I have been very busy lately. That’s why I don’t blog that often as I used to. I am preparing for the making of my short film if I cannot sell my script, to pitch for the fund for the feature film. So every day counts. I spend each day doing the research, re-reading my screenplay, rewriting scenes and dialogues, making plans, and many more. And plus, I have many other things to do, too, than just organising my filmmaking project. I have put a lot of work and time into my upcoming drama film. I have therefore reached the point of no return. From now on, I can only move forwards. I have to make it no matter what – either sell the script or make the film myself. But something good has to come out of the screenplay. I will not just write a script and think nobody will care about, then just forget the whole thing and go do something else.
Since I have been busy with lots of things recently, today I will just relax and watch a good film. But after the film, I may begin to look at my screenplay again. I’m just so excited that I enjoy working on it every time. There’s not a day that I think: Maybe this project is too difficult, I can’t do it anymore, I will find something else less challenging to do instead. On the other hand, I just get up each morning looking forward to continuing to work on my screenplay and my filmmaking project because I’m very positive about it. Also when I visualise the day I have successfully made the film or have sold the script, I just can’t wait to get there FAST. And that’s what keeps me going, never giving up.
I write this post as if I have a discussion with someone about the process of writing my first feature-length screenplay (a coming-of-age drama) and, possibly, making the film myself as well which I will also be playing one of the main characters. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to pretend, I am being interviewed by someone to see how I will answer those questions when the time comes. I think, it’s also a good preparation and a brave proclamation to myself about that I can do it, I will make it – just relax.
How do you start your day?
As soon as I get up, I make a cup of tea or coffee, have my breakfast, and begin to write straight away.
What are you doing at the moment?
I’m working on my feature-length screenplay (a coming-of-age drama) and trying to get it sold. If not, I will make the film myself. So I’m very busy with lots of things, such as doing the researches for my film, how to get it made. I also take some acting classes once in a while to improve my acting skill, attend several film and writer events to network, and many more. But one of the main things is that I try to finish the revision of my screenplay by the end of this month, which is this Sunday 31. So, I don’t have that many days left now.
I thought, I am completely done with the redraft. But then, when I read through it somehow it doesn’t seem captivating enough, and some aspects of it are unclear and uninteresting. So I have to rewrite it again and again, until it’s perfect. Because, if I want to sell my screenplay it has to be more than good. People have to be unable to put it down, till they have read to the end. So, I try to achieve that kind of level. I therefore have to be a prolific writer, to refine my writing skill. Because, when you write a lot or produce a lot you become good at it in the end. Writing a lot of things doesn’t only mean quantity; it also means quality since it helps you become a good, confident writer. Although I have yet to write lots of screenplays, but I blog a lot and almost daily. So, I do produce lots of writing work anyway – just in a different form of writing.
What is it so special about this drama script?
That it is based on a true story which is so personal to me. For that reason, there is a personal touch to it as well. It’s not just a true story and that’s it. All in all, the whole package: The dialogues, the plot, the characters, the setting, and more. It’s just a very good story to tell. And that’s why I feel like turning it into film myself since I know the story very well. I would therefore be the right one to tell and direct it.
What are the most important views of the script?
That it is about the views of vulnerability, loneliness, choice, control, and the like. It’s a coming-of-age drama. So, it’s about making the right choices in your life, about being you – not just someone or something or anything that’s not you, just to please others. It’s about holding on to who you are. It’s about finding yourself, actually, which many young people have to cope with. Growing up can be scary. There are lots of responsibilities you have to take. The reality can be intimidating for some, especially youngsters. Hence the journey to adulthood can be lonely which makes many teenagers feel vulnerable. Although they may not be aware of loneliness and vulnerability themselves, but they are there somewhere deep down.
What are the interesting things about the characters?
The protagonist is a very complicated person. For example, he says things he doesn’t mean. But, it’s not only the protagonist who is like that, all characters are enigmatic in some ways. They do and say things that can be annoying or difficult to understand. But they have their own reasons for doing it. The impetus can be good or bad.
What is the setting and why?
It takes place in a small district of London. I want to portray the lives that are different from what we are used to. We need to see and experience something completely different than our own world. It’s nice to be taken to a different world and be transported with entertainment and learn something from it. I can promise you, there is a lot to learn from this film, a lot of questions to be answered, and more.
Considering everything, this film will be a good film to watch. I can visualise it already. Therefore I would like to make this movie myself, which I might. Because, I want to make a film which I in some way give something back to the society. So if I ever turn it into film myself, I really want people to go see the film, to experience something different and educational.
I have made an infographic to really lay out my idea in an outline, so that I can easily follow it to the end. I think, it looks less abstract when I see it right in front of me when and what I am going to do first and last. It’s more organised and manageable. Before, I kept everything in my head and it seemed chaotic and unreachable. I also don’t know when to start and when to finish. So by making it clear to myself the steps I am going to take and set myself a deadline or a timeframe when it will be done, what I am going to do first, next, and last, everything looks possible now.
What do you think?
I start my day with one of my favourite breakfasts which is just some slices of bread with different items on them – one of them is salmon since I love fish, but not all kinds of fishes. One of the reasons I like fish is that it helps improve or maintain my eyesight. So I try to include fish and many others fruits and vegetables that are good for the health of my eyes, skin, and overall healthy body in my daily diet as much as I can. I also try to drink more tea instead of coffee.
I don’t have this type of early meal that often, though. I normally have oatmeal or muesli or cereal for breakfast or just some fruits. Only once in a while that I fancy full English or some breads for breakfast, like today. It’s delicious when you don’t have it too frequently. And while it is yummy, it’s just not very wholesome. Therefore I only have it every once in a long while. I like taking good care of myself. So I go very much up in what I eat, do, and the like. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle makes me feel good. When you love yourself and will do anything for your well-being you will shine of confidence and self-esteem.
Sometimes, I just skip breakfast. But only sometimes. Because, when I start my day with a decent breakfast I tend not to eat that much during the day. And I also have a prodigious energy to accomplish lots of things. I just feel so active and lively throughout the day. And I only eat just a little for dinner. But I notice that if I don’t have breakfast I am likely to eat more and sometimes a considerable portion when I don’t need it. So first thing in the morning when I stand up is to have a good breakfast. Then I’m ready.
My feature-length screenplay could be finished tomorrow! I try really hard to finally complete it. It’s tough when I have lots to do, and at the same time trying to finish my script. So I work extremely hard to do each task each day according to how important each one is. My calendar is jam-packed with several assignments daily. And I have to prioritise. Otherwise, the most essential duties may never be accomplished. And at this moment, finishing my screenplay is of paramount importance since it could establish my writing and filmmaking career – if I concentrate on writing a good script, which I’m trying really hard right now. And also because, I have a good feeling about it that it’s going to be a good screenplay. So, I never give up on it. If it’s something I can sense it’s not going to be good I would stop trying a long time ago and starting on something else instead. But, I keep going because I know my hard work will pay off in the end. I’m just very positive about it.
A clip from Richard E. Grant by Spotlight to encourage you to never giving up. As an actor myself, I can identify with everything he says. And I couldn’t agree more. Personally, first and foremost, you have to believe in yourself first. If you didn’t believe in yourself and didn’t trust your instinct, no one would believe in you either.
I start going through the revision process today. I’m working on a scene right now. After I finish this blog post, I will continue with it. I do it scene by scene. So, I won’t miss a scene. The scenes that need to expand, I expand. The scenes that need to cut, I cut. Because, I sometimes edit the films myself, so I imagine I am editing the film, cut and assemble scenes, so the whole movie makes sense.
Working on each scene also gives me a good focus on the correction of the grammar, dialogues, description, and plot. When I’m done with the changing I will print out the screenplay and read through it. Then, after that, I will give some people I can trust to read it as well. Just to be sure, everything looks good.
If I didn’t post about my progress toward the completion of my script each day on my blog it’s likely that I wouldn’t be able to finish my screenplay. I would, finally, one day, which could be in a distant future. But since I post about it every day I then have to complete the screenplay and meet the deadline as I have set it, to avoid embarrassment.
And also, by publishing my personal mission statement I keep myself accountable. I think, it’s a good idea. And I think, if I kept it to myself I might never have written a screenplay. But, people have different ways of achieving their goals. What works for me may not work for others.
One of the inspiring stories that keeps motivating me to continue to write to reach my goal is J.K. Rowling story how she became one of the most influential authors in the modern world. I just one day accidentally saw a film biography about her on a telly, Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story. And I was impressed how she started. And at that time, she even had a small baby to take care, her daughter, and many other obstacles. Anyway, she managed to fulfill her dream as a writer in such a short period of time. I don’t have a small kid to look after. I don’t even have a partner (cry). So, I have all that time to write. Therefore, I have no excuse not to succeed.
It’s a great story that can inspire anyone. If you don’t get inspired by this story then I don’t know what to say. I think, if you really fight hard for it the magic will happen – soon or later. So, every time I am feeling stuck and feeling like I am going nowhere, I will look for inspiring stories like this to keep me going. It does, actually, help. If the people who were in the worse situations than me could succeed then why I couldn’t? It’s only because I didn’t work hard enough. Period.
Anyway, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Everything takes time and patience. I just have to be patient, as long as I continue to be enthusiastic about what I do and want to achieve, one day it will come. I also like Estee Lauder’s quote: “You’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to stick to it and you’ve got to believe in what you’re doing.”
Today, I have written about 10 more pages of my drama screenplay. So, I am at around page 80 or something now. I will take a break and watch a good film. Then, if I’m not too tired I will continue to write about 10 pages more. Or, I could even finish the whole script tonight, which I would need about 20 more pages. So, the movie would be around 1h 50m – almost 2 hours. And 20-page more is not unrealistic to complete in one day – either today or tomorrow and that’s it – since I do write about 10 pages or so every day anyway.
After the first draft, I also have to go through the revision process. So, I will need some more days for that as well. Consequently, I will give it another week or maybe 3-4 more days to really finalize my screenplay. Then I’m done!