SCRIPT ADVICE Newsletter – 7
- Happy New Year!
- The Ups and Downs of Social Networking
- A Day In The Life Of George, Jobbing Writer – Me and My Shadow
- A Bit Of Extra
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I can’t believe it but it’s happening again. We (the Family; aka Big Mike, Little Michael and me) are moving. I seem always to be on the move. My son will no doubt grow up thinking that his parents were from Roving Romany stock. Or perhaps Michael growing up, will be inextricably drawn to the life of a travelling circus and take to the high wire instead of getting a highly paid, regular, creative as well as stimulating job doing good works and making him rich and successful at the same time…. When I, in 15 years time am perched on the edge of my zimmer, neck craning upwards to the apex of the Big Top, watching my son in spangely tights do a loop the loop on a trapeze, I will know that it was our fault for moving so much during his formative years….Anyway, we are on the move. To a bigger house with more space which we will no doubt proceed to fill with more stuff; not, I hasten to add, stuff that might be pretty, or useful, or interesting or essential; no, it will be of the toy variety: the big lawn mower, the tool box, the robot with the revolving head, the scooter, the construction site, the BLOW UP Buzz Lightyear…sometimes, as I pack away the dressing up box for another day or when I have stood, yet again, on the back of a metal dumper truck in my bare feet carrying the laundry basket, every cell in my body screams for a big, wide, clear, empty cell of a room and just an armchair in the centre, a pile of books on the floor and just an arm’s reach away, a HUGE glass of Sauvignon. Bliss. Something to aim for in 15 years time…Right. The local charity shops are just about to get hit by a Bonanza of Boy Toys….
THE OF UPS AND DOWNS OF SOCIAL NETWORKING
I have never been much of ‘a joiner’. I don’t do groups, clubs, organisations. I am like my dad; opinionated, fairly confident of my own thoughts and feelings on most issues and happy for others to voice theirs, as vociferously as they like – I don’t, however, want, by dint of being in the same group or organisation, to have to listen to the liturgy of others from their own particular soap box – it’s just not what I want to do with my spare time. Yes, I am a bit grumpy and no, I am not anti-social. I would say I was gregarious – but with a penchant for island living.
So when the whole issue of Social Networking reared it’s rather unwelcome head a few years back when I was setting up Script Advice, I was dubious about joining in on the cyber chat and signing up for Facebook and the like. To this day, I have to say with a certain amount of head hanging, I have still not dipped my toe in the water of Twitter and remain a tweet virgin. I am utterly confused by the sound biteyness of Twitter and by the inanity of it to boot. But then, no-one has ever followed me anywhere, let alone by way of a cyber highway, so what would I know about it?
So, after a rocky and not very cheery start, I am officially glad that I joined Facebook. Script Advice now has a writers room (amazingly called SCRIPT ADVICE WRITERS ROOM) where like minded odds and sods, bods and mods, can post what is currently concerning them about their writing, or they can share some information about a link they found really useful or let fellow SAWR people know of something they have done, or are about to do that either needs support, or just needs an airing. I like that. It’s friendly. It’s connective and it makes me feel, as someone who set up Script Advice to help writers write better scripts, that in some small way, via SAWR
website, that good work is being done. It’s important to me for the writers I help to feel they have a professional out there, watching their back. For a fee, granted, but I suppose 21 years experience of crafting, grafting, and rafting drama for television does carry some fiscal weight?
So, it is settled then, being a member of Facebook and getting the word spread around the net about Script Advice and the work I do and the courses I run, is a good thing. Also, another good thing; via FB I have discovered there are several very hard working, experienced script developers/editors/mentors all beavering away on behalf of their clients and also connecting to my group page and so we are joining hands, across cyber space, in the name of better writing and writer support. Ahhhhh. No. I have to stop the rising orchestral strings before the fluffy clouds and the turtle doves obscure the real view. Facebook is a political and tricky minefield for a girl with a mission to navigate. You have to create a balance between being over friendly and over familiar with handling the business side of what you are doing and strike the correct tone with everything you write and everything you share. It’s like being a journalist in microcosm and that’s not a bad writer-skill to master these days! I also found it un-nerving in the first few weeks of my drawing up the cyber chair, clearing my throat and announcing ‘hello, my name is Yvonne and I like writing and writers’; I kept dreaming about people I did not personally know, but whose profiles I had begun to follow because they were either interesting, or just down right funny. These dreams were better than the recurring one I have about flooding toilets (not nice) but still I found them a bit unsettling. But the intrusion dreams have stopped now that I have admitted to the castaway side of my personality, that I am in fact a Facebooker and proud of it.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF GEORGE, JOBBING WRITER: ME AND MY SHADOW
INT: ELECTRICIANS’STORE CUPBOARD STUDIO 8 – 10am
I think I’ve got away with it. Amongst the normal confusion of ‘the producer’s run’, I don’t think I’ve been missed. But the smell of 20 year old dust is getting up my nose and what I thought was a seat, I’ve just discovered is a ton of old porn mags that I’m sitting on. This is not a good start to the week for a professional, reliable, deadline-beater writer like me. Just checking the coast is clear and then I best go and face the music. Be a grownup, stoic, broad-shouldered. Right, here goes…
INT: STUDIO 8 BEHIND THE COSY CAFÉ SET – 10.10am
Well, I’ve got narrow, immature, unstable shoulders obviously. Now, entirely hidden by the false back wall of the café set, I spy the mangy sofa the props department use for the café’s resident moggy Jumbo, to nap on, and make a bee-line. I realise Letty Leadbetter, aka ‘the music’ is really getting to me. She is pretty, petite, clever and confident – what a nightmare combo. I do not like the music and I not want to face it any time soon.
INT: STUDION 8 ON THE MANGY SOFA – CAFÉ SET 10.12am
A bit of explanation is in order: The Producer’s Run sounds like a dodgy game show from the 70’s but is in fact a fairly crucial, if tedious, part of the WESTENDERS production schedule. Each week, on the first day of filming, the cast, crew and writer plus script editor of that week’s particular block of episodes, meet in Studio 8 and literally run through the shooting scripts of that block. We walk, between sets, as the camera crew and Director stagger through for the Producer’s benefit, their shooting intentions for each set. Each script in the shooting schedule, has been taken apart and the scenes lumped together according to their location. So all the café scenes, for example, are shot together – making no story sense what so ever, but it saves a lot of shooting time, and as Scary Producer never tires of saying ‘time is money’. Because the shooting schedule is not in story order, it is a confusing time for actors and crew but also makes my head, as the writer of a couple of the episodes, twist around on my neck. And what is making this particular Producer’s Run even more tricky, is the incessant twittering (with mouth, not mobile) of Letty Leadbetter, new recruit on the fledgling ‘writer shadowing scheme’ and currently the script chick I am meant to be taking under my writer’s wing.
INT: STUDIO 8 JANETTE’S SITTING ROOM – 10.20am
I heard them coming my way, and my jeggings were covered in cat hair, so had to beat a hasty retreat. Janette’s sitting room is a shrine to bad taste. Janette is a blousy, sad, ‘tart with a heart’ and the prop department have gone to town on the set dressing in here. Staring at Janette’s vast collection of china bowls, I begin to feel a heel for doing a runner when I should’ve been able to stand by Letty and answer her endless questions. In between the two episodes I wrote, there are two more and without the storyline document keeping the storyline and the scripts in check, now, faced with a incoherent series of cafes and pubs and sitting rooms, I found I couldn’t reliably answer Letty’s clear, confident, query about where we are up to in the Jock and Janette storyline. I should’ve turned the beam of Letty’s questioning on to Hope, WESTENDERS nicest Script Editor, but she was tackling the knotty problem of the fact that an episode (not mine) dictates that Jock and Janette have a front loader washing machine, and not, as is plainly the truth looking at it now, a top loader. Scary Producer was listening in, smiling, (she loves Letty Leadbetter and I am sure she is grooming her for a swift usurp of my regular writing slot)and my mind went completely blank and I said something about needing a wee and shot off set. Nicely done. For a 12 year old.
INT: STUDIO 8 JANETTE’S SITTING ROOM – BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE – 10.30am
‘Yes’. (I can hear myself saying this with complete confidence). ‘I am a bit ahead of the game Helen’ (Scary Producer’s real name) ‘well, you know me, always so well prepared!’ Phew. Apparently, although I seem to have lost my shooting schedule so wouldn’t know anyway, the next set to visit on the Producer’s Run was Janette’s Sitting Room so here I am, trying not to look like I was crouching in a hiding sort of way, and more like I was sitting in a neat sort of way, waiting for everyone to catch up. Letty gave me a delighted smile when she saw me, making me feel even worse for avoiding her. I smile back, she’s inexperienced, she only wants to learn, and from me, so that’s a compliment surely? What’s she saying now? Oh the bloody cheek. Letty has just suggested a line change – in my script – the nerve of the girl – and Scary Producer likes it! What? What the buggery bollocks is a ramekin? Everyone is nodding and even Hope, my mate, the calm in my storm, is saying ramekin is funny and bowl, (as I have written it) is not – well, I am not laughing. Oh SHUT UP Letty you annoying tit – who calls their child Letty anyway? Mr and Mrs Lettuce? I try and smile, I swallow the bile rising and ask Letty for a pen (she has several) and we all change the line. Letty 1. Me 0.
Check out more George Adventures from past Newsletters by accessing my blog@Blog@http://www.scriptadvice.co.uk
A Bit Of Extra
SUMMER SOAPS – HOW TO WRITE FOR SERIES TELEVISION
Announcing a new course designed by yours truly and hosted by those lovely people at the NFTS.
National Film and Television School: www.nfts.co.uk
I am so looking forward to running this one, it will be intensive, collaborative and challenging and there will be great guest speakers to give you the chance to put your questions to professional writer/developers currently working in the industry.
The dates are July 4th – 8th and then a three week gap for writing. Followed by another two days for script editing. Check it all out in detail on the NFTS website. And if you have any questions, email me at Yvonne.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you there!
Here’s an interesting competition to enter if you have a script almost ready to brave the world – competitions are a great way of honing your craft and getting used to producing work to deadline – give this a bash!
This is a friendly place to be if you are in to social networking and when you feel the need to share your solo writing status. This website is for those who want to chat and meet like-minded writers to have a vent, have your say, have a gripe, or share some knowledge – it’s all good stuff and worth checking out.
This site is another useful one to have winking at you from your tool bar. There’s some interesting opportunities this month in the shape of script writing competitions and its always good to have a deadline in your diary…
I am not usually a fan of online courses, but this one seems to be a cut above the rest. Have a look at their website and if you are conjuring up a story that seems to fit on stage or if you want to try your hand at the craft of writing plays, then this could be a good place to start.
London-based script consultancy founded by some of the UK’s leading script analysts, delivering feedback services and training to filmmakers.
I am plainly advertising the opposition I realise, but these guys have a very impressive pedigree and are worth checking out for info on screen writing in general as well as their regular newsletter.
Many writers blog these days, but I particularly think fellow Facebooker and Script Advice workshop attender Jason Arnopp has an angle and an open, positive attitude to the whole business of writing and making it happen as a career option. His latest blog is about getting an agent and the pros and cons of how to do it, and what it means when you have landed one. Worth a read if this is the next step you are thinking about.
And herewith, another SAWR member Sarah Olley takes us through the minefield that we like to call script development. A very useful and entertaining read.
Filmmaking Course with Industry Experts at Raindance for £39 instead of £119
This link helpfully posted on FB by SAWR member Liz Holliday – it looks like an amazing deal.
I hope I can help you with your writing; be it a television script, short (or full length) film or screen play, treatment or outline, novel or radio play, I read and script edit them all and can definitely help improve yours. Drop me an email@ Yvonne.email@example.com and let’s get working!
BYE FOR NOW AND HAPPY WRITING.
Copyright Yvonne Grace Script Advice January 2011