Tuesday, 13 April 2010

the latest work of genius. also, crap telly.

This is the typical cycle of my feelings towards any given script I write:

Stage 1: in which I am wildly enthused about my most recent scribblings. And decide that it is by far the best thing I've ever written.

Stage 2: doubt creeps in. It's good but...
Editing ensues. It's brilliant again! Stage 1 and 2 can take a little while.

Stage 3: It's bloody awful. Irredemable. Why did I ever think I could write. I'm an idiot.

(At this stage I pause and go away and do something else to forget about it all. I'd like to pretend that 'something else' is generally a highbrow cultural event, but more often than not its those Friends repeats on E4. Still! What's wrong with me? I have no idea.)

Stage 4: Revelation: the final piece slots into place, and I have a script that is - in my head at least - somewhere on the scale of not bad to quite good.

In case you're wondering, I'm somewhere between stages 3 and 4, so metaphorically speaking on the Friends repeats.

Something is definitely missing from my latest script. I just can't work out what.

One problem is that I feel like I'm beating people around the head to make my point. So it needs some nuance. And after months and months of writing short, sharp scenes, I've gone a bit mentile and decided to write a sustained piece over 15 minutes real time, which requires quite a lot of skill with pacing that I'm not sure I have yet. But for it to work at all, it has to work in this format.


Wonder what Ross and Rachel are up to.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

My greatest work of fiction yet

I hate internet dating. It's soulless and heartless and effectively reduces romance to the status of shopping from Tesco.

Which is why I never have and I never will...

Oh no, hang on, I am. I am internet dating.

Why oh why oh why would I do that? Because I've yet to find an alternative. Let me rephrase that: I've yet to find an alternative that doesn't involve being horrifically drunk, and I gave up on that caper a little while ago.

Oh, but it'll just happen. This is what people say. Pah.

If you live in London, take a look next time you walk down the South Bank in nice weather, at the cafes and the benches. Tens of single women sitting winsomely on their own in cafes reading an interesting intelligent book and just waiting for an interesting intelligent other to engage them in conversation. To start off on a path that will end in something deeply romantic.

It doesn't happen, I bloody assure you. The South Bank isn't so much a side of the river as a graveyard for crushed dreams of romance, built on the lonely tears and misplaced optimism of women. The men, sensibly, are mainly down the pub.

So that's why I'm doing internet dating, and that's why I've written a stupid profile to try and show how, ahem, cool and amazing I am. Or, er, something. It's true, mainly, what I've written about myself. It's just selective. So watch this space.

Material, that's what I remind myself. As well as being my life, this is all material.

Pah, and thrice pah.


This is probably the nicest rejection email I've had to date:

Many thanks for your entry. We had over 200 entries and sorry to say your script wasn't selected for the final six. It did make it to a final shortlist of fifteen, however, and we thought it was an excellent piece of work...

Excellent work, eh? My best review ever, and it hasn't even been staged.

Producers of open script things take note: Be nice! Even if it's not true. Just pretend. Nothing wrong with some politeness to spare sensitive writerly feelings. OK?

I'm being a bit flippant. But a personalised email saying something nice genuinely does feel better than the usual half-hearted round robin seven months after the closing date/no response at all.

I did a playwriting course a couple of years and one of the tutors brought along some of his rejection letters. He had a lot of rejection letters, but is now wildly successful. So it just goes to show... something or other.