Friday, 31 July 2009

Writing on Notting Hill

It's the last day of July and I'm preparing next week's assignment for UCF.

So far it has been an interesting ride, despite my having come across much of this stuff when I was a member of the AOL Writers' Club around 10 years ago. Of course, in those days they used to speak in broad - almost mysterious - terms about the structure of screenplays without actually filling in any details for us. I think we were supposed to find out the hard way. Well now, thanks to the 'Writing Structure' part of this MA course, all the blanks can be filled in and I am grateful for that.

Last night my "current wife" and I watched Notting Hill, for the first time in widescreen; we hadn't seen it for around 8 years. Marvellous. Superb. The structure is brilliantly executed and it is so excellently put together. And I like happy endings, so there.

Just as a matter of interest - and speaking of Richard Curtis - last week I was speaking with the actress, Jill Freud. She has a number of claims to fame including her running of a theatre company since 1980. Then there's her famous husband, Sir Clement (who died this year); her great-father-in-law, Sigmund Freud; her daughter, Emma (tv presenter); her son-in-law (who has written the odd script or three including Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral); her niece the author, Esther Freud; her brother-in-law, the artist Lucien Freud; and the fact that C.S. Lewis based the character of Lucy in the Narnia chronicles on Jill. Phew! She didn't mention any of this, of course; she is far too unassuming, impressed me greatly and is a legend in her own right. Not bad for 82 - in fact, she's marvellous.

Many years ago, Jill (now Lady Freud) also did the voice-over for the very first television programme I can remember watching: it was one of Gerry Anderson's first puppet shows, Torchy the Battery Boy.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Scripting away...

The dedicated scriptwriting course seems to be going well, even though I am now on my own: it's just me and the tutor.

The title of this post sounds like I'm manufacturing scripts for all and sundry like some story conveyer belt; well, I'm not. At the moment (week 3) we are dealing with the basics of story-lining, which I had guessed would be necessary.

I need to be thinking about the area I want to write about; I'm tempted by comedy-drama, which would echo the success I had with my 10-year magazine stint. But whilst doing the Writing Tools and Writing Structure courses at the beginning of this MA, I have had some success with writing serious stuff, so who knows what I'll choose?