Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's Not Procrastination If It Really Needs To Be Done

How long can a person avoid writing an essay on the narrative breakdown of a 30 minute section of The Remains of the Day? Quite a long time it would appear. I wonder if that can be my approach to the assignment? You know, Charlie Kaufman couldn't figure out how to adapt The Orchid Thief so he wrote Adaptation about how he couldn't figure out how to adapt The Orchid Thief... Maybe my essay is about how I couldn't write the essay and instead called pretty much everyone listed in my mobile, cleaned my bathroom and watched way too much of season 2 of House in an effort to avoid writing this stupid, bloody thing. I even wrote a post about it and made you all read it. Misery loving company and all that. Of course I go home for Christmas in a couple of days and while I'll bring some work with me, I won't get as much done as I'll need to, the few days around New Year are already pretty full, suddenly it'll be January and, with the deadline approaching faster than Mel Gibson to a boobytrapped bar mitzvah, Remains of the Day will remain undeconstructed. Is "undeconstructed" a word? Can you negativise any verb in its future imperfect tense by adding "un"? Is "deconstructed" actually in the future imperfect tense? Is "negativise" a word?

Wouldn't it be easier therefore to simply write the essay, I hear you cry. Yes of course it would. If I didn't have such a full mobile phone, a hideously unclean bathroom (that now gleams) and that darned Gregory House wasn't so witty in his angst and misery. Really folks, do watch it if you aren't already. I now however find myself out of excuses. So, for tomorrow, the alarm is set for 8.00am, the books are ready, the DVD is in the DVD player and, well I think that's all I need. Though I am getting a sudden, inexplicable and completely unrelated urge to do some volunteer work...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Stick Man and Little Chief

I realised a few weeks ago that I hadn't posted anything on my two ex housemates. Having lived with them for so long our break up should have prompted a post before now, even though this blog is supposed to be about me in all my narcisism. Also I did only recently start blogging again. Anyway...

I lived with Kev for the last 8 years. I lived with Karen on and off for 6. We all met in Uni, at the educational wonder that is the Surrey Institute of Art and Design. Karen and I were studying the beautiful medium of film. Kev was studying animation. I don't feel like I have a huge amount of friends, (though as a little aside all but two of the people I invited to my 30th birthday were able to go and I have way more friends than I actually realised which was cool) but those friends I have really mean alot. So very much in fact. And few mean more than Kev and Karen. Moving out of my beloved flat in West London was so hard because of the sense of home we had created. Flat sharing is inherently temporary, but we had managed to prevent it feeling as such. Shared interests (Karen's football and Kev's animation aside) helped enormously. Our collective DVD collection ran into the many hundreds and as film buffs we could always rely on at least that one thing to bring us together. Be it watching something dodgy from our collection, ("I feel like something light tonight" as if we had had a Tarkovsky marathon for the previous week) or else walking to Blockbuster to fetch something equally dodgy. But the one constant was that, if we happened to be in, we would always be together in the living room, not sitting in our rooms on our own like so many people flat sharing have told me they do.

So many small pleasures but they raise a smile now when I think of them. Emailing each other during our work days to see who fancied having take away and a few beers that night (and that night could be Monday through Sunday) and invariably the emails would degenerate into the most brutal piss taking until someone got insulted or bored or, God forbid, would actually have to stop emailing because they had to do some work. Enjoying each other's oddities and idiosyncracies. Kev's flat panics, my favourite still being the day it started to rain heavily and, while I was in the loo, he was banging down the door trying to get in because he heard me pissing and somehow thought that sound was the rain getting into the bathroom. If you had seen his panic you'd know how funny it was. With Karen, well it would have to be her tendency to combine opinion with ideas and dreams to make "facts." Sprinkled in fairy dust and bearing no relation to anything in the real world, she would nonetheless tell you with such a straight face that, even though you know what she was saying simply made no sense, she would be so invested in it you couldn't help but get sucked in...! For my part, well I know I contributed many a story to our little threesome. From my naked wandering up and down the hall on a day I thought no one was in except that Karen was, to the night I, half asleep/half drunk wandered into the lounge thinking it was the toilet and pissed on the couch, to the simple fact of me not being particularly good at the practical things in life with bills going unpaid for some weeks, important calls not being get the picture. My bad moods they could take with a pinch of salt, my playing the same songs on my guitar over and over again that would drive them a bit mad but which they knew meant alot to me and so would put up with. What can I say? I'm not sure how the cosmic forces aligned to get me together with the two of them but somehow and for some reason they did and I was rewarded with their patience.

This post should have happened weeks ago. And what brought it into my mind and what made me sit down and write it is the fact that, of all the things we did together, our various trips to Barcelona, to Holland and various cottages in Devon and Cornwall, settling down to watch 24, our many meals out and drinks nights with the gang, my favourite time of year in the flat was Christmas. The flat would be decorated from the end of November with the most tacky decorations we could find, not always Kev's pleasure but that was part of the fun. Karen and I pretending to annoy him with it all, Kev pretending to be annoyed. From the Christmas Tree Angel with Down's to Santa and Mrs Claus singing in the bath to the inumerable singing trees/hats/snowmen/whatever I could lay my hands on, the decorations were mercilessly camp and tacky and it was pretty funny. We would have the gang over for a Christmas drinks night and would have our own "Christmas Day" which was hands down my favourite day of the year. Exchanging presents, cooking the biggest Christmas dinner you've ever seen, sherry or port in the afternoon, beers in the evening, chat, laughs, great times with great people. This year I miss that tremendously.

But life goes on. It was me after all that had a major hand in breaking our little home up. And in truth it was probably time. Kev is now living with his girlfriend, the lovely Michelle, and they are building a life together. Karen is about to embark on a pretty wild adventure around the world as she heads for South America in January for four months and then around the rest of the world for over a year. A braver person than I for sure, it will be phenomenol. And you all know where I am and what I'm doing. We left the flat at a point that was good for each of us, even if Karen had a bit of a wait before she jets off. In the end what I hope is that I've been able to help in some way when that was necessary, been a source of comfort or advice maybe when needs be but to be perfectly honest more than anything I hope I made you guys laugh, both intentionally and unintentionally, I don't care which. I don't mean to sound like one of us is dying or something. It's just this really is the end of an era. A really special era. I had such fun living with you, you're my best friends always, and I'm alot better for knowing you.


Friday, December 15, 2006

It Really Does Wait For No Man.

We had our last day before Christmas today. The first term is officially over.

Fuck me, that is an insane sentence to write. Time really has sped up, there is absolutely no way this year can be coming to an end. 2006 started with so much uncertainty, so many big decisions (well I think they were big decisions!) to make. I spent the first half of the year making those decisions and sorting out the practical implications of them. The second I spent anticipating them and then living them. The point is, it feels like the year started with much uncertainty and it's ending with as much. The uncertainty of what I'm doing has never bothered me before and part of me is surprised by that. I am naturally cautious by nature and the fact that I've been living month to month financially all my life, and am now putting myself in greater debt, aswell as the inherent uncertainty of getting into the film industry at all, should have weighed more heavily. I guess the only trait within me as strong as my being cautious is the fact that I have to be true to myself. That might read a bit wanky but it really is true. The second I try and bury something or try and pretend it isn't there I fuck myself completely. I can pretend to other people no problem but not to myself. And so, I know that I want to write and if I gave up on that I'd hate myself for it and would be instantly miserable. But these last few weeks/months I'm finding the uncertainty of it all begining to get on top of me a little. By uncertainty I mean uncertainty about what I'm writing, my ability to write it, and assuming I do pull it off, the chances of the industry wanting it. As I've indicated, I really feel like this course is giving me an opportunity and I honestly feel like as long as I put the work in I really could get somewhere with it. So why the negative thoughts?

Part of it is that, once I was accepted into Goldsmiths, I felt that this was going to be me for the year. Suddenly the first term is over and a year seems like a very short period of time indeed. When I finish here I'll be 31. Does that matter? Probably not. It's not like the industry is particularly ageist. Yet turning 30 does put psychological pressure on you. Or at least it has done on me. Suddenly I REALLY want to start getting somewhere. I don't think I've changed really. It's not like I've woken up and am now suddenly all serious, my stupid jokes and love of annoying my friends replaced by social awareness and political commentary. Perish the thought! That would require some reading, if nothing else. Reading of something other than Empire Magazine. I just mean that, your twenties seem to be about trying to get somewhere, figuring out who you are etc etc and your thirties and beyond are about living that out rather than continuing the search. On the one hand the logical part of me knows that's horseshit. I don't believe you ever really stop learning or searching. Plus, if everyone followed the same path we'd be in a pretty devestatingly boring world. God that sounds like an add for Orange or something... I would honestly much rather be where I am now than worrying about getting a mortgage for example or doing alot of what it seems you're supposed to be doing at my age. That's not to imply superiority of lifestyle or flippancy towards how difficult those things are and the commitment it involves, not at all. Particularly as some of my closest friends embark on those journeys. It's just that at this present time, that's not for me. This is what I want. More than anything. To express myself through writing films, to shape the story, to have that validated by an audience and to make a living in the process. And to do that I need to learn and improve and cultivate a process and expose my soul and give it to the world and have it judged. I know how that probably sounds. I'm not up my own arse, at least I hope I'm not. I simply feel that's how things are for me. Yet, while I know it's horseshit, I don't necessarily feel that it is. I guess maybe I had just hoped to be nearer my goal by now. Starting the course gave a promise of a great push towards the goal, but I'm soooo far from having a coherent story and today we finished our first term.

My need for security is pretty strong. Along with my cautious nature and having to be true to myself I would add my need for security as significant trait number 3. That would make for the worse dating profile in the world if that's what it was! Goldsmiths, the course, living in halls, this was going to provide the security for a while. And it will. It is. It's just that today is the last day of term, bringing the post around full circle, and that has brought home just how temporary this current round of security is. Maybe that's why I've felt weird all day, why the negative thoughts have been circling like vultures and why (most tellingly) I didn't go to the pub with some of my classmates after our group meal tonight. It's funny how it takes me writing loads to finally realise what it is I want to say. This happens alot with this blog. I blather on and then I hit upon where it's all going. Or my subconscious finally allows me to understand what I'm feeling and why. It's not that my thoughts are negative necessarily. I'm simply scared tonight. Scared of how quickly time goes, scared of what I'm doing with it, scared of what this path I'm on, and the future it'll bring, holds. And in some ways, scared most of all that I live for a hypothetical future rather than for a real present. I do enjoy my life. It's not perfect. Whose is? I do feel like sometimes though I forget there's a here and now. Life won't start when I become a screenwriter. It'll be 30/40/50/whatever something years old by then. It's just a weird thing because, you simply have to put so much time and energy into writing if you're going to do it properly and that can sometimes (like tonight) make you feel like you're not living for the now. I don't know. I started this post at 11.10 and it's now 12.50 and I'm not sure exactly where I've gotten to in that time. Round in a rather large circle methinks.

All I want to say is that all day, and tonight, for whatever reason, I feel scared. And for the first time since I moved here, it's not because I live in New Cross.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes

I had an interesting night with a friend from my course the other night. He who shall remain nameless is very bright, very incisive and generally has good ideas on a variety of topics. Though he really needs to talk less... You know who you are!! Anyway, it was one of those wonderful conversations you have at the start of a relationship where you both share some stuff and begin to forge a friendship. The trite term is a "bonding session." But this was different. As you know from previous posts I've been struggling with my script for a while now. What's the OC? What am I trying to say? Etc etc. I asked my friend if he thought I should change my story and he said that yes I should, simply because it was obvious to him what I'm writing is not what I want to really write. He proceded to analyse my central character, and by extension me, and the things I haven't really verbalised before. He did it so accurately, he completely caught me off guard, and I ended up getting quite upset. It had simply been a very long time since anyone not only saw through me but articulated it back to me like that. I don't want to go into specifics, suffice to say in the most sensitive way possible, he made me confront a few things I had been dancing around in my writing but as yet hadn't properly tackled. And that after all is one of the reasons I'm here at Goldsmiths. I wanted to exorcise what's been in my head and my heart and produce a worthwhile script in the process. Somewhere along the way that got lost. Yeah there's some engaging, some worthwhile, even some personal things in what I'm writing but deep down I've known for a couple of weeks that I've allowed myself to get steered off course. It's one of the potential negatives of the course. We meet every Monday as I've described to go over each other's work and everyone pitches in their ideas. On the one hand it's great as it offers tremendous support and you end up receiving many good ideas. The flip side is the ideas, though great, are not suited to what you originally wanted to do. And unless you have that clear in your head, it's easy to become diverted which is what has happened. Which is why I've been struggling.


Time for a new story. My mate offered me a potential setting and story which is really very good. It means starting over in a sense but that's okay. It has to be really. I'd much rather fail doing something I believe in than succeed with a script that was at best less personally meaningful and at worst compromised and diluted to the point of it being bland. I need to be as raw and as honest as I was the other night and I need to do that for the next year almost while I write the script. I need to remember what it is I came here to write and to have the courage of my convictions. I need to remember that I have a perspective that is unique to me and that is the greatest tool I have, indeed the greatest tool any writer has.

I've been pushed back to where I need to be by someone I'm very happy to call a friend. It's probably the most important thing that's happened on this course, indeed for a long time. The script is all about repression. And I need to open myself up and write it.

Witty Rapport

I haven't posted a review in months. I'm itching to do one and anyway I want to post something fun so here we go! I could do Pan's Labyrinth (one of the top ten films of the year), Children of Men (a film I desperately want to put into my top ten of the year; it's at points phenomenally good, at others mystifyingly bad. Overall I'd say it's great, 8/10, I just wanted it to be a classic and I can't justify that tag) or I could rant about shite. Stranger Than Fiction for example prompted the latest walk out of the cinema. I've decided to go commercial and opt for that famous name we've been watching since 1962. You know his name, the truly hideous theme song tells us. Not quite as bad as Madonna's entry into the series, the song nonetheless sounds like a Eurovision castoff sung by an X Factor contestant. The man is of course Bond.

Casino Royale is surprisingly enjoyable. The last Bond film, Die Another Day, is simply horrible. We all know the stories of the overhaul. New Bond, old material, less hokey, more gritty. One $150 million "gamble" later and here we are. Is it gritty? Put it this way. It's as gritty as a Bond movie and a 12 rated film will ever be. The pre credits sequence is about as rough as it gets, a fight in a public toilet which depicts Bond's first kill and is admittedly pretty dirty with Bond, after crashing through walls, kneeing and punching his opponent whenever and wherever he can, eventually drowning him in a slowly filling sink. It's a refreshing start, intercut with Bond's second kill. I'm not spoiling that as it's already been thoroughly spoilt in the trailers which, having seen the film, seemed intent on showing every good moment in it. Things come grinding to a halt as that horrific song plays over arguably the worst Bond credits sequence yet, though the camp familiarity of the conceit somehow still manages to raise a smile. Once we're back in the film, things get back on track as we're introduced to the villain Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) who initially shows some promise. We then get into the film's best action sequence and what is for me one of the best action sequences of the year, the much talked about free running sequence. It really is fantastic. Wonderfully conceived, staged, shot and edited, its only problem is its lack of consequence. We have no idea who Bond is chasing or why. Why does it matter? We have no idea. Had this been the finale, had Bond spent the film trying to initially beat then capture an outstanding villain, this would have been really remarkable. The villain of the sequence, genuine free runner Sebastian Foucan, is chased down by Bond despite the former's superior athleticism. They run around a building site, go up a massive crane, back down again, through lift shafts, under saws and other dangerous equipment and the whole thing culminates in a wonderfully staged gun fight. It's very exciting and sets a high standard for the rest of the film. The next major action set piece occurs at Miami airport as Bond attempts to thwart a terrorist plot and yet again is really quite exciting. That scene was sponsored by Virgin by the way. Other scenes were sponsored by Ford, Omega, and Aston Martin. Not that the product placement is shameless or distracting. Subsequent action moments include a fantastic fight in a stairwell and a great moment when Bond drives his car off the road.

Why I hear you cry am I just talking about the action? Well do we really care about the plot of a Bond film? For those of you that do, briefly it's about Le Chiffre, international banker to the terrorists (that's the sort of job title that only occurs in Bond films) holding a high stakes poker game at Casino Royale in order to win back the terrorists' money he lost when Bond foiled their nefarious scheme at Miami airport. Mikkelsen does his best as the blood weeping Le Chiffre but his villainous potential is seriously hampered by the fact that a) he doesn't really have much of a plan other than to win back money he lost and b) he spends most of the film playing cards. Still, he's a significent improvement on the Brosnan villains, with Sean Bean and Jonathan Pryce slugging it out for worst villain of the lot. His villainy is further undermined two thirds into the film in a manner I won't spoil but for me, rendered much of what went before pretty much pointless. At this stage the film starts to run out of steam and out of ideas and the finale, a gunfight in a sinking building in Venice feels like a Brosnan castoff action moment and is everything the film has, up to that point, worked so hard to avoid. The action scenes for the most part are just over the top enough to be exciting but not so ludicrous so as to be irritating. Indeed a couple are relatively "small" and contained and are much more visceral and all the better for that. The finale is disappointingly over the top, stupid, boring and familiar. Other bum notes include Eva Green as Vesper Lynd who really struggles and spends most of the time grinning smugly and delivering her lines in a peculiar accent, a love story so unconvincing it makes Titanic seem like Gone With The Wind and some ropey dialogue even Paul Haggis can't salavge. Though thankfully the one liners and double entendre are all but absent. However the film has done so well for most of it that I found myself walking out of the cinema happy to relive the highlights and ignore the shortcomings.

And what of the man himself? The pre release vitriol leveled at Daniel Craig could not have been higher if Satan himself or maybe even Renee Zellewegger had been cast as 007. I have never been hugely convinced by Daniel Craig, even when he appears in good films, but he does very well in the coveted role. Suave but devoid of Brosnan's grease, charming without Roger's campness and totally believeable in the action stuff. You really feel that this guy would kill you or shag you depending on what was required. And if both were required then that would be okay too. This is a great depiction of the famous spy, possibly the best since Connery. The shots of him emerging from the sea in his skimpy trunks, muscles bulging from pretty much everywhere muscles can bulge from, raised a giggle from me. Dan the sex symbol by way of Dan the Mr Universe? I don't think so. Though I'd be lying if I said the loving closeups of those pearly blue eyes didn't cause a little flutter once or twice. Surely they were photoshopped?

In the end Bond is Bond. Big, loud, silly and fun. The writers and producers have gone to great lengths to trim back the silliness and for the most part succeed. There isn't even room for Q. Apart from a handy defibrulator in his car there isn't a laser pen, spiked boot or killer bowler hat to be seen. After the invisible car of the last film, that's such a relief. The thing is that this raises an interesting point. Is this "new direction" one the makers are willing to pursue? Or is it a one off and sooner or later Bond will be back in space, in the depths of Mount Etna or travelling back in time? Lets face it, every few years Bond is overhauled and brought in a "new direction" and sooner or later the new direction takes a u-turn and heads back to Roger Moore territory. I really hope the producers have more sense than that. Box office wise it has paid off. After 4 weeks on release the film has taken more than the first three Brosnan films took individually in their entire run. Audiences are happy with "serious" Bond and happy with old Danny Boy in the role. It's a good start lads. Just have the balls and the sense to keep it up.

Witty Rapport would make a great name for a Bond girl don't you think?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Me An Action Hero? In My Dreams!

Last night I dreamed I was in a Terminator film. Or that I was in a real life Terminator saga, I'm not sure which. It was pretty exciting though. At one point Arnie was the bad guy and the liquid metal T1000 from Terminator 2 was out to protect me. I was John Connor you see. The future leader of the human resistance. Stop sniggering! I could just as easily be the future leader of the human resistance as anyone else. As long as doing that means I get to watch films, drink beer and talk rubbish online. Anyhoo, the highlight was when we were trapped in an upstairs bedroom and Arnie was coming down the hall after us. The T1000 reached out the window and stretched his arm down creating a ladder. It was less T2, more Fantastic Four, but still pretty cool. I swung down, just as Arnie came in, firing his shotgun. I think I woke up after that which was a pity as I have a feeling I was about to kick some serious arse.

I had other dreams too but I won't describe them. Hey, I've been single a long time! Stop judging me!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Go See Pan's Labyrinth!


The OC


Fuck me I hate that song and the programme it accompanies. The OC represents everything that is wrong with the world. Too dramatic? Not if you ask me. There are no words for the hatred I bear that vapid pile of shit. Though I wouldn't say no to a bit of Seth. Unless he sang that song to me.

"Californiaaaaa..." Smack!

No, as it happens I'm not talking about the Orange County. I am instead talking about a little term made famous by one TS Elliott. The Objective Corellative. Yet another reason why I'm struggling at the moment with my script is because I have no way to outwardly express my character Conor's journey. The fact I'm still unsure exactly what his journey is doesn't help. But I need that thing he is going to do. I need his lost ark, his caravan for his Mother, the English Channel he's going to swim across, the external thing he will accomplish to let us know his inner emotional journey has been fulfilled. Last week my friend suggested that he search for his own Mother's birth Mother and by reuniting them at the end, he reunites himself with his own Mother. I got very excited by this idea but the more I think about it, good though the idea is, I'm just not sure about it for my script. Another friend said to me the other day to consider what my characters are doing in relation to the objective corellative and the outward journey and if I'm having to bring in some outside thing, like his Mother's Mother, then maybe my central characters aren't working hard enough. An interesting point and one I took on board. So this week I'm searching again.

It sounds like it should be easy. Maybe if I were starting from the other way around, ie laying down characters and emotions on top of an OC that would be easier, rather than trying to find an OC for my characters. I don't know if that's necessarily true. Maybe because I've come from a particular point of view I'm just in a "grass is greener" state of mind and am convincing myself that doing anything other than what I am doing would be easier. It's hard to know. All I do know is that finding the "thing" is proving fucking tough. Maybe it's because I don't have enough story material yet? Maybe I'm not giving myself enough options? It seems so easy when you see it done well. But I guess that can be applied to anything. Making something good look easy is usually one of the indicators of something done well. I've had three coffees and made 2 1/3 pages of notes over the last 3 hours and I'm still no closer to finding it. I am now fighting the urge to join some friends who are at the pub tonight. It would be so easy to give up for the day. Sigh.

"From the wrong side to the pool side." Do me a fucking favour...

My Big Fat Gay Drama

So what on God's green Earth am I writing?

It's great to be blogging again by the way. I had forgotten how theraputic it is! Though methinks today it's simply a diversion from a hellish writing day.

For years now I've been circling a personal story. My "coming out" story if you want to call it that. The story of my feelings for my straight mate and telling him. Telling my parents and their reaction, though they were very positive so I'd have to inject some significent oomph into it if that's the route I go. And I haven't done it for whatever reason. Starting this course I wanted to do something that was both personally rewarding and challenging. Something that would mean something to me. So of course I started to think about what that would be. 9 weeks in and I've gone through all kinds of permutations. I started with the story of a gay guy falling for a straight guy and it was all a bit Dawson's Creek. A coming out story simply isn't interesting enough and I spent weeks trying to make it work so that the coming out bit would only be step one and the character would learn he has deeper issues. I was wearing my heart on my sleeve at that point and I have to say it felt very strange to be talking about it in those terms with other people. But as I said I'm blessed with a great group on this course, highly supportive and good friends so that made it more comfortable. Somewhere along the way things changed again and currently I'm writing about a gay guy thrown out by his dogmatically religious Mother with whom he must reconcile some years later when it emerges she is dying of AIDS.

Now of course that's the very bare bones of the story. I feel like the story has great potential, certainly the emotion I wanted to create is in there, the characters are starting to get somewhere, it's just the actual story I'm missing. "He does A, B,C and D to get to E." The story, the plotting of that story, this, I'm realising, is the absolute weakest element of my writing. Each Monday we get together, people give comment and feedback and it's great. The problem is that though many of the ideas and much of the feedback is really strong and very helpful, it's all too easy to lose sight of what you were originally trying to do in the first place. That scripts change throughout their development is not only a given but the very reason scripts become great at all. Rewriting is the key. But what I feel I'm missing is the central core of what I was trying to do and this is also changing from week to week which is why I'm currently struggling quite badly. If I had a stable core idea around which stories, characters, plots could change well that would be fine. But when the actual concept changes, for me at least, the work starts to flounder. I knew vaguely I wanted to write a gay character, have an emotional drama and have it personally meaningful. Well, okay great but that's not a concept. What am I trying to say? What do I want to communicate? What do I want my characters to feel? To learn? To experience? And in turn, what do I want an audience to feel, learn and experience?

The truth is I simply don't know.

Now and Then

I've just been going over some of the first posts I wrote back in June when I set this blog up and it makes for interesting reading. Well, at least for me. I wrote three posts on why I want to be a writer at a time I was feeling pretty down and lacked confidence. I also wrote posts on what I was doing wrong and how I realised it and how good that is. It's funny really. Back then I thought I was learning. (Back then being only six months ago but it may as well be a lifetime). Now I think I'm learning... What will I be like in another six months?!

I'm really glad I'm feeling happy. If I had embarked upon the course earlier in the year I think I would have really struggled. I really think my lack of self confidence would have gotten the better of me. The things I thought I was doing wrong six months ago, passive characters, poor structure, still apply. They've been joined by one or two other technical elements in need of work...! Serious work! But I feel like I'm being armed with the tools to actually take my stories and make them work and I guess this is the difference in where I am now and where I was then. Before I would have used my lack of progress as an excuse to not write, wind up in a crap circle of self doubt. Now, of course I still worry about whether or not I can write, I have many days where I give up in dispair thinking, it's simply never going to happen. But then I remember something I've learned, something I know now that I didn't know nine weeks ago, whatever that something is. And I think, okay, that can help me somehow.

I thought I had a point in starting this post... It seems to be drifting away from me. Much like the point of my script is at the moment. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I started this blog six months ago because I became determined to change things for myself and to make a real go of realising my dream and my goal of becoming a scriptwriter and I wanted to document it for myself. I wanted to be able to read early posts and see a change in myself. I think that change is begining to appear but maybe not in the way I hoped. I think one of the things I've learned is that I'll always struggle with issues of self doubt but I feel like if I can find a way into this story I am trying to tell then I'll be able to put it together in a way I've never been able to before. I've always known intellectually that scriptwriting is a craft that needs learning, I've just never actually properly realised that A) I wasn't learning half as much about it as I thought I was and B) you're 100% fucked without it. That may sound stupid or obvious but it's something I've learned. And what's great is that when you start to figure out what you're trying to do is all about, then that helps your confidence.

I really feel like I've created an opportunity for myself by doing the MA and I'm determined not to fuck it up. The fear I described in the early posts is back. But it's a new fear. It's the fear that I may soon be out of excuses. I have ideas. I will have the tools necessary to write them. There comes a point with every writer, it seems to me, that things go out of your hands. You learn your craft, generate your ideas, make yourself known and send your script out. After that, you've done all you can and it's in the hands of others. I feel like I'm on a path that will bring me to a point where things will eventually be out of my hands for the first time. Yes I've sent out script before, many, many times. But there were tangible, technical reasons, reasons of craft, why the scripts were rejected. That's not to assume the stories were great, I just wrote them badly. Not at all. I'm just saying that when this course finishes and I send out my work, it'll be different because the ideas will be subject to the most rigerous scrutiny and I'll have (in theory at least) given them the best shot I can. And that's great because it's what I want. And it's scary because my stories and my ideas will be realised and will have to stand on their own two feet. For better or worse.

Of course this is all contingent on my finishing my script. And given where I am with it at the moment, that's a very big "if"! I feel like as my ability to write grows, my sense of what I am writing lessens. But that's for another post. Lucky you!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Ah my friends... I knew you'd be there waiting with baited breath for the return of your favourite Irish writer in London. And guess what? He's back!

Still no one out there eh? Still talking to myself? Oh well... It's all therapy.

What a few months its been! Turned 30 (had a brilliant party! Sooo cool!) left my beloved flat in West London and said goodbye to Kev my housemate of 8 years (8 fucking years! You might not get that for murder.) and Karen, housemate on and off for 6 years, both my best friends and that was really sad. Left sunny West London for the dark, depraved depths of East London...!! Well it's not that bad. Though it kind of is. I'm in New Cross and I have bars on my windows and the permanent sound of sirens in my ears. And of course the big thing is that I've started my MA in scriptwriting. So far I have to say it's going really well. It's fucking tough going but it's (mostly) very, very good. We have a few duff lectures of course but I'm learning a phenomenol amount and the biggest thing I'm learning is that I knew fuck all about scriptwriting before I started. Which is pretty frightening. What if I hadn't done this course? What if the redundancy hadn't come up? Pointless questions I suppose but it makes me think of fate and coincidence and determining one's own path and all that stuff. I realise that I haven't made it before now because I was kind of stumbling around in the dark, occasionally hitting something, but more often than not unable to see what I was doing or where I was going.

It's interesting because, going in to the course, I was hoping to have an advantage and in some ways I do. Sometimes I feel like I grasp ideas and concepts a little quicker because I've simply been thinking about scriptwriting and actually doing it, however unsuccessfully, for a long time. A worryingly long time in fact. But in general I am in exactly the same boat as everyone else which at first was a little hard to take. I know that may read a little egotistically but I just mean that I have lived and breathed film for so long I was hoping to have a leg up. Now however I have let my ego go and I find myself comforted by my class, my my classmates (who are truly excellent) and by the volume of information I find myself absorbing each week. Our Monday classes, in which we examine storytelling generally and our own work specifically, are always pretty painful but very, very rewarding. In a nutshell, I'm as happy as a pig in shite.

I have of course got plently more to say. But I simply wanted to write something in order to get used to posting again.