Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Screenwriter Stella Meghie, forced to blog, gives some insight into the workflow of the past week:

It is officially week two which means it's time to take stock of what's actually been accomplished during week one apart from our lively evening whiskey sessions. There's an early panic as I read through a new draft of You Ain't Hip to Baby which leads to a panic that I don't really have time to write a blog post, but a friendly reminder from Colony Director Ben Robbins has gotten me here.

It's amazing what you can accomplish with no phone reception and a few talented writers to go back and forth with on your ideas. I think I've made some major strides forward. I can hope. On Friday things shifted from cobbled writing sessions to the arrival of the mentors for the weekend. I switched gears to discuss Jean of the Joneses. I can't tell you how much I appreciated my mentor (and our bike ride we struggled to finish). Her notes gave me a big push to reach my goal of polishing a script I've been working on the past four years.

Here's a photo of fellow colonist Silka Luisa taking a photo at sunset at a nearby beach this past weekend.

- Stella Meghie
Silka at Sunset.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Screenwriter Russell Harbaugh talks about movies that influence him in and out of the process:

On days where I have nothing to do but write, I enjoy taking breaks in the middle of the day and putting on a movie. I brought several films to look at again: WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF and SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE for public airings of things better left private; A NOS AMOURS for its unusual structure and breathless spontaneity; RULES OF THE GAME and A DAY IN THE COUNTRY for their formal illustrations of big, unwieldy groups of people; MURMUR OF THE HEART for its playful mix of taboo and adolescence; THE MOUTH AGAPE for its scenes of death and dying. These are all films that are particularly useful for different sequences of LOVE AFTER LOVE and I’ve kept them within easy reach for most of the past year and half as I’ve been whittling away at what, exactly, this movie is.

I don’t always enjoy watching things as research assignments, though, and I often find daydreaming during unrelated films to be as useful as investigating those that resemble what I’m writing. An early trip to the library has cluttered our living room with a stack of movies.

Here’s what I watched this week:
The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
The Shining (Stanly Kubrick, 1980)
September (Woody Allen, 1987)
Another Woman (Woody Allen, 1988)
Scenes from a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman, 1973)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Mike Nichols, 1966)
A Nos Amours (Maurice Pialat, 1983)
The  Talented Mr. Ripley (Anthony Minghella, 1999)
Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas, 2008)
Extract (Mike Judge, 2009)

-Russell Harbaugh

Monday, October 15, 2012


We'll be hearing from the colonists directly about their experiences and work throughout their stay this month. Our first post is coming from screenwriter James Cohen:

Arriving in Nantucket on the Ferry.
Ooh. Look. A lighthouse! How beautiful. On Saturday, when we arrived, it was a beacon of hope. I was Ahab, ready to tackle the rewrite. Five days later, I'm Kafka, and this little lighthouse pisses me off. It’s become a harrowing metaphor as I search for story and resolution in the the fog of my mind.

Okay.. I'm being melodramatic. It's really, really nice here. I love it. Everyone’s kind of awesome. The writing is going well. Or at least the thinking is. The plotting…

And I dig the light house. It’s been Instagrammed.

There is a point, kind of, I just haven’t made it yet. Writing is a lot like fishing. I've known this to be true my entire life, having grown up angling trout streams with my father and brother. I imagine that whaling, or scalloping, or whatever goes on here in Nantucket is a similar-ish meditation. These are disciplines that require patience, vision. Eventually, you hook onto something big, wrestle with it, and bring it to shore.

Okay. It's nothing like whaling - which I'm against, by the way - or scalloping, not that I've done that. I think you just grab those with your hand? And maybe I've confused whaling with whale watching, which I'm totally for. Who cares. But writing is like trout fishing. I stand by that. And I am patiently wading the shallow waters of my brain for the end to my script.

I know where it's going. The script, I mean. How I want it to turn out and everything.

Let me start over. I'm writing a screenplay. We all are. That's why we're here. We're screenwriters. In Nantucket. In a colony. That needs funding. Surely, you must know this by now. No?

In a draft or so, my little Moby Dick of a script will be where I want it to be. Which is "done." And if all goes well, this lovely 4-week sojourn will afford me the time and headspace to get it there.

Here's the deal with the draft…

My initial instinct, many moons ago, was to have the two main characters wind up apart. And then for some reason - I think it was common sense - I decided a romantic comedy couldn't end that way, and so I had them wind up together. But now I'm going back to having them apart. I’ve realized that common sense can be bad for storytelling, plus it's so predictably common and sensible. The "catch" is, I never wrote the version where they wind up apart at the very end. I just had it in my head, sort of. It needs to be written. And make sense. Not common sense. Uncommon sense. Fun sense. So that's what I'm doing here. In this farmhouse. In Nantucket. In the off-season. In my pajamas.

Joyce and Kyle will NOT end up together. Period.

There. I said it.

PS – I miss my wife.