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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Time

Why is it we're one of the smallest countries in the world, yet we still have BRITISH SUMMER TIME?? Who the hell do we think we are?? Yes, rest of the world: we will set the time because it goes through GREENWICH (WTF??) and you will sit up and listen!! The time is now EIGHT THIRTY! Actually it's bloody SEVEN THIRTY which means on a sunday I'm awake before I'm SUPPOSED TO BE which is against the laws of MY universe! Who asked ME whether I wanted the clock to go back or not? Eh??? Who even started it??? Does anyone know?

Aaaah: glad to get that off my chest.

One of my first screenplays was about time and how it was really an element like fire and water and out to kill us all. Didn't work out. I remember one person was quite enthusiastic about it, until they read it, and then they stopped calling me. My usual, enthusiastic, optimistic teenage self, I was convinced that they lost my number rather than didn't like it, so I made the faux pas of going round to their house and ringing the doorbell. The guy comes to the door, a look like thunder on his face: "Let me spell this out. I didn't like it. At. All." He says. The door slams in my face and me and my pregnant belly slink off into the night like a wounded beast. Only I'm sure it's not the script he doesn't like, but the fact that I was about to pop any moment: every knows that pregnant women (or girls, in my case) are discriminated against, especially in a cut-throat world like the media (actually, this guy was the producer of local TV that since lost its franchise to Carlton: revenge!)! Fascist.

Ah. How I laugh now when I read that draft. Not only is it the king and queen of WTF? drafts, it's got about 15 storylines, 7 billion characters and formatted like a play, since I figured there was no difference between film and theatre. Oh: it's also in Times New Roman. I only keep it to remind myself how far I've come the last ten years. It's quite a powerful tool too, especially when one of my (I think) good scripts gets rejected. So it serves its purpose in that regard.

What was YOUR very, very first script or story about?

22 comments:

Pillock said...

Greenwich mean time came about because it was a Briton who invented a wind-up ship's clock. Before that, pendulum clocks were useless, since the rocking of the ship threw the timing off. But with a wind up clock (the very one Rodney and Delboy found in their garage, making them millionaires) you can calculate longitude precisely. If you know what time it is, you can work out where on the globe you are. You also get to say where zero degrees is.

My first story was about space aliens attacking the earth and destroying everything with blasting lazer guns.

Lucy said...

Intriguing Pillock and kind of embarrassing that an American knows more about British history than ME, but never mind. At the end of the day, no one asked ME about the clocks and that's what counts.

So, how old were you when you wrote this story??

Olaf Legend said...

Yes. Sir John Harrison. Cracking OFAH episode. And I am Swedish!

My first story was about young lad who become mixed with a spy story. I write this in 1990 just before bloody Teen Agent come to the cinema! So i forget all about selling that one!

So let me ask you this, Lucy. Have you ever written script only to find that some sob bring out film with identical concept?

Lucy said...

No that has never happened to me Olaf which is probably why none of my specs have bloody sold. I did have an identical title tho: REIGN OF FIRE. What are the odds? Shit film too, damn it. Mine had no dragons however, it was about a distant colonial war in a distant galaxy somewhere.

Pillock said...

I would have been around seven.

Olaf Legend said...

or eight if the clocks went foward.

Phillip Barron said...

I read a script once, with a view to script editing it - a rom com which, if it was put into correct formatting, was over 300 pages long and had over 100 characters.

The kicker being, it was written by a scriptwriting lecturer at one of the better known university scriptwriting degrees.

I had to turn the job down, there was no way I could edit it into anything sensible.

It's in production now. Shows how much I know.

Lucy said...

Hah! V gd, Olaf.

Phil - I think I know the project you mean!! 'Tis a small world, the world of a script reader...Always suprising, who's read the same things.

Good Dog said...

First script - written when I was about 17 or 18 - was about power and the abuse of power.

If I dug it out of the filing cabinets it would probably read as a load of old bollocks. After all, at that age I probably hadn't experienced enough of life to know what I was talking about.

Lucy said...

I wrote a book when I was 18 that almost got published, I'll tell you about it sometime, but one of its central themes was the abuse of power. I read it now and laugh. THANK CHRIST it didn't work out else you lot will have had a portal into my 18 yr old brain and MAN that was a twisted place to be!

Robert Hogan said...

Unlike most writers, my first script was actually really good. It helped that the story was drawn on my own life experiences. I then promptly followed up that script with a half dozen embarrassing scripts that I will never let anyone read. So I got a script on paper before I had to write all my sh*t scripts.

Phillip Barron said...

I honestly can't remember what my first feature script was.

I know my first ever script was a TV Sci-fi which is still a fantastic idea - only Joss Whedon got there first.

My first feature script was one of two. One was awful beyond belief, the other isn't too bad, but a bit directionless. It's since been re-written as 'The Missing Piece':

http://www.phillipbarron.co.uk/The%20Missing%20Piece.htm

10 years later, I still can't decide how I feel about it.

Chris (ukscriptwriter) said...

My first (bad) attempt at writing was a story called "The Thieving Caves of Thumbolia" when I was 11. It was full of guns, speed boats and caves where things went missing off the back of lorries, so the title should have really been The Thieving Road Tunnels of Thumbolia. Perhaps I should turn it into a screenplay as I've seen worse ideas hit the big screen.

That aside, my first grown up attempt at writing was a Novel when I was about 23. I didn’t give it a title, but I did plow on to the end despite knowing from about page 6 that it was a copy of Jerry Maguire. I haven’t even kept a copy of it. I think the floppy disk it was saved on when in the bin years ago.

I switched to screenplays soon after and if I've learned nothing else, at least I've learned to be original (apart from the first draft of Good Guys, but we all have a little slip sometimes).

Olaf Legend said...

Lucy, you remind my of my first attempt at comedy - The Shut Up and Listen Show (a radio show in mold of Goon Show - I extend mention more on my website,) but when i write it at 15 i think it was funny as hell.

I too, did recently pull it out and review it nearly 20 year later and all humour and so-called comedy in it is enough to make certain that when i die i shall end up in very warm place indeed.

Lara said...

My first script was about the sheltered life of a Victorian child called Elizabeth. My first story, on the otherhand, was about a dog that gave all the other animals it came across various diseases. Both were written pre-age 9, but it's the Stephen King-like one (Cujo?) that still gives me the chills! ;)

Izzie said...

Hi Lucy - I'm new here and enjoying the blog. I'm at the beginning of my first script, so it might very well be a load of shite. But I'll wait till it's finished before passing too much judgement or else it will not get finished.
One newbie question for you - what's wrong with it being typed in times New Roman?

The Moviequill said...

my first script was about these kids in a classic rock fan club who held meetings in the back of a music store (sort of true to life coming of age tale)

Lucy said...

Philip: I bet you do remember! Will have a look at your script.

Robert: so it was beginner's luck maybe??

Olaf: don't doubt it my swedish nutcase.

Lara and MQ: sounds fun!

Izzie: Movie scripts are *supposed* to be typed in courier, no other font. I don't know who made this rule up - presumably it's something to do with old typewriters having a courier-like font, "tradition" if you will. You can check out format software like Final Draft or Movie Magic, or if you want it FREE (and who doesn't??) I'm told CeltX and Script Smart from the BBC Writers' Room are very good free downloads...

Izzie said...

Thanks for the info regarding the font. I'd best get on with changing mine from Times New Roman to Courier - thank God for computers.

I tried to download that scriptsmart thing from the BBC but it doesn't seem to do anything. I have a mac and am completely useless when it comes to technology, so perhaps I've just done something wrong? It has all downloaded apparently. I just don't think I know what to do with it - there's certainly no examples. I must have done something screwy.

Lianne said...

Izzie - in my humble opinion, a much better free template is digiscript, downloadable from www.digiscript.co.uk. I don'ty like Celtx much and have had problems with Script Smart so digiscript gets my vote.

Don't remember my first story but my first script was about a brother and sister who had built up their own imaginary world which they retreated to when things in the real world got too difficult to bear. Sound familiar?

Lucy said...

Thanks Lianne - never heard of digiscript, that's good info. I've never used Script Smart Izzie though I have heard from some of my script reading clients that they don't like it because they didn't feel it was compatible with their computers...Dunno if they had Macs I'm afraid. If you have £170 to spare, you could get Final Draft! ; )

Robert Hogan said...

I don’t think it was beginners luck, I think I had a story I wanted to tell. I had the benefit of working on films for almost five years before I tried to write my first script, so I was already familiar with the form and function for the most part. It was just a matter of getting the story in my head down on the paper.

The scripts that came after that first one were written for the wrong reasons. I was trying to capture something I thought would be marketable instead of trying to tell stories I felt were entertaining. Now I have found the happy medium. Instead of writing what I think a producer or studio will buy I write the stories that I want to direct.