The feature film I am writing for the School of Film & Television at Falmouth University's inaugural Filmmaker in Residence pilot has a title. It's called Wilderness.
I am writing a 60+ page screenplay that will be expanded through actor improvisations in a rehearsal period prior to shooting around Easter 2016. So far I have written 30+ pages.
I have given these to the filmmaker in residence, my long-time collaborator Justin Doherty and we have discussed them. It was really daunting to give the pages to Justin. Apart from Barbed Wire Heron these were the first pages I had given him in a long time. They were also pages that had to be good, and feel right, and work because we are up against the clock and this was the only idea that really worked. It was also an idea that was picked because of logistics such as time, budget etc. We have other screenplays burning holes in our pockets that have for years, but they will have to wait.
It was also daunting because again, apart from Barbed Wire Heron, this was the first screenwriting I had done for 4 years. Could I still do it? Could I get across what I wanted to say. Would it excite, and inspire? Would it work?
I was ecstatic that Justin liked it and wanted to make it. However, more than that I was pleased that he read it and understood the spaces that would be filled by performers and how he would approach shooting it so that the intention would remain even if logistically what was on the page was not possible.
It has made planning writing the remaining 30+ pages a much easier task.
We've mapped it out and agreed on a central section that the story hangs on, that works in terms of achievability and story logic. It's exciting.
Themes & Acceptance
Part of my process is sharing my work with someone else I trust beyond Justin. I can rely on this person to tell me whether something works or not. He gets me, and my work.
I gave him a very brief overview of the story, characters, when it is set. From this he drew out themes that Justin and I had discussed, and he drilled down into what he felt the resonances could be from that. That was encouraging because it meant that our thinking about those contexts were in the right place. So I sent him the 30+ pages. The conversation we had then excited me because he got it. He got exactly what I was aiming for and he understood where I wanted to take it, without me having to tell him. He also scared me when he said that
'she is trying to accept him but he won't accept himself for being an arsehole'
This hit me because it's true but I didn't realise it, and I didn't realise that I had written myself into the character to that degree.
I hope it doesn't impact the way I write the rest of the script but I don't think it will. It's all been so clearly mapped out prior to that conversation but it's heartwarming and encouraging to know that I am on the right track when the two people I trust the most regarding my writing feel what I have done is good. After four years out of the game, that's a wonderful feeling, but I shall not get complacent.