Horror, Hoarding, and HIV

My plan was to have a rough but complete draft of a stage play written by the end of September, based on my adaption. This hasn’t happened. Why? I simply didn’t do it; there are plenty of reasons why but it still boils down to the fact that I didn’t do it. That’s not to say that I won’t- I most certainly will, I just need to refocus on it and I’m not ready to do that right now. This has been a bit of a disappointment to me but a minor one that I will rectify as soon as I can.

One thing that I have been working on is my Slate. Commencing 2nd year of the MA Scriptwriting at USW is an obvious motivating factor for this which is no doubt spurring me on at the moment. The process of putting a slate together with the specific aim of choosing one possible script to work on as my major project over the coming year (and keeping the rest on the backburner for the time being) has really made me sort the wheat from the chaff. That’s not to say that the chaff is useless or thrown away; it’s just not what’s needed right now. The process I’m actively using is to begin with a kernel of an idea, simply a sentence or two. This idea is then expanded into story beats and story points. In turn, the story points are developed from sentences to paragraphs and soon enough, I’ve a decent (if rough) synopsis of my story all the way from inciting incident to climax and ending. The initial ideas are never quite the problem- it’s the process from there that can make or break a potentially good story. I find myself asking “why” a lot. Why tell this story? Why these people? Why this place? Why now? This is a self-challenge but one that I feel is really beneficial. The answer, to quote Billie Piper, “because we want to” isn’t good enough in scriptwriting. Passion about a story is great but writing a script just because I want to probably isn’t going to get my foot in the door of the industry. The need for the story to be told should be greater than my need to tell the story. One story that I really want to tell hasn’t made it onto my slate for the coming year because it just didn’t feel right (based on the events surrounding the murder of people living with disabilities as part of Aktion T4 during the second World War). In using the process I’ve outlined above I realised that while the story needs to be told it doesn’t need to be told now and it probably isn’t a good option for my major project. I will write this story at some point, and I continue to have it as a file on my computer where I deposit pieces of research and brief notes, but it won’t be for my major project. In fact, even of the ideas that made it onto my slate, only one will be chosen for me to develop into a full length script over the coming year. My children of a lesser god will not be forgotten though, and just like Marlee Matlin, might even be Oscar-worthy. Just not this year. Or the next.

So, what will my major project be about? Interestingly for me, the form in which my script will manifest itself (because, as I’ve learnt, the script is a presence onto itself, and won’t always do what I think or want it to) is not what I’d originally thought it would be. I presumed, little over a year ago, that I definitely be writing a theatre piece- now as I look over my slate there is only one definite stage play, one that could go either way (stage or screen), two screenplays, and a TV miniseries. The central ideas for these scripts include hoarding, horror, HIV, and gay Nazis. The themes, surprisingly, share a similar concept of internal change (or lack thereof) for the central characters. I’ve already decided which story I’d like to progress with this year but I’m aware that this may change when I discuss my ideas with my tutor in the coming weeks. Until then, I’ll keep working on my slate, making changes where I feel they need to be made and saving the chaff for use when the winter comes.

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