“One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.”
“A fool’s paradise is a wise man’s Hell.”
“Never run with scissors?”
I’ve not had much time for Twitter or my blog recently. Alongside planning my wedding, house-hunting and starting a new day job, I’ve had a number of projects stealing my attention.
What’s interesting about the recent direction of my writing is that these projects are not my original ideas. So far, I’ve mostly worked on my spec scripts, occasionally tailored to competition requirements but mostly my own fancy.
However, more recently I’ve been working in collaboration. With The Underwater Realm, we’re working as a three-person writing team, passing the script back and forth to wrangle it into shape. We’ve all been in it since the beginning, so it’s been moulded by the three of us.
But with Small Chances, I’ve taken a script by Jack Delaney that was originally intended for film and developed it for the stage (with multimedia elements). Working with someone else’s material is a challenge, but a common scenario for television writers. Being a stand-alone piece, I’ve had some freedom in changing elements of the characters, such as speech patterns and relationships, but continuing to touch base with both Jack and the director, Cat Robey.
I’m also taking a gander at a treatment that I might be writing into a feature. At this “bare bones” stage, there may be a lot of room to manoeuvre – or, conversely, there may be a large volume of input yet to be received.
Of course, the ideal is that everyone’s happy with the final result. However, it actually works like this: you’re being asked/paid for a service. The director/producer/script editor is your customer. So, at the end of the day, they’re the ones who need to be happy. It is, however, partly your responsibility to stop them making some hideous mistake that means none of you will ever get work again.
In short, being a writer means that your Perfect Vision is going to involve a lot of other people, who most likely have their own Perfect Visions. And if you’re coming second or even third to the story, a healthy dose of tact and polite hacking apart of someone else’s Vision is required.[A shiny gold star if you can identify the source of the lead quote]