Scriptwriter's Shed

The joy, the pain, and the long journey from script to screen.

Archive for the month “August, 2010”

Writing – it’s a love/hate relationship.

Well, that’s it… it’s finished.

I’ve written, rewritten and tweaked as much as I possibly can and it’s finally all over. On and off it’s taken me close to a year to get my 90 minute screenplay to a standard I’m satisfied with – although I’m not ‘actually’ satisfied, you understand. That would be silly.

Around about the time I’d finished the fourth draft, I suddenly became trapped in a continuous state of both loving and hating everything about my script: the characters, the story, the plot, the dialogue… even the way it looked on the page.

My brain went into meltdown, I ate myself half to death with junk food and I began reading the script to the dog and asking him whether he thought it sounded OK (mostly, he was quite impressed). It was at this point I realised I could do no more.

Now, as I sit writing this blog post – wearing the jumper I’ve knitted from the hair torn from my scalp – I’m reflecting on whether it was all worth it. All that torture… the desperate soul-searching… the late nights… the early mornings… the feeling that I was about as much use as a steaming heap of rabbit droppings… the fear that no-one will ever show so much as a passing interest in what I’ve written anyway… was it worth all that?

YES, by *ecky thump, yes it was!! It was worth every single torturous second.

As I typed “THE END” at the bottom of the script and closed down the page, the immense relief I felt at having seen the project through to the bitter end set me on an incredible high. It may not be perfect… it may not even be all that good… but it’s as perfect and as good as I can make it, and that alone feels like a huge achievement.

The biggest thrill of all, though, came when I sat in my chair this morning and fired up my laptop.

After months of self-doubt and wondering whether this path was really the right one for me, I felt excited about writing again. The kind of ‘unknown’ excitement that I haven’t felt for quite some time. I opened up my ‘ideas’ page and my mind began to race. New focus… new ideas… new characters… new stories… the possibilities are endless.

And that’s the great thing about being a writer… the possibilities are always endless.

* Special thanks to The Goodies for introducing me to the words “Ecky Thump” when I was six years old:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJxGi8bizEg&feature=search

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Hurray for Script Readers!

15 long months later and I’m back to write my second blog post. One blog post a year is better than none at all, right?

I’ve completed the final draft of my screenplay and I’m now filling my hours ‘tweaking’ the hell out of it. I thought the definition of  ‘tweak’ was to make small adjustments. I’ve been making these small adjustments for what feels like weeks. However many times I read the script through, there is ALWAYS a way to improve it.

I’ve been reading a lot of writers’ blogs lately, and soaking up the combined wisdom of those I respect has encouraged me to analyse my script to within an inch of its life.

This is the third full-length screenplay I’ve written. The first was when I was 14. The second was last year. The former was dire, the latter, much better – receiving both positive and negative comments from BBC Writersroom.

The Writersroom rejection really hit home, but in a good way. Why? Because, when I reread my script, I agreed with every negative comment the script reader had made – AND the positive ones, of course. It became immediately clear that good script readers DO know what they’re talking about ( after all, she did say the script had been created by an intelligent mind). Things about my script that I hadn’t even noticed suddenly became blindingly obvious.

So, if you’re a new writer, don’t see negative feedback as a personal attack on you or your script; see it as a way of improving your writing and making your scripts and your characters better and stronger.

I also encourage you to read, read, read as many blogs of script readers and writers as you can cram in. The posts they so kindly take the time to write are an invaluable source of information.

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