Yep, novelists can have their red wine; poets their absinthe; rock stars their vodka, beer, battery fluid, more vodka, bourbon et al...
For the screenwriter is has to be coffee. Why?
I have spent the last three days in cafes drinking more damn coffee whilst discussing scripts than I have in the last 6 months. I don't even like coffee! Even worse when it's with soy milk which surely was the invention of a bullied kid who went on to become a naturopath and sought revenge in the words: "gluten and dairy free diet". The things they must have done to that kid in school brings a tear to my eye. Revenge is a mug best served with cold soy.
Why all the cafe related activity you ask? [Okay, I'm theorising that you would be even slightly interested in the cause of my caffeine intake]...
Well today marked the start of a week long feature development workshop where somewhere in the schedule the word "pitch" was mentioned. For most writers - even the ones who take their coffee with full cream milk - this word has the peculiar effect of causing severe panic, internal bleeding and loss of cognitive function. At least it feels that way!
Of course, it's always worse when you imagine the train wreck in your head that is trying to explain your baby to a room full of (semi-) strangers. But you survive. Especially when the powers that be make the producer do it [yay!]... then said producer throws to your for additional comments [huh? damn, I was just regaining the feeling in my left side]. But we all live to pitch another day (... Friday as it turns out *gulp*).
The real secret to screenwriting is development. Which is exactly what the week is about - putting 6 creative teams in a room to discuss their feature projects with various consultants from Australia and overseas. This is from all angles including script, marketing, the strength of the team etc in order to develop the project to the next stage. That being, hopefully, closer to the holy grail of financing and production.
Today was the introduction session. Tomorrow the real work for The Red Bride team begins. Should be fun and very useful in moving the project forward.
Just, enough with the coffee already, okay?