A couple of weeks ago, whilst trawling through my hard drive searching for something I’d written an age ago, I stumbled across a folder which contained the first draft of a script I wrote earlier this year.
I actually wrote it on a bit of a whim and whilst it has a football theme, it’s as far removed from my normal stuff as it is possible to get. However, whilst it received decent feedback as well as some quality notes and even a glimmer of interest from a very well known producer, the demands placed on my time by other projects had seen it slide slowly down the pecking order. So much so that it had reached the point where the chances of my ever picking it up and doing the work it required had become negligible to zero. At least in the short term.
As I pondered this later on, the more I began to think this was a bit of a waste. Not simply in terms of the time I’d already put into it, but in the sense that it’s a good premise and would actually make a decent little movie.
Then the thought struck me that if I didn’t have the time to do the work, why not find someone who did? After all, as things stood it was just sitting there on my hard drive and with things as they are, that’s where it was likely to remain. But then the thought struck me that rather than simply pay an established writer with a few IMDB credits to their name, I could give it to a relatively unknown and provide them with an opportunity. After all, I have a very good agent, links to a number of producers and a decent track record so this was potentially a chance for someone to get their name and work out and about.
The more I thought about this idea, the more it excited me and eventually, I decided that it was certainly worth asking around to gauge interest.
So, later that day I posted messages on Stage 32 as well as on a couple of the Facebook screenwriting groups outlining my idea and asking what people thought of it. The response was astounding and ranged from outright hostility (why would I want to do it when you couldn’t be bothered/arsed?) to genuine excitement of the ‘me, me, me’ kind.
However, whilst I was bemused by some of the negative comments I received, some of which were downright hostile in tone, it was clear to me that I was certainly on to something and I soon found myself with a short list of extremely talented writers willing to get involved. But the more I went through them, the more I kept coming back to one name; John Bale.
An actor and film maker, John is also a talented writer and was in fact, the winner of the extremely prestigious BBC Writers Room competition in 2013 which already marks him out as a much better writer than I given that I got elbowed from the same competition early on. So quite how or why he jumped on this escapes me but I’m thrilled to bits that he did. For once we had agreed the deal, not only did he completely rewrite the original script at lightning speed, in response to notes from a director we’ve attached to the project, he’s since come up with three alternative endings!
As an example of both recognising and jumping on an opportunity, that has to be as good as it gets because from nowhere, thanks entirely to his efforts, John has taken a script that not so long ago was gathering dust, to the point where in a very short space of time it will be ready to send out to producers and financiers.
Just as importantly for me, so successful has this been as an exercise that I may well take the same path with another script I have which is also lying dormant. Albeit for an entirely different reason.
I’m currently working flat out on the third (and final) novel in the The Crew/Top Dog series and all being well, that will be released toward the end of the summer. In the meantime, I’m delighted to tell you that my non-fiction book Rebellion is now available as an ebook.
First published in 2006, it tells the background to some of the more infamous fan protests including those at Charlton, Wimbledon, Manchester United, Manchester City, Norwich and Bournemouth amongst many others.
And on much the same subject, my last novel, Wings of a Sparrow, may well be heading for TV as a four part comedy drama so watch this space!
All of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.
cass pennant, leo gregory, football, soccer, premier league, watford, manchester united, chelsea, hooligan, russia 2018, racism, racist, UKIP, top dog, we still kill the old way, independent film, self publishing, acting, author, screenwriter, screenwriting, gangster, krays
3 thoughts on “Screenwriting and the art of the opportunity.”
G’luck Dougie. By the way, why no post congratulating Bournemouth???? Not a footie fan myself, but can admire the progress they have made over the years, and the sheer effort in getting to the Premier League from bankruptcy.
Because I’m a Watford fan!
And I’m a Dallas Cowboy fan. Two countries separated by a common language and sport.