Monday, March 31, 2014

But, didn’t you use to be a screenwriter?

I know what you’re thinking – “Richard, what’s with all the theatre reviews on your blog lately… didn’t you use to be a screenwriter?”

Richard enters stage left and peers out at the audience. Adopts an aggressive stance.

Richard: That’s absurd; of course I’m still a screenwriter.

Audience member: Prove it then!

Richard squints into the lights trying to identify the wag.

Richard: Reveal yourself, Sir/Madam/[insert correct gender salutation for a small child or possibly a verbose animal of some description].

The challenge is met with a slow handclap. Only a few people at first… then dozens of hands in unison. The sound builds in intensity until Richard is brought to his knees, hands clasped to his ears.

Richard: Alright, alright. I confess. I have been tempted by the sins of theatrical endeavour; swayed by the spontaneity of live performance; awed by the camaraderie and passion found in every independent troupe of players. Dazzled by –

Audience: Get off!

Richard is pelted with rotten fruit, robust vegetables, and random pieces of furniture. He beats a hasty retreat to –



Richard sits in his favourite writing haunt and laments the fact that the inability to format blogger correctly for the difference between stage and screen directions dilutes the visual effect intended for this convoluted introduction… 

Yes! I AM still writing!!! Spasmodically. Imprecisely. Incrementally.

The fifth draft of Turbulence was delivered to the director a little while ago and I have read his summary of what needs to be addressed in the next draft. I should, at this very moment, be reading his detailed notes embedded in the pdf version of the script but, of course, I forgot to bring the flash drive with me (Richard pelts himself with rotten fruit). In short, the next pass will be a character one. Progress has indeed been made - the comments count has gone from 83 to 43… or maybe I just fixed all the typos. Anyone who was at the PAC Script Lab reading a year ago would certainly recognise the story but there have been a lot of changes, especially in the second half of the script. Now we dig further and keep evolving and improving our characters.

I also finished the fourth episode of Boondock Alley, the web series set in a doctors’ surgery for the Undead. It was the hardest episode to write to date… and the darkest but the actors have responded with unanimous praise. This is flattering but also makes me a little nervous as I know it requires work. I suspect I need a critical eye to push me like Tim (director) does with Turbulence. However, it looks like we’re positioning for a tilt at ScreenWest’s newly announced Elevate funding scheme. So there will be a renewed focus on all the elements though I’m more than happy with progress to date. Ah yes, the joys of funding applications - writer’s notes!

Working fulltime has largely cut me off from the creative zeitgeist as I no longer have time to laze about on weekdays talking scripts, films and the like. It was a great pleasure then to go to the premiere of SeventhContinent Productions’ short film Rat Tale last week. Not only was it a terrific film but I caught up with many filmmaking colleagues I had not seen in a long time.

Yes, I am going to a fair amount of theatre and have even become a Friend of the Academy (WAAPA). Sometimes this is for sheer stress relief as my corporate job has burst into glorious chaos the last month. But mostly it is to experience the wonderful talent we have in Perth. I enjoy writing reviews and I figure that’s no big ask given the quality of shows I regularly encounter at a usually inexpensive cost. This year I’ve set myself to write something about every production I attend. In the past I tended to only write reviews for the shows I enjoyed. It’s time to man up and cast a critical yet constructive (hopefully) eye over every production.

But rest assured I’m still tapping away at the keyboard working on my own creative endeavours!

The stage curtains open. Richard bows deeply to rapturous applause… spots a half-eaten apple near the footlights, mid bow. Reaches for it… begins to topple… the crowd laugh. The curtains close. Thud.