Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Monday, 22 September 2008

“Write hard and true about what hurts.”

So why the Cracker and Joy Division clips? Apart from them being great??

Well Tony Wilson says in the Joy Division trailer “Everyone else was on stage because they wanted to be rock stars. This lot were on stage because they had no fucking choice." He meant they had passion. They did want to be rock stars (and a lot of the reason they were burning the night Wilson first saw them was that they were pissed off about the billing) But they were doing something original. They has passion, energy. Soul.

There’s a great scene in Walk the Line where Johnny Cash blandly sings this bland Gospel Song in an audition for Sun Records. Another studio boss, the legendary Sam Phillips, cuts him off, saying “I don‘t believe you.” When an offended Cash asks his why, Phillips tells him “We've already heard that song a hundred times... just like that, just like how you sang it.”

“If you was hit by a truck and you were lying out in that gutter dying... and you had time to sing one song, huh? One song... people would remember before you're dirt... one song that would let God know what you felt about your time here on earth... one song that would sum you up... you telling me that's the song you'd sing?

“Or would you sing something different?

“Something real, something you felt? Because I'm telling you right now... that's the kind of song people want to hear.”*

Then Cash sings Folsom Prison Blues (“Ah shot a man in Reno/Jus’ to watch him die,”) literally finding his voice as he does, and the rest is history.

So, the Six Million Dollar Question: would you sing the song you’re singing at the moment? Or, would you sing something different?

See that’s something that’s been bothering me recently. I reread a couple of my old scripts recently, and they were not just better than I thought they would be - They were better than the stuff I’ve been writing recently. Sure they were rough, but they were more heartfelt, or more fun. I've become a hack. I‘ve improved my craft skills, and craft is vital. But sometimes we need reminding that there's more to writing than structure and arcs and act breaks.

Watch the Cracker clip, and imagine Fitz throwing away Field, Mackee…telling you to look inside and think what really matters to you, what you really want to write, how the world really works. How you really work.

One of my favourite ever quotes about music, about art, is from Mick Jones of The Clash. He said something like “The trouble with these modern bands, is that they leave you as they find you.” How will what you’re writing leave the audience?

*Edited Extract From ‘Walk The Line’ - screenplay by Gill Dennis & James Mangold

Sunday, 21 September 2008

"No. Fucking. Choice."

And the moral of the story is....

I've been far away...

On holiday from the day job, so 33.5 hours writing this week. Would have done more, but I was away for a few days.* I’ve finished the draft of my TV pilot, so just need to polish up the first ten pages and rocket them off to Red Planet. Also finished my Rise submission, and whisked that off.

BTW. I tried to have a day off from the writing today. Christ it was boring! How do people cope without writing to do? Don't they get bored?? Anyone know any real people they can ask???

And I’ll let you know tomorrow why I posted the Cracker and Joy Division clips above. See if you can spot the link**


* Though I did a few hours on the coach on the way up. And the way back. And in bed when the girlfriend was asleep. Don’t tell her though - It’ll be our little secret, ok?
BTW, Interesting that getting away from the computer freed the pipes - writing on the coach with a notebook on my lap, and no distractions let me completely rethink my metlab project.
** apart from Manchester, obviously.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Hello! Just passing through. Can't stop!


Did 20 hours writing last week. Scribosocial was rather wonderful, thanks to everyone who came - I'll post the rest of the photos here or on facebook soon. All in fantastic stereoscopic 3-D!*
One week, I'll do a Stuart Perry style blog a day. But not this week! Even though I'm on holiday from the day job, got tons to do. I'm away for a few days from tom, so trying to cram in as much writing as I can today .


Friday, 5 September 2008

Whoo who!

Did 30 hours writing last week (the bank holiday helped!) On course for 20 hours this week. But more importantly, I finished the exploratory draft of my rom com* (currently going by the slightly ropey working title of Summer Night)

I’d set myself the completely arbitrary deadline of last Sunday. That deadline whoosed meerily by, but I finally finished the draft Thursday. Partly cos I got stuck in the middle. Partly, I found something else to write (isn’t it amazing how having to write something fires you up with a burning passion for writing something else?? Tho I don’t have it as bad as the wonderful Paul Abbott) It was a script for an entry for this funky little graphic novel competition from the observer btw.

Summer Nights ain’t great. The tone is all over the place. The protagonist is the most boring character in it. The second act doesn’t work. The characterisation is inconsistent. Cos I was moving forward, I’ve occasionally left lines blank, I havent gone back and set up things I hadn’t realised I needed. I even threw in a completely new character who everyone knew on about page 60!

It’s rough as fuck, to be honest. But, I’m liking the characters, liking the humour. Loving the ending. After struggling through the second act, I caned the last twenty pages. I’ll have to see how it matures locked up in the script cupboard now. **

In other news, this week I have mainly been listening to Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour. There are two shows a week [one on Radio 2, one on 6 music] click on the links and you can listen to them on your computer! Really!! As the man himself says “music travels through the air, so it knows no boundaries”

As this clip proves! ***

*or is it a bromantic comedy?
** not actual cupboard
*** er, when I say 30 hours - there may have been some internet related slacking!