Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Winter draws on [I wish I'd worn mine]

Summer is gone. History. Over. On the plus side, that means the sun will soon get low enough on the horizon that it's not blinding me for several hours a day while I write. On the negative side, it means getting up in darkness and what feels like living in darkness for several months. Things are getting colder, too. Time to swap one set of slob shoes [Converse All-Stars] for another [Caterpillar Walking Machines]. Tou didn't think I wore winklepickers all year round, did you? Even my feet need a little variety in their cladding.

Sitemeter registered the 75,000th visitor to this blog yesterday. George W Bush has 500 [and change] days left in office. Those two facts are utterly unconnected, by the way. The new network TV season is almost upon America. I'm intrigued by new police procedural K-Ville [launching Septmber 17], but the juice starts following a week later. There's the triple header of Chuck, season two of Heroes and Journeyman on September 24 for all you genre freaks. Not so fussed by Reaper a day later, though it's gotten some buzz. Bionic Woman on September 26, and Moonlight two days later.

Pushing Daisies starts raising the dead on October 3, but is it too quirky for a mass market audience? And my favourite show of last season, the superlative Friday Night Lights, returns the first week of October. Can't wait. My DVD boxes set of the first season is on its way across the Atlantic now. 22 episodes for just $30, or only $20 if you order it from I can't stress how good this show is. Of course, that's no guarantee it'll be to your taste. But the pilot perfectly encapsulates everything that's great about FNL. If you don't like that, you won't like the rest. Me, I was hooked but good.

On the work front I'm delving into the backstories of my six characters for the TAPS showcase script. One lesson I learned from my MA course final project was getting to know my characters first, before imposing plot points and story beats on them. Try to find the voice of my characters, their dramatic needs, the essence of their personality in good times and when put under pressure.

For example, I've got a gay cafe owner called Malcolm. He's 45, so he was born in 1962. That means he was actively seeking a partner during the 1980s, when AIDS became a massive issue for gay men. What effect did that have upon him? How many of his friends did he see die from the disease? How easy does he find it to trust other people, especially his new lover Bryce?

By comparison, Bryce is only 27, born in 1980. He didn't become sexually active until the 1990s, when safe sex was the norm. So why is he living with a man old enough to be his father? What's the attraction for Bryce in an overweight, over the hill guy like Malcolm? [That's Malcolm's own description, not mine - the character's already talking in my head, making comments and asides.]

So I'm working on that, and finishing my absolute, final, last ever piece of coursework for my MA in screenwriting. It's a self reflective essay, looking back over the development and writing process of my major project. Some people may find this sort of thing problematic to write, but I had enough years as a journalist and feature writer to bibble away at a keyboard while thinking out loud. Should finish that today, leaving me a clear run at the TAPS script. Onwards.

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