Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Upping the run rate

Today I've been chatting via blog comments with Phill Barron, who writes funny sketches and gets gobs more material into NewsRevue and The Treason Show than I do. Turns out he can also write material much faster than I can.

Which raises the question, how can I increase my speed? It's an obvious assumption that run rates increase with experience, and I've definitely improved at churning out screenplay pages fast, but if anything my sketch writing is getting slower. Am I second-guessing myself? Am I too used to working with a partner? (I wrote sketches with Piers Beckley for a long time, but he's busy with drama projects these days, so my recent output has mostly been solo.) Am I simply running out of jokes?

Suggestions on a postcard please. The winning entrant will get an un-funny sketch written about them -- but don't expect it to be finished for several days.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Another day, another draft

Some of my friends and I like to challenge each other to various writing tasks. Most of the time this takes the form, "Write a first draft of [thing x] in [timespan y]." E.g., "Write a first draft of a feature script in two months."

The current challenge is a little bit different. Piers Beckley, William Gallagher, and I have tasked each other with producing a draft of something we've previously worked on, in a timeframe of 15 days. So, in effect, this one is a rewrite challenge.

I chose to work on my rom com feature script, which regular readers may remember has been almost done for an embarrassingly long time. The challenge was just the motivation I needed to pull my finger out and fix the structure. (Well, I hope the structure's now fixed.)

I delivered my draft on Tuesday, and my hope is that I can do one final draft based on Piers' and William's notes, bulk the script out by a few pages (it's currently running a bit short), and call it done. That would be doubly nice because I don't have a feature spec in my portfolio at present, and that's a rather glaring absence.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

You're welcome, but your film can f**k off

Last month I submitted my short film "No Circulars Please" to the East End Film Festival. I didn't much fancy my chances of getting in -- the film has the kind of production values you'd expect from a £200 budget, and while it was eligible by virtue of being shot in Tower Hamlets, it has absolutely nothing to say about east London or anyone living there. So I wasn't too surprised when I got an email yesterday saying my application had been unsuccessful.

I was, however, surprised to find attached to the rejection letter a free ticket to the closing night screening and party. Huh? Don't think I'm being ungrateful, it was nice of the festival organisers to offer me a consolation prize, but it does strike me as akin to inviting a jilted lover to your wedding. I can just imagine the networking conversations I might have:

Producer: "So, which film was yours?"
Me: "Er, none of them. They didn't want my film."
Producer: ...silence...
Me: "But they invited me to their party. I must be lovely and clever if they did that."
Producer: "Yes, I'm sure. Bye, have a nice career."

So I don't think I'll be using that ticket. But I did learn a valuable lesson -- if I'm ever in need of an instant social life, I'll submit bad films to a lot of festivals.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Every girl needs a tux, part II

The science fiction convention was a blast (go ahead, call me a nerd, I can take it). And I think I look rather nice in a tux. Judge for yourself: