Friday, September 07, 2007

Wrestling with an octopus

Trying to turn my one-page pitch for a 23-minute standalone drama into a scene by scene breakdown is proving elusive. I've got six characters and am using two sets. By definition, it means I can only cut from one interior to the other, or back again - there's nowhere else to go. That's fine, I choose to restrict myself to two sets as I wanted to use the limited number of settings to my advantage. The difficulty stems from the way I've interlinked all the storylines.

I chosen two lovers as a joint protagonist, but maybe I need to look at them as individuals. They've got different dramatic needs, so I suspect I need to treat them as individuals, not as a pair. Especially as they spend the bulk of the story apart from one another. Yep, that's what I'll have to do. I already know what happens in terms of plot points. What I need to do is storyline each character's actions individually, to chart their emotional journeys over the 23 minutes.

Phew. That's a weight off my mind. Been battling with methodology for several days, deliberately choosing to do other things instead of the task in hand. That's my subconscious telling me I'm not ready, that I haven't figured out the right way forward. I'm learning to trust that jangling alarm bell at the back of my mind. Sometimes I procrastinate out of laziness or temptation, but mostly I put things off because I know I'm not properly prepared.

This script is a little like wrestling with an octopus. Just when you get one tentacles under control, several more start flapping around. But I may just have talked out a method for this madness. Right. Off to have a bath, before heading into Glasgow for a briefing at Scottish Screen about being a script reader. You want to be professional? Act like one and look like one. Fake it till you make it, baby!

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