My biggest problem right now, in addition to having no time, not being very good, and possibly jumping ship on a project I've been embroiled in for some time, is that I have no idea who I want to be as a writer.
Most of the time I want to do gritty, hard-edged character-based stuff with a crime, con, or lay person caught up in something bigger vibe. But I often end up back with the really small, character-based relationship bullshit. Ostensibly every story I've ever written is about the end of some relationship we barely see, getting the hell out of dodge, and trying to cope with moving on. And every character is me at some stage of my past life or an imagined stage of my future.
I don't really have anyone I can pattern myself after. I alternate between wanting to be the serious Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson with smaller casts, anyone who is my flavor of the moment, a Kasdan, or today, Scott Frank. Is there a way to marry what I want to do, these intelligent crime stories wrapped with the shiny but tarnished bow of the anti-romantic comedy? Is merging the two how I finally come up with something original?
It's part of what has me torn about my latest spec non-project. I feel like from a character-based perspective, it's the best idea I've had in a while. The problem is, the B story, which is actually the A story of each individual episode is giving me problems. The setup is clever, ties into my even more clever title, and gives me worlds of possibilities. But all I can come up with, beyond the pilot, is incredibly dull. I see parts of the pilot so clearly. I see the set-up and the emotional arc and several potential endings that all serve the same purpose, but I have no idea what makes up the bulk of what's beyond that. This isn't a movie idea. It's not a done in one (or two hours, as it were) deal I can just tell and walk away from. It's a process for the characters, who will essentially never become whole again, no matter how close they get. This is the static nature of television. Now what's the story?
So I'm torn. And I don't know where anything is headed, or if anything will ever get written again. Other than blogs.