It’s been a while (sorry). Film-making is strange business in that sometimes things seem completely dead in the water, then all of a sudden out of nowhere a huge tidal wave of activity can happen.
I’ve been doing the usual routine of meeting up with potential collaborators, sending the script out to other writing folk and compiling feedback. I think the thing which is becoming clearer in my mind is that the story is there, but the focus and the characters aren’t. This obviously needs addressing because without the foundation of a solid screenplay, things won’t (and indeed shouldn’t) progress. So I pondered for a bit, then pondered some more. In amongst all this pondering I stumbled across a thread from a guerilla film-making forum which I occasionally read. The thread was entitled “Is anyone interested in theatre as well as film?” by Emma King-Farlow (please check out the Children’s book she has written called Uncle Alonzo’s Beard).
This immediatedly reminded me of one of the many stories that David Seidler told at the master-class. The script to the King’s Speech wasn’t working (coincidently for the same type of reasons) so he asked his wife what he should do about it. His wife being a rather pragmatic sort said “Have you considered turning it into a play? This will force you to focus on what is really important“. This is exactly what he did, the focus was found, everything else fell into place and of course the rest is (Oscar winning) history. Feeling somewhat worn down by the fact that our script in it’s current form isn’t quite hitting the spot I decided to respond to the thread with:
“I’m seriously considering that in the worst case – if my current project doesn’t work-out for any reason – I’ll produce it as a stage-play instead. I found David Seidler’s comment about writing The King’s Speech as a play very fascinating – it really forces you as a writer to concentrate on what is important about the story.”
Expecting to hear nothing more, I was surprised by the positive responses the idea provoked, with people saying “yes, do it“. So I thought to myself I really need to speak to Bruce about this, could be just what we need. Time passes (I was probably still pondering) and I find myself attending a Digital Media meeting at work. I met some interesting people and got chatting to the guy who was running the meeting. I offered to help support the group and he invited me to give a talk at a future meet-up. After this we began to chat about the projects we are working on outside of the day to day stuff. At this point I tell him all about the Flanders project and say “it’s written by someone who works here“. No sooner had he replied “Who?“, Bruce walks past… Nice to catch up with Bruce again, he seems to be jet-setting around rather a lot at the moment. We had a brief chat and he asked what feedback I’d received. He also mentioned that he had received some feedback and said someone suggested to him “Why not try this as a play“. Coincidence number 2?
So the current status of the project is we are still working on the screenplay, but we will try to develop it as a play as well. There are many advantages of trying things out as a play beforehand. Firstly the costs will be significantly lower. It will force us to focus on only what is important (as already mentioned). We will get to workshop the characters with actors. Perhaps most useful of all, we will get to see what works and doesn’t in front of a live audience before the film is made. This is a huge departure for me, but it seems extremely exciting – will keep you posted!
The other big news (just as everything on the film was starting to feel like it was being put on the back-burner): it looks like I have found a producer/collaborator (Sherilee Wedderburn) who will help to get things going in the background with the project. Film-making is such a long-winded process, so it will be great to have Sherilee working with me on the connections required to bring the project together and concentrating on business aspects. Coincidence number 3 is that she is based locally and just so happened to be the first person I met at the Guerilla film-makers master-class when I arrived at the reception – what are the odds?
There were so many highlights, it would be difficult to list them all. Let’s just say I have even greater respect for Michael Caine and Shirley Bassey now – if this is even possible! And who knew that film composer David Arnold could sing? Nicholas Dodd was perhaps the unsung hero who conducted his heart out (I saw him wipe a tear after conducting Somewhere in Time, and he went giddy as a child in a toy store after conducting the Bond suite). Talking of which, the Bond stuff was of course awesome and this has inspired me to revisit work with my inital concept for the Goldfinger Audio Drama. There is no way on earth I can reach even a fraction of Goldfinger‘s complete awesomeness. This said, I have a month or so to finish the concept, I’ll try my utmost to try and make it at least worthy. Shirley, if you are available I could do with a vocalist… 🙂