Friday 4 February 2011

Words on the Page Over Square Eyes.

Sky Atlantic HD.

An awful lot of good TV to watch. But will I be able to?

I used to watch too much TV as a kid. Far too much TV. But then I discovered that watching movies in a cinema was much better than movies or TV in the living room, which is full of distractions. So, thankfully, it seems that the rest of the world has taken over this task for me. And I'm glad. But the temptation to just decompose in front of the box is still there. And now there is a new addition to the weight on the other side of the scales, threatening to draw me away from productivity.

The addictiveness and quality of US TV drama has exploded in the past decade or so but I found myself being particularly choosy about what I watched. Averaging out at about 25 episodes long, one season of a US drama can demand a hell of a lot of one's time and I heard about people having to make time for so many shows. Making time for TV seems an awful lot like letting it have authority over your spare time (My god, I sound like my parents). A counter to that might be that with the advent of DVR, we can watch it whenever we want. But even with it all recorded, there's still too much of the quality stuff to cram in. Consequently, I limited myself to one or two, particularly Battlestar Galactica (one of the best shows ever on US TV, in my humble opinion) and Entourage. I tried Lost, especially after it's stunning opener, but gave up into season 2. And as a result I'm glad I couldn't be arsed to surrender my time to something which turned out to be so unsatisfactory by the end. Or so I hear.

The thing about these shows is that they demand a hell of a lot of attention. They're great and often brilliantly written, but there's just so much of them. Some folks keep telling that I must see The Wire or The West Wing. Well, one day, hopefully.

But now, with this new channel, there's a new plethora of them foisted on us. I'm glad I can watch Entourage again (which I reckon is the equivalent of Sex and the City for men, only a hell of a lot less shallow than Carrie and her fucking shoes) but I'm still going to limit myself to one or two. I just can't justify giving so much of my life over to television, even if it's about following and learning from good writing. Boardwalk Empire was the first to be given over to the "record series" option, as well as Vince, E and Ari. Not sure what else, though.

And so the Sky+ box fills up and things get deleted without being seen to make way for more things I might not find the time to watch.

The danger of trying to be a screenwriter is that the balance between work and "research" can tip over. I've got loads of films still to watch on DVD and in the cinema but finding the time is a bugger. Words on the page over square eyes, I think.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Getting Out Of The Cave.

Possibly my biggest nemeses as a writer - myself and my relative inability to network.

I say relative because it seems that I can do it sometimes. Others will say, and I agree 100%, that as a screenwriter, hell, as anyone working in the film industry, networking is a necessary evil. Some might love it, but the fact that I used the term "necessary evil" shows my reluctance to engage in it. But it's so important. I spend most of my time in front of this bleedin' keyboard and unless I get out there and get my work known then what's the point?

So I'm doing my bit in beginning to get out there more often. I attended the Write, Camera Action event at Glasgow's CAA last weekend and was petrified going out there as the previous one reduced me to being that odd guy at the bar who keeps looking around but not saying anything. Result? A wasted night and unknown opportunities. This time there were a couple of people I knew there this time which was great. I was able to bounce off the conversations with them and speak to new people I might never have spoken to otherwise. And so that should lead to a bit more confidence next time because networking has to be an ongoing process.

What was even more encouraging was the suggestion from that night's organiser that I might get some of my short films shown there at some point in the future. I need to remind myself, when shut away in front of the keyboard, that I don't just write 'em. I've made 'em as well. And intend to do that again.

I've got the Shooters in the Pub event this Monday next. It'll be my third one. The last one was fun and a couple of, let's say...animated conversations about certain genre films fired me up. A few new business cards and some new Facebook friends resulted.

Writers! Get out of that room and out there (this includes me).