Okay, Penny… so the last time we spoke, you had just began work on your first draft of your script. Now that you’ve submitted the draft and received feedback, the real blood, sweat, and tears begins!

Interview: Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ryan Sprague (RS)

Penny Middleton (PM)

RS:How did it feel to get the first draft done?

PM:You know, I honestly didn’t have a moment of finality. I just kept thinking of the next draft…but taking a step back, I guess I’m just excited that there is something there! Forward motion and all, it’s great.

RS:What was most challenging aspect of it?

PM:Allowing myself to stay fluid was definitely the most challenging part. As we talked about, the biggest pitfall for a new writer is the “edit-as-you-go” theory as oppose to just writing. I would find myself editing portions before I even had 30 pages written- terrible! Also, I kept worrying about the staging; I think that’s the actor part of me. For example, I might spend an hour trying to map out an actor’s quick change. I was cutting myself sort, not allowing the flow to naturally occur. It’s not all gold, but there is something to be said about not interrupting your own imagination.

RS:How did the feedback session go with DreamCatcher? How did they react to the story you told?

PM:That was a great day for me! Kelly and Patrick were incredibly helpful and positive about the piece. More importantly they were vocal. There were kinks that I had been sitting with for months that in the meeting were immediately resolved. Just a great process for a new writer, to have that support is invaluable. Also, they liked it! It was great to know that the blueprint made sense and that they were excited for the next phase of the story.

RS:Going in to your second draft, what do you think is crucial at this point moving forward?

PM:Trusting in the foundation and implementing the critiques that I received from the first draft. Just going for it, and getting out of my own way. I have to commit to the story that I want to tell and tell it. Simple. The perfect polished pristine piece is not where I am at now, it’s not the goal. The goal is to live in that world, to be present in my story…and have fun!

RS:Were there any revelations you had during your notes sessions with producers?

PM:So many! It was interesting because a lot of their thoughts and suggestions were concepts that at one point or another I grappled with. Writing is a very solitary exercise. I had anxiety about the clarity of my story because up to that point, it lived in my world and it made sense. But as you if all goes according to plan, it’s not going to just live in “your” world! The team becomes your third eye, they are able to see your vision but also keep the overall vision in mind. It’s the perfect combination- I saw the areas that need to be fixed but I was also not weighted down by it. The “what’s to come” element is still thriving!

RS:How do you find the script evolving now that other people have read it?

PM:It’s become more flushed out and full. I had “moments” but now I have scenes! I left the meeting, just full of energy and ready to work. I use to think in terms of the final product, but that’s not the way to do it and the team reminded me of that. This draft is a bit braver in terms of exploration. I’m not limiting myself or worrying about the logistics of staging. I’m in the moment.

RS:What is the most exciting and most terrifying part of having people read this for the first time?

PM:I think the two were entwined for me! I was excited and within the same breath my knees were shaky. The best part had to be realizing that I could have a discussion about the piece- that meant it existed. This idea had become its own entity, for better or worse it was happening.

RS:What is your plan of attack moving in to the second draft?

PM:No editing as I write! Zero. I also love this part because I get to add details, which makes it more real. There isn’t a whole lot of major changes from the first draft to the second, again it’s about feeding the story and making it round, solid. Details, yeah I am excited about this part.

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