Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Act II is done

Helen came round tonight and we have managed, against our expectations to finish the 2nd Act of The FatCat And The Grafter. There's lots of tidying up to do, and lots of things that we need to revisit in Act I that perhaps now don't go so well with how the script ended up. Still as the evolution of the show goes, this is good stuff.

We're meeting again on Saturday to work on those points, and then, room being available, we're meeting Monday to read through the completed play to the whole cast. Yay ! We will still have a couple of roles left to cast, which we don't have people for, and there's a couple that we need to let some of the people coming along try out to get a feel for who would be best at what. I could tell you who's got what, but... Shhh !! Spoilers !

This under wire performance, is actually ahead of our usual 'ah lets start rehearsing the first act before we've written the second' which is kind of what happened last time. It left us with a rather bloated 2nd act when we came panic write it, a month into the rehearsal schedule. What On Earth (is Happening) was a long play as a result, and that was with us taking a knife to large parts of the script in Act II, about a week before the show went up as we recall. Ooops. Thankfully the great bunch of people that we had in the cast were able to take that in their stride, but it's an unnecessary hassle and stress for all those concerned that we want to make sure we avoid this time.

It does also leave me in the situation where I won't be able to devote a weekend to attacking Script Frenzy, my script 'Netbook' with vengeance until probably the 2nd week of Frenzy. Then, although I have a week off work I do have Chloe for 4 days, which I am really looking forward to also. I am sure there is a way round it all. It's funny how I feel better when I am tasking myself with doing more, and then achieving it.

There are plenty of empty evenings, even once I exclude the ones where I will be involved with rehearsals for The FatCat And The Grafter. I remember last year, it was only some point into the month that I decided to abandon the joint project that Helen and I had started, and write something on my own. Hard work, focus, vision, determination. I can do this. I'm like a coiled zebra, ready to pounce, and stripy.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Same *bleep* different day

I'm curiously aware that I should be careful what I wish for.

I am so glad that this week is over, it really has been a supreme struggle, where I have been pretty close to giving up. I've managed to stop myself resorting to a spot of Apple based retail therapy as a compensation. It does look distractingly gorgeous, and is sooooo nice..... But, in reality it would be foolish to engage in any more big ticket expenditure. Especially with things feeling so fragile at work at the moment.

When I cast back to how I have felt at similarly low point before, I can see that at least on this occasion I am aware that I am not in a good place, that things need to change, before something else happens that forces that change in a more uncontrollable and destructive way. I'm not going to allow this situation, brought about as it feels by the particular demands of certain people to ruin my life.

If the way I feel good is when I have a clear plan, and when I am achieving steps towards a well defined goal, then it is a new plan that I need.

The world breaks everyone, and after, some are stronger in the broken places. - Ernest Hemingway.

The clocks go forward by an hour shortly, what is it that the people of the UK will do when they realise tomorrow that they have been cheated out of an hour ? Personally I will probably just be really pissed that I didn't get to spend another hour in bed, and get on with the rest of my day.

Tomorrow Helen is coming over, and we're hoping to finish the rest of the play, and then go back over the obvious flaws in Act I. If we can manage this, it would mean that at next weeks rehearsal, not only will we be able to announce the casting for most of the characters in the show, but that we will also be able to give people a near final draft version of the script.

THEN... it's onto the next big thing... 2011 Script Frenzy. There do seem to be some post-its missing, and this may be because some of them fell off the wall (serves me right for buying £1 shop post-it notes), or it may have something to do with me finding a couple of them stuffed down the back of Chloe's bed. Grrrrrr.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Just when you think things can only get worse....

Well, lots of things are going down the shitter at the moment, but I am really glad to report that the play certainly isn't one of them.

We had a bit of a sad realisation last week when it suddenly dawned on us that we had fair few people coming to the workshop/rehearsals that were never going to actually be able to be in the play. (due to previous commitments). A mild, ok, less than mild set of panic set in, shortly followed by the determination to find a way of resolving this issue as soon as possible. (Or ASAP, as Jamie would say).

So, Helen and I asked the people at this weeks session to confirm if they were going to be able to be in the show, and also in which characters they were interested. This revealed real surprises itself, as has always been the case in our previous plays, what we normally find out is that the people that have shown themselves to be best at playing a particular role, the ones that shine at one part or another, are the ones that are interested in it. We've never had auditions, we've never really needed to. It always works out that in the workshop sessions and 'energised' readings of parts of the play someone stands out for each and every role.  Everyone shines at one role or another, and this means that there isn't so much a competition for any part, more an evolution and natural progression.

It also means that everyone has a chance to do something they enjoy and are really good at. It's so simple, and works so well, we really don't understand why there other drama companies don't seem to do the same.

With the people that we've got, which initially we thought was actually much less than it works out, we have been able at this point to definitely cast several of the roles in the play.

It wouldn't be right for me to announce them here, before we've had a chance to speak to everyone, and I don't want to kill the dramatic and exciting reveal at next weeks session.

The roles that we aren't immediately able to cast right now, we need to give those interested a chance to play with the characters. This will help us, and them to see who is the best person for that part.

I was starting to think that we were so short of people that we couldn't continue with the show, but as it's turned out this isn't the case. Isn't the case at all.

This has, in no small way been made possible by the help of The Phoenix Players. They have been great in putting people our way that aren't being used in their currently play (which is on the month before ours), and some of those (Steve, Allison) have been absolutely fantastic in helping drum up more interest and exposure. They've put us in touch with a chap that has a half hour slot on a local radio show, and will be able to raise the profile of the company and hopefully get along the last couple of people that we need. He's also going to be try and get us mentioned the big screen in Portsmouth Guildhall Square. It really does go to show that it's not what you know, its who.

So even if work is like a pile of dog excrement at the moment, I am at least revitalised, recharged and invigorated by the things happening outside. I can actually achieve things, I can get things done, make things happen. Not so useless after all, eh ?

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Standing outside

... Because its dark, its a little cold and its the only way I can feel more than a little a live - instead of feeling numb and dead. All. Over.

Dramatic ? Sure. Self absorbed ? Probably. Wallowing ? Meh.

They call it work, well because its work dummy.

Tale my own advice, either suck it up, get on with it or get something else
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Glorious cold sunshine

The weekend arrives with some fantastic sunshine, just none of the warmth. The need to do some cleaning has finally caught up with me, so to the bleach it is I went. Now much happier that things are clean and sparkly.

This week has been something of a trudge for me, it really has had some low points, but it definitely has had some highs. Must make more of an effort to remember those. I realised the other day that I should make sure I am playing to my strengths than to my weaknesses. The more time I get to spend with the team, the better I feel, the more I get to see what a great job it is that they do. Otherwise, there's a sad tendency that the only time they get to speak to me, and I them, is when something's gone wrong.

That creates a horrible expectation on their part that every time they have a conversation with me, it's going to be a negative thing.

The casual negativity and the ignorance of my requests has caused some problems before. I find it hard not to take such things personally, but what I have noticed this week, is that as I have started to challenge these things, and let people know how that is coming across they have responded well to it (the challenge). For sure this isn't always the case right at that moment, but in every situation they've gone away, thought about it, and come back with a different approach.

What strikes me from that is that it isn't a personal thing, it's just the nature sometimes of human interaction that we don't know how it is we are perceived by others. It is only when someone tells us that we have the chance to change that. Because they are responding in that way, it also becomes apparent to me how much they do actually care not just about how they are seen, but also about how they effect me.

It's been a tough couple of months getting these guys onboard, shaping them into a team of people (that came originally from other teams), and getting them used the different ways in which I work to other people they may have worked with before.

Sometimes you get in any group of people, someone that works against the common good, that creates an aura or wave of negativity that has to be worked round in order to achieve anything. These guys are sometimes difficult to get onboard, but that's because they are passionate about what they do, and want to be the best at it. It at times can make it harder to manage them, but I would rather have that any day than a team of 11 robots who just did everything I said. (I've gone and committed to text that I am okay with the 'push-back' there haven't I ? Oooops).

These people that I work with, are just that, people. They are not a statistical group of averages, they are individuals that all need to be helped, coached, encouraged or even chastised in a specific way to have the best effect for them.

It's a shame that the response at the offer of a pizza based celebration and the flat warming was so cooly received, because we certainly need as a group the opportunity to get out, let our hair down (those of us that still have some) and be silly together. Work can be so serious, and rightly so, but no one can survive being focused and official all the time. Work hard, play hard.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Wow. What a day. As the journey to work progressed along, so did my feeling of impending dread. A depressing start with the greeting of a bunch of miserable faces. This day, however got off to a much better start thanks to an emotional and impressive time spent with a member of the team.

It's worth remembering that whenever I am feeling downtrodden and overwhelmed by the world, that returning to the basics and spending time with the people (sounds very, very cheesy, doesn't it ?) really works. It gives me hope, re-energises me and gives me the drive to carry on with the rest of the zone. Sometimes I find it easy to absorb all the negativity that some of them seem to exude on a daily basis.

Things can only get better ? They better had.

Last night's drama was not as inspiring as the previous week. Which was a shame. I was hoping that the unveiling of the first four scenes of act 2 would have gone better. Sadly Helen wasn't able to make it, as she wasn't feeling very well. Another couple of notable absences and some not inconsiderable tensions between two particular people may be to blame for the rather cool reaction. They may not. It may simply be that the script isn't up to scratch. It is a draft, after all, although I grow concerned that we risk losing some of the fantastic interest we have seen blossom recently because the script isn't completed. Helen and I are talking about meeting up either at the weekend this week, or early next week one evening and then again during the day on my day off.

This will mean we make some great progress toward actually finishing the damn thing. Then, oh then, the rewrite starts. We need to revisit first the aims and goals that we had for the show, the messages we wanted to get across, the situations we wanted to show. When I say messages, I don't mean there is a moral to the story, or that we are trying to be at all preachy. We aren't there isn't a moral to this story. The whole idea is to show people in their brilliant, wonderful ridiculousness and get people to laugh at that.

That's the idea anyway.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

There's always someone worse off.....

Working, as I do in a busy office, surrounded by people all day, speaking to other people that aren't geographically near them and imparting such obvious gems as 'The way to get better availability is to not select unavailable' I have come to several conclusions.

Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one, but some of them stink
Some people are miserable. Some people are happy. Some people are only happy when they are miserable.
Some people think so much of themselves, and how perfect that they are that they actually can't see the person they really are.

Today being a late start, I was up after a short battle with the alarm clock and a surprisingly good sleep, alert, energised and ready to start the day. The gorgeous sunny day that greeted me outside the window meant I walked to the bus stop with more than a chirp in my step. The fact that I missed by mere seconds (well, maybe about 120 of them) the bus that would have gotten me to work comfortably on time, didn't phase me. Nor did catching another that meant I had to frog march a mile at the other end, arriving as I did with seconds to spare before the start of the day.

Some days it takes more of an effort than others to actually travel that far and make it into the building. There are times too when I will nearly skip through the security pods.

In these perilous times I count myself glad that I have a reasonably well paid job, and security. In addition it's worth remembering that difficult as our day to day existences and jobs can be, we're not trying desperately to find the rest of our family, or rebuild our shattered lives under the looming threat of radiation exposure. In short, we got it bloody easy compared to others. There is always someone worse off than you. The pictures on the TV, and the information online is frightening, appalling, emotion invoking. How humbling it is to see the people in Japan trying to deal with the massive and unprecedented disaster that nature has visited upon them. An 8.9 magnitude earthquake, thousands dead, missing, injured and homeless. Yet they still manage to carry on quietly with dignity. The trains working the next day. Makes you wonder. If such things happened in the UK, I dread to think how long it would take us to get the trains working again (that relies on the presumption that the current level of service can be defined as working).

British people in general seem to be a nation of moaners. If you don't like it, bugger off and do something else with your day, and stop making everyone else pay for your bad decision. If you want to be something else, go be that.

Physician. Heal thyself.

Write here, write now...

After the usual calamity that is work on a Monday (actually today it wasn't so bad), Helen came up to mine to do some more work on the script for The FatCat And The Grafter.

Despite starting relatively late, and both of us being progressively tired (and it's only the first day of the week ! eeeeek !) we have 'knocked out' three scenes this evening. Admittedly they are not very long scenes, but allow us the 'waaaahhaaaaayy' ok ?

Script is coming together, number of people is increasing. Progress by fuck is being made !

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Benjamin Cook, what was it that you did ?

I am confused.

One of the people that I follow on Twitter is Benjamin Cook, the writer and journalist. I first heard of him when I was reading 'The Writer's Tale', which he co-wrote with Russel T Davies. That was such an impossible book to put down, and so fascinating to someone like me who is both a life long Dr Who fan, and interested in anything that covers the differing processes people go through when they write. Especially when they are fortunate enough to do so for a living.

The 'Twitterverse' is abuzz tonight with a mixture of both condemnation, shock, insult and support (but mostly the shock, condemnation and insult). Apparently a tweet that Mr Cook had posted has caused such controversy and reaction. Such venomous bile being spouted.

Despite trying to look, I have not been able to ascertain what it is that has been said to prompt such a reaction. In his own later posts he says that it was something bad, that he regretted doing it.

Without knowing what it was that was said it is hard, or at least it should be, to form an opinion one way or the other. Others, it would seem, do not have such reservations. It is hard to imagine what words could possibly justify such hatred. Reading some of them back, with comments such as 'you should get the fuck off twitter now. I don't want to read what you say...'. Surely, just as if you do not like the programmes on a Television or Radio, you are more than free to change the channel, or turn it off, on Twitter you can easily block or just 'unfollow' a person. This way you would not get to see their posts and get so offended by them.

Is it really possible to react in such a way to mere words ? Words are powerful, to be sure, but they are just a combination of letters. They only have relevance or energy when attached to the meaning given them by the reader. This means that the same words will have different strength and impart depending on the experiences and opinions of the reader.

We all have said or done things that we regret, wish we could change, undo. The sad reality is that we cannot. There is no choice but to go on, and find a way to learn to live with the memory, the guilt, the pain and the lesson that the mistake has given you.

Who would you rather trust, someone who has lived a pure and blameless life, or a hypocrite, a person who has made this mistakes themselves ? Give me a hypocrite every time.

Friday, 11 March 2011

And you thought your day was bad ?

My day has been absolutely shocking. Any grand plans for the day went out the window the moment that I was made aware of a high level complaint that I had been responsible for. This required some considerable investigation to see exactly how it was that this had come to pass.

Depressing ? Frustrating ? Embarrassing ? Yes.

Some mistakes, are easily made, but have profound and far reaching consequences. Making mistakes is one thing. Not learning from them is another.

There I was, not exactly feeling sorry for myself, but feeling that things have to change, some in large, some in not so large ways, when something brought me into focus.

On the other side of the planet, hundreds of people have died, as an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale hits Japan. Tsunami following the quake have added to the disaster, and surrounding islands and nations in the Pacific are all on alert.

Just goes to show doesn't it. No matter how bad your day is, there's always someone else who's having a worse one.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Was it really any surprise that I raced home after work today to get to spend some more time on my new shiny ?

Not really much of a revelation there. I have spent quite some time this evening getting to know it better. I have sadly not been able to complete the review of Kaos Absolute, the story of The Adventures Of Stephen Brown that I have been due to write for the last couple of months (hassle of moving, Christmas chaos and a lack of internet being the reasons for the delay), due to the footage seemingly not being encoded correctly. I can watch on of the four parts to the story, but sadly without the other three there' little point in me doing the review.

I guess the review will have to wait a little bit longer. I am a bit sad that after the success of yesterday's writing and rehearsal sessions that Helen and I weren't going to be able to meet up and get some more of the script written for the show. (The FatCat And The Grafter).

Work is feeling a heck load more possible what with a tweak to how we do things, and the efforts of a superhuman Louise, although I did have to spend 4 hours in a room today, going through a questionnaire that's meant to help the business figure out just how much we (don't) know. Good idea. Makes sense, as people's knowledge levels seem to be all over the place. But 4 hours ? Didn't even manage to finish the booklet in that time. I hope that doesn't mean that the conclusion the powers that be will take from the exercise is that I actually don't know anything, and have been blagging it the last 4 years. I haven't. Honest.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Eagle has landed

It's so late, and it's been such a long and fantastic day, but I had to nip online quickly to report the much anticipated arrival of my beloved iMac. Despite the anguish, the expense, oh and the waiting, it is finally here. It does not disappoint. Helen had come up today rather early, well early for her. She arrive just before 10am, as she had promised to do. I on the other hand had been up since 7am to make sure that I was ready for the arrival of my new shiny.

Shiny it is. Although it didn't arrive until about 2:30 I was very excited when it got here. I practically threw myself down the stairs to go out there and meet the TNT driver, just to make sure that he had no problems finding my address.

Rather quickly I had the machine (somehow that word doesn't feel the right word to use) out of the box and operational within a matter of minutes. A little bit longer, but still a very short amount of time was all that I needed to get the all important Celtx installed and away we went, carrying on exactly where we'd left off, working on the script for The FatCat And The Grafter. Helen is not the most technically savvy person in the world, and would admit herself that what she knows, or cares about computers is very, very limited, but even she was impressed by how well everything was put together, and how well it all worked.

The arrival of my new Shiny was not the only great success of the day. We have made considerable progress with the play itself, and have indeed been able to plan out the storyline into the second act, and even get the first scene in Act II written.

The day seemed to take a bit of a downer when person after person cried off the session tonight, each citing differing reasons. Both Helen and I were beginning to feel that perhaps we would be better off if we cancelled the session, and carried on writing the script. We decided to push past those reservations, and boy are we glad that we did.

We had, in total, the same number of people at this session as we had the previous week. There were new people (Welcome Steve and Christine) joining in alongside the stalwarts that have become regulars over the last couple of weeks. The atmosphere worked so well with all the people there tonight, and everyone participated equally, there was so much laughter. Never a bad thing when you are trying to put on a comedy. Some of these people have now seen some of the scenes we were looking at quite a few times, but still, they laughed (in all the 'right' places). Tonight's session has really given Helen and I a boost, not really that one was needed, but it has shown us that we are on the right track, and we just need to get the script itself finished, and the show cast so we can move into rehearsals proper.

There's still a long way to go, and there's lots of work to do, but we have made great progress today, and this energetic success will embolden us further to press on and achieve what we need to do. We're starting assemble a cracking team of very talent and very nice people.

Things can only get better.

Here comes the rain again. (Is IT here yet ?)

Getting up at 7:20 on my day off is by no means something of a norm for me. I am revisiting that excited 'kid at christmas' feeling. Waiting not for some old guy to climb down a chimney we don't have and empty his sack. I await the delivery of my new shiny.

Will it get here before Helen does ? In all probability, yes. My iMac has come from the Netherlands, Helen comes from Buckland.

Meanwhile the weather has done a classic bait'n'switch job, and having raised my expectations yesterday with glorious spring like sunshine, has delivered for today, my day off, miserable cloud and rain. Does the weather have a regulator ? Offrain ?

I'm only rushing to the window every time I hear anything that I think sounds like a delivery van pulling up. Wouldn't be so bad, but living across from a school means that in the next hour literally hundreds of lazy parents will drive up and drop off their even lazier children. They may argue that its raining and they don't want their precious offspring to get wet, but it won't kill them, they are 70% water anyway. They can't get wetter than they already are, some of them. Drips only get bigger.

My new Apple shiny on the other hand will be hurt by rainfall. Clear the roads !! Man with Simon's new shiny (I'm assuming it's a man, it might not be) coming through !!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Day Two...

2nd day in, and the progress continues. Hard, good and worthwhile work. You can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs. It being pancake day, and starting with such glorious sunshine, set the mood (despite the hope that a certain delivery would take place not bearing fruition). I have been determined from the outset that it be a great day. A great day it was.

Sometimes you just have to hold on to your vision and push on through.

Tomorrow, it comes tomorrow.

Monday, 7 March 2011

1st day back.. and I survived..

1st day back after my holiday, and it didn't go too bad. An interesting day where I learned lots about how I allow work to be created for me by not ensuring other people are doing what they should. Something that I will need to tackle.

I had arranged to meet up with Kelly, so she could come round for a kebab tonight. It was nice to see her again, we hadn't caught up in a while. She told me about how she went for a tarot reading, and the medium (or whatever you call them) told her some interesting things about her future :-

  • That she would be pregnant in the next year
  • That she would have 4 children. (either 3 girls and 1 boy, or maybe 3 boys and 1 girl - nothing like accurate predictions then ?)
  • She would have an affair in 2 years time. 
She home, and then had a rather unbelievable conversation with her other half about how they were going to have so many kids, and how she was going to be cheating on him in 2 years time.

You can't make this stuff up, but someone did. Didn't they ? Well it's all recorded here, we'll check back in a few years time and see what happens. I'm certainly not putting any money on it.

The other exciting and disappointing thing that happened today was that when we got back here with our kebabs, there was a 'sorry we missed you' card from TNT, who had tried to deliver my iMac today whilst I was at work.


Sunday, 6 March 2011

Back to work we go....

Tonight is my last night before returning to work from my holiday. This may usually cause feelings of listlessness or melancholy within me. Not so this time.

After a great conversation with my deputy on Friday and some hints at some things that are happening in a quick online conversation from someone else at work, I am actually really looking forward to going back. Not because I have hated my time off, the contrary is true. I have had productive time and slouching time in a pretty much 40/60 split during my time off. I consider this a good balance.

Too often I relax so much on holiday that I don't actually do anything at all, and then feel depressed at the lack of achievement. This I have avoided this time round. I have set myself some goals, some things by which I can feel that I have indeed gained something out of the time off work.

I'm pleased with the progress that is being made at drama, the momentum is definitely gaining pace. Already have more people going to the coming week's session than attended last week. Just need to pin Helen down long enough to finish the rest of the bloody script.

I am also feeling good about the progress I have made with preparing for Script Frenzy. Looking forward to all this week will bring. Go get 'em tiger !

Friday, 4 March 2011

Wednesday cannot come too soon...

An email this morning from Apple confirmed that they had, at last processed my order, and would be delivering my new iMac on either the 9th or 10th of March. Next week. Of course it would be arriving after I go back to work.

At least I know that it's on its way. I am sure as the time passes I will get more excited, and will practically be impossible to be around on Tuesday. Inconsolable if it doesn't get delivered on Wednesday (as that's my day off).

An iMac, apparently cannot be rushed. Whilst I await my new shiny, Apple have gone and released another new such gorgeous machine, the second incarnation of the hugely successful Ipad.

As ever, they have produced a wonderfully exciting device, that is an improvement over the previous model. Astonishingly, the Ipad 2 is priced at the same level as was the first Ipad when it was released last year. When I wasn't frustrated about the time it is taking for my new computer to arrive I was salivating over the new ipad. I simply cannot afford to buy one. There are some deals at the moment with a variety of mobile phone companies (Orange & Three) - with Orange offering the Ipad (1, as I'm guessing we'll now learn to call it) for £99, with a monthly contract £25 to existing customers, £27 to new ones it is sorely tempting. None the less, as much as the kid let lose in the candy store feeling is exciting, in the real world you still have to find the money for the shiny thing.

When I wasn't either frustrated or dreaming (never saying that to a someone in Curry's again) I got some thrashing out of ideas for Laptop (the idea I'm developing for this years Script Frenzy). In short, there are more post-its.

It's probably not clear from the photo, but it is now evolving into three distinct acts. There are still plenty of gaps, but there's definitely a story there. You know, like with a beginning, a middle and an end. Feeling the glow of that creativity. Additional ideas pop into my head every now and then, and I just add them to the wall. It's a funny thing, the more I add, the more ideas I have. Once I get the ball rolling I find it has a life, a momentum all its own.

Far across town, in another idea..... Workshop numero three for drama. Stunningly there were more people this week. A whole 8 people turned up. This was the most we've had so far. It was a really good session for that reason, and also because rather than struggling to find ways to fill two hours with random games we spent the vast majority of the time playing with selected scenes from the show.

Those that hadn't seen the script before responded well to it, which is always encouraging. Hopefully by the next session then Helen and I would have been able to write some more. Helen is due back off her holiday, just as I finish mine, so our chance of cramming and writing a couple of days straight seems to have passed us by.

It's a bit worrying that our deadlines for getting the script completed are slipping away at a rate of knots. It is now four weeks since the initial readthru, and we haven't written anything extra in that time. A whole month. With now less than four months until the show opens, it's critical that we actually finish the script, and in good enough time to allow ourselves to edit it sufficiently and to give the cast time to get to know it.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

T - 30

Script Frenzy
30 days and counting (down) to Script Frenzy. An email from the Offices of Letters & Light (or organisation that runs the madness) reminded me that 'the frenzy' is fast approaching and I don't have one iota of an idea that I can develop into a 100 page script.

Remembering how crap it felt last year, when I wrote Retro Rocket (and succeeded in the 100 pages written during April target. Yay !) and didn't really have a plan, and how that nearly ended in failure, I wanted to make sure that I avoided that this year. When I'd entered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I had also neglected to plan, and elected for an organic free form approach to the writing. I just sat at my desk, and let the ideas poor out. Good, bad or downright terrible.

Having not succeeded with NaNoWriMo and only managing something like 17,409 words (when I say something like, that's the exact figure) I don't want to repeat the failure.

Fail to plan. Plan to fail.

So what does this writer do when he doesn't have a plan (can I call myself a writer ? - someone check that one out and get back to me) ? Post-its. Yes post-its. Those non-recyclable yellow gems that turn any flat surface into a 'brain storming wall'. Now that it's my wall I can stick post-its up with gay abandon. (Heterosexual abandon just doesn't work so well). 

This works for me, may not work for others.. but you have to go with what works. I have progressed a little from the initial post-it driven 'floating of ideas' to the developing of one particular idea. I had considered using Frenzy (as it appears to be affectionately shortened) to write the first series of Retro Rocket. I have dismissed this as I have not revisited the idea since last April's Frenzy, so the 'pilot' script will, in itself need lots of editing. An attack of the big red pen (or in my case, the impatient pencil) is required. Also with Retro Rocket, I just haven't actually resolved those issues about show direction that had been the stumbling block. It was not answering those questions that I think made it hard to push on with the script originally. It didn't have a plan (return to previous point about planning).

I also discarded the 'man goes back in time to undo the mistakes that cost him his marriage - only to find out that he erases his daughter from existence' because, well, I just thought it was a crappy idea.

Likewise 'man on bus / train that isn't allowed to get off at his intended destination' is perhaps worthy of a short film (about 5 minutes) but I couldn't for the life of me see how I could get 100 pages out of that idea. It may be possible that the idea I have gone for ends up with elements of that. We'll have to wait and see.

Laptop (alternative titles being :- Feedback or Netbook) is the story of what changes occur in a man's life as a result of him buying a laptop (or netbook) off Ebay. The computer contains information that he is not aware of, and also has automatic sign-on enabled to internet chat sites. This draws or drags him into a world that he is initially intrigued about, but as he discovers more is increasingly scared as he gets more and more deeply involved in the things that were happening in the life of the laptop's previous owner.

What does the machine have on it that makes it so important to so many different groups (big business, criminals, government etc) ?

How did it come to be on Ebay in the first place, if it was so important ? (was the previous owner mugged ? Are they still alive ?)

So our hero, if that's the word is forced to try and convince these people that this was not his laptop before, and he has no way of finding out what's hidden on the hard-drive. He has a hard time convincing these people, a succession of organisations or individuals keep tracking him down to convince him to give them what they want. None of them believe him when he says that he's just brought the laptop on ebay. They believe him even less when it gets stolen.

He then has to try and find the laptop, as giving it to the people that want it so badly is the only way to get them out of his life.

This would be as boring as hell as a stage play, and is definitely suited to filming, even something that could be done on a low budget ,and with a bunch of amateur film-makers. (you see where I'm going here, don't you ?)

Let me know what you think, dear reader. Perhaps as I develop the idea, I post those onto the blog ? Hmmm. All this AS WELL AS , The Fatcat And The Grafter. 

This is good. I like to be busy. When I'm not busy I'm sitting at home watching shit someone else has written on TV.  

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Are Women Better (Drivers) Than Men ?

Shock of horrors, and utter absence of common sense has occurred at the hands of those dastardly European equality laws.

Apparently it will be illegal from the end of the year for insurance companies to charge different rates for customers Dependant on their sex. On the face of it, 'great news'. Everyone's the same, aren't they ? Well the statistics show that men are more likely to have accidents than women (despite all those derisive jokes that men make about women drivers, they are actually better at it). For example, the average cost of an accident to an 18 year old driver is about twice as much for a male as it is for a female (£4,400 & £2,700 respectively).

That's because young men, as a rule, behave on the road in a similar way to how they behave elsewhere. Like d@*ks.

Feminism seems to have scored a massive own goal with this one.

There's a line from a book that I once read, (and there are no prizes for guessing which book).... There's nothing more unfair than the equal treatment of unequals.

We are all equal, but we are all different. Surely when it comes to insurance you are not discriminating against people if you are passing on to them the associated increased cost of insuring them ?

If it's going to be illegal to charge women less for their insurance, because they are on the whole more careful drivers, does this mean that insurance premiums for men will come down ? Or does it mean that all the insurance companies will do is increase women's insurance to the same level as men's ? I know, I know it's vastly cynical of me.

This does seem to be a complete failure of common sense. The only comforting thought that I have is that  I don't drive so none of this effects me whatsoever.