Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bit Patterns Redux

Recently I completed the first draft of a screenplay for Intrepid, that old Star Trek fan film for which I've directed a number of episodes.  The story takes place shortly after the events of the pilot episode.  It was quite a journey getting it to the point where it made sense to me, let alone to the stage where it made sense to anyone who read it.  Events in the Intrepid universe overtook some of the plot points and I had to rewrite it, an actor who played a key role wasn't available so that meant another rewrite.  A lot of headscratching and aha moments occurred before the stage where it was actually, genuinely complete.

The night that happened, I had a short list of items I needed to change, points I needed to make and dialogue I had to invent.  One by one I got through them.  Completing the script came as a surprise – adding the last item meant adding some extra lines just to bring that scene to a natural end.  And... oh.... it's done.

This was in stark contrast to the first major story (in terms of mere wordcount) I'd written when I was younger and didn't really understand the concept of polishing the work.  Even though there was a huge gap between writing the first half and coming back to write the second half, I'd know since the very first paragraph what the very last line was going to be.  In those days I started at the beginning and wrote linearly until the end.  Writing those last words was an incredible experience and I was bouncing off the wall for days.
So the unexpected completion of Bit Patterns may have been a hint that I wasn't done with it yet.  Oh sure, it was finished but that didn't mean it was done.

So.  A couple of weeks ago myself and Nick had an extended discussion about the future of Intrepid and part of that was the other possible projects that were always there but never seemed to get to item one on the agenda.  We'd always wanted to do an original piece of work once Intrepid was at an end (if indeed it ever was – I once said to him that if Intrepid was a success we'd never be allowed to stop making it.).

I'd been thinking about the timescales, which made me squeak uncontrollably.  The next Intrepid script, Nick's Conviction of Demons, is a monster.  After the readthrough, I estimated that it'd have a running time of at least two and a quarter hours.  And that means a couple of years making it, though that depends on how efficient we can get.  Bit Patterns was almost as large.  So that meant a couple of years plus whatever additional time before we could have something full-sized and original finished.  That's a while to wait, since we've been doing Intrepid since 2003.

So I made a suggestion that I'd been thinking about all the previous week and after much soul-searching, we're going ahead with it.

And that means I'm re-writing Bit Patterns to be an original script.  Not Star Trek.  Original.  And once I've finished  - really finished – I'll be directing a Science Fiction film.  It feels great to be able to type that!  Even if it means that I've just given myself a lot more work for the same total of completed screenplays: 1.

What this means is that I have to do the obvious things such as changing character names.  What's possibly less obvious is that I also have to change the character motivations and backgrounds and relationships.  I have to change the technology.  I have to change the backstory of the whole universe it's set in.  And that's the say nothing of all the additional scenes that will be necessary to do establishing in a way that simply isn't required for Star Trek.

This will be an interesting experience.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adventurous Scots

That would be me.

Seems that there's been a recent study showing that we'd all rather stay in and watch TV or waste time on the Internet.  Well, that's pretty much true as far as I'm concerned, but nothing beats actual data.  So on this morning's adventurous trip to the shops with the express purpose of obtaining caramel cheesecake, to undo the cycling I did the other day, I was stopped by someone from the Evening Telegraph.

She was looking to speak to ten people and ask then what adventurous thing they'd done recently.  It's a regular feature in the paper where the public is asked a question.  What had I done?  Aside from visiting the crash site of the light aircraft in the park earlier on (the pilot was OK and more of which later), I thought the perfect answer was a plug for Intrepid.  After all, as I said, we'd been filming at Glen Doll which gave us the opportunity to go camping and do some hillwalking; an excellent antidote to sedentary habits.

I've no idea whether it's ten people or it's more and whittled down to ten.  Hopefully I'll make the cut!

Yep.  I've just been in the Mon 17th edition along with nine others.  Intrepid itself wasn't mentioned, although it did say about Star Trek fan films and the wilds and cliffs.  The actual quote from me contains about 60% of my own words!

Light Aircraft Crash

You'll probably have seen the news about the light aircraft which crashed in Dundee yesterday.  Luckily the pilot was OK.  I heard about this last night and this morning I took the opportunity to bike up to the golf course where it happened and take a few snaps before the plane gets removed.

And here's a link to what the aircraft was like in better times.  One of my hobbies is looking at newspaper archives in the local library.  I am absolutely sure that this isn't the first time an aircraft has crashed in Caird Park, the other time being in the 1940s.  However despite trawling through my notes, I can't find any reference to it.  Does anyone know for sure?

I was right.  The Evening Telegraph website now reports that a Hurricane had crashed in Caird Park on July 28th, 1943.  Damn, now if only I'd found my note I could have been the first on the web with this snippet of info.