The first month of the year, to me, often seems like a hangover. The old year isn’t quite gone- it remains like a hazy headache that can’t be shaken. As January stubbornly progresses the old year loses its grip and the new year slowly begins to kick into action. It was at this point in January that I was headed east, to the west.
I arrived to a frozen Cardiff airport and shivered and shook until the bus arrived to take me to the city. I realised I felt a bit like a local in some ways. I no longer have to ask “does this bus go to the city?”, nor do I confuse the car park shuttle bus with the city bus. I even have the exact change ready. I practically tut-tutted at a brunch of rowdy French boys as they fumbled through their euro trying to find a few pounds for the journey to town. After an unusually loud bus journey I made it to the city centre. Perished by the cold, I checked in to my hotel and automatically put the kettle on, tea as sustenance is a rule of thumb, and I slowly acclimated before bedtime.
A warmer Friday began with the announcement that we (my fellow MA students) would be returning to Gregynog in May for our end of year writers’ retreat. This is definitely something to look forward to, once I organise how I’ll actually get there. The rest of the day progressed steadily enough with a morning lecture on treatment/script development followed by tutorials in the afternoon. My treatment needs a little more work and then I’ll focus on the scene by scene break down of my script. Overall, I’m actually really pleased with the story itself; I just have a few character details to clean up and some minor story kinks to straighten out. My tutorial was overtly positive and I’m happy that people “get” my story (and that I’m not just writing drivel). My main areas to work on are some further character development, including testing my characters more and not making them “too nice”. There’s also a possibility of ditching at least one character, however doing so will mean I’ll need to re-work elements of the story so it still makes sense.
Other feedback I received which was quite beneficial was “Let’s see Dublin”. I unwittingly reverted to writing as if I were doing so for the stage- sticking to one or two key locations. I need to let my characters get a bit more fresh air. That said, while they may be gasping for breath, I apparently keep them well watered. My favourite piece of feedback I’ve ever received (to date) was “Too much tea drinking in this story”. I love this. It’s probably the one piece of feedback I wholly disagree with but I love it none the less. It made me smile and laugh at myself. I certainly won’t be changing that part of my script; it’s central if you ask me. It’s more than a drink or an action. It’s an emotion. Tea, or even the offering of it, says far more than words can. I value you. I’m giving you this time. I’ll sit with you and we’ll talk and somehow everything will be okay. The tea will stay.
On Saturday, a day long workshop with Rob Gittins provided great insight into the industry. Having been involved in basically everything that’s ever been on TV, Rob knows a thing or two about how it all works. To top it all off, he firmly left his ego at the door and was an excellent, engaging, and honest individual. He even admitted to his role in the much maligned Eldorado. That takes balls.
My goal for the coming weeks is to get my treatment polished and have a scene by scene done as soon as possible. Then I can get into the good stuff (script/dialogue) without having to worry too much about the story itself.
Anyone for a cuppa?