The script is done. It's 61 pages and I am proud of it.
It has been a real challenge to write this alongside life and work but one that I have relished and where the necessity of distilling and crystallising my process has helped me harness writing spurts into incredibly rewarding sessions. The nature and format of this project and screenplay, writing something that is designed to be further developed in collaboration with actors, has allowed me to leave a lot of space that I know will be filled. The truth is also that this space will probably be filled by people better placed to fill those gaps than I am.
What is left is the story and the core, the themes and the essence. These are the things that are mine and that I want to protect. It's actually easier to know that big, key changes will occur when you willingly leave space for them. I relinquish so much control in advance that I can't be hurt. If only my characters could be that strong.
Justin has seen it and really likes it, as has the other person I trust with my work. Now it goes out into the world. It goes to those funding it, those crewing it, the students, the actors. I wonder what they will make of it.
Justin and I talked and agreed that it feels like an 'us' project now. After so long wondering what we would do for our first feature film and then drifting through the fog of finding this idea and settling on it just to get something made we have emerged excited about this idea and story in itself. It feels very much like an emotional sequel to our last short It's Natural To Be Afraid. That was a film that went through a similarly conflicted gestation journey as a creative entity.
Justin also discussed producing a version of the screenplay that included some strange formatting elements and moments of direct address (from me as the writer) that will help those who read it understand that what is on the page is just part of it and that we know that, and that many of the emotional gaps are intentional at this stage. That we are just at the beginning.
It's made me think about what I do as a writer and how I'd like to work moving forward. As someone who has always been staunchly and stubbornly indie it's exciting to find a positive way of creating projects that can be created with the sadly necessary compromises that comprise my professional life as I approach the middle of my life. I am fully aware that these compromises have had to have been made due to a particularly cavalier approach to my life up until the last few years.
If we pull this off, it's a decent template and one that feels true and represents an exciting and collaborative way of working, not just a compromise presented this way as a veiled excuse.
It's exciting to see what some of the actors whose tapes we've been watching will do with it. And soon down the line, what the world will make of it.