Last weekend saw my first residency at the previously mentioned Playwrights Studio Screenwriting Residency, with a glorious couple of jam-packed days high on a hill in a hotel in the west of Scotland. I met the other 8 participants, and we bonded happily over writerly chat, beer and enjoyed some fireworks provided by a party of (allegedly) shiny-suited ‘apprentices’ who were having a celebratory conference.
It’s the first time I’ve been on an actual residency, so a few nerves, but they were thankfully groundless. On the downside I did get lost in Bonnybridge, but managed to navigate my way out by using that old ‘which side of the river am I on’ trick since my new fancy phone wouldn’t allow me to use its map app. Over the course of the weekend, we had some group sessions, and met our individual mentors from the Binger FilmLab, who then spent time getting to the heart of each of our features – very perceptive, helpful, and seriously professional – I’ve come away with new goals, a path to follow regarding what I’m excising and changing, and what needs strengthening and consolidating in my script. But probably the most fundamentally important thing that I’ve taken from those couple of days, was the need to forget the restraints of writing a ‘script’ and to embrace the glorious adventure of writing a great story. Right now we’re not developing projects for individual companies with restraints and restrictions – right now we’re developing something (hopefully) wondrous that needs to fly off the page. Arty, ambitious words? Maybe, but I’ll take the criticism. When I’m struggling to find time in between earning and all the other things that life chucks at you, I’m going to try and make sure that what I’m getting on to the page is inspired and as magic as I can make it. I have deadlines to hit for the next draft, and our next big meetup is due for February/March.
When I got back I found a family member had been taken into hospital, and 2 days after that, I had my first general anaesthetic for a small op. Not the most fun time, but it’s given me new respect for the staff of the local hospital. Such professionalism (that word again). They even buy their own tea for the ward because the official stuff isn’t ‘strong enough’.
And then some more good news on a development scheme – more on this later when it has been announced officially. I have a meeting on Wednesday to start that ball rolling – exciting. And later in November I’ll be working with composers and actors, over a weekend to stage a live performance play in a significant Edinburgh theatre – also exciting, if a little nerve-wracking!