Three weeks ago, I had written the logline, beat sheet and first two pages of a fish-out-of-water screenplay. It was going to be a 40-page short about a photographer-turned-detective hired to follow around a playboy for a few days. When I shared my beginnings at my screenplay workshop, I got a response that was completely unexpected: it would work as the start for a feature-length romantic comedy. How did that happen?
This writer is a fan of thrillers and film noir. My film collection includes only three rom-coms, and they’re the out-of-the-ordinary ones (I’m looking at you “Heathers”). So I have no idea how I got to this point.
I look at it as a challenge. Let’s write something that is out of my comfort zone. Let’s turn 40 pages of shortness into 90 pages of a feature flick. Since this revelation I have watched a fair share of romantic comedies, from the classics to recent releases. I’ve also updated my Netflix and Amazon Prime queues to include more of them. Before long, I’ll get recommendations for every Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan movie ever made.
What I fear the most is what if I create something that I don’t like. With the 10 pages I have completed so far I like how the story has unfolded and I really like my characters. My heroine is not like the ones that make me not like rom-coms in the first place, but I’m stuck at a place where my creativity is focused beyond where I am. It’s like I’m starting over.
At the same time, I remember that not all rom-coms are the same. It often feels that way with what is being churned out by Hollywood these days, and my ideas can create a new way at looking at things.
This new direction means reworking the beat sheet, tweaking the structure and having fun with something unfamiliar to me.