Ughhhhh

On my way to Hamburg with a Hangover for what’s going to be a long weekend in every respect so a quick update before my brain shuts down.

Yesterday was spent re-drafting a full length script and firing it off to a couple of places. It was the first draft that this script has properly veered away from autobiography, which was initially a bit sickening but provided me with the freedom to make it a better play overall. Reverence is the enemy of craft, it seems. Write what you know, then play with what you don’t. I’m starting to feel that I’ve a fairly solid body of work now. Just need to get cracking on that feature.

I also met Eve at the Soho on Wednesday. She’s going to be directing the radio version of I Can See My House From Here, and pleased to say that not only was she fun to talk to, she seems to know her beans too. I was told that people had fought over who’d get to direct it, which is always good for the old ego.

See you soon, kids.

I Can (Hear) My House From Here

A director got in touch with me on behalf of the Invisible Theatre radio company, to let me know that they’re to record a radio version of I Can See My House From Here at the beginning of July, casting it within the next couple of weeks. Pretty excited about that. It’s different from the film version, but I think it will inform the way I develop that version. Bloody love radio. Need to think of some exciting ideas for it…

Friday Afternoon Treat

Here ya go, the first draft of The Clapham Disco RiotsAn irreverent response to all the riot response plays that popped up. Would need a lot of development to go anywhere (Off the top of my head: cliche in parts of plot development, some characters hang around with nothing to do for ages [even if that is sort of the point], one is a bit undeveloped and one main antagonistic relationships isn’t really brought to fruition) and not really sure if I would want to make that happen, but it was a fun palette cleanser to write anyway, and in the event I don’t do anything with it just thought you might like a a read of what a first draft looks like.

Otherwise, had a productive meeting today about developing I Can See My House From Here. Potential director really pushed me to basically make it the best script I can. Mission accepted.

The Little Script That Could

Got an email a couple of hours back saying the radio script I did of I Can See My House From Here has won a little competition and will get professionally recorded. Developing it as a short film at the moment, so it’ll be interesting to see what works and what doesn’t with the radio version. Either way, I’m pleased – it’s a small piece and back from my “getting rid of old people” phase, but it got me into CSSD, a BBC Writersroom workshop, quarter finalled in a competition and now this. Fond memories of writing it upside down on a sofa in a Putney ex-council tower block circa 2010!

To Do List

Today I:

– Re-registered as self employed after a hiatus of a couple of years.

– Identified a laser printer to buy, which will become my first business expense. No more CSSD printing for me, alas!

– Caught up with the BBC 2 doco series Tankies, which Alex had worked on. Fascinating and taught me a lot about an aspect of WWII I hadn’t a scooby about.

– Got up at 6am and ran for an hour and a half in the 0 degree Celsius air whilst snow fell softly all around. Worth it though, if not just for seeing the frost clinging to the outside of the Oval.

– Wrote up the notes for rewriting Ayodhya that came to me late last night.

– Added more to one scene in True Brits. 

– Finished reading Town by DC Moore (It worked well, but I felt like I’ve seen that play a hundred times before – was expecting more of the John Clare “walking home” angle that the blurb made out)

– Planned out my work schedule until the end of April. This involves getting every main bit of work I have up to scratch (Ayodhya, True Brits, A Grateful Nation and Bump) and figuring out where and when to submit them to places, writing up a couple of shorts (The Clapham Disco Riots and a little radio play version of I Can See My House From Here), putting in a week of solid research at the British Library on the long neglected The Oath and, finally, properly starting projects that I’ve had bouncing around for a while: A first draft of a the play Kaleidoscope and scribbling together a pilot + 5 other episode synopses for the TV series Starting Up. 

Now all of this is great – but I didn’t really do what I was meant to, which was a tonne of work on True Brits alone so as to absolutely get it finished for Wednesday. I still think it’s possible, I’ll just have to pull my socks up a little tomorrow! Got to get cracking on that new draft of Ayodhya next week.

 

[Oh! I did also get a nice e-mail from Bush Green letting me know that Bump (Draft 4) had gone through to a second round of reading with a senior reader. I submitted it back in August so whilst I’d forgotten all about it, it was a heartening surprise, especially as I wasn’t too sure what to do with that script and assumed it was a write off.]

Sprint Finish

Yesterday, after a second round of feedback from Farokh and a ten hour writing session I think I’m mostly done with Bump. A tweak or two here or there would help perhaps, but in the main I’ve nothing huge to add to it and getting a bit sick of making minor tweaks.

I didn’t do Kaleidoscope in the end, preferring to polish up Bump, but I will hit it next week after finishing off Clapham Disco Riots by Sunday.

After that straight onto Commercial Movie, it doesn’t end!

On the plus side, I met Mr. Facey today and he might be able to help me out with skydiving contacts for I Can See My House From Here. Handy….hopefully!

 

Scratchy Bones

Having a cast on during the hottest days of the year so far is turning me into one of those dogs that can’t stop wanting to tear out its stitches. Maybe I need a little cone around my wrist to stop me getting at it.

Had another 4 a.m. miracle last night about how to shift my story and try and make the bastard work. It involves a bit of writing, which you should really never do til you’re done with the draft, but in this case it’s fairly necessary. After I’m done with this script, I can’t wait to bury my head in research at the British Library for a bit with The Oath research. Will offset that with the Free Fall rewrites and working with Meg to get I Can See My House From Here shot. Hopefully have a couple more commercial movie meetings with Martin as well.

Now if only this bastard hand would fix itself, I’d go out and play some tennis…

Rise and Shine

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.

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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.

Deja Vu

Both Tuesday and yesterday I found myself sitting in a Waterloo establishment, drinking a specific type of red wine, and eating olives. In the first instance, it with someone who’d recently been hit by a lorry, and on the way to the second, I saw a man who got hit by a lorry. Ahh, London…

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Deadline for our BBC pitches is Tuesday, so will be working on that tonight. I think I need to dust off Starting Up and try and make that work. It’s not particularly original, but could be made to be interesting. I had intended to put forward Mehta, but it turns out they definitely want TV. Still, this is a really good opportunity, so shouldn’t just toss it. I can try and pitch it as a mix between Press Gang and This Life – but that’s quite a confused audience.

I’m very happy with the tightened version of I Can See My House From Here and I reckon I will send it to Johnny at Shine to see if he’ll be able to help me. Finally, I’ve decided to park Lord of Lower Marsh as my play in month three and instead write one, final version of Everybody Lives in Clapham. It’s silly, it’s commercial, I want to write it properly…so let’s just get it out the way.

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In the contest of which city’s got the biggest dick in Western Europe, Paris has announced that not only has it got the big boy, it’s got two.

So enjoy the limelight while it lasts, Londres, the title’s ours for 4 years. Here’s a view from the top of the Shard at night. If you haven’t seen it yet, do – it’s breathtaking.