Development hell


From Wikipedia: “In media industry jargon, development hell (or development limbo) is a state during which a film or other project remains in development without progressing to production. A film, video game, television program, screenplay, computer program, concept, or idea stranded in development hell takes an especially long time to start production, or never does. Projects in development hell are not officially cancelled, but work on them slows or stops.”

One of my projects is in development hell, and so am I. Unfortunately, I cannot blame the death of my main star, or the landing on the moon (both happened to Orson Welles, whose projects often went to, and stayed in, development hell) for my fate. My story is failing to convince, well, my producer first of all, and, more importantly, me. I have been toiling at it for so long that I cannot look at it anymore. The flame is gone. I just see letters on a piece of paper. When I think of showing it to other producers, I feel like a vile vendor of subprime mortgages.

So: I decided to give it a rest. Maybe in some time – weeks, months – I will gather the energy to go back to it, and if I can find that flame again, I will start knocking on doors. But I may let the project die. I guess I have learned that, no matter how reasonable and professional you may be – embracing rewrites, incorporating feedback, working the matter of your story – a story needs that bit of energy, that one percent of inspiration, the flame. And the more time passes between your first spark and the final outcome, the bigger the danger of losing it. Insisting on a story when that element of faith isn’t there anymore… is useless. I think. Just move on to something else.

Which is what I am doing.