Having vanished from the Internet somewhat as of late, I thought it time I explain what the hell I’ve been doing and why on Earth I’m trying to write a feature film.
At the centre of a world of freedom, sits a box. The box is vast, imposing and made entirely of pages. Webpages, sheets of paper, application forms, pages of stories and screenplays, some filled with writing, some blank, some covered in words that are constantly shifting and changing. A wall of the box shudders. Then again. Pages begin to fall from its surface, words scream in terror as new words, far less productive words, spill from the emerging cracks. There’s an almighty thud against the wall of the box. A flurry of admin, revisions and rough drafts is let loose. In its place, in the box’s outer wall, is a hole. Two shaking hands grab at the edge of the opening and, from within this writer’s block, emerges THE WORDOLOGIST.
He’s shaken, disoriented, dark circles under his eyes. A kind stranger takes the befrazzled Wordologist by the hand, leads him to a comfy chair and gives him a comforting pen to smoke. Everything starts to fall back into place in the Wordologist’s mind. Ever so slowly, he starts to remember who he is, what he does and why nobody laughs at his jokes. Taking a seat before an old familiar blog, he begins to write.
Hello! Your friendly neighbourhood Wordologist is back in the neighbourhood. It has been a long old while since I sat down and wrote anything for this blog, or even for my Facebook page. As my dramatic return may have suggested, I’ve had all manner of bits and pieces keeping me busy and locked away from the world. Hopefully, however, this blog post will be the first of many more regular posts – most of which will have something insightful and interesting to say, instead of rambling on about why I’ve not been writing a whole lot.
So, why haven’t I posted in such a long time? Why has there been no sign of any new stories or other creative pieces? Where has the Wordologist been hidden?
Over the last few months, I’ve written a few spec scripts and applied for a few openings for writers (no joy as of yet), left my job, been hunting for a new one, started writing for another website (it’s okay, I have an open thing going on with wordologist.blog), moved house, continued job hunting (that one’s not easy – thanks, Theresa!), and been working on a feature film script. More on that in a bit.
In terms of writing then, yes, I am now officially writing for the movie news website, Heroic Hollywood (you can find my stuff here). I applied to work with them a couple of months ago and, thanks partly to the fine work I’ve done here (if I do say so myself), they offered me a writing position on their team. It’s been good to flex those creative muscles and get used to writing on a tight schedule – think the online equivalent of one of those bustling hectic newsrooms you see in the movies, except the news is covering film releases and behind-the-scenes stories instead of terror attacks and natural disasters. Also, nobody minds if you eat a cheeky korma while you work. If you want to write for a living, I’d absolutely get involved with any role like this you can find. It is so important to keep writing and to learn to write on demand, instead of waiting for inspiration to strike. I am still looking for something to pay the bills, because the right to survive is apparently a fairly expensive commodity, because you know, capitalism, but this is proving a useful and enjoyable bit of writing experience.
Moving house, then, has been the biggest shake-up lately. I have left behind my beloved university city of Norwich for pastures new and am now settling in a far-flung corner of Cambridgeshire, slowly adapting to life outside a big city and trying to wrap my head around the concept of not having an HMV nearby (seriously, where else do you go to browse DVDs, graphic novels, pop culture t-shirts and novelty doormats all at once? No, they’re not sponsoring me, but we’ll see what happens if I play my cards right). After three years of actual student living, plus an extra year of being a graduate living with students, the move feels like a bit of a plunge into the unknown. Having gone into university as little more than a naive schoolboy who wanted to write stories and come out far less naive, suitably aged and dishevelled, though still desperately trying to write those stories, I can safely say student life left its mark on me. I cannot recommend anything more highly than being a student for genuine life experience, for figuring out what you are capable of and what you want your life to be, before you face the prospect of becoming one of the world’s underpaid worker drones (at least until the inevitable revolution). Leaving that experience behind and trying to make my way in post-student life… it is exciting, it’s full of possibilities (theoretically), but it is also just a bit terrifying, as is to be expected of any leap in the dark.
What, then, am I looking to do now creatively? Where has all my wordology been going lately? As I said, student life left its mark on me and it’s left a mark on my writing too. I’ve never been big on the whole ‘write what you know’ thing – my first published work was a collection of superhero short stories. Even if my more fantastical works tended to spring from real world issues or experiences and feelings that were entirely human, they were firmly anchored in the fantastical nonetheless. Now I’m attempting to write my first proper feature film script and, for the first time in my life, I’m writing what could almost be called social realism (though fairly heightened realism). Why? Because I feel like my last year of living with students, of living on a budget in a crummy rented house, caught between student life and adult life, has given me a story I want to tell. It’s a story that comes straight out of the world we’re living in right now, a story many young people may recognise, but that nobody else seems to have captured.
What I’m writing is not autobiographical exactly. It’s too dramatic and slightly too extreme for that. It is, however, full of moments that could have happened. Moments from my life, stories I heard from friends, the world that I was living in, all turned up to eleven. I want to show, big, bright and bold, the experience of a millennial faced with adulthood in modern Britain, to explore what happens to people when they have to leave behind an overpriced yet underfunded education system to enter an overpriced and underpaid world. I want to show who the modern generation of young adults are, warts and all, and to show why we’re so fed up with the way things are, not by writing something directly political (in the sense of government and party politics – all writing is, of course, political*), but by capturing what that experience is on a day-to-day basis and throwing forth the energy and the hysteria of it. I want to explore the fear of the future and the power of the pointless. I want to write something that is, in essence, a primal scream in the voice of my generation.
And that brings me to why I am writing all this down. Why discuss my plans and ideas before I’ve done anything with them? Well, it’s a decent bit of filler- No! I’m sticking all this up here because I want to chronicle my attempts to get my first proper film made. I’m doing this because I want to some momentum behind this project. If it’s out there, I can’t stick it away and forget about it and get away with letting it go to waste. And I want to network, to get outside support behind the project, to get other creative sorts involved. It would be practically hypocritical to write a script about my generation and the problems we have with our outdated society and then try to get it produced the old-fashioned way. So watch this space, dear readers, for your updates on the Wordologist’s first (professional) feature film!
Anyway, with that final burst of optimism, I can feel a tug on the chain that’s anchored me to that cage of pages. I fear I must once again retreat into my prison of job applications, work, and responsibilities. But I’ll be damned if I don’t drag this blog back there with me!
Until I write again, Wordologist out.
*Thank you, Angela Carter and my sixth form English teacher.