Pitching it right

Last week I went to London and walked around Broadwick Street for a while, looking for Cascade’s offices. I thought I knew Broadwick Street; I worked in Kingly Street about a hundred years ago. An office that used to be run mainly on lager and cocaine has now become a Fitness First gym and I’m still not sure whether or not that’s an improvement. Anyone working there back then would have assumed you were already out of it if you’d told them that’s what was going to be built there.

Anyway, I’d submitted my 10 pages and mine, along with not many others out of the 150 that came in was judged good enough to pitch, which is why I was there. It was my first filmscript and my first pitch, so I felt about as confident as a kitten in a dog shelter.

It went ok. But they didn’t buy it. They want to see some more of mine, hampered only by the fact I haven’t got another one ready, but I will have. Today I had three ideas for doctoring the script of Not Your Heart Away to make a more obvious transition from the middle to the end, which I’d thought was so screamingly obvious that it didn’t need saying. Apparently it did and if I had they might have optioned it. They had a copy of the book, so I hope that next weekend someone is sitting in their chair saying ‘do you think it’s too late to change our minds about this?’

So we’ll see next time. Now all I have to do is write it again.

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Checking out the movies

Unbelievable but true, I’ve just been invited to pitch Not Your Heart Away as a film. It’s taken over three solid weeks to convert the script from book to film format, but it’s ready for Wednesday. Cross your fingers for me at noon, would you?

Now all I have to do is learn how to pitch. And decide whether to change the ending. Have I got time? Not really. But the new ending’s a lot better, like a very, very dark Richard Curtis Four Weddings.

I think I’ve got to, really.

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Checking out the movies

For the past few weeks I’ve been working against the clock to get a film script finished. The race was my own fault. I used to check the BBC Writers Room website religiously, to see what competitions were on, how to submit scripts and so on, the way you do. With the whole frenzy of publishing, editing, re-editeing, re-proofing, railing against my own stupidity and re-editing and proofing again, as Clint used to say, I kinda lost track of it in all the excitement here.

When I looked at it recently it was as if Christmas had come again and I was six. A film company, a real one, with offices with chairs and everything, was asking for film scripts with one proviso, which was interesting in itself. Not that they were being picky or anything, but they insisted the scripts had to actually exist before people sent the first ten pages in.

It reminded me of the old Californian joke: Dude 1: Like, I’m writing a screenplay? Dude 2: Awesome! Neither am I!

But I was. There was a strict 9am deadline on it for yesterday, 15th April, so I turned Not Your Heart Away into a screenplay. I hope I did, anyway. The first ten minutes has a shipwreck, Ben the narrator’s recurring nightmare;  a UFO as he lives near Salisbury Plain and a ghostly Spitfire, because of an old factory he drives past, because he’s English, because the film is about England and because. What more do you want while you’re still opening the Kia-Ora?

So we’ll see. I still have to finish the screenplay formatting, which is a time-consuming pain as I didn’t have time to learn any of the script-writing software packages and ended-up doing it in Word, the old-fashioned way. Still. It’s done. I was typing until half past one some nights and trapped a nerve in my leg from sitting still too long, but it’s done.

I also found a line that makes the final scene about a billion percent happier, sadder and just generally rounder, a real snappy ending. The storm that brings harm also makes fertile. I’ve got to get back to formatting. My eyes have gone a bit leaky now.

If you can’t wait for the film to come out, you can buy the book here.

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