As an aspiring screenwriter I know that I should be working on scripts at every opportunity, that a day shouldn’t go by without me writing and that I need to throw myself in to my craft and get my name out there.
I find this extremely difficult to do.
I can’t walk away from my job because I have a family to support. I can’t ignore, but neither do I begrudge, the legitimate claims of that family to my time. I can’t buy a load of camera equipment to make my films happen because it’s a luxury our family budget can’t stretch to. School shoes, dancing classes and Biology field trips seem to take priority when it comes to the cheque book (yes, we still have one of those).
I don’t say this to gain sympathy because this prioritisation is entirely my choice. I say it because, for me, it’s not easy to find ways of getting my material seen. It is why I am so grateful to everyone involved in Bath Film Festival and particularly to those who sifted scripts in the creative writing department at Bath Spa University, placing my script ‘The Painting’ in the top five for the 2015 IMDb Script to Screen Award.
Having experienced the elation of being selected, it is fair to say that the evening of June 16th, 2015, is now permanently etched on my brain as one of the most amazing evenings of my life.
To see and hear my words brought to life courtesy of Bath Spa University’s incredibly talented drama students was a joy. The prospect of being interviewed afterwards wasn’t such a joy but BBC’s Ali Vowles is such a warm, friendly, engaging person that it wasn’t so bad. Admittedly I’ve no idea what I said, it was probably all gibberish, but I didn’t fall off the stage or inadvertently insult the audience so that’s all good.
As ‘The Painting’ was first in the running order I had the luxury of watching the other four performances without the burden that comes with waiting. I enjoyed each one and learnt a great deal, particularly about characterisation.
Chatting to fellow nominees Elliot Jackson and Sean Healy at the interval, it was interesting to hear of their experiences, not just in the Script to Screen competition but in general terms as writer/directors.
Reconvening, the judges gave us all some positive feedback before announcing the winners. Sean’s script thoroughly deserved to get the grand prize. What a great ghost story.
Was I disappointed not to win? Not at all. Lucy Catherine and Ashley Pharoah had reminded us that we write because we love it, not because of an end result that may or may not mean ‘success’.
I left Komedia thrilled. For the first time I had seen my work brought to life. The evening inspired me to keep going, to improve and to persevere.
I’ve already got a few things in mind for next year’s competition.
I hope I get the opportunity to return …