First draft, first feature film

A while ago I started my first full length script project. Code named TPLS, today I have just finished the first draft.

I don’t think I’ve ever tackled such a complex writing task and it is by no means finished. In fact, the journey has only just started.

However, I’ve allowed myself a little whoop here to mark the beginning of the end of a project I never thought I’d reach so far on.

The first draft has the basic plot and character interactions outlined. The task for draft two is to strengthen the plot, round off the characters and pump up its distinctive backdrop.

Self indulgent whoop over, now back to work…

 

Les The Punter – Director onboard

A very exciting development. Phil Hawkins, a Director I adore for the consistent high quality and visual scope of his work, has indicated he would be pleased to be involved in the Les The Punter short film project.

There’s a long way to go of course. I’m aiming to secure up to £20k of funds to cover the project which will enable the film to be made to an acceptably high standard. Of course, this is tops and in theory short films can be made on a shoestring. However it does indicate, along with Phil’s involvement, the production standards we’re aiming to achieve.

There are several next steps, not least attracting a known actor to be cast in the central role. We have some ideas and approaches are being made.

Of course, I’m not completely niave and anticipate many obstacles, set-backs and disappointments along the way but for now things are definitely looking positive for a script I and others truly believe in.

Les The Punter – 2016

I’d like Les The Punter to be made into a short film (statement of intent). And so would all of the folk who’ve read the script (justification).

Everyone loves an apocryphal story and feedback from an eclectic range of readers has been beyond encouraging. As has the pro opinion here.

Perhaps this is a perfect opportunity for an established bookmaker to jump on board and brand the short film – or embark on a series of them?

Maybe it’s an opportunity for a Director (comedic inclination) to add a relatively inexpensive piece to their portfolio?

Who knows? All options are open.

If you’re interested then email me at les@julian-williams.co.uk. I’ll send the script and we’ll take it from there.

What a difference a year makes

Well, none really, apart from a lot of learning.

The script alluded to in the last post got to first draft – and draft two is underway.

But this is all an experiment. Not only is this the hardest writing challenge I’ve faced it’s only a stepping stone to the real feature length film I want to write (started as notes in 1996).

I’m not at the point of defeat on this initial script – far from it. I’m graduating through the University of Life. A degree takes three years and I’m only just into my second year on this self-teaching exercise.

One day everything will click into place.

 

I really want to tell you, but…

Starting a new writing project and hit an emotion I think is worth highlighting. It is…

The need for approval.

I’m going to be brutally honest here – I’m dying to tell you the outline of my new venture. I can’t wait to get your reactions on the characters and storyline.

Before I’ve even written a word, I’m desperate to know what you think of it all. In fact, I’m  burning with the desire to seek your approval.

STOP!

If you’re reading this and starting a new writing project you may have hit this very same emotional need. To tell other people what you’re doing before you have any tangible evidence of actually having written anything.

It’s called asking permission to be a writer – and as a writer, you don’t need it. Trust me.

The fact is…

Other people are ill-equipped to deal with your dawning thoughts, cerebral sketches and scatter-brain emotions as a writer on a new project.

If you do ask them for their view at this stage they’ll only feed back ideas that are equally as flighty and that’s the last thing you need.

Listen only to yourself.

The only approval you need to write is that from the voice in your own heart.

I suspect people who I’ve befriended through my writing confessionals probably think I’ve given up writing because I’ve stopped asking for premature opinion.

But let me tell you, this a good place to be – and the people I’ve confessed to previously will think this is a good place for me to be as well.

And the joy?

The joy of it all is in the “here’s my first draft”. You’ve done it, achieved the impossible, refined your vision into one coherent and completed writing project.

You’ve neither promised anyone anything nor bowed to any ill-informed opinion.

Whether it’s taken you six minutes, six months or six years to get to where you’ve got – and whether you’ve changed course, switched story or swapped characters during that time – it doesn’t matter, the baby is now yours to show the world.

So, about the new project I’m writing…

In an ideal world you wouldn’t even know I’m working on one. In fact, let’s just assume I’m not. So why the article?

This is purely for illustrative purposes, to show you the most rudimentary and important lesson I have learned during my fledgling writing career:

The world is only interested in what you’ve written- not what you’re thinking of writing.

Theatre, Les and a tentative next step

This Wednesday I went to my local theatre (a first) to see Jim Cartwright’s “Two”, a performance that explored 14 different pub characters acted by a male and female (hence the title “Two”). It was performed in the theatre’s Studio.

The reason for being there was to see how I could turn Les The Punter (a thirty minute screenplay) into a theatrical studio piece, and to that end I loved the intimacy of the Studio environment and the possibilities it holds.

However, I had no positive feeling for the performance I saw and am worried about this .

I didn’t see anything engaging, heart warming, confrontational or blissful about the characters. Worst still, there was no pace,  no snap, no vibe, no life. I’m fearful of the flowery pretensions of theatre and they seemed all too evident here – in the writing, exorcised through the acting.

My worry is, maybe this is what theatre is. And if so, maybe I’m not suited to it.

Positively, Les The Punter is an observation of real pub characters in a real pub environment, exaggerated into a ridiculous story about a lost betting slip and a winning horse. It could have a place in this Studio. It could provide entertainment.

The question is, how do I write my screenplay into a theatre production? Am I capable? Can I do it? And do I have to assume some kind of theatricality to achieve this goal?

Too many questions – head’s hurting – but, in summary, I was thrilled to discover the local theatre’s Studio environment and the exciting possibilities of Les’s next step.

Not that you’re asking but, yes, I’m glad I went on Wednesday.