Saturday, 5 May 2012

Behind The Scenes | Project Nightingale

Three months ago I began work on my second project for the year: an urban horror series. 

The first: Project Spacebound began over four months ago and is being written at the same time. 

From Half-Idea to Series 

The big bang moment for this came when a half-idea met its title-to-be and fused together to become something with potential. The combination of those two intriguing elements told me that this was something to pursue.

Its title was a word I thought I had initially made up, as it just appeared in my head and got me hooked. It conjured up emotion, atmosphere, genre and images. Later on, I discovered it was a real word, however, its slang meaning better suited the show and helped define a major element.

The 'half-idea' was a notion and genre twist on a recent news story at the time. A 'what if...' scenario resulted and one that would lead into a high-concept horror sub-genre story. From then, I knew I had to construct a new and compelling narrative away from what already existed. 

Now I have the elements for an atmospheric and engaging urban horror series for television. I am finding that writing in a new genre offers a class in humility and a great opportunity to develop. 

Facing Genre 

Some genres are so well established, classic and done to death it can be off putting to attempt them.

However, as in life, it's important to face your fears and take the challenge and opportunity to develop your writing, experience and confidence.

Even now the popular sub-genre I'm working with is a little unnerving, especially when I think about it and everything that has been released.

Thankfully, the passion and faith I have in the story process gives me the confidence to relax and discover the elements - and just tell the story.

Crazy is Good 

Just because an idea isn't the norm and is lots crazy it doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue it. In fact, we should.

The most crazy ideas are the ones that should be explored as they challenge conventions and the audience experience, and you never know - may just work.

Early on, I knew this project was crazy. However, it is refreshing, exciting and daring. It certainly beats writing something easy.

Overall, it's a challenge to attempt a different spin on such a familiar and loved story world and sub-genre.

Meet New Characters 

Sometimes it's daunting knowing you are going to write certain characters that you haven't written before, have little or no experience with, or maybe don't particularly like.

Again, as in life, the trick is to embrace the challenge as it's the only way to develop writing skill, confidence and push forward.

There are characters in this I have never written before and feel a little removed from.

Although, at the core we are all the same. It's just a matter of research and stepping into their shoes via back story and setting.

Be Ambitious 

We were ambitious and took chances on a daily basis when we were younger. As we age it doesn't mean we have to slip into the conservative frame of mind and not test ourselves or risk anything.

If we don't take the risk we won't ever feel that the impossible is attainable, and won't even try.

Stay young at heart. No fear.

I will take the risk and bolt in for the ride because while I'm writing and learning, I'm having a blast.

Think: Plan B 

Not the band. Although inspiration can be drawn from their unique sound and risk taking.

But some projects inherently have a Plan B (or masked Plan A), as they are versatile and can be experienced in different forms and ways. It doesn't hurt to keep this in mind.

It pays to be honest with yourself on the function of a spec script and chances of one making it to screen.

Down the line when the script is twiddling its thumbs in my portfolio, it would be nice to be able to do something else with it and get the story experience out there.

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