I had a few opportunities at the beginning of the year to tackle. The first was the Pears short film competition. This is a Jewish-themed competition that awards 2 prizes of £13.5k for a short film to be made each year. I had to write a 10-minute piece in quick time but luckily had a starting point from a previous piece. I decided to write about the transition in the East End from an influx of mostly Jewish to mostly Asian immigrants.
After a couple of days off, I'm back working on my novella, The Carpenter and the Goat Herder. It's had multiple edits but going through it again, it seems I've got plenty more to do. Oh well. In between, I completed a 5-page biopic outline. It took a lot of work, fitting their life to the hero's journey. Unsurprisingly, few people's lives are like Jesus, thankfully, so it did take some work to make their life more like his. Why Jesus, well I suppose he's the ultimate hero. And as has been mentioned before, the Bible and Pilgrim's Purpose were the two most common books in American early history and have probably led to the westernised hero's journey template.
On the reading and watching front. I've seen the shortlists and think there's some good choices. I'm looking forward to seeing Parasite. I think a Portrait of a Lady on Fire was the film that moved me the most both artistically and emotionally. I went to see CoinCoin and the Extra Humans. I've not seen the first of the set. I enjoyed the first two of the four parts, made for tv. The Q&A revealed that all the actors were non actors, many recruited from the dole office in the French countryside. The main actor had his lines and actions told to him during his earpiece! It's a little slow running, but great fun.
I've also been watching some of the LSF Accelerate talks that I missed as I was pitching. I just watched Dominic Morgan's talk, you'll need the password to see it but I'll give you the highlights. In a 20-year career, he's written 45 screenplays, sold 35 and had 6 made. Impressive. His powerful talk focussed on how to maximise your chances of being a successful screenwriter.
Here's his top 7 tips:
- What do you want to be known for?
- What can you write that no one else can? i.e. what do you know more than anyone else.
- Find your sweetspot? Consider what you can specialise in at the start of your career.
- Create work that's similar
- Don't chase
- Be a radiator not a drain
- Demonstrate 1-6 every time you meet an agent or producer
Well worth trying to watch over someone's shoulder to see him prowl the stage.