Monday, 21 January 2013

Screenplay Month

In 1997 I picked up one of the first few editions of movie magazine Total Film, mostly because it came with a free copy of the screenplay to Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. I was in fifth form when I spotted it in the newsagent's, and I'd seen the film over the previous summer holidays. I'd watched a SHITLOAD of films in the summer of '97, but Reservoir Dogs stood out like a bleeding man in an empty warehouse. It was an incredible eye-opener: a story where characters chat like regular people in boring, everyday locations- yet the dialogue crackled and grabbed you by the ear, not letting you tune out for a second. The film isn't actually that violent, but- given that I'd watched The Fly and numerous other 18-rated films that month- it felt more extreme than anything I'd ever seen.

So when I saw the Faber & Faber screenplay on the front of the magazine, I jumped on it. I read it in my lunch break in the fifth form block, ignoring the twats trying to distract me and slag the film off.

They say a script has to leap off the page and bite you on the nose in order to be picked from the thousands of others on the slush pile, if it is to be picked and funded for production. Just reading the text I could see how Reservior Dogs had managed that distinction. I picked up on the formatting of the text, saw how Tarantino had put it together, and only then did I notice how powerful the betrayals are in the film. And I thought to myself, I want to do this. I want to write a script.

That was half my life ago. I've written a shitload in more recent years, as you can see on this blog, but this is mostly non-fiction musings on celebs, social media and other ridiculousness. I've managed to get a number of prose stories and poems into magazines here and there. The only script success I've had was landing The Mix in Eskimo Pie magazine, which I'm pretty proud of. Maybe it's time to go back to my roots. For the next month, I'm going to give screenwriting a shot. I'll dig out a load of ideas, polish up a few shorts and a full-length script I wrote between 2005 and 2008, search for feedback groups in Manchester, use online resources and see if I can get a script acted out by a drama group. So if you're reading this, Hollywood, please brace yourselves for some British carnage!

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