Monday, 31 December 2007

2007 ... What happened?

Erm, I procrastinated a lot?

Actually, I procrastinated a lot less than usual. Which is progress of a sort. :) Well that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I actually managed to finish a screenplay, which is something I haven't done for a few years now. Mainly because I decided to get off my arse and actually write one, rather than just fanny about with ideas, and characters, and scenes.

I wrote my first outline this year. Which probably explains why I managed to actually write a screenplay; rather than getting part way through, discovering a bunch of problems and putting it aside to deal with later -- after a suitably long period of contemplation ... usually somewhere between years and never.
I have stacks of these. *rolls eyes* You'd think I'd have cottoned on earlier.

I started this blog as part of an effort to force myself to finish the screenplay. -- It worked! Success! :)

I entered South West Screen's writer development competition on purpose, and didn't place as a winner or runner up. They kind of liked it but said it needs a tonne of work before it will be filmable.

I put the script on TriggerStreet for some feedback, and accidentally found myself nominated as a runner up for the Script Of The Month competition in October! The professional coverage I won as a result of that basically slapped me about for having the audacity to enter a first draft for feedback, and said it needs a tonne of work before it will be filmable. I'm noticing a common theme here. :)

I decided to put together an application to the UK Film Council for funding ... that hasn't happened yet, so that's moved on to my list of things to do for 2008.

What else did I achieve this year?

Well, one of the problems with moving back to the West Country and deciding you need a job that will allow you time to write ... is that jobs like that in the wilds of Devon are not that easy to come by, or any job for that matter. Heck just getting an interview in the wilds of Devon is an achievement all by itself! -- After you've applied for a job you have over 7 years experience in and are pretty darned good at thank you very much, for the umpteenth time, and have been pipped to the post by someone with more experience than you, for the umpteenth time, aside from the obvious question: Where are all these other over qualified F**KERS coming from?, you tend to get a little dispirited.
But next year looks promising: After a succession of temporary part time jobs, I finally landed one in a field I'm actually qualified for (from my early forays into the job market, way back when), and which I have been informed will become a permanent full time job in mid to late January. The wage isn't the suckiest wage out there, but it's close, and it's gonna be difficult to live on. However, 4 days on, 3 days off, means that I will at least get some proper time for writing. Hooray!

So, you ask, why am I trying to work in a field that isn't writing related? Hey, I've got to keep a roof over my head and eat. If I could get a writing related job, I would, but they just aren't available where I am. And right now I need to be here, surrounded by greenery and wholesome country goodness. It's a deep inner need, the same way writing is a deep inner need.
But you can write for people who live a long way off, and post in your work.
Yeah, right.
If you can track those employers down and get a steady income from it, good for you. I haven't managed to conquer that part of the writing field yet. I keep trying, but so far nothing regular, or well paid enough, to actually live off.

But next year, next year looks promising. And it starts tomorrow!

Guess I'd better get off my arse and get a proper writing regime up and running.

So, what are your plans for 2008?

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


UK writers support the WGA

Potential: a work in progress

Well, the idea still has a lot of potential ... more than it did initially, even!

Potential is great, but it does need to be realised to have any meaning at all. *sigh* -- shut it Plato.

The idea wasn't working in it's initial form, so I played around with it a bit, came up with several different stories based around the same basic core, but I couldn't get them to play.
I thought I'd got lucky with the latest one, but about three quarters of the way through the outline process it fizzled out ... no spark.

And pondering that, I realised that, at the moment, I'm not in the right place to write about the emotions involved in the theme I chose. A relatively new theme for me. Guess it's not baked yet. Internal stuff that I'm only partially conscious of.


So I've filed the whole lot in my ideas folder, for future reference. Potential, waiting for completion, waiting for form.


And so to pick on an old idea and work on that.

At least I think I know where I'm going now, and that's something. Instead of feeling about in the dark, trying to grasp at stars, there is a light on the horizon now. Something to aim at.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

It worked!

Posting about my terror of finding a story has worked, my brain has actually managed to come up with an idea that I'm mostly happy with. Still needs some work, but it has potential.

Darn, that means I have to put together a treatment, and a synopsis, and fill in their forms...

It's most unreasonable of the UK Film Council to request enough information on a project to make a rational decision as to whether they will supply funding for it or not. They should just throw money at me! Without asking any questions at all!

I guess I'd better go do some writing. Or maybe I can procrastinate for a bit? ;-)


*sigh* I hear the keyboard calling its Selkie siren song.

Oh, and posting The Grim on TriggerStreet went horribly right. I've just got back my coverage - from my favourite reviewer at ScriptShark (how lucky was that!). Very, very useful feedback and suggestions.

... I now feel slightly guilty for putting the reviewer through the pain of reading my script in all its first draft, car-wreck glory. - - If you're reading this, "Sorry."

And if you, my gentle readers, are suckers for other people's punishment, you can go read the coverage at the same link I gave for reading the screenplay on the post below.
Yeah, that's right. Leg work. Go on. Scroll down and find it.


Sunday, 28 October 2007


My next post was going to be about the 3 gifts my Fairy Godcat cursed me with: writing, procrastination, and reckless optimism. But I'm going to save that for another time. This is more urgent, I need to splurge.

I'm blocked! Actually, no, that's a total lie.

I'm scared.

... And I am allowing my brain-melting terror to melt my brain. How pathetic is that. And due to my terror, I'm going to side-step the issue and work up to it...

I originally set up this blog to force myself into writing and finishing my last script. And it worked! The terror of blogging (instant readership) outweighed my terror of people - honest to goodness strangers - actually getting to read my screenwriting (delayed/potential readership).

I finished my script #1, in all it's first draft, car-wreck glory, and entered it into South West Screen's development competition, and also posted it on TriggerStreet for comments so that I could get enough ammo to work out how to rewrite the sucker.

And that's when everything went horribly wrong... or possibly right...? - - Jury's still out on that.
It virtually leaped like a salmon into the top ten on TriggerStreet, and then *horror* got nominated for Screenplay Of The Month. ... Sure, it's an okay story, but it does need a heck of a lot of work still. I can only assume I got very lucky with the readers who were assigned to it#2. What this means is that I get free coverage from ScriptShark. Very cool. Which will no-doubt point out all the many areas that need work (assuming they have enough space in the coverage for that!), so I'm looking forward to getting this. It will be excellent to get professional coverage. I am a very happy bunny, in that respect.

What is causing the brain-melt ... finally I cut to the chase ... is that with delusions of actually possibly, maybe having the talent to be a screenwriter [unwavering core of self-belief and total arrogance#3 asserts itself: I have talent. I am a god of screenwriting, it's just that no one has noticed yet!], I am trying to put together an application to the UK Film Council for funding so that I don't have to worry about where the next meal is coming from while I devote myself full time to writing one of my screenplays.

This is where the brain-melt sets in: which one?

A brand new one? Fleshing out an old idea for a new one? Rewriting a first draft? ... ARGH!

Each time I sit down to narrow down my options, pick a story/create a story, I get part way into it and then look at the decisions I'm making and question them into oblivion. It's the fear that's doing it. The exact same fear I want to comment on properly in future posts, the fear that I know I have to work on; the fear that prompted the title of the blog, the fear that prompted the creation of this blog. The fear of success (I think it is success rather than failure?), which then leads to procrastination.

Darn it, I am going to be a professional screenwriter! I just need to get this effing self-doubt under control. *gnashing of teeth* I blame my parents. ;)

#1 Title:The Grim, genre: horror. Here's a link, if you're mad enough to want to read it: The Grim

#2 It wasn't good enough to make the shortlist for South West Screen's recent development competition.

#3 All screenwriters have this - no matter their level of talent or lack thereof. Ignore any denials, if they didn't have it they wouldn't be trying to earn a living as a self-employed writer. Okay, maybe not all, but I reckon the majority do. So nyar! *blows raspberry*

Friday, 3 August 2007

Trial & Error - the start of my screenwriting journey

I'm one of those unfortunate souls who was cursed with "writing" at birth. I guess my Fairy Godmother has a wicked sense of humour -- but since I suspect that she is in fact a cat, I'm not surprised.

You've probably already guessed that I'm a little eccentric ... well, okay, mad. But I figure as long as I'm not a danger to myself or others, where's the harm?
Erm. Don't answer that. Where was I?

... Writing.

The curse of writing.

I've been writing snippets of stories and making up worlds for as long as I can remember, but then in 1992 something happened that changed my life. I saw Batman Returns, and it sparked against an old thought I'd had watching the Batman & Robin TV series (well over a decade earlier), and that was that. Inspiration. Struck down by the Muse.

Over the next two months I watched the film 8 times and rewatched Batman 14 times, investigated the Batman comics (Arkham Asylum - from Vertigo, is a favourite), and then went on holiday to Tuscany with my family and spent half of it locked in a room writing.

My family thought I was mad - why this seemed to be a new concept to them, I have no idea ... or maybe I just hit a new depth of insanity as far as they were concerned? Quite frankly, I don't care. I loved every second of it. While they were enjoying Italy, I was staring out of the window at the sky.

Best. Holiday. Ever!

By the end of it, I had written Batman's Grave, and thus committed the first major error of many aspiring screenwriters: creating a spec sequel to an existing franchise. I then made the second error -- convinced of its excellence and thus gaily ignoring the rules of format, I tracked down an address for Tim Burton and sent it off.

Oh boy. I cringe to think about it now.

I can only apologise to any one who had the misfortune of trying to read it back then. Hopefully it hit the bottom of the round file unopened.

But that was when I first really realized that someone, somewhere wrote a screenplay for each film that was made. And that possibly, just possibly it might be something I should be doing with my life. -- The length of a screenplay was less daunting than that of a novel, AND it was moving pictures and moving emotions ... and that held a magic for me - a sparkling desire - to see my story playing on the big screen at my favourite cinema. I was hooked. My Fate sealed. I had glimpsed that screenwriting is who I really am, who I'm supposed to be, my destiny.



There's a cat laughing somewhere, I know it.

What have I been doing since then? Procrastinating.