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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Script Competitions, Balls & Flow

It's never wise to write a script solely for a competition.

The only thing on your mind being:
The Reward & Winning
Write a script because you enjoy the process; are interested in the exploration of story, character and form; saying something about the human condition; forming an emotional and entertaining journey; and developing as a writer and person. Not because you want to pimp it out to a competition and get something back.

Script competitions are great for a previously completed script that may be ready or just needs a rewrite/polish. They are ideal for an experienced writer who has a body of spec work and is looking for some recognition and a way forward.

They are also good for beginner writers entering once or twice to test the waters, or for fun as a screenwriting hobby.

If you get a kick out of the process and thrill of writing a script for a competition: enjoy the challenge and creating to a deadline. Keep on doing what you're doing. But keep in mind that Your Script Is Not A Lottery Ticket.

Balls Rolling 

I have come to realise it's unwise to try and get the ball rolling with script competitions before spending a solid amount of time writing, researching and figuring things out.

The world will always be in a rush and operating at top speed, but that doesn't mean we have to sacrifice learning, experience and preparation (and our sanity) to be in a mad rush with it.

We are only making things more difficult for ourselves in trying to acquire our dreams in the same vein as we would acquire a takeaway. Some things require a lot more effort, patience, time and understanding, and are all the more sweeter for it.

Script Flow 

Writing only for script competitions will eventually burn out the most passionate of writers, either from overworking, worrying, or being disappointed and disheartened when nothing comes of it.

But things don't have to be this way.

It makes sense to spend some good years writing, reading and learning while honing your own writing process, craft and voice; amassing ideas, concepts and projects; and creating a foundation for your writing.

With a little effort and the above you'll be surprised at how you adapt and develop. Each day is an opportunity to move forward: to learn something, and write a bit more.

It's good to keep in mind that a writing ambition is a marathon, not a hundred metre sprint.

Write for passion, enjoyment and craft - not for reward. 

Good luck* on whatever path you choose.

May the flow be with you!

*Good Luck: Where Preparation Meets Opportunity 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

What We Can Learn From Facebook

The story of Facebook and its rise and rise and rise fascinates. Most success stories and personal achievements inspire, but this one is different.

That has only deepened over the last week as I received The Social Network on rental and have watched it four times. That includes 2 x film watch, 1 x with David Fincher commentary and 1 x with Aaron Sorkin & cast commentary.

Even after four watches, I am more drawn to and compelled by the film than ever - as well as the origin of Facebook's success story, filmmaking, the industry, business and people in general.

Ultimately it's about people: their personalities and desires; their talents and flaws; their failures and achievements. Everyone is the same under the surface but different and fascinating in their construct and actions.

As writers, the more we experience, observe and learn about people the more informed, realistic and powerful our writing becomes.

Facebook's Success 

Ultimately what I feel the success of Facebook boils down to is that it successfully tapped into a fundamental human need. One that is ever present and that people consciously or unconsciously strive for daily:

To feel important - be important to others and to matter. 

We all have the need to feel important in our everyday lives whether online or offline. If we don't get that sense of importance within relationships, friends, family, community, society, peers, school, college, work, profession, and within the world, then elements break down and life can get pretty miserable and leave us unfulfilled.

However, with Facebook you get the opportunity to feel important infinitely each day with every private message, comment, like, friend add, request, tag, share and so on. You get your own webpage to express yourself and status updates to inform people what you're up to, share your personality, interests and opinions. As well as being kept in the loop on what is going on everywhere else.

What Can We Learn As Writers? 

At the core of human beings there is a need to feel important and be important to others in daily life. This may come in the form of love, affection, money, respect, status, acceptance, friendship, and so on.

A gaping void, weakness, over-abundance or loss in one area is usually what brings a story into life, as a person is striving for something they don't have and/or is affected by another's pursuit in doing so. Often the outcome will make them feel important within the scheme of things and/or to someone, or will fail miserably.

This matter of how a person goes about getting their perceived worth and importance in life is determined by their upbringing and past, which is also informed by their current environment and personality. This inherently - directly or indirectly - causes a lot of drama and conflict.

That is what we like.

Keeping this in mind will help us to understand our characters and make them human in our writing.

How do your characters get or fail to get their importance in life, how has that affected them and what are they willing to do to get what they want/need - that is the question(s). 

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