Friday, October 25, 2013


One might think that working with a partner is a roll in the hay for a ventriloquist. That is true if your partner lives in a box. In real life there are other issues involved.
Recently I returned from a working session with my writing/producing partner on the East coast. We basically locked ourselves in a small office/apartment and decided not to come out till we finished a script we have been crafting long distance. 
We have collaborated on countless projects both realized and unrealized.  The effort and work is the same whether the project is sold or not which means we have arm wrestled over countless plot points during our decades old relationship. The thing that keeps us going is the fun we have in fleshing out the idea and writing it. If the audience was certain to have as much fun watching the show as we do creating it, I would be living next to Bill Gates.
This does not mean that the collaboration process is free of conflict.  It's amazing how passionate one can become when discussing the lives and fate of imaginary people in a script. To an outsider watching the process it would almost seem like we are ready to kill each other over what a character might say or reveal during a plot twist. 
During one such session for another project we hit an fork in plot-world.  There were two ways to go in revealing  crucial information in the story. It involved a set of twins, Effie and Ellie. My partner felt like the plot would be stronger if at an early point in the story Effie over heard vital information about our villain but Ellie did not. Later in a dramatic moment Effie would reveal to her twin sister that she has known a certain fact all the time. I had to admit that it was a very strong way to advance the story, but thought it had a problem.
I began to pitch a way for both twins to hear the information at the same time.  My partner strongly disagreed.  I held firm and tried to rephrase the direction I had in mind.  He would not budge. I would not budge.  He got passionate, I got passionate. His way was stronger, my way was weaker. I argued that his way would not be logically possible, he argued that it was the best dramatic way to go. Soon we are not so much trying to resolve the issue as win the argument. We began yelling over each other thinking that volume was the key to winning. My partner was never going to compromise. 
The rule is when you come to this point in the process, the partner who is currently typing wins, he just writes it his way. My partner had control of the keyboard. He began to structure it his way.
Passions cool and we are back to the process. In a calmer moment my partner said, "This is much better. Effie finds out in act one and Ellie doesn't find out until late in the second act." 
I said, "I don't think that is going to work. We have to find a way for Effie and Ellie to hear it at the same time."
He continues to type.  "Trust me this will work!" I can hear in the tone of his voice he will not listen to any logical reason I can come up with... except one.
I said, "I think you have forgotten that Effie and Ellie are conjoined twins."
When we stopped laughing it was time for lunch.
As you were,

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