“Time to reconnect your brain cells, mother. This creature must be given life.”
“All synapses are go. Am ready to boldly go where no writer has gone before.”
“Excellent. The time is now.”
Alex was right; the time was now. However it didn’t take too much brain work to figure that one out, as the time is always now. He had probably heard the imperious muse banging on the inside my cranium in a very un-ethereal fashion, behaving more like a short sighted hippo than the dewy-eyed floaty creature of myth.
Giving birth to progeny is only marginally less painful than giving life to an idea which you have finally decided to kick out into the world. This was worse than usual creative pangs, being a film script, radically out of my current writing experience.
In essence, the concept of writing a film was brilliant. The filmy people want minimal description/information. When writing a novel and describing a forest, one has to spend kilojoules of creative energy crafting beautiful phrases describing leaves, trees, bushes, mood, sounds, atmosphere. But there is a limit to the number of synonyms for green. Or smell. When writing a film script the entire creative angst is covered by ‘The forest.’
Simplicity itself, until you want detailed description, hence swiftly need to think of some clever device to get it into the dialogue.
* * * *
The kitchen. Noon. A blonde enters.
Man: Wow, you look stunning in your full length red sheath dress, high heels, blonde hair tumbling all the way down to your waist, surprisingly wearing sunglasses, but looking more seductive than ever before in the 2 years I’ve known you since you were 23.
Woman: Thanks. I love how your hazel, but flecked more green than brown, eyes go so well with that Armani wetsuit you’re wearing which almost hides how seductive you feel I’m looking.
* * * *
Not subtle perhaps, but I guess that shoehorns some of it in. Like the wetsuit.
Writing the story arc was brilliant. All the ideas got scribbled onto postcards then shuffled around until the morass began to resemble a story rather than a bunch of disjointed scenes. The method is different if you’re writing Arthouse, in which case you shuffle until there is no discernable plot. Tempting.
As chief co-conspirator, Alex had downloaded a program formatting everything perfectly so the research hour I’d spent reading Script Writing for Dummies was practically wasted. Courtesy of the software, each character landed in the correct place on the page, followed by the dialogue exactly where it should be.
However, my repeated clumsiness in hitting ‘return’ halfway through a piece of dialogue would create a new character called Hey Frank, why is there a chicken running across to the barn with a gun? It was tempting to keep some of these as real names, particularly the more esoteric ones, such as They should make plates out of chocolate. More decorative; less washing up. Nonetheless, they all had to be weeded out as by the end I had 130 characters. Excessive really, particularly when thinking of casting.
“What role have you got?”
“Pass me an aardvark and make it snappy.”
“Much of a part?”
“One line. And it’s my name.”
The planning meeting with Alex was like a scene from a spy movie. We had decided to hammer out some details of our secret plot on a train up to London. We became deeply suspicious that everyone around us was working for large motion picture companies or writing screen plays. Thus we resorted to code.
“The kindness-challenged character with the webbed feet seems reluctant to co-operate.”
“True. Though the anti-life activist with the steel pointy implement could terminate his apathy.”
“And take him to a new level?”
“Six feet down.”
We decided to throw in completely false leads so that all the people around us with their collars turned up, heads down, tapping our ideas into their phones and laptops would end up following a completely spurious thread.
“How about alien lemmings landing at the South Pole?”
“Ideal. They could bring an enormous hairdryer running on geofrigid power, melting the entire polar cap, thus flooding the world.”
“Perfect. And when the albino seal realises that the pygmy wolf is radioactive, should the Vampire Penguin of Death be told?”
“Not before the scene starring the deaf mute. Should all of the musical numbers be done in mime?”
Keeping one’s ideas close the chest extends further than stories though. It’s totally hush-hush that when I open my corn inspired vegetarian restaurant, I’m going to call it Kernel Sanders.
The script is now done. A hundred pages massaged, cajoled, beaten and caffeinated into life. A friend who knows massive amounts about this stuff has kindly agreed to read it. But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for a reply; blue is just so not my colour. Hence, I’m writing the sequel. This could be tricky as currently I’m left with a completely flooded earth and the Vampire Penguin of Doom. I feel the need for a few alien Brussels sprouts.