Monday, January 12, 2009

A screenwriter's guide to working through crisis

You may or may not know by now that the SeattlePI -- my employer -- is being sold. If no one buys it, it could shut down. Or maybe Hearst will decide to take it online-only -- that's up in the air.

Natch everyone in the newsroom is drifting around in shock. We were told today that the WARN notices alerting us that our jobs could end in 60 days were being sent to all of us in the mail. Great.

So I'm blowing time and trying to forget about everything by reading the backlog of stuff in my Google Reader, when I come across this post in one of my favorite screenwriting blogs, SchererJoyOfWriting (Sherer is the writer's name).

"Okay, your protagonist’s Ordinary World has been shaken to its very foundation ... Is your Hero afraid? Scared? Of course she is. fear? ... She must handle that fear. But how?"

Okay, I think. You got my attention.

"1. Your Hero must take small steps. The New World your protagonist finds herself in can seem overwhelming at first and can almost feel like a flight or fight-response. Don’t let the Hero take too large a step right from the git-go."

At this point, I'm licking the pencil tip and taking notes. No ... Big ... Steps. Got it. Next?

"2. Get your Hero some concrete and positive motivation. Here is where your Mentor can play an important part in pushing the Hero in the right direction. This sets the stage so the Hero feels she needs to do something."

There's more ... all of it feeling a bit like the steps that a "hero" in a movie might take to solve problems seems like it doubles pretty well as good advice for people who just lost their job or whose "Ordinary World has been shaken to its very foundation" in some way. Read on here.


Rita said...

I like #4 ...."Keep your hero focused on the true goal."

Hang in there Baby Doll.

freda said...

I don't know about the true goal, but I have found that for the voyage the important thing is to be sure that your outgo is less than your income, so that you don't sink while searching.

Anonymous said...

Tough it out Michelle. I hope it don't come to that but there is life beyond the newspaper bidness. I think it is sad that such an important function of a democratic society is going down without a fight. And I didn't think it would happen so fast. You are lucky to possess internet skills which many writers don't have and which should keep you employed for the long term. Lots of luck and keep us posted...Sandy

Renee said...

That totally sucks Beavis. I'm having a hard time thinking of anything to say that isn't trite and empty. I mean -- what can you say? It sucks. You are smart, hardworking, and have great credentials. You will overcome.