No retreat, no surrender…well, maybe a retreat.

January is our traditional retreat month, we started retreating in 2002 because we’d stupidly promised Chicago Public Radio that we were capable of giving them thirty episodes and found ourselves needing to produce content really quickly. Retreats are the most fun you will ever have as a thirty-something. There’s something very Big Chill about taking off to the middle of the woods to a cabin lovingly provided by Sheila’s family and spending seven days with some very close friends all united towards a common purpose. Some of my fondest memories of my entire life are the radio show retreats. We had retreated exactly one year earlier to write “Alderman” The story of Ed Bus and as it turns out, needing to write two hours of content over five days is much easier than trying to write 8 hours of content.

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January is our traditional retreat month, we started retreating in 2002 because we’d stupidly promised Chicago Public Radio that we were capable of giving them thirty episodes and found ourselves needing to produce content really quickly. Retreats are the most fun you will ever have as a thirty-something. There’s something very Big Chill about taking off to the middle of the woods to a cabin lovingly provided by Sheila’s family and spending seven days with some very close friends all united towards a common purpose, like Al-Qaeda, with fart jokes (now Homeland Security’s reading this post. Quick, go here). Some of my fondest memories of my entire life are the radio show retreats. We had retreated exactly one year earlier to write “Alderman” the story of Ed Bus, and as it turns out, needing to write two hours of content over five days is much easier than trying to write 8 hours of content over that amount of time.

-DSCN7913.JPG

January is our traditional retreat month, we started retreating in 2002 because we’d stupidly promised Chicago Public Radio that we were capable of giving them thirty episodes and found ourselves needing to produce content really quickly. Retreats are the most fun you will ever have as a thirty-something. There’s something very Big Chill about taking off to the middle of the woods to a cabin lovingly provided by Sheila’s family and spending seven days with some very close friends all united towards a common purpose, like Al-Qaeda, with fart jokes (now Homeland Security’s reading this post. Quick, go here). Some of my fondest memories of my entire life are the radio show retreats. We had retreated exactly one year earlier to write “Alderman” the story of Ed Bus, and as it turns out, needing to write two hours of content over five days is much easier than trying to write 8 hours of content over that amount of time.

In January of 2007 I had just moved to Los Angeles and that was really really weird. The Loud strAngeness with which I lived every day on an entirely different part of the globe made the quiet familiarity of a retreat in January something beyond wonderful. Here we were, once again, trying to do some good.

Going into Alderman we already had an hour written from the radio show and many more sketches and much more mythology, for Phudie Mart we had none of that. So Phudie Mart was a lot easier to write. When writing Alderman we were constantly bumping up against what someone else felt was unbreakable mythology, but on Phudie Mart if someone said “I thought Tony was Blue with Purple Polka Dots” everyone in the room had more of a “well, maybe he is” attitude. So there was a lot of agreement in the room throughout the process of writing Phudie Mart.

The five of us sat down on a Thursday night and had the usual opening night ethereal conversation. What is this? Is this really a casino parody? Don’t you think we’re telling the story of…? But it isn’t this type of story? Is it more Airplane! or more Rushmore? Tony is not this x of character. Slim needs to be more y than in previous blah blah blah. Vague, taking small steps back and looking at the big picture. Once the actual theory was locked down and began to outline we had a working outline finished by the next night at dinner. It went very fast, very easy, except for that last bit.

And if I could sum up screenwriting, that would be the phrase: “It’s very easy, except for that last bit.” Which is what I’m writing about next in my final post. That last bit. Rewriting.

Class dismissed.

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