is two guys collaborating to write on writing and collaboration.

Jan 29, 2009

What Now? posted by kza

So yeah, what now? What does Spitball! mean in 2009?

First, my personal goal is to put up three posts a week. That’s probably not a lot by most blog’s standards, but that’s about what I can do and still have time for other work. If Martin could do the same, that’d be a post for every day except, say, Sunday. That’s good enough for me, but I’ll let Martin decide what’s doable for him.

Now — what is Spitball! 2.0 going to be about?

I’d like to talk more about our writing process — how we work together, how we build our screenplays and novels and short stories, why we’re juggling three screenplay ideas at once instead of focusing on one, why we make certain choices in our stories, that kind of thing. But only if the readers — y’all — are interested.

One thing we need to talk about is Todd Alcott and wadpaw. Martin and I are recent Alco-lytes in the church of Wadpaw, and what we’ve learned from him has completely revolutionized our thinking about screenplays and, seriously, made us better writers overnight. If you’ve never read his blog, What Does The Protagonist Want?, then please start doing that now. (This is especially true if you’re a fan of The Venture Bros.)

If it’s okay with Martin, I feel comfortable with talking about the projects we’re working on, or at least certain parts or aspects of them. We’re firm believers in the Execution-as-Multiplier Theory of Good Ideas (I’ll let Martin post the link, since I have no idea who the author is), so the notion that someone could steal our ideas doesn’t trouble us — if you can take one of our ideas, put the work into it to make it successful, then a) you deserve your good fortune and b) the result would be completely different than what we’d do with the idea, so it’s not like it’s the same thing anyway. But lemme check with Martin on that.

Speaking of ideas, another thing I’d like to do — not immediately, maybe in a few months or so, when this blog settles into its new voice — but what I’d like to do is have another March Madness-style Story Idea competition. The first one was incredibly fun, and successful to boot — we got a bunch of great ideas out of it, and three of them are Official Spitball! Projects (tm). That aint half bad in my opinion. Not to mention, the non-winning ideas are always there, either to be promoted to a working project or exist as spare parts for another story. It’s just a good thing for Martin and I to do anyway, so why not put it on the blog?

I even have an idea for this year’s Genre/Theme/Organizing Principle. If you recall, the first one was “prison planet” — all of the stories had to be about or take place on a prison planet. We ended up with a lot of SF ideas, of course, but what was important about the theme was that it could be interpreted metaphorically as well (which was reflected in some of the entries). So I wanted something like that, something where the first ideas would be obvious, and that’s okay, but open enough for some interesting interpretation. And I think I have it. And I think (based on what Martin has said in the past, and a few of the ideas we’ve worked on in the past year) he’ll approve.

I submit that this year’s Big Idea for a Story Competition be:

The Big Game.

What do you think, sir?

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What is Spitball!?

Spitball! is two guys collaborating to write about writing and collaboration. We're writing partners who have worked together since 2000, and placed in the top 100 in the last Project Greenlight for our script YELLOW.

Currently, we are both working on multiple screenplay, short story, and novel ideas independently and together, and collaborate on this blog.

What Spitball! used to be

Spitball! started as an attempt to collaborate on a screenplay online in real time. From January 2006 to July 2007 we worked on an interactive process to decide the story we were going to make. A full postmortem is coming, but you can find the find all the posts by looking in the category Original Version.

During this period, we affected the personalities of two of the most famous spitball pitchers from the early 20th Century. Look at our brief bios for more info about this, and so as not to be confused as to who is talking when.

We rebooted the franchise in early 2009 in its current form.

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Our Twitter account, where we note when longer articles are posted. While we're at it, here's Kent and Martin's Twitter accounts.

Kent M. Beeson

Urban Shockah pic

Kent M. Beeson (aka Urban Shockah) is a stay-at-home dad and stay-at-home writer, living in Seattle, WA with his wife, 2 year old daughter and an insane cat. In 2007, he was a contributor to the film blog ScreenGrab, where he presciently suggested Jackie Earle Haley to play Rorschach in the Watchmen movie, and in 2008, he wrote a film column for the comic-book site ComiXology called The Watchman. (He's a big fan of the book, if you couldn't tell.) In 2009, he gave up the thrill of freelance writing to focus on screenplays and novels, although he sometimes posts to his blog This Can't End Well, which a continuation of his first blog, he loved him some movies. He's a Pisces, and his favorite movie of all time is Jaws. Coincidence? I think not.

Martin McClellan

Burleigh Grimes pic

Martin (aka Burley Grymz) is a designer and writer. He occasionally blogs at his beloved Hellbox, and keeps a longer ostensibly more interesting bio over here at his eponymous website. You can also find him on Twitter.