October 20, 2008

I declare this week: Useless Week.

Been feeling sick all week, trying to get a treatment down to show Nell. I really can’t be bothered. I keep starting it and then quitting and putting The Wire DVD’s on. If nothing else the hell they call Baltimore reminds one that it could be worse.


Major Headache

October 12, 2008

This Major idea, the teen sex comedy thang, it might make my fellow juvenile students chuckle, but I can’t possibly submit it as my freaking MAJOR!!

Well I could. But it wouldn’t be the pragmatic option.

What I have to remember is that Nell Denton is my tutor – and it might be cynical to gear your work to your tutor, but it’s also a bit sensible. And I doubt she’s particularly into Porky’s or American Pie. Somehow.

Here we go again

September 27, 2008

The summer was ok, a bit slack to be honest. This Major idea is a funny one, but it’s also a bit on the obscene side. It’s hard to know what the lecturers will make of it.

Scriptwriting course?

April 23, 2008

Scriptwriting course?

So far I’ve written 3 essays this academic year; one on auteur theory, one on role models in the media, and now, interactive computer games. Someone needs to do something about this – this is turning into a media studies course, with occasional script diversions. Not good.

And I’m not the only one to think so – in fact every scriptwriter I’ve talked to agrees that the second year has been badly designed. This frustration has naturally been heightened by the raise in course fees we’ve all had to pay this year.

Meanwhile –

I’ve done the roughest of rough drafts of my 60 minuter, based on John Foster’s advice – to sometimes just sit and write instead of planning every facet first. After putting together three treatments for possible stories since last summer and not really liking any of them I pretty much just splurged out 57 pages without much planning, and essentially spliced characters/themes from each of the separate treatments. I haven’t even read it yet, it’s been on the shelf for 12 days… and now I’m about to print a copy out and read it through. I’ve no idea what it’ll be like, but I have 4 weeks to fix it, whatever it’s like.


February 13, 2008

After the Marion Mayer lecture on placements a couple of weeks ago, and specifically hearing from several 3rd years who have been through it, refocused me. A lot of their experiences seemed to centre on finances. Thus, CV rule #1: no going to London. This obviously limits the options a touch, but it’s a necessary rule. I loathe London anyway, but the financial implications of needing to find accommodation, food, transport etc in the capital while still paying my rent in Bournemouth on top of that is an impossible task.

I’ve been stressing out about my CV for months. As per my usual way of dealing with stress, I spent months letting anxiety turn into panic before doing anything about it. I finished the CV in about 10 minutes – and there followed the oh so familiar feeling of, “what was all the fuss about?”

Update: Much thought later, and a few suggestions from people around me, and I have a plan. I’ve contacted a music production company/record label in Cambridge about doing my placement there. It’s a bit off topic for scriptwriting, but after hearing about the scriptwriter who spent his last summer running laundry around for a producer, it doesn’t seem so irrelevant anymore. My brother said he can put me up, so maybe things are looking up.

What I Did When I Wasn’t Here

January 14, 2008

First day of term. Have been working on my 60 minute script over the holidays, remembering something Sophie said (one of last year’s 2nd year scriptwriters), that although it’s the last script we hand in this year it’s the one we need to work on early, otherwise there will be a nightmare come April.

I got some nice anecdotes from friends over the time I spent away which make up the backbone of it, and it makes me feel like I may have a grip on this thing at last. The downside is the lack of progress on our TV show. We are left with 17 days to do a 100+ page bible and work out treatments for 13 60 minute scripts. The only reason I’m not panicking is the fact this isn’t being marked.

In the next episode: CV. Stay tuned.


December 5, 2007

As a child I loved a mixture of tv shows and films. TV in the early 80’s was largely action cartoons like Thundercats and He-Man which I enjoyed. In these shows the male characters were always portrayed as stronger, more proactive and more interesting. These shows though had very clear morality, and dealt with very positive themes, but expressed in a macho, musclebound identity.
The films I was heavily influenced by, and loved most, were very different. They dealt with the male/female relationships in much more subtle, real ways, and they affected me as a child much more profoundly than the kind of tv shows, which in truth in the early 80’s were nearly all macho and 1-dimensional. I was interested in ET and Star Wars, which both represented women very positively, although Princess Leia is in some ways portrayed as a sex symbol she is strong minded and stands up to every antagonistic man she comes up against. She uses weapons and takes a proactive, leadership role in those films. Although a princess she is definitely not a weak stereotype.
In ET, there is a potent theme of family breakdown. It is not a male specific perspective, although Eliott is the male protagonist, he is not macho, and Spielberg directs the film with great tenderness, showing how Gertie has been affected by the marital breakdown as much as Eliott. It is a film about children looking for paternal figures. These are the films that mattered to me when I was young and I can see how they influenced me far more in my own identity than the simplistic macho tv shows I watched at the same time.

Year 2, Post 2

November 29, 2007

Just handed in my Authorship essay, with the assurity that I have not answered the question asked. I only came to this moment-of-clarity last night, so too late to do much about it. Also, I may get  zero anyway based on what Marian Mayer has informed me re. the incompetence of my referencing attempts.

Lunch: BLT and pomegranate juice.

Year the 2nd, Post the 1st.

November 12, 2007

And that’s the first month over with. What happened? Lots of assignments given to us, the odd lecture, not much work done. Reading week is up soon, I’ll have to spend it working on the Authorship essay, and if I can somehow finish up the script editing project the same week, then I’m on schedule. I’d like to be working on either of the 60-minute scripts instead, but I have to chore through all this first.

Our sports project is going all right, compared to what I’ve been hearing from the other groups at least, we’ve established sport (polo), arena, central conflicts (class and family), main characters, some supporting characters. We’re doing all right. But when I look at the best scripted hour long dramas on telly, it depresses me how deficient we are. We’re happy if we come up with an idea at all, so we add it to the mess of plot we’ve concocted and hope it all gels. Newsflash: never gonna happen. It’s a mess and I know we don’t have the intuition and skill to do any better, ultimately. The drama series remains a largely untapped artform, it has potential someone said several years ago to usurp film as the dominant medium, artistically as well as popularly. It shares more in common with a novel than a movie in certain key ways. Few ever bother to explore the potential, choosing instead to come up with formulaic stories of the week, that are merely mini-movies with cheap production values – and a waste of the medium.

Joss Whedon described film as male and tv as female: The male wants to get in there, get it done and get out. The female wants to take her time and look it over from every angle.


Summer Project

May 30, 2007

Summer term has been odd.

No lectures at all, just group meetings where we discuss what we’re to do… and every time the same thing happens. We come up with something wacky and then keep adding to it and weirding it up more and more, until it’s entirely confusing and us scriptwriters are left wondering how in Zeus we’re supposed to structure a script around the idea.

I assumed naively that the IMP’s and TV students would know something about scriptwriting structure, but they seemed only interested in crazy, crazy comic madness.
Anyway, Alex and myself have written the scripts now, we toned down the stupidity ever so slightly, but our group wanted, nay insisted, comedy – and you always give a rabble what they want.

Let’s hope it goes down well, personally I think it’s funny, although we’ve ignored nearly every rule we’ve been taught over the first year re: don’t become dialiogue heavy – GUILTY; don’t direct on the page – GUILTY; 3-act coherent structure – ER, EXTREMELY GUILTY.

I feel in fact over this assignment that I’ve regressed back to the writing I was doing before coming here, which is a concern. Speaking to other scriptwriters, I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Let’s just hope we get a respectable pass, and then can move back to conventional scripts next year.