D’oh! The hills remain closed. Still, the government assure us the situation is getting better, etc, etc. Anyway, I’m still avoiding worrying about anything on the production side of things yet. The script is now on draft 4b (yes, it’s got to the Super-numerical Draft Designation stage), and having just sat down and read it from start to finish for the first time since draft 1, I’m pleasantly surprised. It still needs a little extra something in the last act, but it’s very nearly there.
Okay. Script feedback. The main conclusion is: first half good; second half pants. It has become clear that Act III needs to go right out the window, since it’s just a sequence of random (and very expensive) action scenes. What it needs, says the Rickster, is a twist. What it needs, he continues, as I nod in wholehearted agreement, is to not be like every other action film, where by the halfway mark you know exactly what’s going to happen. What it needs, Rick implies, is for me to sit around trying to think of something cool and completely unexpected to happen round about the 90 minute mark. Cue lots of sitting around, and thinking about just about everything under the sun but cool and completely unexpected things. Still, lots of bill-paying work at the moment to take my mind off it (um, cos that’s a good thing) and to pay for some much needed look-nice-o-matic accessories, such as some graduated filters and a telephoto lens. The best thing I’ve heard all month is: the Malvern Hills are going to be reopened soon (curse you FMD, for making my country this way).
The Story So Far. It’s December 1998, I’m fresh off an incredible 3 week film course, and I’m starting a year long contract as an admin assistant for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. As I sit at my desk that first week, watching my superior explain the office’s filing system to me, I suddenly have a vision of an action hero running through the room, pursued by a gang of uzi-toting mercenaries. And I just have to write a movie about someone with a dull-as-a-water-free-ditch job saving the world. With guns. And explosions. And expensive vehicles crashing into other expensive vehicles/buildings/people. One day I’ll make it. When I’m rich and famous, and can make any film I want, with whatever cast I want, as many special effects as I want, and any locations I want. I have created The Beacon, and more than two years later, when I complete the first draft, and make the downright ridiculous decision to make it, now, this year, with a budget that an electron microscope would strain to spot, I have knowingly put myself on course for a heart attack before I even reach 22. And so we begin. While I await feedback from writers Rick Goldsmith, James Clarke and Mark Evans on my script (and wonder how they’re going to tell me it’s awful in a way that doesn’t make me never speak to them again), I release my pent-up creative energy (pretention alert – sorry, I should have warned you earlier) by storyboarding. A large proportion of my flat’s biggest wall is now covered in bad drawings, and that represents only a few pages of the 73-leaf script. It’s good to start thinking about the film visually. It’s amazing how much dialogue you realise you don’t need when you start boarding. Having worked out how the hell I’m going to finance the film (savings, investments and inheritances), I instantly made the first spend: the domain name for this site. I very nearly splashed out on some bargain movie theatre seats, too, for the cinema-gets-trashed scene, but sadly it was a “buyer collects” deal, and neither me nor the capital-based friends I rang round panickedly were able to pick up the red velvet bottom-holders from South East London.