Two years ago I was writing the treatment for a feature length screenplay. I know this because I have a clear memory of perching on a bench in a shopping centre, typing into a laptop while people around me shopped for Christmas presents. It was a loooooong treatment, too long really but at least it got me to the end of the first draft of the script. A script I was quite disappointed with after reading it back. It seemed to me overlong, over complicated and I wasn’t the only person to think so (I’ve written about this something before).
God I didn’t have the strength to do another draft straightaway, frankly the whole thing was filling up my head and driving me nuts. So I left it for about a year (WTF?). The next time I went back to it I thought I’d take the core of the story, or the bit that had always been there and I’d most enjoyed, and write it at as a short story. It was a refreshing experience because while I knew from the script what was generally going to happen, moment by moment I was just concerned with what was happening to my character. Instead of planning the whole thing out and making events conform to a structure I went back to the initial relationships and actions that first made me interested in that world and those characters. It came across well in the finished tale, it was personal and it had the drive I wanted the screenplay to have.
At that point I thought I’d cracked it. Writing in a short story format had worked for this element of the film I wanted to write, all I needed to do was approach the other elements in the same way and expand upon the whole thing until I had my full story. Done by the end of the year I thought.
Then two things happened:
1) I started to over plan and over think things again, trying to squeeze it all a new but still equally restrictive straitjacket.
2) I did a lot of work on other stuff.
I appreciate now that some ideas dictate their own schedule. Sometimes things have got to sit around until they make sense. That said I think I’m going to do start work again on this feature script, before it’s Christmas 2011 or something.
Work on the podcast continues in a steady fashion. The closer we get to completing these first draft the more excited I am to be able to stand back and see the whole thing. And to see what needs fixing, because there will surely be fixing to be done…
It’s nearly Christmas!