Friday, March 27, 2009

Onwards and upwards

If I hadn't been trapped in Reading this evening, I probably wouldn't have got around to entering Monsters for the Cheltenham Screenwriters Festival ScriptMarket competition - you know, the one where there was a big question about how many words should be in the synopsis.

It turns out that the right number was 250 words. So I took my off-the-cuff 230 words and edited it into present tense and pruned it back to 195 words. Then added other essential material, like a bit of setting; I kept adding and cutting with the word count wavering between 200 and 245 words, once reaching the giddy heights of 247. More items were removed as non-essential, giving me more space to fill in emotion and ensuring that the protagonist was clearly acting as a causative element of the story.

The final act was where the story flow seemed to jump in a complete non-sequitur right in the middle. Not good. In the actual script it all flows but, because of what had been chopped out, there was this discontinuity. So there was more pruning which freed up enough words to allow me to make the flow clear.


Then there was 50 words to explain why I wanted to talk to agents (as opposed to directors, producers, financiers and so on, which I could also choose). But let's be focused: I know that the probability of Monsters being produced is minimal. No matter how much I love it. It's a spec script. So why bother meeting with producers, directors and financiers? What I need is an agent to help me sell myself. I can come back to Monsters another day.

This is probably the most expensive script competition to enter in the world.

Except, of course, you do get 4 days of one of the most brilliant screenwriting experiences you could possibly have. With an opportunity to make zillions of contacts.

I probably give the impression I find it easy to talk to people and network.

That would not be true. Writing is easy. I've had lots of experience in writing so can write in a very relaxed and friendly tone (had you noticed?). Face-to-face is another matter. Having said that you need only adopt a "oh what the hell" attitude and just do it anyway.

Anyway, that's SWF'09 out the way for the time being.

I'm also contemplating whether to enter Unit X for the Scriptapalooza TV competition - trouble is you have do this complicated Brad-binding thing that they like in the States - and they probably want it on foolscap - quaint. And I'd have to send hard copy from the UK. Question is: Can I be bothered?

Mind you, it would be amusing to have success with Unit X in the States, it being a US series written by a Brit. Just like my mate Roger Ellory and his brilliant US thrillers. Hm, I've just noticed, from the photo of Roger on the Sky Arts Book Show, that he's started to sport a beard and moustache just like mine. He may be more successful than me, but That's My Facial Hair Design.

You can tell I'm bored, can't you? It's too late to start writing now and I'll be up at the usual time tomorrow to go to work so that this website will be launched on time in full working order.

Right. I shall do a little reading and then it's off to bed.


What's on the turntable? "The Morning Fog" by Kate Bush from "Hounds of Love" (extended edition with great extra tracks of which this is one)

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