Wednesday, January 31, 2007

One Too Many

"OK, just one more then." - Anon.

This post has nothing to do with writing; it's a personal post, and serious, and therefore not an easy one to write.

"You're an alcoholic, Dominic!"

I have a comeback prepared for such occasions. "I'm not an alcoholic, I'm a drunk. Alcoholics know they have a problem." I thought it funny, but it isn't, because ironically my comeback is true.

Don't get me wrong I don't get up every morning and brush my teeth with two litres of vodka. I'm not a full blown alcoholic, I just have a problem with alcohol. Alcohol related problems come in many shapes and forms, mine is that even though I don't drink everyday, when I do drink I don't have a stop button. I'm only 12 stone and slim (ish), but yet I have an unnatural tolerance for alcohol. Where as most people are drunk on six pints I can drink twelve or more.

I may go a week or two without drinking but when I do go out I drink until I either run out of money (very rare) or I'm so drunk I want to go home to bed. I can't go into a pub and just have a quiet couple.

I used to wear my drinking exploits like a badge of honor and I now know this was wrong. Drinking non stop for fifteen hours is not clever. Drinking until you lose count of how many you've had is not impressive; nor are blackouts, two day hangovers, making your wife cry, vomiting until there's nothing left, and realising you've pissed away £150 worth of booze in one night.

So after Saturday night out doing the usual I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to quit.....forever!

Never again will I grace the bar surfaces of Stavanger, Norway, half naked and entertaining the locals with my silly beer poems. Never again will I wake up in a hedge and wonder how I got there. Never again will I spend the day after trying to find my wallet only to discover it in the freezer compartment of the fridge. Never again will I spend another night on the sofa. Nor will I receive several days of silent treatment from the wife. It's over, once and for all. The End. Full Stop!

So as a final farewell to my days of being a drunken twat here is one of my beer poems.

I love beer,
Beer is great,
If he were a bloke,
He'd be my best mate.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cop This

What a book. I bought this yesterday because it looked interesting and I didn't put it down until I'd finished, and believe me that's a rare thing.

The book is an active beat officer's daily musings of the job he signed on to do and the job he actually does. It's funny, insightful and gives the reader the real inside story of modern day policing. It illustrates just how unprotected the average citizen is from crime.

He also has a daily blog which I always read with interest; have a look see at

Just imagine if they made a TV police drama based on this book? Less The Bill, more The Thin Blue Line.

I'm seriously thinking about leaving the country.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


We have to do it sometime, but should we let it get in the way of a good story?

As an unsold writer research uses up a lot of my writing time, time I think should be better spent getting the script into a good as state as possible. Obviously if you're writing a script about real life then some form of research needs to be done.

Let's say one of my characters is a firefighter, how much research should I do? Just enough to make it convincing, that's what I say. I know, that's a very ambiguous statement; how much is enough and how much is too much? Let me put it this way, if I was researching firefighters I would find out how many people were on a fire truck, what their specific jobs were, rankings, and times of shifts. I don't need to go into great detail, like what pressure the water is when it comes out of the hose, as I really only need enough information to cover the basics. For example, I don't need to know about pensions and death cover unless I specifically need this in the script, otherwise the research is unnecessary.

What I should be doing is thinking about the kind of emotions a firefighter might go through and if I can use them in the script. Getting the character right is more important than what diameter hose he's using on what fire. As long as I know a firefighter will use a hose, and the rough tactics he'll employ, to put out a fire I don't really need to dig any deeper.

However, when the script is sold you can afford to do more research on firefighters for the many rewrites you'll be asked to do. Research in this instance is fine and expected, and the more that is done the better the script. Otherwise, if you do a lot of research for your first draft you are using valuable time that should be used for writing. It's the writing that's important and not how much research has been done.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New Model Of Structure

The report cards are being filled slowly, but a different structure to the initial one I envisioned has presented itself.

This is a good thing, playing with the conventional and opening up new possibilities of telling the story is why I use these cards, they offer a flexibility of change that a beat sheet does not. Now I'm looking at a non-linear telling of the story and to be honest it's an improvement and gives the story a greater impact.

I am however, struggling with a subplot. As the story is about prostitution and wanting a better life I am aware that to make this script different I have to steer clear of cliches of the genre. I want the overall feel of the script to be bleak and dark, but the subplot I want to put in does lift the tone slightly. A character offers a regular act of kindness to Faith, but I can't quite decide if he volunteers this regular act (illustrating there is hope out there amongst Faith's bleak surroundings) or if Faith pays him with free sexual favours. The latter would be in keeping with the tone (nothing in this life is free, you have to work at what you want). A bit more thought on that before I make my final decision, I think.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Challenge Dom-The Start

I've decided which script I'm going to write. It was between two, a robbery comedy with a difference or Faith, a dark drama about prostitution and escaping the streets of London. I have said previously that I wasn't going to write Faith just yet as I wanted to write something a bit lighter, but on reflection I feel that I should be writing what I want to write and not what I think the industry might be looking for at the moment, so Faith wins.

Now, to keep you all informed of how I'm getting on I will be making regular posts. To help you identify them quickly each post about the challenge will have a picture of me in the corner, scary I know but this way you will know it's a post about the challenge rather than a random post about nothing in particular.

Right, nose to the grindstone. As Faith is an idea that has been floating around for several years now most of the plot and characters are worked out, so I feel confident starting to lay out my key scenes.

This is how I do this. First I buy a pack of record cards (6" by 4" nice large £1.99 stationary heaven from WH Smiths) to write down scenes on. What I usually do is take 40 cards, 10 for act one, 20 for act two, and 10 for act three, and write a brief description of as many keys scenes as possible on these cards (in pencil, as pen is hard to rub out and change). Then I lay them out on the floor (or pin them up) and see if the structure is working. Remember these are only the key scenes so I don't have to use the full 40 cards, and obviously there are going to be more than forty scenes in the script. I use these cards just to make sure of structure and as a guide for when I finally get down to the writing. Other people write beat sheets, I use record cards. I find them easier because I can swap them about to see if scenes will work better in a different order.

Better get on with it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Challenge Dom

Stuff the usual New Year's Resolutions, this year I'm setting myself goals which I shall attempt to achieve in full view of the blogging community. I will set myself a goal and keep you all updated on my progress in regular bulletins. It should provide a smidgen of mild amusement for you all in blogging land at the very least.

The first challenge is to write a feature script by the end of February. Yep, that's 90-120 pages of actual writing, something I didn't do a lot of over the last six months, in roughly eight weeks or less. Not an impossible task as I have written a 112 page script in six weeks before. However, the difference here is that I will also be doing rewrites on all of my back catalogue over the next six months, polishing and buffing them to perfection.

I'm taking the rest of this week to decide which of my many film script ideas I will be taking on for this challenge. When I know which one I will give you a few more details.

Watch this space.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Christmas Shorts Part 2

Nobody entered, so obviously there can be no winner. Looks like the turkey and Christmas pub won out on the day.