Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Call me... The Master

Aw... there he is. A newly minted Master in the Art of screenwriting. (Although I should point out that I don't look that punchable in real life.)

Going down to Bournemouth last week for my graduation left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I felt pleased that the hard work I put in over two years, on top of a demanding full-time job, was being officially recognised. On the other hand, however, I couldn't help but feel that it was a bit of an anti-climax - that a very important part of my life was ending with a bit of a whimper rather than a bang.

Although it's only six months since I handed in my final assignments, David Bishop's reflections on the 12 months since he graduated left me thinking that I'd ground to a halt somewhat rather than using the end of my course as a springboard.

Admittedly, I've had lots going on in the meantime. I was made redundant and became a freelance writer/editor at the end of August, so I've had to spend a lot of time on finding work and the associated admin. I've also - fortunately - managed to find quite a bit of work, so I've devoted a lot of psychic energy to learning new writing styles, systems etc.

And I haven't been totally unproductive. Spurred on by the Red Planet Prize, I've co-written the first draft of a pilot episode for a drama series entitled Care and Control, set in the tragically topical world of social work and child protection.

But in responding to David's post, I realised how 'institutionalised' I'd become while doing my MA. While the course itself was incredibly stimulating and rewarding, I clearly allowed it to become a goal in itself rather than a stepping stone towards my bigger objectives. Without the external demands of deadlines and thorough critical scrutiny, I've allowed myself to take my foot off the accelerator.

So what's next? Like poor old Travis Bickle, I need to get organisised. While waiting for my writing partner to do a pass on Care and Control, I need to dig out my main MA project - a well-received feature script entitled The Last of the Reality Police - and give it another once-over. I might even take my tutor's advice and think about reworking it as a TV series.

I also need to put a bit more heat under the feature idea I was very enthusiastic about over the 'Summer' - a (hopefully) provocative Fight Clubby sort of thing about militant pedestrianism, entitled Foot Soldiers.

It's all about routine and motivation. I've still got the latter in spades, so I just need to recover the former. Seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. It's as simple as that...

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