Several of you may remember earlier this year I was asked to take on a challenge of a vaguely artistic nature, when my friend Mike set me the task of writing a screenplay.
Ok, when I say 'several of you', obviously I mean City Girl, who gets the full fatboyfat experience by being a Facebook friend, too. A message from her popped up on my wall a couple of weeks ago that said something along the lines of: "You errant fraud. Where's this frickin' screenplay, then?"
I could be paraphrasing, but that was the gist.
And she has a good point. Because for most of this year I've been able to have all of the advantages of writing a screenplay (looking sagely into the middle-distance and telling people "I'm writing a screenplay" in a nonchalant manner) without any of the disadvantages (actually writing the screenplay).
That's not to say no work has been done. Oh no. I came up with a handful of story ideas (none of which involved monkeys and typewriters, although it was a close call), there have been development meetings (two of us sitting down ver a beer and figuring out how the plot might go), Mike's found someone to help on the production side and we've even given our enterprise a name and website. Nothing much on there, but it's the thought that counts.
But the meat in this particular sandwich? Well, it's been a little lacking so far, which is a shame because I entered into this with all the enthusiasm of a teenager in an unlocked off-licence. My intention to spend a fortnight in the French countryside being suitably inspired was thrown off-kilter. September and October were filled with distractions. It's been a flipping nightmare.
Mike, as well as displaying the patience of a saint (Saint Bernardette the Constantly Early), has been keeping himself busy though. One of his projects this year had him involved in a local film competition. Teams had to write, produce and screen a short film in 48 hours flat. You can see his team's entry here:
I was a little jealous. This was written in several hours. Yes, my screenplay is a little more involved, and will be longer, but seeing the team's film made me realise I have to knuckle down. And there was another thing that gave me a kick up the backside, too. NaBloPoMo.
November has put me in front of a keyboard every night. I'm not going to say it's been a punishing discipline - people who work in metal-bashing factories or down mines would find that ridiculous - but for me it's been quite a challenge to drag myself away from the telly and just write something every day. And I suspect that's what I'll have to do with this screenplay.
I'm still enthusiastic about the story - it's quite an appropriate topic. However, I'm not going to pretend that the Hollywood studios will be fighting over themselves. I've never done anything like this before. If it goes further than a private screening for friends and family, I'll be pleased. But it'll be something to look on and think: "We did that."