Tired Of Waiting, You’d Better Move On

It’s humming time for those two early Brit R & B standards from The Kinks and The Stones. Getting Real – British Documentary From Free Cinema To Free Market seems to have petered out in some black hole in the BBC – Lion TV have heard nothing. And it’s very difficult to get The Crunch‘s screenplay read by in-demand A-List actors inundated with work over a long period of time. So it’s time to move on with both projects. It took me 13 years to get Blind Flight made so I’m not a stranger to persistence.

Going for internet ‘crowdfunding’ for the first of Getting Real’s three episodes looks worth a try. This covers the seminal early 1950’s to mid 1960’s period of British documentaries and age is catching up for its key figures – it was the sudden death of my old colleague Mike Grigsby last year that prompted my development of the project.

There was a downside to Ian (Hart)’s encouraging commendation the other day of my screenwriting style’s actor appeal; “You give actors so much space. But it’s not in your dialogue. It’s in the whole thing…”.  He meant that so much of the drama and characterisation is in my description of the unspoken. I find reading most screenplays tough going and lose interest in my own unless I feel constant tension in the writing, especially in the nuances of my characters’ non-verbal behaviour – their looks, gestures, evasions, silences. But, he warned, many actors, especially if pressed for time with a lot of screenplays to read, may speed-scan the dialogue sections of the part they’re considering and miss the vital meat of one’s descriptive work. Understandable but disconcerting.

I showed Ian a thumbnail sketch I’d written encapsulating the complexity of the lead character and all that he has at risk in the story. He felt that it immediately gave an actor “a way in to how to read the screenplay and the character. I’d really want to read it!”. Celestia agreed that it could be helpful and has sent a letter from me containing the sketch to accompany the screenplay.

The Full Monty is a classic example of how easily a screenplay can be misread. Ian struggled to finish it and declined a part in the movie. John de Borman, its Director Of Photography, who’s very keen on doing The Crunch, said that during filming “everyone thought it was going straight to video!”. The shoot was bailed out by the crew taking a wages cut to complete it in return for a slice of the profits. The film’s runner ended up owning a £70,000 Mercedes from his tiny share!


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