Whatever happened to Secret Project X?

… asked the man in the pub.

By the way, Secret Project X isn’t a codename – that’s the actual name of the project. A film I was working on a year or two ago which … well, what did happen to Secret Project X?

The script wasn’t great (obviously, I wrote it) and no one was really sure why. That may sound odd, but sometimes that’s just the way it is. It sounded fine, but there was something off in the execution which no one could quite put their finger on.

Then came the note: Can we have less X?

Hmm … well, you could; but less X is, frankly, a fucking stupid idea. That’s a note I knew wouldn’t work; but note-givers don’t always believe you and despite popular opinion, notes are rarely stupid merely misguided.

And who knows? It might work, it’s perfectly possible the note-giver is right and I’m wrong. So what I tend to do in this type of situation is register my objections, then make the changes to the best of my abilities. The hope is it either works and I’m proved wrong, or it doesn’t work and everyone realises we need to go back to the previous draft and rethink.

Sometimes though, as I guess happened in this case, taking most of the X out of Secret Project X results in a bland script which nobody really likes any more.

They don’t dislike it, or hate it … they just have no like for it. It doesn’t provoke any emotion or opinion whatsoever. Instead of re-evaluating the notes or going back to the original script, they just … lose interest.

A bit like a kid with a toy they’ve outgrown, it just gets forgotten.

And that’s kind of it. 

Probably.

Because in this digital age, nothing ever really goes away. Sometimes, years later, the disinterested party stumbles across the script mouldering on their hard drive, something in it sparks their interest and suddenly they’re all guns blazing again.

This is great! I have to make it! It has to happen, right now! Now, I tells you!

So whatever happened to Secret Project X?

It’s resting.

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