The Writing Journal #15

Three Dave’s walk into a room and sit down at a laptop. Nope, it’s not the start of the joke that will relaunch my stand-up career (yet), nor indeed my homage to James McAvoy in Split/Glass. It’s the way this week has felt as Past, Present and Future Dave have all showed up to contribute towards this month’s writing goals…


Target Number 1: Submit first draft of my latest feature to my producer.

When I set myself this target last week, I thought it would be one of the easier ones I’d set myself to date. I assumed it would be a case of skimming through the script for obvious/embarrassing errors, packaging it neatly into a PDF and hitting the send button on an email soon after. In starting this process, however, I soon discovered that this would not be the case, largely because I overestimated just how “complete” this first draft actually was.

Long-time readers of the Writing Journal, who saw my writing process as it unfolded, will know that my approach to first drafts is to simply reach the end. If a significant roadblock occurs, or a choice of joke/plotline/character point presents itself, I choose the path of least resistance and leave the tough choices to Future Dave to sort out with the benefit of having the completed bigger picture to work from. It’s an effective strategy, and one that I wouldn’t change (for now at least) because it is so incredibly beneficial to the completion of a project in the long run. Present Dave is, however, cursing Past Dave for leaving him quite so much work to do now, especially when I’m keen to get the script out so that other balls can start rolling. However, the presence of notes-to-self and multiple-choice sections in the script has given me the opportunity to evaluate it more closely overall, which can only be beneficial even if the next couple of weeks become slightly busier than originally intended.


Target Number 2: Research funding proposals.

It’s still early days on this front, largely because of the aforementioned scale of feature edits and the sheer number of options that need to be considered in this area. However, research is going well and a number of avenues are starting to appear for further exploration. This in no way means that I am any closer to making firm decisions about which career development paths to take at this stage, but I hopefully have a more solid foundation from which to make such choices over the coming weeks and months.


Target Number 3: Revisit my sitcom scripts, ready for wider submission.

Even though the sitcom I refer to has never been made and has only ever briefly left my laptop, I felt a great wave of nostalgic fondness when I revisited the pilot script this week. It’s a project I started way back in film school as a treatment proposal, which I then further developed into a pilot episode and series bible and sent to a couple of competitions and friends only to then, for reasons only Past Dave knows, shelve and not revisit it again. I’ve always known it was there, and I’ve always considered it a part of my portfolio, but my focus when trying to put myself “out there” has very much been on features and, more recently, novels.

With TV being in such high demand these days, this seems like an oversight on my part but, perhaps, one that could benefit me and the project in the long run.  With the plethora of platforms now available in the television market, now could well be a better time to explore this sitcom than it was five years ago when I wrote the first draft. Netflix was certainly not the behemoth it is today, and BBC Three was going through a state of limbo at the time that it, excitingly, seems to have come through now to go to a new level of strength and creativity. There certainly feels like there could be an appetite for my sitcom now that I didn’t feel back then, both from the industry and from myself, which gives Present and Future Daves something incredibly exciting to explore.

No goals reached this week then, but with them now being monthly targets and there still being two weeks left of January, there would have been doubts over their challenge rating if I had completed them already. All are in good health, though, and with a much clearer focus now. With Past Dave’s hard work as a solid foundation, here’s hoping that Present Dave’s efforts will give Future Dave something to work with in a couple of weeks’ time.

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