I wrote a list of creative goals for 2014 last year, and I didn’t do too badly on them overall. I might not have watched as many films from the list as I wanted, nor read as many screenplays as I should have, but nobody can say I didn’t finish what I started. In so many ways I’m in a very different place to this time last year, and a wealth of possibilities lie before me; I’d be a fool not to take full advantage of them. Not, at this point, to fully transition to a full-time writing life, that may come later. But 2015 will be the year where I put things into place to allow that to happen in a controlled manner. So, with that in mind, I’ll cease this wittering and put out my stall:
- Writing: May as well start with the most important one. By LSF 2015 I want to have written one TV pilot and series bible, one feature film and a couple of shorts.
- Tank filling: There are still so many films I need to see, and scripts I need to read. I’m going to treat myself to a BFI membership and aim to take full advantage of it.
- Film making: I have a filmmaking task outstanding from last year which I intend to complete in the next weeks, but more importantly in spring I intend to produce and direct my own short film. I already have the script and some interested people lined up; it’s all a little daunting but I intend to just throw myself into it and learn all I can. To help with it I’m taking a filmmaking course with the Met Film School in March.
- Commercial: To earn money for one piece of creative output, whatever it needs to be; whether writing, filming or photography, at least one thing this year will be a paid piece of work.
2014 was a tumultuous year, meaning 2015 is very much a tabula rasa; an opportunity to decide on the priorities in my life. It’s not my dayjob and it’s not where I live; what matters to me, what’s important, is living a creative life and be true to only myself. I won’t be wasting my time between now and the end of January, there’s plenty of writing and watching and reading and planning to do before then, but in many ways my birthday celebration will be like a reboot, a rebirth-day. Surround myself with good people and begin my life anew.
So, motto for 2015?
Create and Live.
So, the transition is to be postponed, set aside for a period of time for the pursuit of ignominious yet necessary financial return. So, for now, a return to squeezing in as much writing as possible in the windows that life provides. It’ll be necessary to balance out writing commitments to others, such as my reviews for The Digital Fix, and meeting the deadlines for my own writing. Not only is it now less than four weeks until London Screenwriters Festival, it’s just over two weeks until the deadline for the BlueCat Screenplay Competition.
So, in between the misery-fest that is The Leftovers, and my gushing love for Peaky Blinders, my primary focus will be Underworld Calling.
You know what they say: When life gives you lemons, use them as garnish for the booziest cocktail you can conceive of. So, when most of your life changes in unexpected ways, why not go all the way? So, I have renounced my previous employment and will henceforth focus on writing. Writing anything; anything at all. Ideally for money. The goal is to get myself to a position where instead of hating my day-job I am instead focussing on what I love and hoping I can get my writing career to the point where it can pay for luxuries like food and accommodation. To that end I’ve started hawking my services and I’m applying for any writing position going that I think I can do, freelance or otherwise.
Is this a terrifying shift in focus; unsure, unstable and risky? Oh yes, absolutely. But it’s the good kind of scary, the rollercoaster scary where you’re enjoying the shifts and turns, feeling the wind in your hair and screaming at the exhilaration of feeling your heart in your mouth. Because it’s better to feel alive than to feel nothing at all, and some things are worth risking everything for.
So, I’m giving myself up to a year of this to see where this leads me, to see what I can do with nigh-limitless opportunity. Because who knows when I’ll ever get this chance ever again.
So… What can I write for you? Would you like me to copy-edit or critique something you’ve written?
Get in touch.
So, after a year of work, several wrong turns and distractions, I finally have a completed draft of a feature film. It’s incredibly rough, a little short, an unpolished draft zero, and flawed all to hell. But I do have a completed feature film script and some good ideas of how to improve it.
Currently the first 10 pages or so are in quite a good state, considering I’ve been hawking this project around, even though it wasn’t finished. (Top tip: Don’t do this) But the rest of it, there are a great many pages that I haven’t even read myself since the words flowed out of my fingers and into the screen writing software. Lots of characterisation, lots of foreshadowing and cleaning up of dialogue… There’s a lot of work to do for the next draft.
But I do have a completed draft screenplay of a feature film. 😀
But first, I think I need a palate cleanser, something totally different that will allow me to come back to Underworld Calling fresh and ready for a new edit.
Maybe it’s time to get back to Broken Gears.
There’s quite a few things I want to achieve creatively in 2014, but all of them really point to two things: The Whedonian Principle of filling your tanks, and the somewhat pithy goal I gave the London Writers’ Circle: Finish what you fucking start. But, to break that down to something akin a plan of action:
- London Screenwriters Festival 2014: Attending, obviously, but also meet more people, pitch more often, do some business.
- Watch one film from my list of Top 50 movies every week.
- Finish not only the first draft, but also the second draft of Underworld Calling.
- Attend the theatre or cinema at least once a month and write reviews of what I see.
- Rework the series outline for Maestro.
- Read more screenplays.
- Write a short script that could be performed theatrically for no more than three actors in a single location, or shot cheaply as a short film.