I'm telling the universe that I'm ready, willing and able to do adt'l work on this piece.  So I'll put "Mom Died Project #1" and so on on the tabs.  This could include rewrites, but any potential steps for this script, will warrant taking a tab down.  I'll do five total, and hope against hope that Mom Died moves up the ladder in the new year.

How did it go?  DONE!  I'm calling this one good.  I teamed up with Canadian filmmaker, Audrey Cummings and we're developing the piece for potential production.  With that, I've done three rewrites on the piece over 2020.  High hopes that this will move ahead in 2021!  Yay!

And so, here's the wrap-up for 2020:  10 DONES (if I make my 3 more books read in the next 2 weeks)!  That means 10 FAILS.  But that's not too shabby, considering how past years have added up!

And, as is the case in prior years, I simply must make note of my other accomplishments (which were not foreseen at press for last year's to-do list).

  • Was hired to pen a feature script.  I've completed two drafts of that piece thus far and am awaiting producer's notes.  There will be more work on this in 2021.
  • I was also hired for another feature piece.  Right now, working on a treatment with the producers, before moving into the writing of the script itself.  More work on this in 2021 as well!
  • Began writing a new feature script called, "A Stench in the Nostrils of God".  At press, I've got about 70 pages on a first draft!
  • Wrote a short 5-page film called Immolation, which I intend to self-produce/direct in 2021.
  • Filmed several video pitches for some of my feature scripts.  Inspired by a "Virtual Pitch Challenge" at ISA, where my pitches for Boys and for Trip both landed finalist placement, I ended up doing pitches for other scripts, beyond the ones I entered.
  • To relieve boredom for myself and others during quarantine, I created "Klugula Reads His Classics", where I took old writing pieces (from all the way back to age 10) and recorded 5-minute (or so) episodes, daily for 50 days!
  • I joined my friends Joel and Ryan for multiple episodes of their long-running podcast, "The Movie Show with Joel & Ryan".
  • Was interviewed for "Voyage LA", regarding my business, Klugula Screenplay Consulting.
  • Made the decision to move ahead -- planning to produce/direct my script (mentioned above) Boys.  Very preliminary plans are already underway.
  • Speaking w/ friends Hank and Arielle, we've decided to work on a new script together, for potential production in the latter part of 2021.  I've written about 10 pages on that piece, tentatively titled, You Can Never Go Home.
  • Wrote a few articles/reviews for Tom Holland's Terror Time.  Still keeping that "film criticism" muscle toned up where I can!
  • Started work on a new feature script (got about 10 pages down) called Say Uncle!

So with all of that (again, a pretty productive 2020, considering!), here's my "To-Do List Extravaganza" for 2021!

1) Finish Bear.  Putting all of this in one number.  This will include the usual multiple drafts, reading prep, reading, protection w/ the WGA, reader's notes and festival entries.  I think I've got about 30 pages done on this, so a solid start!

2) Finish A Stench in the Nostrils of God.  Same thing here: multiple drafts, notes, protection, reading, festival entries, etc.

3) Finish a first draft of Island Hunters.  I don't expect to get beyond that point, but a first draft of a novel would be a massive writing milestone.  I think it's totally do-able over the next 52 weeks!

4) Finish a first draft of Say Uncle!  I like this idea, but with all of the other major projects, I figure this will take a back-seat at some point.  So if I can at least finish a first draft, that's a great start!

5) Finish ESP.  If Scott and I can get our schedules aligned, I want to put this one to bed.  It's a great idea, but we've gotta commit to push ahead.  So this is multiple drafts, reading/notes, etc.  Not sure of festival entries, so I'll just put up tabs for five of those!

6) Immolation Pre-production, shoot, post-production and potential festival entries on this short film I wrote.  I'll be directing/starring/producing.  Make it work!

7) Finish / Post-Production on Chair.  Since this was shot in the summer of 2020, and I've taken my sweet time to edit, etc. in post, this carries over to 2021!  Potential festival entries?  Depends on the finished quality, of course!

8) Finish first draft of Scratcher.  This has been and will continue to be a daunting task.  With no work done on this in 2020, asking a lot to make this big milestone, but you never know!

9) Unexpected Screenplay.  As I've been doing over the past few years, setting aside a non-descript "unexpected screenplay", since ideas come out of nowhere, and can't be foreseen at press.  So the usual drafts. reading, protection, festivals, etc.

10) Boys I will continue to submit this piece to festivals, and will begin work in a "soft" pre-production... shot lists and the like.  I'll fill out this list as I make up this year's tabs.  Lots of things that can be done on this project, before we "for real" move ahead to make it!  Multiple tabs.

11) Finish Hired Gig #1.  This is the script I mentioned above (a hired gig which came to me in the second half of 2020).  Plan to complete this with intentions to submit to production companies for consideration.  Multiple tabs.

12) Finish You Can Never Go Home.  This will be the usual multiple drafts, reading, protection, etc.  Won't plan to submit this to festivals, as the intent is to produce it with Hank and Arielle.  Multiple tabs.

13) Finish the Hired Piece #2.  Plans to complete this other hired gig.  To keep it purposely vague, will put this down for 4 total steps/tabs.  Four tabs.

14) Three Acting Gigs.  As in previous years, will hope to have a few acting gigs fall into my lap.  Goodness knows I'm not seeking them out via auditions!  Three tabs.

15) Three KSC Gigs.  Hoping to again drum up some business for my screenplay consulting business.  Will work toward three paid gigs on that front!  Three tabs.

16) COVID Vaccine.  Not work related, but gonna put this on the list!  A wonderful milestone, right?  One tab.

17) Read 12 Books.  Gonna shoot for this again, since it's only 1 book/month for goodness sakes.  Hoping to really focus on Stephen King and filling in those gaps!  Twelve tabs.

18) Mom Died I'm not sure how/where this will go in 2021, but gonna put 3 tabs up on the board, as "Step One", etc... keeping it vague.  I figure there will be work on this in the new year, but not sure on specifics.  Three tabs.

19) First Draft of The House Up the Street.  This is a big ask of myself, but putting together and self-publishing a collection of my short stories (from age 10 and up) is a long-standing dream I'd like to accomplish.  No time like the present, right?  And I've found a website where doing this in chunks is possible, making it more feasible to handle a few stories a day.  Multiple tabs - making it 10 tabs of 10 stories each.  One helluva start if I can get 100 pieces committed to the computer!

20) First Draft of ULIFTB.  A book idea I've had for some time, I reached out to a dear friend and writing colleague to potentially work on it with me.  She agreed, so we're gonna move ahead on it in 2021!

ADDITION AFTER INITIAL POSTING:  21) Record Video Pitches.  I recorded several video pitches in 2020, for my spec scripts, and so I will continue to mark those off of my list, including some expected completed scripts in 2021.  So that's 6 total in the new year (4 completed scripts and 2 new ones!) So 6 tabs for this group of tasks.

ADDITION AFTER INITIAL POSTING: 22) Video Profile Shoot.  I joined ISA (an online screenwriting community) and will be shooting/posting a video profile in the new year as well.  One tab for that!

And that's the big list for 2020!  Not sure if I missed any biggies, or if I neglected to mention all of my 2020 accomplishments, but overall -- happy w/ this year and have very high hopes for a fresh start in 2021!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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