Good Lord, it seems like all I do these days is natter on that infernal telephonic voice-casting contraption.
This (last) week I had a chat with Rebecca Handley who, as is fast becoming traditional, was lovely.
But it very nearly didn’t happen. I was firmly ensconced on my Secret Writing Island, so Skype was once again pressed into service. Alas, the island’s rather poor Internet was playing silly buggers and I was forced to leave my room, roaming the hotel grounds in search of a shady spot chock full of WiFi.
Sadly, everyone else in the hotel had the same idea and so the hunt was on – somewhere out there must be the holy trinity: shade (for I am afflicted with Ginge and tend to burn surprisingly easily), WiFi and peace and quiet.
Hang on, is that four things?
Probably needs an Oxford comma in there.
I hate Oxford commas.
Luckily, via the judicious deployment of a few sharp elbows, I claimed my spot as King of the Wifi.
Well, it is my fucking island after all.
Writing island. Not fucking island. There is no fucking on the Secret Writing Island. That sort of thing is just not on.
Anyway, crisis averted, bring on the chat.
Rebecca is a writer who, in her own words has: Won some awards, usually get to 1/4 or semi-finals in screen contests, have a co-written project in development and another optioned script ‘gearing up’.
Most of the hour and a half was spent discussing parenting – which was great! Rebecca’s daughter is a few years older than mine and it was lovely to pick up some helpful tips.
Parenting is one of those things which people rarely criticise you on. I’d love to be able to have frank and open discussions with my friends about the mistakes I may be making and the long-term psychological damage I may be inflicting on my offspring.
But it doesn’t really happen. People tend to get the hump quite quickly if there’s even the vaguest suggestion they’re anything less than a wonderful, naturally skilled parent.
Rebecca and I spent a bit of time meandering back and forth over the nature/nurture debate. My position on which is this:
I think everything is probably a complex combination of both factors. I don’t know anyone who’s exceptional at anything who hasn’t practised a fuck load … but maybe they had some initial spark of innate talent in the first place?
Despite that entrenched belief, I choose to come down on the side of nurture more often than not; because, if ability is inherent then my options are limited. If it’s all nurture, just finding a way of learning/practising something which makes sense to me … then I can do anything.
To me, it feels far more useful to believe you can do anything if you try hard enough than to believe it’s all in your genes.
Them’s my thoughts anyway.
Rebecca sounds like she’s in a good place with her writing. It certainly sounds to me like she’s heading in the right direction. Like Dee Chilton, Rebecca is utilising Hayley Mackenzie’s Script Angel service. And like Dee, Rebecca is finding Hayley’s services invaluable.
We talked over the weird compulsion to write – why are we? What keeps us cranking out stories even in those dark times when no one else gives a shit? I’m kind of privileged in that I’ve not gone longer than a few months between jobs for over a decade … but if I wasn’t continualy working for/with a client, would I have the staying power to keep writing? Or would I get disheartened and give up?
Occasionally I do get hacked off with the whole thing. Sometimes a job gets so far beyond fun it becomes a chore … and in those times I try to do something creative on the side.
Something just for me. Something I have control over and can be proud of because, even when everything goes right, the quality of the end product of scriptwriting often bears little relation to the effort put in.
Last year I made a Ghostbusters costume.
This year I’m making an Iron Man suit*.
These little side projects recharge my batteries and give me time to think. They’re an important part of my process.
Rebecca sounds like an up and coming writer who we’ll be hearing more of in the near future and I wish her the best of luck. I really enjoyed chatting to her.
And that was #PhonePhill 7.
Roll on next week!
Would you like to have a chat about something? Anything really, doesn’t have to be scriptwriting. I’d love to talk to anyone about anything. Maybe you’re a director or an AD? A script supervisor? A gaffer or a best boy? Or maybe you’re a mid-wife or an undertaker? Doesn’t really matter, it’s just about reaching out and having a bit of a natter.
If you are a person and are bored enough to want to talk to a complete stranger (or maybe we know each other and haven’t spoken for a while?) then drop me a line and we’ll get our people to contact each other and arrange a time.
Assuming you have people?
* The process for this is called Pepakura … and it’s awesome. Several online prop-making geniuses have modeled the suit and unfolded it using this program. All idiots like me have to do is print out the pattern, cut it out of cardboard and glue it together.
Actually, you’re supposed to then cover it in resin and fibreglass and car body-filler so you can sand it to a metal-like finish. Done properly, the results are stunning … but I’m on a budget, a schedule and only have to fool a five year old.
To my eyes, and the eyes of proper builders it looks terrible … to most people I actually know it looks fantastic. And you know what? I’m happy with how it looks – it accurately represents the effort involved.