One of those career affirming weeks
…had the cast and crew screening of Cancer Hair last night which went well. Everyone said lovely things. Thank you very much for the support guys.
…we’re screening 50 Kisses at Bafta on Friday to coincide with a very special announcement.
…got the concept art in for Invisible Girl and it looks great – onwards to the next one!
…great feedback on Project O concept/treatment
Last week has proved to me how powerful a deadline can be. I already know this - from setting dates for shooting and working toward it - but this week took my belief and reinforced it ten fold.
Shit happens. It happens everyday to everyone but for writers sometimes that shit is the difference to whether they go find some time in their own head and get something written, or whether they decide it's all too hard and don't write, thus missing an opportunity.
Stuff was happening all around me. At work - a high pressured contract was reaching delivery point, this week I had three meetings with very senior figures in a not insubstantial organisation to show progress and demonstrate what happens next. Family wise - death of an aunt, tooing and frooing on arrangements and spinning plates to keep eye on arrangements for a funeral.
In the midst of this, last Friday was the ifeatures deadline. I'd already bowed out of writing one treatment as I got a bit too carried away thinking I was further on than I was with it - so the second treatment, Project O, which I was developing with Producer Roxy Holman HAD to happen.
Come Monday the treatment was nowhere near where it needed to be and I was running out of time, patience and ideas with it.
The easier thing to do - with some perfectly valid excuses - would be to politely explain I couldn't do it but I chose instead to stick with my commitment to writing the treatment and making it happen.
I pulled in an SOS favour from Lucy Hay on Monday night concerned that the latest draft was a turd. While not an 100% turd, her notes confirmed the plot - as I laid it out - had the skits. Roxy confirmed with a set of eerily similar notes - my take, if twelve Russians tell you your drunk, stop drinking!
I stripped it back to the concept and started rebuilding the story block by block - from here I sent over a potted new structure to the two of them. It was on the right track, but with a few more notes, I fluffed it even further. A near all nighter and a lot of coffee, the treatment was with Roxy for Friday Morning.
//As a side point, the above ability to strip it back to concept and rebuild can - in my honest and humble opinion - only happen fully when you are at a treatment stage with the idea. The moment you start getting into first full drafts etc, you're married to how it happens and then need a shit load of distance to change things.//
I have no idea what it will do in I features - I hope it goes through. It's a brilliant scheme and I'd love to see Project O developed further but the process to getting it to this point has been great for me already.
I did it! I fucking delivered on something that at the beginning of the week most people would walk away from. And when you are trying to transition from "amateur with credits" to "professional seeking payment", you have to pull out the stops and deliver on things even when you don't want to, when the circumstances around you give you excuses not to, and when everyone else would have walked away.
You have to dig deep. No-one says this shit is easy but few tell you how damn hard and draining it is. You have to keep turning up, when you don't want to.
Bottom line - even if it doesn't get into ifeatures - the story is better, the treatment is better, I hit the deadline, the producer knew I delivered and the project has a momentum. That to me is a win.
Spare Change, directed by Andy Carslaw, is a short I wrote and produced at the tail end of 2013. We were looking for a 2//3 page short that was relatively easy to film in a couple of nights. This sure as heck gave us a taste of night shoots *shudder* not something that I would run back to with any great gusto soon! Total budget under £500.
And here is the result - a morality tale of a business man who shuns a homeless man asking for change, only to have the tables turned on him
Gail Hackston is a filmmaker, screenwriter and producer. Her blog is about getting things made in the UK Film Industry.