Do you remember the scene in the movie Up? The one where the dog, Dug, gets distracted by a squirrel? That has gotten to be a joke in our writing collaborations. We sometimes have problems with focus. The issue is not staying focused on what we’re working on, but having an interesting new project come up that pulls us away from an ongoing project that is marinating or waiting from a response from someone.
Laura got a call from the Avalon Foundation in Easton two weeks ago. Would we like to submit a pitch for their annual Christmas Play fundraiser? Squirrel! This sounded like fun!
Last year we collaborated on a book for the 25th anniversary of Christmas in St. Michaels which, over that many years, has raised more than a million dollars for local charities. Titled The Santa Diaries: Memories of a Small-Town Christmas, the book was a compilation of local Christmas memories, kid’s drawings and photographs collected from the community. (Talented Laura designed the cover!!!)
We were thrilled when it was finished and at the time we put on our “to write” list, create a romantic comedy screenplay about small town Santas.
When the Avalon Foundation call came in, we thought, why not. This would be one step on the way to actually getting around to that screenplay on the “to write” list. We spent chunks of three days developing the pitch. Laura is not a stranger to pitches, but we had just finished another pitch to Amazon Studios and decided to use that format. That’s me below checking the story arc as we are writing.
Laura emailed the Avalon a one page synopisis of the story arc, one page of the main characters and a five page treatment. We didn’t have to wait long. They loved it. We met with them yesterday and they still loved it so this Squirrel sighting will now consume us on and off for several months. We are thrilled and excited. The show will utilize all sorts of local talent, and has to appeal to a wide age range. There’s music and dancing and while I don’t think we will do any coreography, Laura is keen to write some original songs.
Laura and I usually work at my house. She likes to get away from her office and it certainly is easy for me. Since only one of us can be writing on the computer at a time, one of Laura’s laptops lives at my house. We talk, decide what we want to go into a script, and Laura types it in the appropriate format.
We’re just a couple of hours away from finishing the first draft of the first act of the Christmas play. This will be a collaborative process as Avalon staff reads what we’ve written and tells us what might not work or what they want expanded. We love the synergy of collaboration. We’ll keep you posted on our progress. In between projects we continue to work on the rebranding of our award winning e-book, Big Skye Ranch, as Last Chance Ranch. It’s currently being shopped by our agent. If no major publisher is interested, we’ll do a CreateSpace print version and a new Kindle edition and then try to do a better job of the dreaded marketing.