A place I go to waste time and put off actually WRITING movie scripts. Join me.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

14 Days + 1 Willing Writer = 1 Movie Script. Umm...

Confession time: I failed.

That's true in as much as I hit the deadline last week and was not faced with a completed feature-length script. I pushed myself and made it to page 76, but couldn't quite find those last few hours of what happened to be the busiest 14 days of my year so far to get it done. That's not to say that I didn't try. My partner Amy's loneliness during those two weeks is proof of that. I wish to extend my thanks to her for her unflinching support, as ever.

So, even though I might have fallen short of the ultimate goal of the two weeks I learned a lot about myself and my writing.

Here they are in quick bullet-point format:

  • My fingers still type after eight hours at my desk... just VERY SLOWLY.
  • My brain, however, does all its best thinking before the four hour mark.
  • I can push through the "Can't-I-do-something-else" reflex that occurs after about 45 minutes and it becomes "How-long-can-I-keep-going"... at least it does on the good days.
  • Jasmine Green Tea is perfect to fill in the gaps in quality thought. I drunk LOTS!
  • Contrary to the belief of one Homer J. Simpson, if something's hard to do it IS worth doing.
My writing:
  • Having just the point of the scene (what you want to achieve) in mind gives your innate sense of story the room to explore its execution.
  • Dialogue writes itself - most of the time - and is often the least important part of a scene.
  • Let the characters do what they will, occasionally guiding them in the direction you wish to go.
  • Embrace change. Do not work against it.
  • There is NO substitute for time.
I'm pleased with what I've learned through this process and with what I've achieved. Having now just got over the second script-killing plot-hole I suspect another week to ten days of hard work and I'll have a finished first draft to tidy up and chalk up to experience if nothing else.

Thanks to Anthony and everyone over at 14 Day Screenplay. The next one's scheduled for October so I'd encourage anyone who didn't do it this time to seriously consider it. If nothing else, at least you might discover the depth of your love for hot brewed beverages.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jurassic Park 4: Dino's With The Stars

Oh the perils of an open-plan house!

After having suffered through the first episode of Channel 7's new singing-celeb reality show It Takes Two in my peripheral vision a few days ago, I realised how grossly inappropriate the genre's name has now become.

Reality? Exactly whose reality are we talking here?

For those lucky souls who mercifully missed this particular slice of TV hell, the show pairs a bunch of mostly-obscure actors and the odd newsreader (the 'celebrities') with a number of mostly-forgotten or hard-up singers to bang out songs we've all heard a thousand times before, and done a thousand times better. It is then the viewing public's dubious honour to swell C7's bank account by SMS-voting to keep their favourite warbling away, week after week. And, of course, it's all for a good cause.

If I seem somewhat non-complimentary about the whole thing that'd be because the whole 'Doing-X-with-Celebrities' sub-genre's underlying ego-massage masquerading as philanthropy makes me fume. How has it all become so incestuous? I was under the impression that a big part of the appeal of the reality show was the fact that those taking part were unknowns, maybe achieving an ambition they'd long harboured. At least in its infancy the genre embodied a sense of hope and possibly inspiration for the viewing public, perhaps giving that little shove to a few people to get them off their backsides and down to next year's Idol auditions. That factor, the one positive in the whole horrible genre, is being increasingly exorcised. We now have shows dedicated to people who have already had their shot at fame and exposure and, like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, 'nature selected them for extinction'. Yet these people are being resurrected and presented with another opportunity. These are people who have (or have had) better-paying and more glamorous jobs and lifestyles than 95% of the population, and we're now giving them better-paying and more glamorous things to do when they're NOT at those jobs.

It Takes Two, along with Dancing With The Stars, is the height of popular primetime television entertainment in Australia today. I'm upset by that, though not surprised. The genre has now become so inward-looking that it's in danger of disappearing up its own sequin-encrusted backside.

I'll be watching that night for sure.