Thursday, February 23, 2006

A challenge...

It’s been a refreshingly busy start to the year - January and February are usually dead - and it’s been a good mixture of actual paid work and speculative script hopes and dreams. It’s funny how money and contracts always take longer to thrash out than the casual rejections that are quick to fill your in-box. OK, maybe not that funny.

Have had a couple of rejections to my new spec script, which is frustrating but fine, and one positive response which is going to physically manifest itself into a meeting over the next couple of weeks. Really excited about the script’s prospects and potential but even though I have a meeting to discuss, the rejections sting and burn.

Yesterday, I finished reading a batch of 15 scripts for the Irish Film Board and I’ve got until March 1st to hand in my reports. It should take me two/three days to do the coverage so I plan to do that on Monday and Tuesday. That leaves me with today, tomorrow and the weekend to do some proper writing.

So I’m going to set myself a challenge. I’m going to write a brand new script over the weekend. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to get done. The purpose of the exercise is to finish a rough draft so that I can polish it up at a more leisurely pace and present that as a ‘first draft’. This self-imposed challenge has come about partly because I’ve got two full working days to just write (my usual trip to London not necessary) but mainly because of the rejections I’ve received this week.

Rejections have this bizarre tendency to make me feel dizzy with disappointment for a couple of hours until I come out the other side fuelled with a feverish drive and determination. And so, my creative carburettor has turned my feelings of anger and disappointment into a grit and resolve to prove them all wrong.

For some strange and masochistic reason, every rejection makes me feel more positive that I’m going to succeed. Sure, I have to go through that dizzying spell of fraught despair but that bullish resolve soon surfaces (part-delusional, part-certainty) and I’m ready to go to the races again.

As this blog’s tagline is: “A place to pitch, moan and share”, I’ve realised that there’s been plenty of moaning and sharing but there hasn’t been any real pitching. And so, let me pitch to you the two ideas I’m going to wrestle with before I choose one to write over the weekend.

One: a new children’s series called ‘Doctors and Nurses’ where all the adult roles are played by children. Press Gang meets Bugsy Malone, but without the song and dance.

Two: a genre bending horror-thriller-adventure about four creatures of the night who are demoted into mere humans and unite to make an unlikely gang of vigilantes in their quest to regain their immortality.

I think I know already.

If you’re a producer and one or both of the ideas floats your boat, you know where I am.

See you on the other side.


Anonymous said...

the horror idea sounds awesome

Anonymous said...

Rejections do that EXACT same thing to me! I usually phone my husband at work and complain about it, he says "They're idiots! Everyone knows it's the greatest idea EVER!" and I go, "Yeah!" (even though I know he hasn't really read it, just heard bits and bobs about it from me over dinner) and get back to the drawing board.They will all be sorry Danny! >EVIL LAUGH<

BTW, as you may guess, love the horror idea. Sorry I'm not a producer, but if you want some feedback ever, chuck it my way. I'd be delighted...We could start a blogging writers' circle!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm simply in awe of the idea of writing a script in a couple of days. It takes me that long to decide on the title.

Definitely the horror thing. Horror's not my cup of tea, so don't look to me for comments, but it sounds as though it could have what's needed.

I quite liked the concept of Doctors and Nurses, but have a couple of nagging doubts. First, what kind of illnesses and accidents are they going to be dealing with - the dramatic ones are difficult to deal with in a children's format, and coughs and colds are boring. The other nag is that "Doctors and Nurses" has a nudge, nudge, wink, wink connotation for me. But maybe that's me!

Good luck with which ever you choose.

James Moran said...

You already know which one I like, so get going, you crazy bastard.

Are you going to outline, even briefly? Or just completely make it up as you go along?

Anonymous said...

Danny, anyone who's gonna write a Horror film over a weekend needs meat. In continuing the 'food into film' theme of the following few posts here's a quick and easy recipe that has a hint of luxury, is totally delicious and won't leave you feeling knackered and bloated over the keyboard like a surfeit of carbs.

Steak and Rocket Salad with Parmesan and Lemon Dressing.

First, assemble the ingredients. Steak, Rocket, Parmesan, Lemon, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper. Get a decent steak. I don't know why it's called red meat as good, well hung beef is more brown than red. Preferably an inch thick, possibly rib eye or rump. Fillet is too pricy and, for my money, not tasty enough. The meat shouldn't be too wet either. Wet, overly red meat is not good.

Put the steak onto a plate and pour a generous glug of olive oil over it. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Flip the steak over and rub the seasoning into the meat. Leave it for a few minutes to come up to room temperature. Meanwhile, get a good handful of fresh rocket leaves, run them under the cold tap then shake the excess water off. Put the leaves onto another plate. Get a lemon, chop it in half and squeeze one half over the rocket leaves. Save the squeezed half lemon alongside the unsqueezed half.
Take a vegetable peeler and shave a lump of Parmesan over the lemony rocket leaves.

Put a heavy bottomed frying pan on a high heat. Don't use a non stick pan or you'll burn it. Cast iron is perfect. Open a bottle of red wine and while the pan is getting hot, pour yourself a drink.

Now the cooking. Get a fork and slam your oiled and seasoned steak onto the hot surface of the pan. After a minute (or when the steak is sealed) turn it over and seal the other side. Keep flipping the steak. If it's a nice thickness and you keep flipping it back and forth you should have a perfectly cooked, medium rare steak in five minutes. Take the steak out of the pan place it onto the pile of rocket leaves. Returning to the pan, squeeze the remaining half of the lemon into the pan to lift the meat juices and seasoning. Pour this over the steak and salad. Turn the heat off and quickly rub the two empty half lemon skins over the inside of the pan to clean it.

Take your wine and steak salad to a calm place, possibly with soothing music. And stuff yourself!



Anonymous said...

It has to be the horror. The other one will make a great sketch though.

James Moran said...

Oh god I really want a steak now. I can barely type, I'm salivating so much.

Anonymous said...

they're the same script huh Danny -and you're just toying with us..?
Go, write and come back on Monday.

Cunningham said...

Go with the horror - although it sounds to me the story's more about redemption.

I love deadlines. They make me function so much better - especially the crazy deadlines like the two days you're under. I think it's a matter of decisiveness - no time to not make a decision or to mull things over. Just have to get to it.

Break a leg. (and if that doesn't work, try another appendage)

Danny Stack said...

Thanks for the comments.

It was clear that the horror idea was the obvious choice and I'll get stuck into it tomorrow after the very rough outlining and basics that were done today. I'm not writing it in 2 days, more like 4 if you include the weekend.

Cunningham said...

oh, well that makes all he difference in the world if you have FOUR DAYS!


Just be ready to start shooting monday morning bright and early. Yes, we want it good AND by tuesday.

James Henry said...



Anonymous said...

Good luck mate. It's the only way to do it. I'm increasingly of the mind that treatments are useless and just give people too many excuses to say no! Spec scripts are the way to go. But 4 whole days? You could do a trilogy and have a day spare!

James Moran said...

Pfff, you're *all* rubbish - by the time I finished writing my last comment with my right hand, I'd written 25 scripts with my left hand. And I filmed them with my feet, gripping 25 cameras between my toes.

Cunningham said...

I'm not going to tell you what I'm doing with my left hand...