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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.

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