Screenwriting: A thrilling February. A scientific March.
February is a bastard. It’s cold and short. Well, the cold bit is great for those of us who need to sit inside and write. But the loss of three days. Not so good. Still, I’ve managed to keep on track with my schedule. And on top of writing I went down to London for a brief visit, to friends and the London Super Comic Con (which you can read about here).
Apart from that this last month has mainly been devoted to my screenwriting endeavors, and in March I will finally see not just one, but hopefully two feature screenplays finished. For what is a writer if he or she doesn’t have anything finished?
By finished, we never mean finished as in «never touching this fine-chiseled diamond ever again, because it’s perfect!», but finished enough for us to be happy with the draft, and hopefully make a producer, director or agent excited in return.
Right now, my co-writer Robert and I are putting the finishing (there’s that word again!) touches on our thriller, about a prison teacher who’s trying to track down a missing inmate. It’s a story about the individual versus society, and if we can sacrifice individual freedom for the good of society. It’s about memories, about what makes us who we are. And, after my grandmother started loosing hers, I’m more sure than ever that memories are the most precious thing we have as human beings.
We have pitched this project to several producers and a few directors, and some of them were keen to read the script. It’s a good start, but still a million miles away from a shooting day. But it all starts small. Just ask Jack with the beans.
On top of the thriller I’m working on a sci-fi, a pure sci-fi that doesn’t veer into horror at the end (I’m looking at you Sunshine*), or end up being involuntarily silly (those Mars films). Or completely flawed with perfect production values (Prometheus). I’m trying to add many elements, story-wise and tonally, that I haven’t seen much in sci-fi films. But the tone is reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Reads like an indie, with the scope of a blockbuster. But its no $200 mill movie.
I’ve already written a short version to test the story and the world. Micro-gravity, claustrophobia, space station layout, the character journey, the ending. It all needs to fit nicely together, and the nice thing about a feature is that you have room to explore aspects you cannot in a short film/teleplay. The short version is actually in the hands of an up-and-coming director who I admire, so fingers crossed it’ll move somewhere.
I hope to finish up a good feature draft of the sci-fi before March is done with me. This is another project I’ve pitched around and it has a lot of interest from producers and directors. It’s a tough story to pull off, so the script needs to shine, but I’m confident some of the industry people will find it both refreshing and bold. Again, I hope to grab the up-and-coming director with this version of the script, as well.
After these two scripts are «out there» I’ll be focusing on my animation scripts again. My insect noir screenplay is already done and just needs a trim and tune-up. The family adventure project needs some heavy lifting, though, so that’ll come last.
I already have a few ideas for future screenplays, as well, but I’m not going to put more on my schedule at the moment. On top of these projects I have my comic writing, which now consists of about 4 – 5 projects. My role as editor for Outré takes up some hours a week, and we’ve got a bathroom that needs to be refurbished. Yeah, I know. Funny thing that real life stuff. Sometimes, in my witching/writing hours, I’m so deep in a fictitious world I’ve created that I forget the real one.
But I’m pretty sure that’ll change come summer. When my son is born.
* For the record, Sunshine is one of my favourites within the genre.