Thursday, 8 November 2007

The Twenty Questions Meme

Okay - this is obviously a displacement activity, but hey! - that's the name of the blog. Here goes:

1. Do you outline?
Almost always. I have been known to rush into a short film, not knowing where the journey will end up. But for anything longer I like to have a map, even if I decide to go off-road someway down the line. (I’m bailing out of the motoring analogy at this point.)

2. Do you write straight through a script, or do you sometimes tackle the scenes out of order?
I plough through roughly from start to finish – occasionally this entails leaving a scene and coming back to it later.

3. Do you prefer writing with a pen or using a computer?
Both. I spend a lot of my time in trains, and I like to work with pencil and paper when on the move. Then I get home and type it all up.

4. Do you prefer writing in first person or third?
I only work on screen/radio plays, so third person is a given. I wonder what the average script reader would make of a screenplay written in the first person. I’m almost tempted to try to write one. Almost.

5. Do you listen to music while you write?
Sometimes. Usually at the start of work when I’m trying to get to the right level of concentration. When I achieve the right level of concentration, I get irritated with the music, and switch it off.

6. How do you come up with the perfect names for your characters?
To quote the late, great Douglas Adams: “If you have trouble with character names, you’re probably using the wrong kind of coffee. Try an Italian blend.”

(I don’t really know what he was talking about either, to be honest.)

7. When you’re writing, do you ever imagine your script as a book/short story?
No. But I often imagine it as a movie. That’s been made. And won me an Oscar. You’ve got to get through the day somehow.

8. Have you ever had a character insist on doing something you really didn’t want him/her to do?
Occasionally things end up going a different way to how I expected, but it never feels like the character is gaining their own autonomy. I think that phenomenon’s a little bit of exaggerated mythologizing about the creative process.

9. Do you know how a script is going to end when you start it?
I refer the learned gentleman to the answers I gave to 1 and 8 above.

10. Where do you write?
On the commute to the day job, and at home.

11. What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Write. (Someone once said: Writer’s block is nature’s way of telling you you’re not a writer - a bit harsh, maybe, but I broadly agree with it.)

12. What size increments do you write in?
Size doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with it that counts. Ahem.

13. How many different drafts did you write for your last project?
My last short film went through seven drafts, and two further sets of revisions.

14. Have you ever changed a character’s name midway through a draft?

15. Do you let anyone read your script while you’re working on it, or do you wait until you’ve completed a draft before letting someone else see it?
For a spec script, I’d finish up before I showed anyone. For a commission, I’d provide pages to my producer whenever I was asked.

16. What do you do to celebrate when you've finished a draft?
A glass of wine is customary.

17. One project at a time, or multiple projects at once?
I have lots of things on the go, but I can only sit down and do a draft of any one of them at any time, or I’d never get anything finished. (I’m a man, I can’t multitask, apparently.)

18. Do your scripts grow or shrink in revision?
Sometimes they grow, sometimes they shrink. But let’s not discount the possibility of a new draft being exactly the same length as the previous one too. It could happen!

19. Do you have any writing or critique partners?
Never worked with a co-writer. But there are a lot of great folks out there in the Scribosphere (hello!) who have reviewed my work in the past.

20. Do you prefer drafting or revising?
You've got to learn to love both, I think. But nothing beats the feeling of starting out on the first draft of a new project.

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