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Not throwing the baby out with the bathwater

January 25, 2012

It seems these days the bath is my epiphany post – my under-the-apple tree location of choice for a eureka-esque moment. Which is a bitch cos the paper gets soggy really easily and my skin starts to prune – after writing nine pages longhand on plot alterations and back story, that water is COLD. But it seems I’m able to think in this zen-like space, like the water releases an inner creative geyser, my pores accept the warmth and comfort of the womb-like posture I’m sat in – plus my stomach looks flat. And this in a hip bath! Just imagine the creative riches ready to be plumbed when the double-ender is ready!

Anyway, in short, I’ve changed the plot. Again. Possibly I’ve lost the plot – this new story is about as far-removed from the first half of Draft 1 that I think it actually bears NO relation to that script I started just 12 short months ago. Possibly this is a good thing – I’m pretty sure 99% of those first few pages was crap – but also I’m a little sad that the creative roots that sprouted back then have failed to shoot leaves in this version. Also, it was a shit load of work I lost. Dumped. Dozens of characters killed. Already having suffered the indignity of having their names, sexes, and sexualities changed (for heaven’s sake!), they were obliterated off the page as easy as gurgle! Down the plughole.

What started off as a bunch of people cheating on each other morphed into a film about people wanting something they couldn’t have – it frolicked briefly as a Biblical treatise on the ethics of coveting – and then transmogrified into a study on parental scars, a psychologically telling (Freud would LOVE it) tirade on how a father takes over his sons’ lives even when he isn’t there (sound familiar? Tssh), and has now – unbelievably! – become a film on a father taking over. He’s commandeered my damn script! This guy, who was originally called Mark, and was the father to a little girl, a step father to an adolescent boy (both characters now sadly FLUSHED, sorry), and uncle to Malik and Salim, is now the twins (renamed) DAD, married to his once-sister, and a rock star instead of a chartered surveyor. How the frick did that happen??? I worry for my mind.

It now seems somewhat surreal that I finished the original script. At one point in my life I had 138 pages of first draft. I now have nine pages of illegible, slightly damp, synopsis, a handful of good scenes I can maybe re-use, and a 500-word outline due to be submitted on Friday that’s 795 words long. And isn’t very good. I do think I’m going in the right direction, but the route has changed so much I’ve lost my map. And do I want to get to that particular destination anyway?

I’m pretty sure I can keep this metaphor going a bit longer but think it’s better to kill it. I need to keep ploughing on, remembering the feelings of excitement I get when an idea starts working, and wait for the next one to rear its head. Keep writing crap in search of the diamonds.

I’m really glad I asked for feedback. Most people have been very kind – but it’s those who have been cruel who have been of use. I need my ego deflating a little, I need to have the piss taken out of my work. It’s far easier to cope with than that slightly panicked look people get in their eye when they’re struggling to come up with something good to say. And if an idea doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. No one liked the battle of the bands – and that was a new thing. Something I thought would work really well – no one bought it. They all asked where the mother was, and no one liked the main character. Or his name. They latched onto things I thought were trivial, and missed the relevant stuff. And I need to listen to everything they say, even (especially!) if I don’t agree, and see my story objectively. And subjectively – they’re an audience with opinions, and they’re all right.

Gonna have to take another bath.

From → Blog, Film, Script

One Comment
  1. Howdy! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a
    quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your blog posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects?

    Thanks for your time!

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