I wrote my first feature film script in the space of 14 months, between March 2013 and May 2014. It was titled Excludable (although that was always meant to be a working title, since it’s clearly not a real word), and it might not have been a masterpiece but I was very proud of it. I hadn’t started this blog at that point, so it was in many ways the most personal thing I’d ever written. Will seemed to like it – all 73 pages of it – and I was committed to making the idea work after his ever-reliable feedback. I therefore started working on a second draft, and had even written a pitch that I sent to a production company for a radio series based on the concept. That old devil called writer’s block would soon put the brakes on proceedings, however, and a change of laptop just over a year ago accidentally caused me to lose the entire script. I still have the pitch, which I am confident will come in very handy one day – but the script is gone forever, inaccessible on my new computer, and that means that I am now eagerly pondering its replacement.
I do, however, have one other complete script I can showcase, even if it is just a single page in length. It was written quickly in September 2015, when I was required to shoot a short advertisement for a product of my choice as part of the college course I was on after my A-Levels. Having held a lifelong affinity for the brown and sticky stuff, I chose Marmite, but I was struggling to figure out how to tackle it in an original or memorable way. I thought about it long and hard for at least a week, seemingly getting nowhere despite watching a whole host of past adverts in search of inspiration. It was my tutor who eventually suggested that I use the famous “love or hate” debate surrounding the spread to portray a group of Marmite lovers at a support group gathering, discussing their shared issue as though it was something sordid or taboo. This was something of a eureka moment, and I agreed with it immediately, recalling an advert I’d seen in which a man was implied to be pleasuring himself to footage of Marmite on his TV screen. I thought that if I approached it carefully, the idea could give me just the memorable quality I’d been looking for in my advert.
I got writing soon after the discussion with the tutor. It was only one page, as I’ve said, but a lot of thought still had to go into it, as it needed to pack a punch and sell the product to the audience in the space of a minute. I can’t say I was entirely happy with the finished piece of work – for me, dialogue is an area that will always need improvement, and admittedly, the view of a support group that I presented was probably nowhere near as realistic as it could have been. Far from being supportive, gentle or encouraging, the leader of the session was a cold and ruthless man who had little time for anyone else’s stories and was determined to berate them and their relatives for their introduction to Marmite. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t quite happen in real addict gatherings. I’m also in doubt as to whether they end with leaders and visitors alike licking Marmite jars in an ecstatic frenzy, but if nothing else the script may still turn out to be a useful basis for another idea one day. I left my course the day before I was due to film it. I don’t know how happy I would have been with the end advert, but I might feel better if it resurfaces in another form one day, knowing that another complete piece of my work is out there for the world to see representing my portfolio.