scriptwriting

Feedback : Challenge 21

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feedbackAccording to the Oxford Dictionary, feedback is “comments about a product or a person’s performance, used as basis for improvement”.

During the two years of my scriptwriting degree, students would present their scripts to a workshop which was read by various members of the peer group and comments are invited on areas of strength and weakness within the script. Once the peers have provided their comments/suggestions a more detailed feedback is given to the writer from the tutor.
During the two years feedback has been really valuable to me. It has helped me to maximise my writing potential at different stages of developing the story to writing the script, and has raised my awareness of structure, character and plot which is essential in any story.

Writing is an insular activity, and it’s important to know that what I perceive as a story in my head, comes across as I want it to on paper. During the two years on my course I have bonded with certain writers whose work I admire and we have an arrangement to share our and provide comprehensive feedback and ideas to each other. Having a few people read my work has been valuable, as they are able to provide suggestions and constructive criticism to my pages. This has developed me as a writer, and I believe that all feedback should be taken on board.

However, there is always going to be some feedback which isn’t taken. A tutor didn’t like the title of one of my short scripts. I really didn’t want to change it as the title fitted with the story that I was telling, but I had to change it to make sure I got as many marks as I could. However, if anything was to come from that script in the future then it would be pitched with the original title that I gave it.

How do you feel about feedback? Do you welcome it or shy away from exposing your weaknesses?

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June

Paper or laptop? : Challenge 20 on 20.06.13

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When faced with this choice, I reserve the right to make a choice.

I use both devices and each one for a specific purpose which the other would struggle to fulfil.

Bizarrely when I would write essays in rough by hand when I was studying for my degree. I have absolutely no idea why. But yes, each 3,000 words was carefully scribed by hand first and then typed up on a laptop.

Luckily I don’t have to write essays anymore and the result being that my hands are out of practice somewhat. Writing minutes at work is as manual as I get these days. Although it’s just as well, wearing the less than sexy wrist support when the carpel tunnel syndrome flares up is not a fashion item I wish to wear by choice.notepaper and pen

You do get out of practice with writing though. As a teenager I would spend hours writing letters to my various pen-friends worldwide.

Being a stationery geek, I loved writing on coloured, decorated notepaper and if it had matching envelopes I was in “stationery heaven”.

Nice handwriting pens also make the process of writing such a luxury too. One of my boys has gel pens which I would’ve just adored as a teen. I really am starting to sound quite nerdy now.

Nowadays moleskin notebooks are one of my luxury items which I carry around all of the time. Packed with snippets of conversations, ideas or any other notes that I need to keep, it certainly comes in handy and is less cumbersome than carrying a laptop around.

On the flip side to that, my laptop and ipad are the indulgences which I would prefer to not be without. I couldn’t write scripts by hand. When writing a scene I can hear the characters in my head and there is something magical about hearing the keys tapping on the keyboard as those words are being spoken.photo

Should I be concerned that I have just confessed to hearing voices in my head?

The applications and programmes that come with technology make life simple. What would I do with Microsoft Outlook? If I need husband to go to a parents meeting that I can’t attend I just send him a calendar request and voila. And if he declines, or sets it to tentative I can create a task to kick his backside in approximately an hours time.

And there is colour coding too! There goes the geek in me again.

I won’t even start on the ipad. Watching TV on the go – genius!

So which do you prefer? Please vote on the poll below. Thanks for reading.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June – I’VE CAUGHT UP….
old typewriter

Routine : Challenge 17 #wpad

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I’m pretty sure that my writing would come on a whole lot more if I had a strict routine that I can stick to. I had no problems getting my babies into a routine when my sanity depended on it, yet I can’t return the favour for establishing my own writing routine.
routine
The only routine I have in my life is the time I get up in the morning to get to work, and the endless psychological battles I have with myself over when I will write. Weekends are a nightmare unless I have plans, otherwise I will quite happily lie in bed until lunchtime thinking about the things I should be doing – whilst snuggled under the duvet.

I’m not lazy, I just find come the weekend I am so exhausted as I cram as much as I can into the week. I don’t do myself any favours as I am currently spreading myself thin with degree work, theatre reviews and family.

Some days I find that after a hard days graft, sat at a computer all day – the last thing I want to do is switch on the laptop when I get home. However, I prefer to write in the evening as I am definitely not a morning person. Never have been, and sadly never will be. I like my late nights, and lie ins too much.

My ideal world would consist of me getting up early to write for a couple of hours, before I have to go to work. The rest of the evening could be spent with the family, or watching TV or being at the theatre. I do get to do those things anyway, but the guilt factor sets in most days.

And, if my mum is reading this – she will be rolling her eyes at the mere suggestion that I could ever get up early for anything.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June – I’m behind already but determined to catch up #wpad

Must have writing book : Challenge 19

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If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you will know how much I love books and stories.

I also value education. My learning style is that I respond better to hearing lectures, having ideas float around and then reading text books to reinforce all of those.

Training as a scriptwriter I have dozens of different books – you name it I have it. “Save the Cat”, “Save the Cat goes to the movies”, “Story”, “Writing for Radio”, “The little book of sitcom” and the list goes on for about a dozen more.

However, the one book which I think every writer should have is “The Woman in the Story” by Helen Jacey.woman in story

I am approximately half way through this text book, but it is an important tool when writing female characters as there are still problems with females on our screens in terms of their identity. Characters are usually the stereotypical dumb blonde or the aggressive female boss.

Give me Sarah Lumb (The Killing), Beatrice Kiddo (Kill Bill) and Nurse Jackie anyday. Believable and not cliché in their flaws, but these characters are few and far between.

The quest is on – I need to create my own unique, strong females. If I can do that I am pretty sure I will be one happy bunny.

It’s a difficult task to get the balance right when developing females. My current project is about a family of four generations of females, and I am struggling with one of them as I don’t want her to be a stereotypical gold-digger that she currently is. But, with the mix of the other three she needs to have flaws that will create conflict with the other members of the family. It’s a balancing act, and it’s a much more difficult task than I first though, which is why I bought this book.

Another problem I have, which I am hoping the book will offer insight into is how to make these characters humorous, as this is a comedy drama that I am developing.

Controversially I have ended up bring in a teenage boy as a possible love interest to provide the comedy for my teenage girl character. The reason for this? I couldn’t find anything funny about being a teenage girl in modern society. But teenage boys, well they are hilarious. I only have to sit in front of a group of them on the bus to know that their conversations are full of humour, which is why I love the Inbetweeners.

If any readers can give me examples of where there have been funny female teenagers on screen I would be delighted to hear from you. Please comment below.

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June – I’m behind already but determined to catch up #wpad
nurse jackiesarah lund

Traditional or indie? : Challenge 18

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Challenge 18 for the @sofluid blogging challenge (I have nearly caught up now – hurrah!), is to discuss traditional or indie?

There are pros and cons for both and I would really need to look at both areas in detail before I made my mind up. I am pretty sure it’s more of a publishing platform for novel writers, so with the rise of the e-books I would probably hedge my bets towards the indie route.

And in true Forrest Gump “And that’s all I have to say about that”.

This is a post for @sofluid blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June – I’ve nearly caught up #wpad

Role models……Challenge 15

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A role model is defined as “a person regarded by others as an example to be imitated.”

It could be argued that young people today are lacking in role models as the status of “celebrity” can be applied to any Tom, Dick or Harry who has been on a reality show, got their boobs out in public or married a footballer. Our young women look up to the likes of Cheryl Cole, Rihanna and Beyonce as their role models, when in actual fact they only know the public persona of those celebrities.

Personally, I haven’t ever had a role model from the celebrity world. The closest I would get to admiring somebody who I didn’t know would be the likes of Karren Brady, Richard Branson, Sally Wainwright and Kay Mellor. All of them are examples of people who have worked incredibly hard to achieve the success that they currently have. kay mellor

Karren Brady

My inspiration comes from real people such as friends, family, colleagues and teachers who have helped me to fulfil my potential.

A colleague of mine who inspired me to start studying for a degree when I was thirty as she believed I should be in a better job than the job that I was doing at that time. The negative wind-taker in me dismissed this as saying “I’d be 36 by the time I completed it”, to which her reply was “You’ll be 36 anyway, you could be 36 with a degree, or 36 without one”.

This motivated me to work as hard as I could to achieve a degree. Once I signed up with the Open University, I realised if I worked flat out, took some modules together and had no breaks I could complete it in three years and six months – which is what I did. The thing that kept me going was un-named colleague telling me that she had studied for her degree this way, but she was a single parent with three children at the time so had no support at home. She went on to become a teacher, and rose the ranks quickly in her profession. I’ll always remember and be thankful to her for believing in me.

Having members of the family who believe in your ambitions and help you to fulfill your potential is also a valuable asset. Through my undergraduate, and now during my postgraduate studies I am supported by an incredible close family unit. I go to many events around the city to not only gain industry contacts, but also to hear key speakers and I’m always encouraged to participate in everything that makes me happy. In return, I offer the same level of support to those people for things that they are interested in/or help fulfill their potential.

Today’s youngsters need good role models more than ever. Sadly, there are thousands of young people who do not grow up with positive role models around them. Many live in environments where they are being raised by one parent, or in a work-less environment where there is nobody they can turn to for advice and guidance about applying for a job. Now, I’m not saying being brought up by one parent is a bad thing, but I do believe (especially boys) need a role model when they are teenagers, whether it be a teacher, sports coach or family member.

Some youngsters are not interested in working as there is a “benefits culture” happening where people want everything for nothing. It’s also very difficult to get out of the culture of not working, if that is how their parents were when they grew up. It’s a vicious cycle. I despair at my youngster who seems to idolise the Made in Chelsea crew as they portray a life of luxury, but only a handful of them have real jobs.

Finally I believe there are also not enough positive female role models either. Cheryl Cole, Beyonce and Rihanna are the latest role models for teenage girls. Yes they are successful in their careers, but I can’t help but wonder if they had kept themselves covered up in their media spotlight – would they have been as successful? Who knows?

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June – I’m behind already but determined to catch up #wpad

Procrastination – challenge number 13

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The title for this challenge is ironic.

I have a deadline to meet for my masters degree. A script development portfolio which will be the basis for my dissertation, should I pass the final 30 credits for this year. Having spent approximately eight hours in the library yesterday I have got about half way through. However, what I should be doing at this precise moment in time is rewriting my step-outlines for episode one and six.
procrastinate3

What am I doing?

I’ve been watching Andy Murray play in the Queen’s Club Final on television, logging a postcard I received via the http://www.postcrossing.com project, writing this blog and browsing new themes as I am getting fed up of the design of my website http://www.thenorthernscribbler.com

If that is not procrastinating then I don’t know what is.

And why do I do it? procrastination1

I find social media addictive and I have to be up to date with everything that is going on in the world, everywhere at every time. Okay, slight exaggeration there. It’s a distraction from doing what I should be doing, which is the process of developing the script which is the least favourite part for me.

I find the process of writing treatments, step-outlines and pitch documents to be laborious. Yes I know it’s an essential part of the creative process, but all I really want to do is to write dialogue – that’s way more fun.

procrastination

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June – I’m behind already but determined to catch up #wpad

Rules or no rules……. Challenge 13

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For this post I am supposed to comment on whether as a writer you should follow “the rules” or not.

Writing is such an objective activity, that there is no definitive yes or no answer to that.

In my own writing I tend to follow the rules of story. As a beginner (kind of) I prefer to be guided by the rules, after all if you want anything to be commissioned they all tend to follow the same plotline. Being aware of these rules has also diminished my enjoyment of some dramas and movies as I can guess what is going to happen next, and to whom etc.

Occasionally when a rule is broken, it can either be disastrous or brilliant. The most memorable experience as a viewer was when I realised that Adrianna who was a main character in The Sopranos was about to be killed off. A ballsy move to kill off a main character mid-season, and something I heard my other half talk about this week when he watched the latest Game of Thrones.adrianna

Supposedly rules are meant to be broken. What do you think?

This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com’s blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June – I’m behind already but determined to catch up #wpad