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Monday, 5 December 2011

The Death of a Project

I have had this sci-fi TV project since around 2007 and was quite attached to it. That was until a few months back. But what was supposed to be heartbreak turned into a kind of liberation.

Origin 

Inspired by TV conspiracy dramas Oktober and The Last Enemy, and novel The Bourne Identity, as well as in the spirit of doing something different.

The original idea was conceived and planned as a six part mini series and had the scope for more. It was to be something unique, thrilling, relevant and with a strong emotional core. That was all well and good.

However, at that point I was just going along for the story ride and hadn't really considered whether it was right or would work on screen. Back then, I could see it and feel it and that was enough.

Feedback 

After some time, I then pitched the TV proposal to an agent at Blake Friedmann whilst an intern there. It was one of those life changing conversations that I wish I could have more of because they mature and ground you in such a way that you know you have saved years of your life if you were left to figure it out by yourself.

What came out of the conversation and feedback on the pitch was that it had some contradictions but had some nice elements. What was then mentioned was a possibility that one element could explore.

This element was something that I had recently considered but preferred the sci-fi conspiracy thriller type series over an emotional drama with a sci-fi undertone. But the emotional drama soon prevailed and as commented, "...would be an ambitious project for a new writer and if got right, quite a controversial drama." After this, around ninety percent was binned and the rest developed into a two part serial.

Fact Vs. Fiction

What ultimately killed the project was the science (new research) behind the story, which then resulted in a loss of faith in the project because it wasn't realistic. The matter in the science world had changed a fair bit. If written it wouldn't have been scientifically accurate and therefore (near-future) relevant. It would have required a leap of faith by the audience who may or may not be clued up on the science behind it. Sometimes these kind of shows or films can work and you don't mind about the actual truth on the matter. You are along for the ride.

However, I was aiming for a realistic two-part drama that would explore a potential and conceivable dilemma of the near future via technological advancements. With that realism gone, it wasn't the same project and shortly afterwards passion and commitment departed.

Re-Imagining 

Although the project is dead and it was a thrill to work on, experience and learn from. There are other ways the subject can be approached which was discovered from the new research. This would result in a more realistic and emotional human drama story. And in one favourable way, maximum controversy and debate.

As for that project, it has an exciting premise and great potential and is one to consider for the future. For now, it will sit in the story vault until it starts nagging me in my sleep or unless someone else writes it before me!

Passion Vs. Logic 

While I feel it's great to fight for a project you feel passionate about and to make it work. At the same time it's important not to let a project hold us back by putting time into something that isn't credible or a realistic achievement. Sometimes we need to know when to quit, which essentially means, to adapt.

As I have found out in the past and now with this one, it can work out by quitting on a favourable story because more often than not a more unique and interesting spin-off story is just around the corner. But if we're not striving to improve and get the best stories possible then we're not open to the possibility of something better ever coming along. It pays to be open-minded with every project.

Liberation 

It's nice to have one less project weighing me down and now means the project intended after it has moved forward. It was time well spent in the beginning as I learnt a lot but feel better that time will now be appropriately spent on a project that has a future.

I feel it's not about writing a competent script, it's about going beyond that.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Raise Money as You Write (Or, If Only Script Reading Services Did Gift Vouchers!)

For those who don't have the money to spare for a professional script reading service. Here's a way to raise the funds for one, which I'm sure for most people would be needed sometime in the near future and not today or tomorrow.

If you put 50p (a dollar or euro, etc.) into a pot for every session you attend on a TV script or screenplay each week or month. By the time you complete a first draft or rewrite or two you should have saved up enough money to pay for a professional script reading service. (To use on a later, more refined and polished draft, of course.)

In that respects, it's not much at all and wouldn't take much effort to raise the desired amount with at least a couple of pounds (dollars or euros, etc.) going in each week. Or it could be a continuous fund added to every time you work on a script and would result in a large amount that could see many scripts receiving the professional treatment when the time is right.

If Only

... professional script reading services had gift vouchers then we wouldn't have to worry about it. They would certainly be on all our Christmas, birthdays and Amazon wishlists!

Happy funding!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Watch Post #4

Major excitement at The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs announcement and secret artwork from, well, the past... [-]

Great performances and script from moving real-life drama The Blind Side... [-] [-]

Boxing goes futuristic in exciting high-concept action drama Real Steel from DreamWorks Studios... [-]

Many scriptwriting lessons and a compelling experience to be had in Abi Morgan's White Girl television script... [-]

Excitement rises as Sony announce revival of 1990s afterlife hit thriller Flatliners, with Source Code screenwriter on board... [-]

Fresh new episode, with silly bits and new competition from UK Scriptwriters Podcast... [-]

Friday, 26 August 2011

Executive Decision & The London Screenwriters' Festival 2011


In the spirit of getting into the story quick... 

Upon excitement at the prospect of its learning and contact potential, I almost hit purchase by PayPal, but then it hit me. 

Around a total £500 for a three-day ticket, accommodation, and food and drink for the weekend. 

"Yeah, it's totally worth it." 

But am I ready? As an aspiring scriptwriter, as a newbie, as a wannabe businessman? As a dude with spiky hair and glasses now all steamed upon having to make an executive decision.

Have I done enough with the knowledge and projects I currently have?

How many scripts, treatments and pitches do I have refined and ready to aim and fire at will?

Do I fully understand my various audiences and genres?

Do I have a clear scope on British television/film and its production companies and producers?

Have I been writing long? Have I reached a happy medium with my writing?

Do I have enough experience networking in person?

Could I do more? Could I be more prepared?

In short, "No, I'm not ready."

Preparation is Key 

In truth I don't feel ready and would rather spend that large amount of money on a subsequent year's entry and when I am able to use the opportunity to its fullest. I know if I went this year I would learn a lot but I would like more time writing before I go to such an event.

It would be too easy to rush into this year but I know I would feel a little out of my depth in terms of industry knowledge and reaching a balance on completed projects and time spent developing and writing, as I have barely begun.

At the moment I'm often saying: "I have this amazing idea which is about [enter pitch]."

When I would rather say: "I have this amazing idea which is about [enter pitch] and have a completed script (or treatment) for it."

I feel that this festival isn't something that should be rushed into and taken lightly. But for the cost of the festival I feel it's wise to spend it when I am comfortable and confident that I will be able to get the most out of the weekend by being fully prepared.

The Year Ahead 

From now till this time next year is going to be a big year for me in terms of writing and chasing progress. I have an over abundance of projects and long to make some way with a number of them. By this time next year I aim to have made considerable progress with a number of existing projects and developing a batch of new ones that will form as the next few years worth of rewriting.

It's going to be a busy and productive twelve months and I would feel better served for completing it before I even think about attending the festival and getting truly involved.

For now, I will experience the online and alternative London Screenwriters' Festival 2011. It's amazing value for no money. This entails scanning scriptwriting blogs for coverage of attendees experiences and advice garnered from the festival. e.g. Jez Freedman and others.

Maybe next year or the year after I will be giving back and serving others with my own experience and knowledge gained at the festival. Who knows. 

Let's just get through this year first and see what happens...

Are you going to the festival this year? If so, how do you prepare?

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Beacon of Talent: Industrial Scripts & Talent Connector

Not content with script analysis and feedback services, training courses, ScriptStore, offering lectures and workshops to schools and universities. Industrial Scripts have gone one step further with Talent Connector.


Exclusively for unrepresented scriptwriters and filmmakers who have received an 'Honourable Mention' or above with a script or project on one of their feedback services. The script or project will then be marketed *for free* by Industrial Scripts to a list of industry agents, executives and producers.

For those writers on the road to acquiring professional feedback and/or looking for a new way to break in, now with the added bonus of Talent Connector with Industrial Scripts, it would be in your interests not to overlook them and go elsewhere for feedback.

How So? 

As they only use the best script editors and development people with significant track records, their verdict on a script carries weight within the industry. In addition, due to their combined wealth of experience they have developed an extensive list of industry contacts who will be notified on all scripts or projects that advance through to the Talent Connector programme.

They are sponsored by Paramount Pictures and the Curtis Brown Group.

Talent Championed

Talent Connector is open all year round for submissions and will culminate each December with an Industrial Scripts Gold List. This industry announced list will feature the best ten scripts to pass through the coverage system, and prizes will be awarded.

For further information and credentials, and why you should consider their feedback services visit Industrial Scripts.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

My Other Half & New Story Descriptions

Recently dug out of my old uni folder on my laptop and placed on my website to read. My Other Half is a short dark comedy drama script filmed as a major project by a third year BA (Hons) Television Production student in 2009 at Bournemouth University.

New additions to the website also include story descriptions for television dramas In My Footsteps and Angels & Ashes (formerly TV Drama Spec).

For some back story on My Other Half see below or feel free to skip and head over to the script or website for a read of the new additions.

Exposition 

I was approached as a potential scriptwriter for the project after the director was having trouble writing the script for a story concept he had. It sounded interesting and had a lot of potential - naturally I accepted. I had a week to turn the initial story concept into a working and entertaining short script, as well as getting on with my own third year university work. I was pumped up for the challenge and helping him out. Not to mention writing something that would be made quite soon.

Process 

The first port of call was the title. The original one didn't work and had to be changed. Finding the right title was a short-lived deep worry turned eureka moment, where story and character met and fed into the title and theme in a way I never expected. It was great and arrived practically a day after the meeting. It had to be clever, hook and work otherwise the script would have failed at the first hurdle.

I remember parts of writing it quite fondly. For instance, often finding myself working in a practically pitch black uni lobby from around 8pm till 3am with the odd pair of footsteps rustling by in the distant shadows. And in an unused tutorial office on the top floor of the Media School, again, at night until the early hours.

That week was a blast writing something so challenging, unique, fun and for actors and a crew to work from and turn into a short film.

Script 

I haven't read the script back since that time two and half years ago. I do remember reaching a new benchmark with it at the time and learning a fair bit about scriptwriting. That benchmark has shifted a lot since then but would offer a sample of my writing around that time and hopefully an enjoyable read.

Film 

The film is an enjoyable watch and turned out great. Unfortunately, I don't have an online copy to share. Although I have been thinking about getting in touch with Bournemouth University, as they own the rights to the film, about getting a version online to add to my portfolio and for people to experience.

I hope you enjoy the script. If you do, please feel free to comment.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

How To Improve Your Script Sense

Some have common sense, others a great sense, few have a sixth sense, many an undesirable sense. What is your script sense? 

What begun as an idea for a blog post series to offer sensible scriptwriting advice to beginners and intermediate writers didn't quite make the first post. However, it has transformed into something so much better. 

I had previously planned a blog post series entitled Script Sense and had a fair amount planned for it. But something happened the moment before hitting publish on the first post. 

"Why am I not one hundred per cent convinced on this?"

Something was out of balance with what I was trying to attempt. I had good intentions and wanted to help but felt it wasn't quite the right way to go about it. 

Then in a moment of inspiration, a desire to keep Script Sense alive and to still help others: 

Twitter met My Rejected Idea 

And 

This was born: 


If you can't make out the picture. It's the Twitter account for Script Sense which essentially retweets the best sense spoken on screenwriting around the globe. 

With Script Sense all the best advice and sense is brought to your computer/phone screen in an instant, is always there and is a forever expanding resource. 

It also features on the newly created navigation bar on this blog in a reduced and compact form that you can interact with and gain insights without having a Twitter account.

Streamlined Sense

One of the best things about Script Sense on Twitter is that it filters out the general chic-chat, news and other plugs that occur within expert screenwriters' tweets on Twitter. So with Script Sense you just get golden nugget after golden nugget of pure screenwriting advice. An ideal outcome if that's all you are looking for.

I can imagine it working best for those without a Twitter account or someone new to scriptwriting who hasn't found those all important screenwriting Messiahs yet. Although there is always more to learn and I suspect that even experienced scriptwriters will learn a new thing or two.

Spread the Sense

I hope that over time leading screenwriting experts in the field on Twitter unknown to me will follow the account, as a way for their own advice to reach even more people. Major contributors so far that Script Sense follow include TheScriptLab and Xander Bennett

Alternatively, scriptwriting advice and links to great web resources (i.e. blog posts, articles etc) can be tweeted to @ScriptSense. If it's great sense and worthy advice will subsequently be retweeted to followers in due time. 

As Script Sense grows and word spreads more great resources and sense will be found and in turn will be available to everyone. 

Please spread the word, if you will, and enjoy only the best...

Script Sense 


Friday, 29 July 2011

A Pocket Guide, Lab and Tips... You Hack

A round up of the most recent discoveries in the screenwriting world that I have a duty to share...



120 Tips for Getting to Fade Out 




 Screenwriting Education and Screenplay Development 




(And hundreds of them!) 


Other recent discoveries include ScriptwreckedIndustrial Scripts, My PDF Scripts and TV Writer Chat.

Screenwriting blogs: Dom's World, So Fluid and Lisa Edwards.

Happy perusing!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mentor Needed. Apply Now!

If only it was that easy. 

Almost a year ago (and the rest) I drafted a blog post, which I never published. I do this often. This particular one was entitled "The Mentor and The Apprentice." 

Again this new draft (re-imagining) is an old one but now I feel is important to mention. 

The original post began... 

"Some time ago the new and improved The Scriptwriter's Life diagram went live and it featured a specific point that got my attention. It was something that I hadn't been conscious of until it was spelt out right in front of me. 

So I realise that within my great passion for writing, a small unknown frustration and longing had started to materialise..." 

However, I realised that the then approaching dark cloud wasn't something that I should beat myself up over or view as a weakness in my ambition or resolve. But that it was perfectly natural to feel that way. 

I just had a lacking element in the equation that was my writing life. That lacking element was a mentor: someone to learn from, offer script support and key guidance. 

A Tangent Road 

Through that I identified two core needs that I believe experienced writers and new writers inherently have. That I won't go into but luckily for all they do overlap and are mutually beneficial. 

The old post (and my naivety) went on to talk about an ideal social network for scriptwriters of different experience lacking in this crossover element who are specifically looking for either a mentor or an apprentice. 

However the fantasy tangent ended with the realisation that you can't force these things. You can try and you may be lucky but often great things like that happen at unexpected times. Essentially after a lot of hard work, searching and effort. 

But unless we can learn to get on with ourselves, writing and lot, and work towards meeting our ideal mentor, creative partner or confidante, we won't find it.

Help Yourself

The truth is a mentor would enhance commitment, productivity, learning, knowledge etc. But it's also true that we can learn to do all those things just by ourselves. A little extra effort in any direction and purpose can wield interesting and surprising results. It's just a matter of trying and seeing what we can do once we set our minds to it. Then crucially keep that momentum going forward.

It's about working on ourselves, our writing and going for it - being the best that we can be, do all we can do, then the people and things we desire will gravitate towards us.

Then who knows what will happen...

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."

- Soren Kierkegaard

Friday, 22 July 2011

What's the Deal with Screenplay Structure?

If you're writing a screenplay (like any other script) it will need to have an underlining structure to it which means outlining and planning, not rushing in without an endgame in sight.

To help us along the way there are some structural guidelines and practices to take into account. The Three-act structure is widely taught in screenwriting books and courses for beginners. However, John Truby has a different view and outlines in detail and length "Why 3-Acts Will Kill Your Writing." The fundamental problem is that the structure isn't at all about character.

How are we supposed to structure character growth? 

Here is where a number of useful and insightful character development structure guidelines come into play. For instance, John Truby has his 22 Steps in The Anatomy of Story - Joseph Campbell developed The Hero's Journey - others have their own ways, steps and points but will require some research and experimentation to see which one fits your screenwriter feet.

Eight-Sequence Structure

Sound familiar?'

I hadn't heard of this one until recently after discovering The Script Lab (where have I been!) and found an interesting article there regarding 'The Sequence' way to view films and write screenplays.

The 'eight-sequence structure' approach was developed by Frank Daniel, a Czech film director, producer and screenwriter. In essence, the script is broken up into eight 10-15 minute sequences and each serve as mini-movies with their own compressed three-act structure and carry an overall three act structure.

With The Script Lab's personal touch - it's the most straightforward and helpful screenplay structure plan I have seen. If you haven't heard of it before I recommend going over to the article and having a look.

Then the next time you watch a film, keep the eight-sequence structure and these 'mini-movie' sequences in mind and it will help you to write and visualise your next screenplay.

What's the Deal?

Ultimately it comes down to what you are comfortable with using and developing into. It doesn't hurt to refer to one or alternatively just to keep in mind for now. But at some point when your writing develops and you crave a tighter structure then these guidelines are here to help steer you and your main character and screenplay in the right direction.

It’s easy for a beginner to be intimidated by structure and the different ways of approaching it because everything on screenwriting is being learnt all at once. It takes time to see the various elements that a screenplay comprises of but it's just a matter of re-writing, researching the craft and continual learning.

However, a mistake would be to try and force a story into a rigid structure and compromise creativity, exploration and enjoyment, unless you know what you are doing.

But it is there for a reason and important to remember.

After all...

"Screenplays are structure."

- William Goldman

Friday, 8 July 2011

Trailer Watch: War Horse

"DreamWorks Pictures' "War Horse," director Steven Spielberg's epic adventure, is a tale of loyalty, hope and tenacity set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War.(YouTube

Novel 
Based on the 1982 novel by English author, poet, playwright and award-winning children's author Michael Morpurgo. It is one of his most celebrated novels (turned celebrated stage play) and was runner-up for the Whitbread Book Award (now the Costa Book Awards) in 1982. 
Amazingly, Michael has written more than 120 books and has released at least one new work consistently every year since 1974.
Release Dates 
The film will open in USA on December 26, 2011 and in the UK on 13 January 2012. For the rest of the world see the film's release dates.
I'm looking forward to this! It's going to be one to remember.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Watch the Complete Liquid Lunch Web Series & More!

Screen grab courtesy of Danny Stack.

Liquid Lunch came to life after a bet Danny Stack and a few friends agreed to at the London Screenwriters' Festival in Oct 2010. The bet was to make a short film to a specific criteria and to a deadline. However, Danny lost the bet - but won with Liquid Lunch instead!

For those who are strangers to the term Liquid Lunch (i.e. Teetotallers, under the age of eighteen, etc.) here is a little education.

If you haven't heard of the six-part comedy web series (webcom to the savvy) or can't remember how the story goes, which is unlikely, here is a reminder:

Ollie and Alex regularly meet in the pub to break up the monotony of their working day. But when they realise life is passing them by, they decide to do something about it...

Three Ways to Watch

You can watch the complete web series at the Main Website, on the Facebook page, or over at the YouTube channel. *Warning, the youtube channel automatically plays the most recent episode (Ep6).*

But that's not all.

Yes, thanks to Danny (and the Internet), there is more and the kind of stuff that we usually wouldn't be privy to.

How He Made a Web Series

Danny Stack has kindly covered the entire Liquid Lunch web series making of process on his blog Scriptwriting in the UK, as well as allowing us to read script drafts and compare them to the finished episodes. You can find all that here!

For a more interactive and dynamic experience with his blog in Blogger's dynamic view - visit here - (It will take a few moments to load - due to all that great content!)

Press

For die hard fans and those interested, here is further insight into Liquid Lunch and some coverage on its press movement beyond Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Bournemouth Echo

Urban Theory Films

For an interview Danny Stack had recently with MZPtv, where he talks about his craft and writing process, favourite films and writing genre, and much more, head over to the article after reading this.

Liquid Lunch

But lastly, and most importantly, is it any good?

Well, I'll let you be the judge of that  - hop over to one of the three platforms now to view it:


"Don’t talk about what you’re going to do, get out and do it.

- Danny Stack

PS: Yes, it is good!!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The New Script... The Approaching Competition

So my TV Drama Spec script didn't pan out for a suitable Emmy scriptwriting competition entry. But a new script was decided a few months back and is almost done. It's a sixty page family drama and road trip type affair written specifically for the Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award 2011

Every script starts out with the best intentions and has an ideal way forward. But due to various factors they can sometimes fail to materialise how and when you wish. However, this one arrived at the right time, took me by surprise, by the heart, and demanded (by way of emotional blackmail) to be written before anything else. I had to comply. 

What begun as a fleeting glimpse of an unbreakable bond between two characters developed into a larger story and a collective journey of discovery. It's a story about the fragile but wondrous nature of childhood and family, the vicious inner workings of assumptions and fear, the destructive and irreversible beast of time, and the power of understanding and forgiveness.

Cool Runnings 

From that fleeting glimpse and initial idea six months ago, through developing and writing, it has been a fast and enjoyable process. It wasn't all easy going and had a few issues. But even during the challenging and tough moments they were enjoyable because I was learning and improving on the script as each day passed. 

However, after three months since embarking on the scene breakdown, here we are two drafts and various revisions later, with last minute tweaks and proof-reading to go, the third and competition draft is almost complete. 

I've had smooth sailing or  "cool runnings" (as it's better termed) with scripts in the past but not since my scriptwriting student days at Bournemouth University (2006 - 2009) have I had one jump out of me in such a quick amount of time. That scene from Alien springs to mind or the KFC advert. But in this case, the beast is a television script, refined; with universal themes, profound moments, an engaging narrative, and powerful uplifting message.

I have had a strong vision on this since the beginning and a clear ideal on each element that informs the whole. Its fast progress is down to just getting on with it and striving to express this particular screen story in its own unique and emotionally complex way. 

Without question the approaching competition deadline helped to spur me on somewhat but after taking it easy on the scriptwriting front for a while and partially displacing the responsibility over to the Myself of Tomorrow, I realised that I have been avoiding the inevitable and so should just get on with it, full throttle. 

The Competition 

I'm really pleased with the script so far and have learnt some new things on this project and re-realised a few old ones. Overall, it has been a joyous and productive experience. I look forward to improving on the script over the next week and locking it down for the competition.

With my heart and soul poured in, a lot of hard work and effort, and writing to an ambiguous entry requirement (family audience), I hope the judges will see something in the script and potential with me as a scriptwriter. If not, there are always other scripts to write and competitions to enter, and I will be no less fond of this script, which by the way is called In My Footsteps

"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way."

- Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award 2011 Entry

Are you rewriting away at your competition entry or have only just heard of the competition?

Either way, the deadline is in just under three weeks time on Friday 1st July 2011.

If you're not aware of the annual script competition held by the Emmy Foundationhere are the details:

Entry Requirements (Basic) 
  • Entry is for non-American novice writers under the age of 30.
  • To write a half-hour to one-hour television drama script (stand-alone or pilot).
  • It must be for a family audience.
Entries must be submitted by email to foundation@iemmys.tv, and to include the following documentation:

Submission Requirements
  • The script attached as a .pdf, .doc, or .rtf file
  • A summary of the script, totaling no more than 250 words, but no less than 100 words
  • A signed copy of the entry/release form (scanned & emailed, or faxed to +1-212-489-6557)
  • A one (1) page resume or biography of the writer
New to the Competition?

Maybe you already have a completed script that fits the above criteria that you could revisit and revise? Dig it out and give it a read. If it's not quite where you want it to be then get rewriting, you have just under three weeks!

Alternatively, why not start your 2012 submission now? Look how much time you have to develop it and get it right... or at least, find the right story to tell and figure it all, saving the mad rush at the end that comes with being unprepared!

To the Savvy

If you are currently slaving away at your competition entry and beginning to sweat a little from the heat of the deadline. Keep at it and I wish you the best of luck!

You can find further details on the competition, a list of past winners and their script titles, and download an application form at the Emmy Foundation award page. Or you can find the application form and detailed rules and regulations here.

Good luck!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Journey of the Self: The Evolving Scriptwriter

During the process of writing a script, new things are learnt, new layers and ways of doing things are found. Upon completion, each draft, revision, and finished script brings you closer to identifying and employing the various elements that a script comprises of and to creating a well executed story, plot and characters. But just as important for new writers is the friction created between ourselves and the outside forces, and importantly what is learnt in the ensuing conflict, before and after embarking on a script. 

With the first draft of an overdue and long TV Drama Spec complete (the follow up script is well under way) and the process and writing experience faded somewhat from my memory. Fortunately I had pre-assembled a list of the main self-development points that I encountered and rediscovered along my journey in the beginning stages of this project.

1) Putting Things Off

For sometime early into 2010 I held the view that my life is a measure of time in which to write everything in. So I would write everything, in time. What's the rush? I thought. I had more patience than a saint - probably even Gandhi! It was comforting because I adore all of my projects; they are lifelong companions and ambitions, but it was nice to relax knowing that I had the freedom to write, ability to learn, and know-how to realise these projects in my own time and way.

"But would you get around to writing as much as you should because of all this time you have?"

Good point.

"What if you were in an accident tomorrow and could no longer write, or see the page or screen?"

Exactly.

At the time I was generating new ideas and developing projects but I wasn't actually scriptwriting, pushing myself too much, or putting myself out there. Part of this approach is because I wanted a break from the pursuit and to find my way. I didn't want to get too bogged down with all the pressure of post-university and the label that comes with wanting to write for the screen (any screen that is).

But after taking it easy for awhile, it didn't take long to realise that the relaxed and putting things off approach was completely wrong and counter-productive. It made me too relaxed and too reliant on the future. I should have been more concerned with the present. It did help in the lull of post-university and to gather some momentum into the future. But as a guide to live by it's pretty useless.

2) Time Waits for No One

In fact it'll happily go behind your back on the matter and wave to you as it flies by, probably even bust a move or moonwalk you into obscurity. It doesn't care either way, but we should.

The truth is it's relatively easy to miss writing sessions and lose a hold on current progress and momentum going forwards on a project, when life and the world outside of writing calls. This is because it's something that has an immediate consequence and so often has to be seen to first. But the other side of that coin is the writer and his/her duty and ability to make time, and being assertive to others and themselves in keeping it.

Through some of the planning stages of TV Drama Spec and a small amount of the exploratory draft, my writing suffered a little at my inability to preserve and make proper use of my time. But I soon realised the importance in keeping the progress train of a project moving forwards because when it stops or delays, time has the ability to just zoom by, and within each hour, day, week, even month, learning opportunities, confidence building, and writing progress are passing by. Not to mention it takes even longer to finish something and the feeling of wasted a opportunity is a horrible thing to bare.

But the trick was to start respecting myself as a writer and to respect my writing. To turn my passion and love for the project and its characters - the craft and screen - into action, self-belief, and an assertive campaign to see it through. I realised the past is the past and that tomorrow is another opportunity to learn, make progress on a project, and develop in some way. And if I want to get where I want to go, that should never be overlooked.

If we want to get anywhere, we've got to help ourselves.

3) Self-Discipline can be Difficult

At the end of a mentally and physically tiring working day it's easy to opt for a relaxing and fun evening, than take a seat and apply ourselves to a different set of tasks and mental challenges. Even for the most passionate and dedicated of writers some evenings are just a write-off because of the unpredictable day or week you may have had. But what is certain is that once the mind caves in on a writing session and displaces the responsibly over to the Yourself of Tomorrow, it's even easier to do again, and again.

But everybody works differently and has different levels of motivation, support and availability to write. But we just need to go through the motions and figure it out for ourselves. If it's something that we enjoy and truly want, then we'll find a way and in our own time. But remember that " in your own time" can sometimes be a counter-productive thing.


"Write, or get written off." - Ray Frensham

What I found was that I was faced with having to confront the truth on why I write. I needed to understand why I did it. Why did I enjoy it? Why I felt that I couldn't live without it. What I realistically expect of it. With this knowledge it helped to approach writing and each session in a new light, with a renewed energy, motivation and understanding. It also helped to alleviate some unnecessary pressure placed on myself by being realistic about goals and re-evaluating them.

"I write because..."

Why do you do it?

4) The Power of Staying Involved

It's said that you should write everyday because writing is like training a muscle on the body, and so it needs constant exercise. That makes sense. However, like a lot of things can be easier said than done. But is something that you have to realise, explore and act on by yourself.

When writing you feel the importance of regular sessions and staying connected because you understand first-hand the art and mechanics of writing. It's when you've been away from it awhile that you're a little out of touch and it doesn't all come as easily as it once did. But if you were constantly involved and writing something then there would be no need to re-educate yourself because it would be ingrained in your mind. But breaking the momentum and learning on a project or on the craft in general only sends you backwards in your writing and development.

This is something that is rediscovered, often met, but always aspired to with every project I have. Whilst writing I am aware that I'm in the front lines and understand the importance of staying there. But it all comes down to each individual situation, self-discipline, and the root of it all: Why do you write? and knowing how to power ourselves into each writing session and not put things off.

Naturally this is also true for reading relevant scripts and screenplays because an understanding of the craft and its experience is developed and strengthened with each script. The more we do and read, the more knowledge, experience, and understanding we will have: the better we will be able to apply ourselves and the more effective writer we will become.

It's about capitalising on the time we do have and potential we can reach.

5) Redefining Success

Success can be an elusive thing and complicated by low self-esteem, a lack of support or encouragement, and made worse by self-comparison with others, especially those currently in a desired professional position, or those with achievements, as well as competition with peers, friends and pressure from family.

But what can easily be forgotten in the midst of that is not only a personal enjoyment in our own work, learning and achievements, but that each professional or someone who has achieved something desirable all started somewhere - it didn't happen over night for them. Hard work day-to-day is the reason they are where they are today. It's important to remember that we are all on our own paths with different abilities, resources and time put in, and should stay true to that road.

When writing a script intended for the screen, success isn't getting it optioned, or seeing it on television, or on sale in a shop or website. Not for me, or for many other aspiring writers. It's nice to dream about that happening and it's motivating, but it's not a realistic achievement right now. It may be for a more experienced writer but that's something that he or she has put a lot of effort in to earn, and so rightfully, that is their next point of success. But for the rest of us it makes sense to start with small goals and achievements, and build momentum, learning, and confidence effectively.

What is success?

The Evolving Scriptwriter

With this first draft and return to actual scriptwriting (this post is long overdue) it brought home the importance of breaking through these five barriers once and for all. At the time, it was frustrating that I still had some issues and unresolved problems in these areas but that made me even more determined to reach the next step by facing them.

But only through action can we achieve what we desire. Only through writing, reading and engaging with others can we grow into confident and effective writers. But it's best to be moving (writing, networking, collaborating, learning, etc.) and not feeling so confident, underdeveloped, and a little unsure about certain things than to be doing nothing at all, and standing still.

Above all, love what you do because happiness is the key to success.

Only forwards.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Story Continues...

It's official.

I've not only moved blogs but have settled on a template, a look and even a title! There were many sleepless nights I can assure you. I'm rewarding myself now with some chocolate digestive biscuits and a cup of tea. Well earned.

If you're reading from a feed reader, or listening through the podcast, then come and pay the blog a visit and check out the new look in person. A picture (or podcast) are no substitute for experiencing the real thing!

You may have noticed the Twitter logo in the left hand corner. That's right. I'm now connected to the tweet network. Feel free to follow me and receive blog updates and whatever else is going on, or not going on. Hopefully I'll pick it all up in no time but if it takes me awhile, any tips?

You can also join the blog's new Facebook Fan Page to show your appreciation and interest; receive blog updates and comment on the posts themselves, spread the word and likes, or start a relevant scriptwriting, film, television or webseries discussion.

As a special treat here's a look into the future of blogging via Scriptwriter With A Cause. It makes me proud to see her in this cool and sexy new way:


Before getting carried away with the new blog, a moment of silence for the old one....

The Screenwriting Craft

B.I.P 
(2006 - 2011)

It was fun. But it's time to develop and move on. That blog will now be an archive of my assignments and time at Bournemouth University on BA (Hons) Scriptwriting for Film & Television (2006 - 2009), and shortly after. However, it's not all doom and gloom as she can be seen and experienced in a whole new dynamic way too.


But enough with the style, it's time for some content...

Thanks for visiting and I hope you stay awhile.

Best wishes!

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