The Writing Journal #27

There’s been so much to get excited about this last weekend that I think I may need to spend the next few days in a cool, dark room to fully recover. The exciting new Star Wars IX teaser dropped with many tantalising titbits (Palpatine?!?!); Line of Duty continued to twist and turn its way towards breaking my heart (you better not be a bent copper, Ted Hastings!); and that’s before we even get started on the return of arguably the most ambitious and powerful TV drama ever made – Midsomer Mur- sorry, Game of Thrones.

It’s been a long time since I was this excited for the start of a television series; the last was probably for Doctor Who during the Tennant era, many moons ago. I have always adored fantasy and adventure stories, and am captivated by myths and legends, dragons and magic, which Game of Thrones has in abundance but alongside so much more. Whatever your views may be on the content and genre, Game of Thrones is a masterclass in creating genuine drama from complex character relationships. Every character is the hero of their own story, however large and significant that story may be, which gives everyone their own unique viewpoint for the world happening around them. The way in which these clash or align make for fascinating, unpredictable drama in every single episode, often as a result of events that seemed completely disconnected in the past but then come together to land devastating, consequential blows for the story moving forward. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to watch yet, I won’t go into much more detail, but suffice to say that happens in this debut episode and turns the entire dynamic of the series to come in the space of the first hour. Huge kudos has to go to George R.R. Martin for creating this world in the first place, and also to David Benioff, DB Weiss, and all their creative team for the way in which this wealth of information is structured and released. Now our final watch has begun, I genuinely can’t wait to see how it ends (seriously, waiting a week between episodes now might actually be too much to cope with!).

Target Number 1: Write a treatment for a drama feature.

This has been the main focus of my work this past week, and I’m pleased that it’s coming along nicely. Given that this is very much an active project with other factors happening beyond my sphere of influence (schedule planning, funding applications, etc.), it sometimes feels as though I’m moving relatively slowly on it, and the impatient part of me is desperate to have it finished and submitted in case the production ship suddenly sets sail without me. However, structuring a feature film is a careful process that does take time, and rushing that for any reason can mean that your end film suffers from confusion and sloppiness. This spot on article by the one and only Emma Thompson was a timely reminder of this, and whilst I may not have the luxury of seven years to work on this particular treatment and (hopefully) script, I think it is still a salient point to remember in feature filmmaking, especially as the big-budget reboot of Hellboy looks poised to fall foul of it as we speak.

Target Number 2: Write a treatment for a horror feature.

The horror treatment has been put on hold for the time being because of outside factors beyond my control again. Whilst discussions are still being held about my potential involvement, it seemed more important to focus my time into the drama instead at this stage to help it over the line. I’m still musing upon it in my spare time, and jotting down notes where I can, but beyond that it’s enjoying a nice little nap in the spring sunshine for a few more days at least.

Target Number 3: Research 5 Welsh production companies for potential collaborations.

The list is starting to come together now, albeit in a loose, rough outline kind of way. I’ve committed the information I already knew to paper, giving me a starting point to now work from with the new research proper. With the treatments being all consuming recently, this project has slipped in terms of its importance, but external developments to these treatment proposals might now boost the research’s relevance, and could indeed see a more concerted effort on it during the week ahead.

I’m about to go and lie in a darkened room now. That, or rewatch Game of Thrones. Or ponder who “H” really is because it really can’t be Ted. Or theorise who the last Skywalker might be (C-3PO is a shiny dark horse). Either way, enjoy the run up to the Easter weekend, and I wish you good fortune in the wars to come…

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