Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ah, how pleasant it is... be at that stage of a project just after completing the first draft, but before one's agent has sent it back with comments like 'Why did you think p.27 was a good idea YOU R-TARD!?' and 'Did you forget to send me the ending?' and 'Dude, forget what I told you, hip-hop space operas about giant robots are SO out now, ABORT ABORT!'

What happened was, in September I met Agent Matt for a lovely dinner where he said he'd quite like to have a new screenplay to send out to people, and I agreed this would be nice, and then realised he meant from me. And he went on to say he wouldn't normally suggest to a lot of his clients that they tootle off and write a new screenplay on spec, but he knew it wouldn't necessarily take me that long.

This is because the mistake I'd made was in once telling Agent Matt about writing my first screenplay over a bank holiday weekend, because I'd read that Sly Stallone had written Rocky over three days, and decided this sounded like something that could fit into my busy schedule of a) sighing a lot and b re-reading old role-playing game rules systems. In fact I later found out Sly had written Rocky over the space of an entire week, looooooser, but it was too late, I'd written HERO TRIP by then, which got picked up by the Film Council for development which meant actual money, woo. And then floated off into limbo, cuh, but never mind, I'd been paid.

(Agent Matt occasionally reminds me that the end objective is to get my scripts acted out by actors and put up on a television or cinema screen at some point, but to be honest I regard this as a lofty and near-unattainable ideal that would only come to annoy me, because the FX wouldn't be as good as they were in my head, and I wouldn't be allowed to do all the voices).

But anyway, after I'd swept off all the crockery off the table and shouted 'HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST I AM ANYTHING OTHER THAN AN ARTISAN-TYPE-STYLE CRAFTSMAN WHO MUST SPEND DECADES ON HIS CRAFT HONING BUT A SOLITARY PERFECT BON MOT GOOD DAY TO YOU SIR, I SAID GOOD DAY! I remembered I'd already had an idea for a horror film, that starts off like a J-Horror type film, all ghosts of girls with long hair looking spooky, but then the story turns into something else instead, and I'd already done a ten-page outline, so I thought, cuh, if I do like two pages a day, I'll have it finished by the end of November. Which is what happened, and no-one was more surprised than me.

And in the meantime, me and Patroclus have co-written a pilot sitcom about two blokes who try to start their own software company, of which I am enormously proud.

The good thing is, these are both from outlines I had already sent out, to people who looked at them and said, but I can't see how that would work exactly, so now I can plop the spec scripts on their desks and say 'LIKE THIS, FUCKOES!' although I probably won't use exactly those words after what is now referred to by Agent Matt solely as 'The Incident'.

So, erm, yes. If you've been thinking 'cuh, if I write just two pages of script a day (and remember that scripts are mostly white space, so it's not even like proper writing) I'll have my screenplay finished in three months without feeling like it was a massive amount of effort, and might even have to keep opening the file on the laptop to look at it in a surprised sort of way because it feels like someone else wrote it and sent it to me as a present', you would be absolutely correct.

Eventually of course, I'll start to get what is know as 'feedback' on said scripts, which will make me say things like 'yes, but', and 'WELL YOU CLEARLY DON'T GET IT THEN', and so on, but at the moment it's just a nice glowy feeling, because like most writers, I actually find the actual writing thing a bit tedious, but the feeling of having written is a very special and glowy feeling indeed. Woo.


Oli said...

Tell us more of the Incident.

Security word is themed:heromile.

James Henry said...

It ended badly, and I am now on the run.

Preston Garrett said...

I enjoyed reading this so much I felt prompted to leave a comment but now that I'm here I find that I don't really have an awful to say.

Would it be alright if I just smiled cheerfully at you and then went on my way?


Thanks. As you were.

Rob Self-Pierson said...

You've just summed up the writing process. Writing this comment was a terrible feeling. But once I click 'publish' I shall glow.

Bet Sly wrote Rocky V in about V minutes.

Sally A said...

The feeling of "having written" is why I write! nothing can beat that feeling of having it all out of your head and not having to think about it. It's blissful.

Eleanor said...

Having written is indeed truely fantastic. :)
I've just finished the final edit on my second tarot book, and now feel all glowy.

Of couse, it is quite possible to make massive errors of judgement while feeling all glowy - like starting on that science fiction script you've been meaning to write forever (and then someone mentions that hip-hop space operas about giant robots are SO out now.)

Darn you James. I'll do it anyway!

Boz said...

I thought I had a moment of inspiration on the train at the weekend. Then I remembered someone telling me that J K Rowling had come up with Harry Potter on a train, and I wondered IF SHE WAS ON THE TRAIN and she just had this effect on passers-by. Then I started thinking it was all a ploy by Network Rail to make aspiring writers spend loads of money on train tickets to get a hit of inspiration brain wave types things from their Giant Secret Creative Device.

Then I realised I had just thought of the plot of The Worst Witch again, but in reverse.


So it's back to staring at WV for plot ideas again.

(WELL DONE!! Clever man.)

Boz said...

I may have had more than my regulation allowance of coffee this morning.


James Henry said...

Ooh, this will be like that bit in Futurama where Fry has 100 cups of coffee, then can move in bullet-time and saves everyone from a fire. Then dies of a heart attack, obv'sly.

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