I want to start this blog with a little story – it’s not directly linked to the topic I’ll be discussing, but it kind of sets it up in a way. So I was talking to a friend of mine, Sophe, who recently hosted an event called ‘The Big Collab’, which showcased a range of talent in Bournemouth including musicians, artists, filmmakers, photographers etc and also featured other cool things like live tattooing (it was an awesome night and you can see some of the footage I shot here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUDM71vVZdg). So anyway, she has a Blackberry and was talking about BB messenger. She’s probably the fourth or fifth person who’s told me I need to get on BB. I’ve never been a massive mobile fan – my ex girlfriend always used to tell me I was useless with phones and should never have an expensive one because I’d either lose it or break it. So when I purchased an iphone, I think she was quite amazed…then she was amazed I STILL had it after a month…and now I think she’s finally realised how sad and geeky I am because I absolutely LOVE my iphone and don’t seem to ever be without it. I mainly love it because I can phone, txt, check my emails and facebook and have all my music and films I’ve made on one small device – I think that’s pretty awesome! I’m definitely not big on apps (I have about two that I never use) but all in all I think I’m pretty ‘with it’ having an iphone. That was until I was confronted by the ‘BB’. Now I know there is a massive divide when it comes to blackberry and iphone, but I’ve never been one to defend products from one of the largest technology companies in the world – I’m sure they have enough marketing bods that will do that for them. The only thing I want to comment on is BB messenger. Sophe basically found it very amusing that I’d confused the terms BB and blackberry – apparently I wasn’t aware that they were the same thing? I have no excuse for this other than pure ignorance. So the conversation continued and she was telling me about ‘pinging’ and I literally had to stop her and say ‘back when I was younger, if I wanted to get hold of my mates, I used to cycle across town and knock for them’. Who remembers knocking? Not pinging, not ringing, not txting, not fb-ing, but bloody getting off your arse and knocking for someone! This made me feel very nostalgic and I found some old photos I thought I’d share with you:
This was the car my parents owned for years – the Vauxhall Chevette. This isn’t actually it, but ours was brown like this one. I have so many memories linked with this car…rocking it to make it start before school every morning, feeding my baby brother on the back seat – I actually nearly bought one off ebay the other day, but then I came to my senses. I’ll probably bid on one when I’m drunk some day – good times.
This is me as a nipper – for someone reason I used to go everywhere dressed in an all-in-one ski suit.
This was another favourite outfit – I was a massive superman fan and got this as a Christmas present one year….literally lived in this for a long time!
So anyway, back to the story – Sophe obviously found the whole ‘knock’ quote hilarious, but I think there’s a serious point to be made. I have mixed feelings regarding the subject of technology and how it advances so rapidly – I think technology is awesome and there are loads of advantages and benefits for most of it, but part of me thinks it can be slightly depressing and dangerous, with some disadvantages. I could write all day about different technology and how it impacts on society, but let me just give you one example – the internet. Advantage: instant access to an astronomical amount of information, mostly pointless, but a lot of it very useful, as well as instant communication….disadvantage: people becoming lazy, staying inside and not experiencing ‘real-life’ interaction with other human beings. OK, I know that’s a very unintelligent and basic assessment of the internet, but you know what I mean (I hope). So how does this link with today’s topic? Well as technology advances, the options for writers increases.
A question you might ask yourself as a writer is – Radio, TV, Film, or Theatre? You might also consider Game, Novel, Interactive, Web based…and so on. The point is there are more and more formats for writer’s to work with as technology evolves. My answer to the above question was always ‘Film’, but now I’m getting older and starting to think more realistically, the answer is not so clear-cut. I know I’m a long way off selling a feature script to Hollywood and being handed millions of pounds to make it, so I’ve started thinking about other (more feasible) ways of getting my writing out into the world. What got me thinking about this was a question I was asked in a meeting I had with a production company in London – it kind of left me a little bewildered. It should have been easy to answer, but I somehow made it very difficult. The company I met are interested in developing ideas/scripts for short films and possibly a comedy series, and a good friend of mine (who works as production manager for the company) setup the meeting to introduce me to one of the directors. The meeting was great and the company seem awesome, but the question he asked was – ‘in terms of your writing, what is your ultimate ambition?’ I stumbled over the question for about 5 minutes trying to rationalise each answer I gave – ‘well obviously the dream would be to see my feature film get a major cinema release, but I’m not sure how realistic that is so I guess just to see my work on screen and have other people view it would be great…I mean I’d prefer if it wasn’t in some dingy cinema in some back street where 5 people will come and watch it, but a fairly wide release…but then I would love to see my name on TV, maybe for a drama or comedy, and I think I’d like to write a short series of comedy sketches and get them online’…and it continued! The last thing I remember saying was ‘there are loads of opportunities I see cropping up on the BBC Writer’s room website for theatre scripts, but I don’t think that’s for me’. Yeah, good one! I guess it would be fair to say I was struggling to decide what my one specific goal was – and in a way I still am. Maybe I don’t have one? I’m not like someone who wakes up and says ‘I want to be the boxing heavyweight champion of the world, I’m not going to stop training and working until I’m heavyweight champion of the world and I’ll always feel I haven’t achieved my life ambition until I’m the boxing heavyweight champion of the world’. I don’t think that’s because I lack drive or passion, or because I don’t think it’s achievable, I just like to be a little more realistic and take each day as it comes. I have the ‘big dream’, but my goal is just to reach as wider audience as possible and make some sort of impact with my writing. It’s important to have ambitions and goals, but I think it’s also important to take every opportunity and be open-minded about the different directions your work might take you. If our imaginary guy was training to become the boxing heavyweight champion of the world, and was approached by a Mixed Martial Arts trainer and asked to give that a go, he might well find that he’s even better at kicking, punching and grappling (rather than just punching) and become the biggest MMA legend the world has ever known. I apologise to those of you who know nothing about MMA and couldn’t relate to that analogy, the point is they’re two different forms of the same discipline.
I don’t mind where my writing takes me – whether I’m writing films, TV, online dramas, games or anything else, I’ll just be happy that I’m writing. I suppose it all boils down to personal preference, but I think you may be surprised by opportunities you weren’t so sure about and where they might take you – I think the best thing to do is just go for it! I guess I’m coming to a point where I’m really trying to focus on my writing and what I’m doing with it. Although I’ve said it’s important to stay open-minded, I think you can also be overwhelmed by all the various choices and opportunities out there. I have a rough plan I’m going to stick to, but who knows what’s around the corner? All I know is I’m going to keep writing and hope for the best. For anyone that doesn’t know about the BBC writer’s room, here is the link to their ‘opportunities’ page – http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/index.shtml it’s quite useful and sometimes there are some really good comps/opportunities that are worth a look. Personally I wouldn’t bother sending anything to the writer’s room themselves (I’ve heard rumours they don’t read stuff), but that’s obviously just my view.
Before I go, I just want to thank everyone that’s clicked on my Reed Film submission – there were over 370 entries and the short list will be announced by the end of March…so in the unlikely case that my film makes the cut, I’ll be badgering you for more clicks and votes 🙂 and if you haven’t seen it already, please feel free to click again http://www.youtube.com/reedfilm#p/c/F504FE7ED1D36C85/1/PbDe8iHU6kU
Until next time…