Monday, April 10, 2006

What's he like? What is he like?

Been hankering for some Neneh Cherry lately, so I've just uploaded her debut to my iPod from the CD. Raw Like Sushi may be 17 years old (!), but it still sounds good to me - So Solid Crew and all the other Brit rap posses old a massive debt to Neneh for proving you could rap in a British accent and make it sound real.

Apologies for going MIA the past four days, but I've been staying off the computer to do other things. Thursday was spent at college, a real end of term effort as we're now now for two weeks as Napier closes down for Easter. Mucho mix-up on getting back our first pieces of assessed work for trimester 2 on the MA Screenwriting course. I ended up with the 10-Minute Script Development module feedback sheet for another David [at one point we had four Davids in a class of 30, including the producers]. Fortunately, the other David spotted the mistake and kindly sent me my feedback sheet. I got a P5 for the outline of my 10-Minute script. You always hope for Distinction, but the outline was somewhat anorexic on detail, so I guess I got what I deserved.

By comparison, my outline submitted for the Writing For Interactivement module was a six-page monster and probably contained more detail than I'll need for the final presentation. As a consequence, I apparently got a D3 for that, although I've yet to see the final feedback sheet to confirm that. A good start, but the interactive module hits a lot of my buttons and previous experience sits well with it. I did some work for now defunct games developer Viz Entertainment in 2002-2003, including cut scenes, IP development and in-game scripting, so I've got a bit of a headstart when it comes to the interactive module.

Friday I was back into Edinburgh for a script conference with BBC Radio Drama producer David Ian Neville. He'd called me a few days before to say we needed to meet about my 15-minute script for Woman's Hour. Essentially, my central character and premise are strong, but I've probably been guilty of stacking the deck in that character's favour. By shifting the focus more to his antagonist, making the story seem like it belongs to her, it should make the script much stronger. We had a very positive session on Friday, after which I felt energised and couldn't wait to get started on rewrites. However, I've been guilty of rushing into rewrites before, so instead I deliberately have left the project simmer in my subconscious for a few days. Today rewrites begin in earnest, with a new draft due in by Thursday.

One of the first things I said when I sat down with David was 'So, how can we make this [the script] better?' I used to be terribly arrogant, believing the first draft of anything I'd writtern would be the best draft, thinking that rewriting was for wimps who couldn't get it right first time. When somebody came back expecting rewrites and polishes, I made it obvious I considered that a chore and resented having to go back to a story I felt was already finished.

My attitude has changed completely in the last year. Maybe I'm growing up a little as a writer, but now I see rewrites as a chance to make my scripts and stories even better. I've learned to welcome input, to understand that so much of what I do is just one step on the journey. Live and learn, I guess.

Besides redrafting the radio script, I've got to finish the third script for my Megazine comic serial, Fiends of the Eastern Front: Stalingrad. I've also been sent he plot for an issue of The Phantom that my editor at Egmont Sweden would like me to script, so that's something I'd like to get down before Easter. I've also agreed to act as an editorial consultant for a guy working on a comics project, and he's been patiently waiting nearly a fortnight for my feedback on his first script, so that needs to be addressed too - it's coming, Robert, honest!

There's probably other stuff that needs doing this week, but that's enough to be going on with... Time to get to work!

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