I’m happy to share that I have now graduated from The University of South Wales with a MA in Scriptwriting after a fantastic year studying in Wales. I was fortunate to pass with a Merit and during December I took my place on the stage and collected my degree.
It was a great day (shame about the weather) and went very well, nobody tripped up on the stage and it was nice to see my classmates again. It’s a shame that it meant the end of my tenure in Wales but I came out of it a better person and met some fantastic, creative people I will miss them and hopefully we can all arrange something in the future. Here are a few photos of the day.
It’s a very rewarding feeling having a Masters and I really enjoyed my time at the University of South Wales and living independently. Let’s see what 2016 has in store for me!
Well, it’s just over a week until my final major project is handed in and I’m imagining that my classmates share the same tension and stress of perfecting our final scripts for the deadline. Since moving back to Hertfordshire I’ve had a very busy summer and finding some time to relax and work on my script has been a challenge but it’s still my number one priority of course.
A few weeks ago I went to Germany and Amsterdam for sights, scenes and sounds. And beer of course. Although a small holiday isn’t always the best time to do some writing, I found some time to work on my script on the train journey between Cologne and Amsterdam which was about 4 hours and in a first class cabin which was pretty special. I find writing on a train very unwinding and it’s when my mind is most creative as I don’t have to concentrate on anything else so it’s the ideal time to scribble down ideas or even write a full story. Also, first class in Germany is ridiculously cheap so why not, eh?
Two weeks ago I was looking into an empty, blank room with just a bare bed, wardrobe and desk. This was once my writing domain and office (and on some occasions a bedroom) and now I’m closing the door one final time and leaving the key behind. This was the room I wrote the majority of my scripts in during my stay in Cardiff since September of last year. It was in a quaint little terraced house that was converted from a grocery store to a house (god knows when) and I shared it with two other students who attended another university.
So last weekend, myself along with my MA Scriptwriting classmates and tutors departed to Gregynog Hall, a large country mansion in the old county Montgomeryshire, Mid Wales. It was a writing weekend, an opportunity to receive group feedback on our first drafts (which in my case is my TV series Lemonhead) and use that feedback to start rewriting it into something… well better! As for the location, I had read up a bit about it and it looked like a beautiful, secluded getaway which would be ideal for writing and brain storming, as well as collaborating with my fellow writers, some of whom I may not see for a long time unfortunately. Though let’s not get into that right now. As we departed to Gregynog with our suitcases in the back and Primal Scream blaring in the front we began our two hour journey to our fabled destination.
Stamping down the stapler on my freshly printed script analysis essay today was a pleasing sound. It meant that I was finished my assignment and that I could move onto creative writing once again. Not that I have anything against academic work, but I prefer it when I get to cite my resources from my mind and imagination.
So what’s next in store? Well, our next assignment is back to being creative but we still have to source from an original text. Our next objective is to adapt an existing text, whether it be a book, comic, television series or video game to a different medium. Since I can remember I’ve always wanted to adapt one item to film and that is Grim Fandango. Grim Fandango is a computer game developed by Tim Schafer back in 1997 and is one of my all time favorite video games. It’s a film-noir esque story of crime and corruption set in the land of the dead and you play as the smooth talking, Mexican compatriot Manny Calavera. You play as a travel agent, masked as the Grim Reaper in the human world and you must pay off your dept before you can seek eternal rest in the Ninth Underworld. You’re not the only Grim Reaper though, it’s a business called the Department of Death and you must take your newly deceased clients into a sale pitch and sell them the best travel package to the Ninth Underworld. If you led a bad life, you must take a 4 year journey of the soul and mind before you can find eternal rest. If you led a good life you are rewarded with a Double N ticket which is a 4 minute journey that takes you straight to the Ninth Underworld. The only problem is that Manny is struggling to find such clients and eventually finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy that involves crime, corruption and a bit of romance too.
As it’s an old game I did struggle get it to work on modern computers but fortunately for me, the good people at Double Fine Productions have released an updated version of Grim Fandango and now I can get it working flawlessly. So this month alone I will be playing Grim Fandango (for research purposes of course) and working it into my film adaption.
So, Christmas has gone, 2014 has gone and my sanity almost went with it too as I was spent the last few weeks finalising my final major project treatment for my television series Lemonhead. The treatment ended up being almost 6,000 words and I’m very happy to have it done. Writing the treatment has been a very fun experience, not just as a writer but to finally create something that’s been on my mind since I ever wanted to be a writer. Lemonhead is a personal story in it’s own way as the storyline is fictitious but the characters and situations are all based on experiences in my lifetime. I will share more with you soon and want to go into more detail of the plot but it’s under wraps for now. I hope someday I get to make it into a real television series and share it with you all. I’m very proud of it and cannot wait to start writing the script. All the best and hope you have a great new year!
Monday 24th November
Monday morning for me was being cooped up in bed, feeling awful with a torrid virus. Or flu, I wasn’t sure but it wasn’t very nice. Either way I didn’t want to waste my time feeling sorry for myself in bed without writing something.
I meddled with different scenarios and storylines for Lemonhead. I felt the storyline was lacking something unique. It’s essentially a coming of age story that deals with certain mental aspects such as anxiety and social acceptance. Though I feel the main character, Jamie needed a new objective. He makes the decision to move to a new town, with a new job in a new setting but is underwhelmed at what he finds. Originally he just went with it but he needed a new reason to stay. But what that reason was I still had at the back of my mind somewhere.
Tuesday 25th November
I was still feeling rough today but the night before I had a flurry of thoughts crossing my mind. The main reason Jamie moves is for the job which he believes is in the games industry. Turns out it’s just a support role for a mobile gaming app and is not what he wanted. The other incentive for staying is that he’s living with Sonny, another game developer.
So I decided to add a new sub-plot the story. Both Jamie and Sonny work together to make an independent game together. I’m very passionate about the indie game community and felt this was the perfect niche to Lemonhead. By adding an indie game development storyline to the mix the program I can introduce a whole new audience of gamers to the show. I was also influenced by Silicon Valley from HBO, which has a similar premise, but more about starting a tech company.
Wednesday 26th November
Honestly, my attention was towards the entrepreneurial debate that was taking place today. I had to put Lemonhead on hold and concentrate on arguing against Welsh culture encouraging creative entrepreneurship.
Thursday 27th November
Today I wrote notes for the independent game storyline. The idea I had in mind was that Jamie will come up with the idea of starting a computer game with Sonny. They will use an idea they had back in university and use Kickstarter to help fund it. From personal experience running a Kickstarter can be very stressful and adding this storyline to the storyline would be a key factor to Jamie’s mental breakdown later in the series. I didn’t think there was enough pressure on him for that to happen and again this gives the story something new.
I also helped write some lines for a video game that I’ve been working on. This involved descriptions for certain items you look at, dialogue between characters and puzzle design.
I’ve been meaning to set this blog up for a while now and since starting a new chapter at The University of South Wales I feel more inclined to share my thoughts and ideas. In September I made the move to Cardiff, Wales to begin my MA Scriptwriting course, a profession that’s been my goal since I can remember. I am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead and hope to use this experience and time to unload my imagination and ideas and put them onto paper.
So far we’ve met our tutors and discussed our Final Major Project. This will be a final script that can either be a film, a TV series, a theatre piece or radio script. My eyes have opened up already and although I had bases for film and television ideas in my head it’s beginning to become apparent that working in theatre and TV maybe a less trickier path into the industry. Having worked in theatre before as an actor I would like to write a piece to be performed on a stage. And as for radio, it’s certainly a path worth thinking about as you’re more likely to get something on the radio than television. Food for thought I guess. Though my Final Major Project – which I won’t reveal details of at this moment – will be a television series that I’m really excited to start writing about.
First task though is to start learning about script analysis and character development. I’ve been reading Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christoper Vogler and hope to learn a lot about the art and power of storytelling. Plus we need to deliver an essay and presentation of a chosen work so better get started!
Anyway, I’ll be keeping this blog updated as much as I can but if you want to learn more about me I’ve written a small bio of myself on my about page so do head on over there if you’ve got a moment to spare.