Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Job Done

Well, I've completed work on the latest and last draft of the feature I was working on, and now it will go off to live a new life, maybe hitting a screen near you sometime in the future.

So I find myself back to hustling for a gig again. There's still a short project on the go, and a huge number of spec scripts, some completed, some works in progress, some just glints in my eye. It's a wonderfully liberating feeling to be able to work on whatever you like (albeit only with pencil and paper at the moment - Gah!) and I'm looking forward to networking my socks off at the Screenwriters' Festival Cheltenham, which is where I will be for the next few days. I'm hoping they have some PCs available there, so I can update the blog with a few up-to-the-minute entries, but - if not - I'll see you in just under a week.

Oh, and thanks to all who contacted me with hints and advice about fixing my PC - it was much appreciated.

Monday, 23 June 2008

The Machine Stops

Gah! My home PC is dead. As a stone. Choir invisible. Lovely plumage the Norwegian Blue. Etc. Etc.

This leaves me in a horrible state of techno-angst. No Final Draft. No iPlayer. No podcasts. And all the screenwriting work I've ever done, I can't get at. I may have to revise my "backups are for wimps" policy. It now seems a bit macho to have been playing chicken with entropy.

It's probably just the power-unit going on the blink, but I am a hardware dunce and am not sure I want to risk someone as inept as me fitting a new one. And then it might not be the power unit. What if the hard drive is wiped? Gah!

I can update the blog from work, so expect more entries here until I get things fixed. This is my only portal left to the screenwriting world.

Actually, this gives me an idea for a story about over-reliance on technology, and the brave struggle of an inept character to live without the internet. But I'm going to have to write it in a pad. Like last century. Gah!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Yeah... No posts for ages... Again... I know... Sorry.

The Screenwriters' Festival is fast approaching. I can't believe it's been a year since those dizzy, drizzly days of Cheltenham 2007. Jason Arnopp's post here has a photo from back then, which shows me talking to Piers Beckley with my wrist glued to my chin. Great times.

If you haven't got a ticket yet, I recommend it as a good opportunity to meet professionals and see some good sessions on the craft. It wasn't such a good environment last year for meeting producers or getting work, but all networking is good networking. Besides, it's improving with every year, so things might be different this time.

It's also - and this shouldn't be overlooked - a great jolly. Fantastic fun was had by all; even the runner employed on the first day to stand in front of the venue holding a sign about parking had a smile on her face. I said to her, 'Couldn't a Pole be doing your job' and she kicked me in the nuts thinking I was making a racist joke about globalisation of workforces.*

The best bit of it is, when you arrive, there will be a ready-made group of allies in the form of the Scribosphere Contingent. It even starts before the festival: see Jason's post that I linked to above for details of a meet up on the night before. I will definitely be there.

And if you see me around the festival, do please come and say hello - I'm looking forward to meeting lots of lovely new bloggers.

* Not true, of course. I actually said 'Is it this way to the festival?' It was then that she kicked me in the nuts.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Cyril Connolly... elaborate whistle... to fade

Back again! The hobby that I do five days a week, 9 to 5, in that London is threatening to encroach on my screenwriting career once again.

If you want to know what my day job is like - you'd have to be pretty bored, but still - then read Phillip Barron's description of the perfect day job for a writer here: no computers, no long commute, don't take the work home - all that. Excellent advice. Now imagine the exact opposite of all that. That's what my
day job is like.

Of course, like many other writers now and through history, I need the money. When I used to work at Lloyds Bank years ago, I comforted myself that T S Eliot had done the same. But unlike him, I wasn't going to have Ezra Pound begging patrons to save me from my workaday strife, so my only option was to learn to like it.

And I find that the more I do like my day job, the better and more successful the writing is alongside. When I've been in dead end situations, I've generally reached a dead end with the writing too.

And whoever said "the pram in the hallway is the enemy of art" was wrong in my case too. Actually, it was Cyril Connolly. And I want to tell him, because it seems so obvious: try the garage or the porch if the hallway offends you, dummy.

No, having a child has also done nothing but inspire me to do better work. I recommend it fully: go procreate, it'll make your screenwriting better. See, you wouldn't get advice of that calibre at a Robert Mckee seminar.

Which is probably a good thing.