Tag Archives: Big Idea

A Few Good Posts?

Faced with the challenge of providing semi-interesting content that also balances out my desire to share trivial information with the 8 people that read this blog (I know, my readership is growing!) I have a slew of posts queued up and partially written. The problem is I think they all suck.  They are either too boring, or too disjointed, or have simply not yet reached their full potential.

I’m having a similar problem with my Big Idea as well.

(my wife does not read this blog, but if she picked today to start – thank you – now stop)

I am working every week on the Big Idea and have until my anniversary (November 6) to really pull it together (though myriad opportunities exist beyond that day that would be good reveal choices as well… but I digress…) Almost every day I dedicate some time to working on the Big Idea and some of the early feedback is good but comes with the same comment. I’m too aware of what’s going on. I can’t JUST BE. As such, the work appears forced, and while technically “not bad”, it’s not great either. And I really want it to be great.

These not-quite-ready-to-post posts are technically “not bad”, but they’re not great either (much like this one). Do I need to just let them BE? Do I just let the work take whatever shape it takes, knowing that even my worst is far better than a lot of what’s out there now (and getting more attention)? Artists – really true and great creators of amazing works of art – are much better at this than I am. Maybe that’s why I have a full time job working for a software company. Maybe I can’t handle the truth!

If I wasn’t so lazy I’d research some fascinating psychoanalytical bullshit about self doubt and it’s negative snowballing affect on something something. It would all just sum up with something like “quit-yer-bitchin” and “suck-it-up-buttercup”, and I can’t really argue with that.  So maybe I’ve just had a bad week, and I am tired, and after a glass (or two) of Shriaz and a good night’s sleep something takes shape with one of these orphaned posts and it just BECOMES…

…and 9 of us have a good laugh.

5 Free Minutes

“I’m not happy to be here. I’m not happy to meet you. I couldn’t care about your relatives, no I couldn’t give a damn. No I couldn’t give a damn. I need five free minutes for myself.” 

– Spirit of the West, 5 Free Minutes

So I’ve asked myself a few times since the enlightening Kevin Smith show back in November… What do I want to do with the time I have for myself? Not free time. ME time.

Initially it was full steam ahead on a screenplay, but then I got this idea for something else. Something for which I have just as much passion as film making. As it turns out, I may have more of a passion for this, if for no other reason than I find myself doing it ALL the time, and I would take great satisfaction in being able to do it really well, or at least way better than I do now.

It’s at this point in the piece that I will kindly ask my wife to stop reading. You see, the project I have undertaken is going to be a terrifically timed and wonderfully romantic anniversary present. Jodi, if you are reading this I can guarantee you that it will top the great secret piano lessons (anniversary #5 in 2004), and certainly come in ahead of commissioning a local artist to do a chalk drawing of the first time I set eyes on you (anniversary #1 in 2000, affectionately titled “Love at First Sight”). So please, read no more. I would very much like this to be as big a surprise as possible.

If you are not my wife, then I’ll kindly ask that you just scroll down a bit, where I will continue my thoughts.

almost there

OK, here we are. Thanks for sticking with me.

After the Kevin Smith show it was all about me wanting to make better use of the time I had available. Then in December I added the anniversary present project and it became a struggle to keep moving both projects forward. With the anniversary present on a firm deadline clearly the screenplay would suffer, but why was this a problem? The two projects were not in obvious conflict. One was being done in secret mostly during the day with a small amount of research in the evenings, and the other I could do whenever I had the inclination to pick up the damn laptop and type something. So was I just being a lazy shit? I started to wonder…

Then today I read THIS, written by fellow Kevin Smith devotee R. Chazz Chute (@RChazzChute on Twitter), and I gotta say that it burnt with the intensity of 1000 suns.

Are you taking care of yourself and pushing your goals forward?” – R. Chazz Chute

I have asked and answered the question above and many of the questions Chazz asks before, and for me I have boiled the answers down to two things: priorities and deadlines. Most importantly, that I recognize that I thrive on a well placed deadline and the satisfaction of meeting it to my measure of success.

So I asked myself, how important was it to have a finished screenplay sitting on my desk with my name at the bottom of the title page? Is there a deadline can I self impose to move this along? I’m sure there is, but I’m also sure I have a really short attention span and am only capable of doing one thing at a time, and right now I have the other project that’s taking up considerable mental energy.  Blah blah blah… if ifs and buts were candy and nuts…

So I took my anniversary project – with my passion to succeed and a firm deadline – and I asked myself what I could do as part of that goal that would get me closer to the other one. I found a couple things, and if I just do them it will make those first words-on-page draft of the screenplay definitely suck less.  Yes, it will take longer to finish writing it, but to be honest I’ll get more satisfaction out of finishing the anniversary present.  I’ll be a better person for it, and in the end I’ll probably be a better writer for it.

So http://potatochipmath.com (which for now will just be this blog, but will expand as the year goes on) will be my playground to practice one thing (writing), while at the same time garnering some public interest in the other (the anniversary present).

Public interest? Really? Full of yourself much?

Yes, there will be public interest in the anniversary present project. Mostly because it’s a feel-good story. It really is. Everyone I talk to has nothing but kind words and encouragement and they all genuinely want to see me succeed.

It also has the potential to be a massive train wreck that goes viral on YouTube. So stay tuned…

The Big Idea

So lately I’ve been reading a lot of screenplays lately (but always keep going back to Pulp Fiction. Man, what a great flick that is – to read or to watch), and listening to audio books on how to write screenplays, and reading books on how to write screenplays. What I haven’t been doing enough of is actually writing my screenplay. Hmmm…

As it turns out there’s a lot of reading and research and good old fashioned learning that you need to commit yourself to before you can just bang out the next Oscar winner. As it stands, I’m in the middle of writing the treatment for my idea (not the big one, that’s coming soon) and almost have enough of the major action firmed up to the point where I can lay out some scenes and get Act 1 on its way.

All that is considerably less exciting than the other project I have just undertaken. Suffice it to say that it’s the single most ambitious thing I have ever attempted in my whole life (and I studied Applied Physics at the University of Waterloo!)

The problem with The Big Idea is I can’t share it with the one person that would appreciate and support the most. Why? Because the end result of this project is for her, and I want it to be a surprise. She’s also my biggest and toughest critic, and she’s smart as hell. Both qualities that would come in really handy when trying to pull this off.

To give those of you that don’t know her (or me), her brother died on my birthday in March, she has a birthday in August, our anniversary is in early November, and after more than 11 years of marriage I still really love her. That should at least provide some sort of idea as to why I’m doing this (for the less quick: birthday, memorial, anniversary, just because I love her).

I can only be cryptic on this blog on the off chance she’s one of the 3 people reading it, but soon I will have a separate website up with a giant splash page that reads something like “IF YOU ARE MY WIFE, PLEASE LEAVE. IT’S A SURPRISE. TRUST ME. If you are not my wife, then please continue. Seriously Jodi, just close the browser, you’ll spoil all the fun.”

So the fun begins. Actually, it began yesterday, and the idea was conceived over the Christmas holidays (I sent out a quick tweet about that. Follow me @PotatoChipMath). I will post a link to the site when it’s up and you can go there for all the Big Idea progress. I’ve already pitched this to a few people (friends and other likely more objective acquaintances) and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. One guy even jumped at the chance to be involved in any way. Very cool.

It’s going to be LEGEN…. wait for it… DARY!