Sunday, 14 February 2010

'Ideas are Hard' (Brockbank, 2010)

If there's one thing I've learnt from pursuing a career in writing it's that a good idea is half the battle. If you don't have something in your head that you actually care about and want to see where it will go, you might as well stop staring at a blank screen and give up. Because it's certainly not going to come that way.

Well this is my experience anyway. I'm not sure whether this is particular just to me but I usually find that once I have an idea mapped out in my head and the first few lines of a script written on the page the rest is easy. Well no, not easy. But easier. The first few lines and the commitment to the chosen story is just the encouragement needed. There will be plot changes, name changes and countless rewrites. But the very essence, the bare bones of what will one day be deemed good enough to be referred to as the final draft is there. And that always feel nice.

At the moment, I'm onto my third draft of a 20 minute comedy screenplay I am writing as part of my MA. The majority of the script uses inner monologue which I have used before but never to this extent. I would be lying if I said it wasn't a challenge. But what has shocked me about this script is the realisation that the rewriting and reworking that I often found extremely tedious is fast becoming my favourite part of the process as I fiddle and tweak changes that however insignificant always seem to make rather more of a dramatic change than I expected. Perhaps it's because in the past I was ignorant enough to think that the editing, re-writing and different drafts were not necessary. Looking back on the atrocities to English Language committed in my name, they most certainly were. How very silly of me. Will try Harder.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

OMG and FML it's Valentine's day 2moro

February 13th: The pre-cursor to a day of disappointment. Expectation is high, and self esteem is low.

Most people are hoping for at least one card even if it is from their Mum. And to be honest I never even got one from her (make of that what you will). And guess what, I'm not a fan of St Valentine and his annual day of ridicule (or is that not what he's the patron saint of?)

And it's not for the reasons most people site. Yes it is a horribly commercial and contrived celebration. Restaurants churn out crap mass produced dishes from a set menu and charge you extra for the privilege. Yes that's annoying too, but what really gets my goat is that Valentine's Day implies that you have to be madly in love with someone to be a part of the sham celebration that is February the 14th.

I remember vividly that when I was about 11 years old my older sister asked me who I was going to send a Valentine's card to. I panicked. I really didn't know who my valentine was. The day was fast approaching. I ended up blurting out the only boy who I knew my sister could verify was real even though I had no feelings whatsoever for my poor unsuspecting friend. Which, looking back I can see is perfectly natural as 11 was far too young to be considering such things as love and marriage. Even at the age of 23 I'm still not completely sold on the whole idea.

Eventually though I was outed as a fraud after I went on about it a bit too much, declaring my undying love rather too nonchalantly. My sister had uncovered my secret. And I was ashamed. Why didn't I fancy anyone. And of all month's to be so indifferent in relation to the subject, why February.

And that's why I don't like Valentine's day because it forces people to make bad decisions based on the fact that they don't want to be single or alone on this day. Like all the holiday seasons (if Valentine's day can be classed within this category) waiting for one day of the year to act a certain way is a cop-out.

So the next advertisement you see that tries to convince you to buy something nice or take that special person out for the evening, leave it a few days, a week, or a couple of months and show the person that you love just that.

Not because someone else thinks you should, but because you want to. I wonder which they'd prefer?

And if like me are almost puking onto your keyboard as you read this I shall leave a little video that for me, really encapsulates the spirit of the whole subject.

Friday, 5 February 2010

"The Hibernator"

Well it feels like only yesterday I was wishing you all a Merry Christmas and predicting a Happy New Year. And now its February. Already. But.... I meant to mention that during Christmas I tend to eat a couple of months worth of food in order to spend January and February sleeping it off. Yep, that's right I'm a Hibernator (It's like being The Terminator only more docile). So that's my excuse. And it's true. Honest.

Ok... so it's not true. But technically, it's not that far off. I mean it's not like I've spent the last month partying, socialising and generally living up to my reputation as a student. My days and nights have been spent mainly in one of three situations:

1. Eating,
2. Sleeping,
3. Sitting in front of keyboard and a blank screen

Poor girl, I hear you cry.

Fear not reader, it's not all bad.

Because all three of these tasks require me to stay stuck in the house, I'm finding more and more that I am succumbing to the reclusive and introverted condition that often affects writers. Not that I've ever been an extrovert, but more and more I feel able to communicate the world through words without being comfortable in it.

Hmm. Still sounds depressing, let me elaborate.

I say it's not all bad because, whilst it sounds I'm on the brink of depression, these thoughts and feelings actually enabled me to devise a short film script which is currently in production about a woman suffering from Agoraphobia (a fear of open spaces and the outside world). Writing it was too easy, when normally writing a script feels like gnawing a limb of with your milk teeth; a long and agonizing process. But I sort of understood my main character and she is definitely a part of me. I felt lonely with her but wondered how many other people have those days when they feel the outside world is just too scary, too tiring, too difficult or too stressful to have to bother with.

And writing about her, somehow was therapeutic. Because I knew she felt that way, it made me feel normal. I realise that talking about a fictional character this way probably makes anyone reading this think I'm anything but normal. And you're probably right. Normality is alien. But who wants to be normal anyways?