Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Book, Play, Film

For the first and only time in my life, about six weeks ago, I had an idea for a film. By which I mean an idea that was clever and original but so simple that I could explain it in a few sentences - ideas I've had for books have tended to be more picaresque, with multiple characters and lots of jokes, whereas the play I'm currently working on is at the other end of the scale as it essentially involves two people sitting in a room, talking.

At the Cheltenham Screenwriters Festival, Antony Horowitz described a breakfast meeting at Claridges at which the idea for a film took shape in his mind in its entirety (I'm quoting from memory but it sounded very good the way he said it) 'as if it had been poured there by the waiter from the coffee jug' . My film idea came to me like that - I had actually wanted an idea for a play, following an inspiring day at the Royal Court. I woke up the next morning and there was this film in my head, sitting there, fully formed. I knew the title, who was in it, what happened, how it ended.

It's such a beautiful thing - and it feels alright to say that because, like a sleek, healthy stray cat that has wandered in to my garden to be admired, it otherwise seems to have very little to do with me. I just need to take care of it.

For a while, I wondered what to do with it because when I went along to the Screenwriters' Festival two things struck me very forcefully 1) the experience of writing a film script and trying to get it made sounded universally awful 2) almost all big budget films (with the exception of the few written by Charlie Kaufman, Alex Garland etc) are adaptations of literary books or short stories.

Anyway, it's obvious, isn't it? I'm writing it as a book. Once it's finished, I can worry about trying to get it made as a film.


Lucy said...

Getting published can be a bitch too though. Unless you already have a deal?

Helen Smith said...

I've got a very good agent, which amounts to the same thing.

potdoll said...

exciting! sounds like a gift!

Helen Smith said...

Does that comment of mine read as a bit curt? Sorry if it does, it wasn't meant to. It's just that in publishing if you have an agent then you pretty much know you will get published because they sort it all out for you, whereas (as you know)in film/tv/theatre etc you tend to make the contacts yourself and then once you have a deal, your agent will do the negotiations for you.

I must admit that whatever I write seems very exciting at the time, even if it's only a shopping list. But then I go away and do something else for whatever reason and when I come back and look at it, it seems rather less exciting - like a party dress worn the day after the party. But still, I think this might be 'the one'. I hope so. I'm half way through it already.

Lucy said...

Mate, don't worry about it... What you should do is insult all your commenters and start rucks like me, it's great! ; )

Who is your agent, then?

potdoll said...

Halfway through it! I bet you're buzzing!

I know exactly what you mean about the party dress.

Hope this one will be 'the one' for you! x

aminah said...

interesting blog...will be back to read more