Sunday was the final session for Write to Shine, which I have a mixed response to. Part of me is very glad to have my Sundays (and Saturday nights!) returned to me, but a larger part knows that losing the group is a bit of a kick. Having a bunch of like minded people around you provides you with a sense of community and, well, basically, makes you feel like you’re on the right path.
Happily, Phillip, Lyn and Kate were very keen to point out that this wasn’t the end of our association with the NYT and Shine Drama. Next month’s reading aside, it seems we’ll be able to drop into the edits and script development meetings of Merlin, which should be quite exciting. As well as this, we’ll have the chance to pitch a series to Johnny and get his feedback on it. Finally, they’ll even help up avert the crazy by allowing us to use the Ideastap offices to work in whenever we need to get out of the house/library.
The actual session was oddly personal in a way it hasn’t been before. We were asked to bring in a recording device, and with those we paired off and interviewed each other, asking two questions: What do you like and what do you dislike about your body? With these, we played back a random person’s answers through headphones, and tried to mimic exactly what they said, in as-near-to-possible real time. Everyone was very open about themselves, and the “performances” were, as Lyn put it, very watchable. I think this is because the content itself was fascinating, but so was the struggle of the person listening to do justice to what they were hearing. We then transcribed the conversations and, after discussing the differing ways one can use a monologue, attempted to use the conversations as the jumping off point for a monologue. I focused on Greg, my partner’s, insecurity about his eye sight declining, and his attempt to find some sort of comfort in it.
Apparently London Road (which I didn’t see, but is apparently coming back to the National) used this technique to great effect, and I also recall Tim Crouch saying how he would read lines directly into actors ears, via a headset. This exercise revealed a lot to me about the cadence of speech, and how artificial a lot of dialogue can be. In some cases, this is for the best – we don’t after all, need all the ums and ahhs of every day speech – but people are generally a lot less coherent than you think they are. It’s something I’d definitely like to use again.
I took a few Polaroids of the group, and we headed to the pub, which was a blast and the first time we’d really had a proper session as a group. A few of us stayed pretty much til closing, and I learned more about my coursemates in those few hours than I had done in the last few weeks.
Had trouble sleeping, so spent a lot hours staring at the ceiling, trying to figure out a short film I could should shoot relatively soon, without the need for a dangerous stunt. Finally got out of bed at 4 and wrote out a rough sketch for something that used one of the rejected monologues I wrote for CSSD combined with the eye preoccupation from the workshop. It started off as a kind of psychological horror thing, but on the way in to work, I sort of reshaped it to have a more comic tilt. Not sure if it’s possible to pay off on both of those things at the same time, but I reckon I have a way to do it. Will put together a first draft this week. Meeting Meg on the 2nd to run through I Can See My House From Here, so will see if she’d be interested in putting this little number together as well.
Going to the British Library at lunch to try and finally get my reading room pass, which will let me into a rich world of Mau Mau research for The Oath. Fingers crossed they don’t decide I’m an unworthy pleb.