Saturday 27 August 2011

Two to Watch - Screenwriting Documentaries

In the past year I have watched two fantastic documentaries on Screenwriting and wanted to share them with every screenwriter out there.

The first one, is Tales from the Script. This is an account of struggles and successes from a variety of Produced writers, including some very big names. If you need further convincing, here is a trailer:

The second is Dreams on Spec. The documentary follows three screenwriters as they try to break into the industry. It is available for free and you can watch it right now.

                                               Watch more free documentaries

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. If there are others you have watched/ heard of, please leave the details in the comment below.

Thursday 18 August 2011

New Distractions

I’ve done it again! I have found a new distraction, a new project to immerse myself into and spend hours thinking about rather than going to bed or interacting with those around me. Wait! Make that two!

The first is #Scriptchat, an online weekly gathering of scriptwriters, from beginners to seasoned writers, who share their thoughts and experiences. The chat takes place on Twitter every Sunday night for an hour. I joined it just over a year ago and it’s something I always look forward to: an hour chatting to people who like me, love to torture themselves. OK, that’s just me then. As of this coming Sunday I will be one of the new EURO co-moderators of scriptchat, in conjunction with my writing partner and husband Taro. We will be joining Alli Parker and have the honour of replacing the Euro scriptchat founder Mina Zaher. So if you already follow #scriptchat and everything suddenly goes weird and incomprehensible, that’s why.
Although if you're in the USA you need not worry as it's moderated by a great team.

The second is HitRECord. This is a collaborative project set up by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who likes to refer to himself as Regular Joe. HitRECord is in some ways a production company, but it’s a lot more than that, it’s a place to let your imagination run free, like a big brainstorm room where you contribute with ideas and these are picked up and merged with other thoughts and bounced back and picked up again and remixed once again and so forth. So just a simple image or a couple of words could become a symphony. This is perfect for anyone who like me has too many thoughts and ideas roaming around with no real home, and definitely for those who are happy to share and collaborate.

While Scriptchat is extra work, it’s very relevant to my writing. It’s the very important networking side, getting to know people with similar interests and also learning so much about this craft in a fun and interactive way. We all share and are willing to help selflessly.
HitRECord will hopefully not take up too much time either as to me it will be a place to share those extra curricular thoughts, doodles, videos and photos that are already part of my daily life.

Fear not though, I have still been writing my scripts. I have realised that I can’t write every time I have a spare minute as my brain isn’t always in the right mood. Yes, I have a moody brain. I can still fit in the above activities when my spare time is too short to get into writing mode, or I am too tired to focused on anything other than doodling or tweeting.

Everything in moderation ;-)

Friday 5 August 2011

I'll Write Tomorrow, and that's OK

As writers, we love nothing more than to, well, write. Just sit down and let our imagination run wild getting all those thoughts and conversations that we have between our characters in our mind on to paper. As playwright Edward Albee said “A writer is a controlled schizophrenic”. In fact, one of my favourite movies is Girl, Interrupted. The protagonist is a writer who doesn’t conform, and because she is different, she is logically insane and needs to be committed.

We also have to realise though that writing isn’t everything and that we have other needs and responsibilities; and I’m not just talking about the bills that need paying, but mostly about the real characters, not the ones in our minds, but the ones in our lives. They too need love and attention.

Remember when I wrote a script in a month for Scriptfrenzy? Somehow then I managed to juggle a very busy life with writing, and for that month it worked out better than planned, but life isn’t always straight forward and sometimes routine just won’t cut it.

I concluded that if I persisted on writing this week, I would eventually set my house on fire. Fact! Twice in the space of one week I’ve added oil to a pot and left it on the fire for 2secs while checking on the kids. A whole five minutes later I’d either remember or smell it and have to rescue the burnt pot and set it aside knowing that I had been lucky that nothing worse happened. I’ve just done too many silly mistakes this week, things I would normally never do. I have been very distracted and it is as simple as I haven’t had enough sleep.

It’s beautiful outside, but it’s almost too hot, it makes one slow and tired and brain dead. Sun is lethal! Besides that, my children do not like sleeping and at any moment between 4-6am they are wide-awake and ready for the day. By 9am we just need to get out of the house. So this week there’s been splashing, walking, boat rides, scooting, ball kicking, painting, drawing, cleaning, feeding, fighting, crying, watching, splashing, cleaning, reading, playing, laughing. When all calms down and there’s finally sleeping, I sit down and try to write, or end up reading. So when does my brain rest? I suppose it hasn’t and it’s the reason I can’t focus on simple things.

I have finally accepted that this is the only writing happening this week. I’m taking a little coffee break whilst Wall-E entertains my eldest. The princess castle cake I’m making for my niece patiently waits for me to mold it into a castle rather than the big blob it is right now (I took so long to post this the cake is almost ready).

Princess Castle Cake - almost done

The pressure to write is one I have imposed upon myself and have now declared that it will have to wait until Monday rather than trying to fit in around the busy weekend.
So there you go, tomorrow I’ll write, today I’m going to sleep – and that is absolutely fine!

Wait a minute, I hear cries, nevermind sleep for now.