Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Writing for the small, small screen

It would be great to say that the reason why I haven't posted here about writing is because of all the writing I'm doing. It would be great. Really great.

So. That's me. How are you?

I have been writing - just not as much as I should, or on the things I should. There's a pattern. I see it very easily. I should be writing 1AZ - or at least refining it. Where are my zombie peeps at? We are planning a development on that - it's really in it's infant stages - the development, not even walking, just lying on the floor waving its arms. Still very cute. I will work with Wayne Pearn on the development and we will inveigle actors and it will all come together in the oddly magical way that theatre does. As I have been heard to say before "It all worked out ok because lots of people suffered". Heartwarming.

Adorable Zombie Baby.
I guess I should have figured this out, but, the results you get back when you Google "baby zombie" are disturbing. To say the least.

What else have I been writing? Monologues. I submitted three to the MadWomen Monologues and two have been chosen. "Big whoop" I hear you say - "You run that festival". True dat, but I don't decide if my own monologues get in folks. That be out of my hands. So I'm pleased that they are in and if you would like to read them and the one that didn't make it then here they be: Reunion Blues, Letters from My Mum and Picking Dad Up. Picking Dad Up didn't make the final cut. If you're in Melbs and you like the theatre you should come to the monologues. I am performing this year :)

Chris and I toasting all those great monologues
And finally *trumpetty noise from mouth* I have been writing Fury again. Poor Fury, left to languish in creative purgatory with a bunch of other weirdos. Alice Bishop and I have decided to make it into a web series. It solves a few issues for us, in that we had adult actors playing teens, and we didn't want to have to organise teens for a three week run of a play. So now we don't have to. We can hire them for a week and film them. We decided to get away from it all for a writing weekend to Forrest. It's in a forest, yes.

I love Alice. Let me just be clear about this. The idea of going away with her anywhere already gets me vibrating at a slightly higher frequency. The notion of having her all to myself for more than 24 hours was almost too much to bear! I am going to blame that excitement and also a bowl of soup on the unfortunate bout of food poisoning that I got on the Thursday night before we were meant to go. On the Friday when we were supposed to be gaily sallying forth to Forrest - I was weak and delicate and feeling extremely sorry for myself.

I feels ya kid, I feels ya.
So, we made plans to leave the following day for a writing day. Not as salubrious as a writing weekend, but I didn't care - I had stopped vomiting and the weekend was looking great.

We drove to Forrest, taking a couple of detours through other forests that weren't the right one and then found the lovely little house that we had been given for the weekend/night. Right nearby was a coffee shop (hooray!) and then up the road some sort of nice looking eatery (Hooray!) and lots of places to walk and talk. So we did that. We walked and talked. Not about Fury - don't be SILLY! About all the other stuff that is interesting on the planet. After our lovely walk we then went back and knuckled under.

Us, but in front of an open fire.
We decided to write 7 episodes for the series - each one about 5 to 7 minutes in length. We began with a synopsis. This involved a lot of us thinking about the original script and what we liked from that and deciding what to keep. Interestingly the character that we had originally pegged as the leader of the group has disappeared and been replaced with another member. As we talked about it we realised that this character - Lish - had a lot of components that we needed and she also effectively allowed us to bring our main cast to 5 - four girls and a guy. All teenagers.

Lookit all those teens sexting and whatnot.
Webisodes make you work quite hard. We needed to be economical in the story telling and make the most of our visuals. We need to keep the pace up and end each one on an effective "cliff hanger" - a reason for watchers to come back. It was easy. And really fun. Said no one. Ever. (Except that it was and it was).

We celebrated how amazingly clever we were by realising that the decent eatery up the road was closed and that we only had the local pub to eat at. How to describe this pub... hmm... so lets say that you had money to decorate a country pub and you put a quite a bit of it into some nice corrugated iron walls and other bits and bobs and then at the end you were trying to figure out how to finish it off... Then you realised that neon lights and TV's everywhere would complete the vision. And awful food. AWFUL. So that wasn't quite so droll. It didn't matter though because Alice and I had cheese and chocolate and wine with us because we are not STUPID.

We wrote the first episode on our return and then I had to sleep as I was still not myself and the food at the pub had not helped in the slightest. The next day Alice and I packed up the wee house and went off to find ourselves some coffee and brekky. This turned out to be in Why River (?) Wy (?) Ah well. I guess I'll never know.

We wrote the second episode there and thusly proceeded home feeling mighty pleased. It was my job to format everything properly and then send it back to Alice. And there we are. Bing bang boom. Just like that. So now we have to write the rest and then we get a producer and then we get money. It all seems pretty straight forward.

And then... ZOMBIES!