Monday, 30 May 2011

The Long and Winding Road...


Feels like I'm on a bit of a marathon stretch right now - what with finishing The Bright Lights and going straight into my final MA project. Add to that rewriting my short Fairground plus working on a couple of pitches for some TV companies and the amount of work between now and August 12th when I hand in my 90 minute script (+ the treatment for the next episode) is looks pretty daunting - so it helps to break things up into smaller goals.

Today I completed my initial pass at the new script - I'm not even calling it a first draft yet, there are too many bits I know need fixed for me to call it that. However, I was determined to get to this stage by the end of May and I've made it - which feels good. I now have a week to polish it up to proper 1st draft standard as I've promised my tutor a copy of it within the first week of June.

The journey from treatment to nearly-first-draft has been really interesting. My treatment had been well received and I think it makes for an exciting read. However 2 x 90 minutes is not a length I've written to before - all my previous work has been an hour or under - and so transposing the treatment into a script threw up some interesting problems. What worked in prose was wrongly paced in the screenplay and overly expositional - with condensed bursts of action and then long sections where nothing happened bar info dumping. I could see these problems emerging as I wrote but - frustrating as they were - I made myself plow on to get the whole thing down on paper before I got into tinkering with the specifics.

Now I'm at that stage, I've had a chance to see the project as a whole and I think I can see a way ahead - to a first draft anyway. After that my plan is to take a few weeks off this script to allow time to get some feedback and perspective while giving some attention to the other projects jostling for attention:

Fairground now has a director - the very talented Eva Riely who I'm delighted to be working with. Eva is on the European Engage and DigiCult schemes so its safe to safe she is going places. The film is being produced by the wonderful Lynsey Stewart and is taking shape nicely as we work to hone the project towards its shoot. It's great to be working with such good people and I'm so looking forward to seeing the film become a reality.

Also - I am due to submit a proposal for a new TV show to a couple of Indies. I pitched them an idea last month and they are keen to know more so I have to put together a document which sells the idea and briefly details the characters and the style of the programme. I've done these sorts of pitches for my writing MA but this is my first crack in the real world - I'm nervous but thankfully the development execs at both companies are good people and want to work with me to nail the format.

And after that - back to the MA project..! OK - so my 'break' is quite a busman's holiday but a change is as good as a rest. I always knew trying to break into being a screenwriter would be hard work and taking on an MA while working a full time day job doubly so - so I can't complain. Just got to keep my head down, create more bite sized goals and manage my workload. I promise come the end of the MA to take a proper weeks holiday!

ps - check out the Q&A I did this month with Cameo Curio for their 'Month of Marks' event - a really inspiring collection of reflections on creativity from folks around Edinburgh.