Monday, 9 March 2009

First Contact - Why I want to be a Scriptwriter...

Hello... Is this thing on? Is anyone reading this?

If you are, then welcome to my blog and my first post...

You probably don't know me... I probably don't know you either. So I'll start by telling you a little about myself and my goals.

I'm a 35 year old male, currently working as an I.T. engineer for a local authority.

I've been working in I.T. for about 15 years and I've finally had enough...

I've always aspired to be something better. Always wanted to do something creative... But I could never figure out what!

Then, a couple of months ago it hit me like the proverbial bolt from the blue!

I want to be a scriptwriter...

It sounds like a totally random thing to suddenly want to start doing, but it makes perfect sense. I honestly don't know why I didn't even give it a second thought before...

You see, I realised a couple of months ago that I've been writing stories practically all of my life...

The first time I remember actually enjoying writing was when I was a 3rd year at infant school. I remember the teacher asking who wanted to do homework. I actually stuck my hand high in the air and asked for some extra English to do! Swotty little git? I think so...

As a child I was always writing. I've written a couple of comic books with my brother and a few more with my best friend, short stories on a rusty old typewriter (found on a dump) and plenty more hand scribbled rubbish... Unfortunately, none of it ever survived past my teens.

As an adult, I've written a complete outline of a children's book and actually put down 40 pages and I've also written over 170 pages of a horror novel... But... I haven't finished either these... Why? Because I still wasn't sure what I wanted to do, even while I was writing them! So they ended up on a very distant back burner.

But, in early January I had the post Christmas blues. I was not looking forward to going back to work and wondered why on Earth I still didn't know what to do with my life! The thought of another 30 years in I.T. makes me feel physically sick!

So, I was reading the BBC News website (as I do every day) when I noticed a link for the "Writers Room". As I'd always had an interest in writing (the clue's in the text) I clicked and was amazed at what I read...

Free downloadable scripts? Open script submissions? Competitions? The Writer's Academy!?

I didn't realise that this stuff existed! I certainly didn't realise that the BBC were so open to cultivating new writers!

I must have read that website in it's entirety over the course of the next week, before finally discovering a link to a certain Mr Paul Campbell's blog...

The funny thing was, the first post of Paul's I read was this.

Not the most inspirational start of my first glimpse into a scriptwriter's life!

However, I noticed that Paul had been writing his blog since the 31st August 2005. So I went back in time (without the DeLorean) and read every entry from then up until the present day (the present being January 2009, not March 2009... I didn't travel into the future!)

Paul's blog was truly inspirational! Thanks Paul! It also introduced me to the blogs of Mr Danny Stack (another brilliant blog! Thanks Danny!) and to my favourite blog of all, that of "TV's James Moran". (Massive thank's James!)

Read any of these blogs and you can't fail to be inspired! There are many more blogs that I haven't got around to reading yet (apologies) but when I do, I'll post a link or three.

These blogs give you so much more information than any scriptwriting book ever could!

They talk about how they got started, what to expect, what NOT to expect and even throw in lots hints and tips, links and the occasional funny to give your brain a rest (you know what I'm talking about James!)

I was bursting at the seams with inspiration, so I decided to attempt my first script. I'd never written a script before. I didn't have a clue what to do! But the BBC came to my rescue with their downloadable template "Script Smart Gold". This is excellent for the beginner scriptwriter (as I still am!) You click a button to choose the type of script and away you go...

I actually managed to write an entire episode of a sitcom. Then, I did what everyone suggests and put that away, so that I could read it with fresh eyes in a week or so. I still haven't gone back to it because...

Then I started to write a screenplay for a horror film idea I had. I'm actually still writing this, as I was distracted by a short screenplay competiton I stumbled upon...

So, I wrote a 15 minute short for that. I actually wrote the whole thing in one session and then spent 3 weeks tinkering it until I was happy. That's now in the post, so we'll see what happens there...

Now I'm currently writing a 30 minute film for submission to Channel 4's Coming Up (thanks to Danny for the heads up on this!)

Oh, and I also spotted an opportunity to write some one-liners for BBC Radio 4's Talking and Not Talking show. I wrote about 5 pages worth yesterday (the deadline was today) and e-mailed those off last night.

Now, I don't proclaim to be any good at this scriptwriting lark! Hell, I'd never even written a script before January this year! But, I have so many ideas floating around inside my head that, for me, this is the best way I can think to get them out!

The entire process actually makes my mundane working life a lot more bearable. It might take me 5 years, 10 years (or maybe never) to make it as a scriptwriter, but I want to give it a try and I want to share my journey with anyone who reads this blog (that means YOU!)

If it all ends in a pile of steaming manure (I hate manure!) then so be it, but at least I'll have tried.

For the first time in my life I feel like I've finally found something that I actually want to do for a living... Apart from be an Astronaut, but I think that one's a none starter...





7 comments:

Paul Campbell said...

Yeah!

Go for it. Do it. Write it.

I'll be watching.

Splinter073 said...

Thanks Paul,

You're officially my first visitor AND my first comment!

By the way, I've corrected your misspelled name... I originally had you down as Cambell... Sorry about that!

meastwood said...

Good luck with it. Here's to a fun journey!

Mark

Janice Okoh said...

Good luck!

hock said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hock said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sofluid said...

Here's a link to some excellent free screenwriting software: www.celtx.com! It's fab!