24 January 2011

The Maltin Cleanse 

I write a lot, but not nearly enough for what I hope to accomplish over the next five years.

I am out of shape.  Most of my writing over the past three years has been "as necessary" or "as mandated by circumstances beyond my control."  That's a bit like saying "I run only when chased."  I need to do something that will: 1) Flush out some bad writing in the short term and 2) put me back into the groove of writing everyday.

And so, I have started the Maltin Cleanse.

I've heard this sort of thing recommended before, but I couldn't point to where I've heard it.  Here's how it works:

I have a copy of Leonard Maltin's 2011 Movie Guide.  There are over 17,000 capsule reviews in this hefty paperback.  These capsule reviews include plot summaries for everything from Casablanca to Troll 2*.  It's pretty exhaustive.

Armed with this cinematic tome and a Scripped Pro account, I chose a title each day and write a two-to-five page script -- screenplay or stage play -- inspired by the plot summary.  I'm going alphabetical through the book.  At a rate of one per day, I would be done with this project in forty-seven years.  So the point is not to write a script for each entry, but rather to loosen up the chops and have a little fun.

How about this:  Next week, I will post one of those plot summaries here, and ask that YOU play along.  Write your own script based on the plot summary, post it somewhere, and either link to it in the comments or shoot me an email with the link.  I'll post my version as well.  Let's do the Maltin cleanse together!  What say you?

*(Upon further review, Troll 2 is not in the book!  Battlefield Earth is, though.)

A couple of additional points: This isn't about crafting a beginning, middle and end, it's about writing the first thing that comes to mind. It doesn't even have to be a script. It could just as easily be a short story or poem.

Also, although I'm going alphabetically, I may be skipping the endless "Abbott and Costello meet ..." movies.