Thursday, January 21, 2016

(Re)writing Three Point Turn

You might have noticed that I post usually every three weeks. That's generally the length of time between posts when I feel the itch to write or compose a few words. Not this month.

Redrafting my feature film Three Point Turn to a deadline, I've had to roll my sleeves up and got to work like a farmer at harvest time.

Writing every day is so different to life as I usually live it and so completely different from any other January I've had that it almost feel like I tripped and slipped into a parallel universe.

My other work, all of my other work, has been put on hold. I have children but they have a nanny, aka Stevie, on duty all summer. My only obligation is to write five pages a day.

Sounds so easy! It's. So. Hard. For starters I'm an extrovert. What am I doing sitting in a room alone all day, even half a day? I have come to think of my office – an eco oasis nestled looking out over Merri Creek – as a (very productive) prison. I've started to wonder if I am a genuine masochist.

And I am not writing in total isolation. I have a team, a crack team (executive producer Tony Ayres, producers Tania Chambers and Verity Fitzgerald, director Maziar Lahooti and script editor Matthew Dabner - they are an excellent, smart and kind hearted bunch). I have a lot of good fortune to have them on my side.

Of all the genres of writing I do – blogging, art writing, reviewing –  screenwriting is the most mysterious.

Even on days that it has me completely beat, days when I crawl home, lie prostate on the couch, pinch the area between my eyes and make small moaning sounds, moments I am a suffering animal, it has my attention.

Breakthroughs – writing a good scene, rewriting a scene so it reads better, rearranging scenes so that the plotting is tighter –  are rarer. Those hard-won moments bring me a terrific sense of satisfaction. They are not, however, what keep me rooted to the keyboard.

Curiosity with its little friend Tenacity keeps me writing even when I am beset by doubts and fears. I have an ambition to write a truthful, moving, and elegant story. I just keep at it: trying and failing, trying and failing, trying and failing until, hopefully, one day, I succeed.

Image: Lee Grant, part of the Sudanese Portraits series.

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