The Writing Journal #16

It’s squeaky bum time (for January, at least) as we head into the last week of the first month of 2019. With only four days left and three deadlines to meet, let’s double down and jump into The Writing Journal one last time (for January, at least).

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

Having discovered that my “finished” first draft actually needed quite a bit of work before it was submission ready, this goal has taken up a significant amount of time this past week to ensure it is met by the end of January. There are a couple of minor tweaks that still need to be made, including the “Slugline Pass” to ensure they are all consistent with one another (you’d be amazed at how many ways I can find to define the pub…), but the main bulk of the work here has been finished and has taken 14 pages off that very first draft – happy days all round.

Some of these cuts were self-explanatory – doubled up scenes with alternate endings, for example – but many were scenes that made perfect sense at the time of writing them that simply did not fit with the overall story when viewed as a whole. When you’re in the trenches of that first draft, you become so caught up in the here and now that you can often forget that you’ve made the same point/joke/reveal at some other point in the story, and that one or other of them has to go to avoid that jarring repetition. That first edit may also uncover scenes that are perfectly valid and well written in their own right that don’t contribute to the forward drive of the story or theme. These can be some of the hardest to say goodbye to, especially if they’re jokes in a comedy script, and in my earliest projects I found it incredibly hard to take them out and let go of them. But, in the words of the Sandford Neighbourhood Watch, cutting such scenes is for “the greater good”, and will ultimately elevate the rest of your story by making the narrative feel tighter and slicker, which is always more entertaining for an audience. And, in this day of computers and hard drives, you never actually lose any of that work so long as you have sufficient backups on hand, so if something you have cut would actually work better later on, you can still slip it back in and look like a genius for having such a quick solution to an editor’s note.

Target Number 2: Research funding proposals.

Whilst I sat down to do some more research towards funding proposals this week, I wouldn’t necessarily say I made any further progress in making any firmer decisions in this field. Partly because I am as decisive as Chidi Anagonye from The Good Place, but also because in doing such research I came across a couple of job opportunities that looked good and took precedent over this research. As they’re all in related fields, I would say this is still a positive step within this particular target. However, it may also mean more focus is required specifically on funding opportunities this week to move myself closer to some firmer decisions in the weeks and months to come.

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

I must hold my hands up here and say that I haven’t visited this particular target at all over the past week. I haven’t even opened the document with the intention of working on it, just to then close it again untouched at the end of the day (because, who would do that, right…). With my focus being on the feature, and the pilot script being in good health already, I concentrated my efforts elsewhere and chose to delay the series bible/pitch documents to another week. With the first draft of the feature so nearly complete, I should be able to revisit the supporting docs this week, just in time to squeeze it in before the January deadline on Thursday.

 

The last week has been very much about my feature project, but with this perhaps presenting the most tangible opportunity at the moment I feel comfortable that it was the right call to make. Once that goal is complete, and it has been passed on to the next phase of its development life, it should hopefully give me some time to meet my other targets ready for some new goals to be introduced, just in time for February.

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