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.

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