Not only is there so much advice out there, there are so many rules to follow. I am at saturation point, which is blocking my writing. I’m trying so hard to force a scene into a setup for a reveal on page 65, or does my inciting incident fall at the correct stage in the script? Are my Acts fitting a pattern?
I rang poor Philip Shelley yesterday, in despair about all the rules I’m trying to incorporate – and that I struggle with detailing my beat-sheet prior to starting a script. He advised that I will (and I can confirm this!) ‘go off the rails’ of my story if I don’t have this planned out before starting, but I didn’t want to hear that! I do really wonder if perhaps, as part of the learning curve, one needs to lose the flow of story-telling, whilst learning the various rules – my theory is that one comes out the other side when this is ingrained and can then address the story again, without being preoccupied with the rules… you’ve got to know the rules before you break them, right?
Philip was, as always, very informative, we agreed a common ground that TV and Feature writing is very different.
- If working on TV, you HAVE to not only follow the rules, so that a series or episode is a known quantity, BUT you also have to be able to turn things around fast and handover to others. In this context, I need to get my butt in gear and start taking on board the rules PDQ!
- If I were to concentrate on features, I will have more time – which means I can be more fluid in my style essentially. There’s no doubt the re-write process is intense, and that unplanned scripts ramp this up hugely, as you retrofit story elements and plug gaping holes.
To be honest though, at the moment I feel like Cinderella’s ugly step-sister, trying to squash my big, cumbersome writing-feet into elegant, beautifully proportioned glass slippers, which are giving me blisters, corns and huge pain.
I am ecstatic about winning the Script Angel mentoring competition, although I really hope Hayley McKenzie hasn’t bitten off more than she can chew in selecting me! I am hoping she will help me answer some of these questions, so what a fantastic opportunity. I shall take her advice and hope she will assist me in becoming a professional writer, who can write on demand. How lucky am I? ACE!!