January and on

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Hooray, it’s 2014 and has been for a few weeks.

Happy slightly-less-new-than-it-was-two-weeks-ago year!

How was the whole Christmas/New Year thing for you? Mine was pretty cool. I know Christmas is supposed to be about the giving, but this year I actually got presents I wanted, so that makes it cool.

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And New Year’s eve we had an incident with a firework which resulted in me and my mate being chased around his garden by a boxful of fiery death … which was also cool. And fucking scary.

But that was so last year.

This is this year and already I’m off to a great start. I’m happily ensconced on my Secret Writing Island and building up a nice head of script-speed.

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Before plunging back into a not-quite-spec script I’ve been picking at between paid assignments for six months now, I decided to give myself a little post-festive break and crank out the first 10 pages of something I’ve wanted to write for a while for the Red Planet Prize.*

Not that I know why I bother – the first ten pages of everything I’ve ever written has been utter shit until I’ve finished at least six or seven complete drafts. I find, no matter how much I plan, plot or outline, my understanding of what needs to go into those first ten pages shifts so much during the writing process that it’s pretty much a waste of time writing them first.

If I had any sense, I’d leave them well alone until I’d written and re-written all the other pages several times … but I guess I haven’t because I never do. So entering a competition which relies solely on the first ten pages is pretty pointless for me unless I’m about around half-a-dozen drafts in.

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Sometimes not even then.

But you know what? Fuck it. It’s a free competition with an awesome prize, but mainly it’s a catalyst to get the script out of my head and onto the drawing board. Or keyboard.

By the way, I’m not saying I just scribbled down ten pages and sent it in without caring, because I think that’s probably a pretty disrespectful thing to do to the poor bastards who have to read through reams and reams of scripts looking for the diamonds in the rough.

That would be tantamount to me just deciding to make someone’s life a little bit worse on purpose, just in case I might be experiencing an unexpected twinge of genius on that day.

I never twinge.

So no, it wasn’t a rough ten pages – it was the best I could make them … on the proviso mine are usually pretty poor until I’ve been through the whole story several times.

Which, actually, now I come to write it down like this seems just as bad.

Hmm … not sure if I’ve been a bit unpleasant there or not?

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Oh, we’ll see.

To be honest, I always feel guilty entering competitions anyway. I sort of feel like I’m just taking up valuable space which could be utilised by newer writers without any other contacts. I’m quite capable of generating work for myself, so should I be entering these things?

Well … yes. Because I’m a complete and utter industry nobody.

And I want to.

Because it’s a great competition.

So that was last Tuesday.

Since then I’ve also finished the not-quite-spec script and it’s suddenly turned a corner. I was beginning to think I was going to have to perform a complete character-ectomy because the bastards just weren’t doing what I wanted them to do … when a chance line suddenly made it all click into place.

And now that’s gone off to the producer (hence it being a not-quite-spec) for evisceration.

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So yay for January!

Two weeks in and two projects ticked off.

Writing! Lots of it!

And progress!

In the right direction as opposed to the horrible backwards kind.

Happy 2014, write like the wind!

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*My entry starts at a location I’ve tried to use in scripts for years. I have photos of it on my phone, which I bore people with at every and any opportunity and every single person I’ve shown it to has at least faked interest and enthusiasm. It’s a great location, one which really adds to a script, one which (to my knowledge) has never, ever been seen on TV or film … until yesterday, when it was in Sherlock.

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Now every fucker’s seen it.

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Anyone reading the script yesterday would probably have googled the location thinking I’d made it up and been amazed (or at least mildly surprised) to find out I hadn’t. Anyone reading it today will find it passé – they’ve seen it before, everyone knows about that for fuck’s sake! Why don’t you try being original for once?

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What a difference a day makes.

Oh look, it even mentions Sherlock on the Wikipedia page now too. Lovely.

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Categories: Progress, Random Witterings | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “January and on

  1. Dave Anderson

    Fuckin’ ‘Sherlock’! Bastards did it to me, too! I wrote this terrific, fuck-off opening sequence to a spec script which included a deeply satisfying scene in which the Houses of Parliament get blown up.

    Roger me with a six-foot pole wrapped in razor-wire if the almost identical scene didn’t show up in an episode of ‘Sherlock’.

    Damn you Moffat! Damn you Gatiss! They crawls down our phone wire at dead of night, sneaks into our brains and nicks our best ideas.

  2. Pingback: 2014 | The Jobbing Scriptwriter

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