50 Kisses: Quaking and Breaking Hearts in 2 Minutes
So, I made the 50 Kisses longlist along with 507 talented folks! Thought I’d take a few words to talk about my script…
Firstly, two-page scripts are a bugger to write. With Virgin Media Shorts and the generation with too many distractions to watch five minutes of anything on the internet, the two-minute short is gaining in popularity. At any given time, I have two or three of the things in a drawer, waiting to answer a script call.
The problem with them is that you still have to fit a whole story into two minutes. Writing for Persona, with its 90-second appisodes, honed my skills with brevity but it’s so tempting to write a vignette or a scene from a much larger story. Or, with Persona, to take an appisode off where they just go for coffee and talk about books (I wish my life had more appisodes where that happened…).
Secondly, every script you write – every damn one – has to mean something to you. And no, it can’t just mean “yay pay cheque”.
Obviously, we all take jobs to pay bills/gain experience/get credits until we become famous and rich enough to turn into Joss Whedon. But even those jobs have to awaken something in you that you can emotionally engage with. Because if you the writer can’t find it? What hope does anyone else have?
My 50 Kisses script was inspired by a story my friend told me. When I heard it, I cried. I couldn’t help the tears in my eyes, the raw feelings for a man I’d never met. And I knew I needed to tap into the things about that story that made me hurt to write something that could emotionally connect to others.
F. Scott Fitzgerald writes in a letter to a newbie about using the things that tear at your heart in your writing.
…the amateur can only realize his ability to transfer his emotions to another person by some such desperate and radical expedient as tearing your first tragic love story out of your heart and putting it on pages for people to see.
And you need to do that in two minutes.