Thursday, August 26, 2010

How I Became A Writer

I've been memed thanks to Michelle Goode, who nominated me for this on her blog, even though I have already written the comedy version a few weeks ago. The reality is less entertaining I assure you.

I was twenty-three when I wrote my first screenplay, basically out of sheer boredom. I had been unemployed for something close to six months (which ended up being nearly nine, mind numbing, soul sapping, months) and was running out of things to keep me occupied. I had just finished reading John Wagner's Button Man and decided I would have a go at writing my own screenplay version of it. I had always been in love with TV and the movies ever since I saw the film Dirty Harry when I was thirteen. For some reason I found myself identifying with Harry, bad as he is, which all good film and TV characters should make you do. So I sat down at my computer and started to write.

I didn't plan, didn't work on the characters, didn't have any notes, I just wrote it from the heart. It took me something like six weeks to complete. I had a screenplay, a shit screenplay, but one I had written none the less. I felt a sense of achievement I had never felt before.

Looking back the script was bloody awful, but it did have some promising points. For a start I appeared to have a natural talent for plotting and pace, but on the other hand it was obvious my characters, dialogue and story had to be worked hard on if I was ever going to be any good. It was then I bought my first how to write a screenplay book, can't remember who's it was, as I don't have it anymore....but I think it might have been How To Teach Yourself Scriptwriting.

I sent the script out to a few production companies and got a few nice comments back in return, but I eventually put the script away in a draw as I was employed again. At that time writing was a distraction from being unemployed, it didn't even occur to me it could be more than a hobby.

A few years later I found myself stuck at home still living with the parents and in a dead end job. I wanted out, to find something that was me, to change my life. Recently a friend of mine had moved to Bournemouth so as I had decided to go back into education I looked up Bournemouth in the UCAS book and came across the only scriptwriting degree in the country at the time. Fate was calling me so I signed up for the course, and, as they say, the rest is history.

If I hadn't have found the Scriptwriting for Film & TV BA (Hons) degree in the UCAS book my life would be a whole lot different now. I'd probably have more money for a start, and I certainly wouldn't have this obsession with writing that I do. I'm glad I opened that book when I did.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back To The Drawing Board

Friday the 13th....EEK! It could have been so much worse.

First of on a personal note, my lovely wife had her twelve week scan today. We were very nervous because earlier in the year she had a miscarriage at seven weeks and although we were very grateful to get to twelve weeks, there was still a chance things might not be right. And what idiot gave us a scan date on Friday the 13th anyway? Someone who thinks they have a sense of humour no doubt. Well done you.

Luckily things were OK. The baby was asleep (like child, like father), but we could see the heart clearly and it was going ten to the dozen. We were relieved. So it's now official I will be a dad for the second time on February the 26th 2011. GET IN!!!

And then came my notes for my Red Planet submission. The sixty pages were done, but I knew something wasn't sitting right, couldn't put my finger on it, so I sent it out to the lovely Bang2Write.....she gave it to me straight like she always does...ooh, err!

'Get rid of the police,' she said. I stared blankly at her...or I would have done if she hadn't have said that in an email. So I stared blankly at the email instead. Get rid of the police? What, all of them? Yep, all of them, not just in this episode but in all the others too. Holy crap! Bangers (as I never call her) is most often than not spot on with her judgement and I trust her above all others. But get rid of the police? In a crime drama? But she's right! Fecking cow!

So I have roughly two weeks to write another draft, with changes of roughly 50%, surgically removing the fuzz, focusing more on the protagonist Mad Frank Hattman. The police will be there, not in the foreground, but in the background, a presence rarely seen, a threat implied not forced into your face like an unwelcome dildo. It's going to be's actually going to be very tough. Two weeks is pushing it even if it does need to be done.

So today could have been much worse, but all in all I'm satisfied with what I've got.

Best get on.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Writing With The Wife

When my fellow script writers started following my wife, even though she isn't a writer herself, it got her to thinking. This led to her starting her own blog and she freely admits she really enjoys the writing.

Last night we were watching a recorded episode of Misfits while shouting out what we thought people's powers were. We were both spot on. Then my wife piped up, "I should be a writer." That somehow led me to offering her the opportunity to help me write one of my scripts.

Normally I would be daunted by the prospect of my wife trying to help me with anything I do, mainly because I'm such a control freak and I like things done just so. On more than one occasion my wife has hoovered up and I've then gone and done it again just because she missed a bit. I'm not saying my wife doesn't do a fantastic job when she hoovers, I'm just saying I'm anal about making sure all the dog hairs, including the ones that congregate in the corners of the room are hoovered up.

But I'm not in the least worried about writing with my wife, as she reads all of my scripts and offers me her insight which is always very helpful. She has even read and advised Bang2Write - Lucy. So I have decided to take the plunge and let my wife have a go. It might just be the step I need to take to get my career up to the next level.