Monday, 22 March 2010

15 minutes

I don't know why I feel compelled to give advice - I haven't achieved any great measure of success - and yet there's something I find I want to share. If any aspiring writer has somehow stumbled on to my nonsense, there is just one bit of advice I feel I have to give. (Drum roll please).

Write a 15 minute script.

Actually, the main bit of advice I would give is to start writing. Don't waste time thinking how much you'd like to be a writer without actually commiting to put pen to paper in case what you write isn't a masterpiece.

(A cautionary tale: that's mainly how I spent my 20s, and now I'm considered pretty ancient and decrepit at the grand old age of 31, too old for most of the new writing development work that happens in London, cos apparently you stop being interesting at the age of 26. I was fucking tedious at the age of 26. I'm much more interesting now. I digress.)

Anyway, once you've become one of the small minority of would-be writers who actually write, and you've started something - anything - aiming for a 15 minute script is helpful. It's a manageable length. It's good practise for story-telling. And much, much more importantly than either of these things is the fact that once you start looking, there are loads of wee showcases going on looking for short scripts. Which means you might have a chance of getting something put on.

Ok, that was my brief foray into advice. I'm going to stop now.

The reason I'm sharing this, and that I'm slightly excited about it all, is that a script I wrote on my hols (with love and care and attention obviously) is having not one, but two outings.

Performance number one happened last week. A rehearsed reading. It was... ok. Heck. It was quite good. The flaws I mainly knew about already, I think.

But in subsequent revising I have done a couple of things: I've gotten rid of some swearing. It looks fine on the page, but it's hard on the ear if you overuse it. And it loses impact. I've also clarified some of the lines that made perfect sense to me, but got lost in the melee.

The rehearsed reading was interesting in lots of ways. There were five other writers there, most of them more experienced than me. Some of them intimidatingly successful. And yet there we all were, in some tiny fringe venue, just glad to have an audience. Just glad that someone was bringing to life some words we wrote down, some words that mean something.

Hopefully - TBC - which is why I'm being a tad cagey, there is a performance number two happening next week. Once the deal is done, I will be more celebratory.

Deal I mean in a metaphorical sense. No actual money is changing hands. it's just for the, er, glory, or something like that (see above).

Last but not least, a comedy script I wrote last year is having an outing on the actual radio. Ok, community radio, but radio nonetheless.

Now, I realise that all of the above isn't exactly an Oscar nomination, but little bits and bobs like these keep me going, and help me believe I might actually be a writer. So this is good news.