Lost, Not Found

As if fighting for a seat isn’t enough. You go through the jostling and the stares and the frowns and the sighs. Then you actually have to watch it. That’s the bit that always gets me.

It’s the 06:51 from Basingstoke to London. The least happy place in the world. The train trundles along loudly, and the commuters sit there silently. If unfamiliar with the situation, you might ask, ‘who died?’. They did. Slowly, one day at a time, living the deluded fantasy that the size of your pay check dictates the quality of your life. This is the money train – it goes right to Central London, to the centre of everything.

This is the train I have been catching to work every morning. I have managed to get a job blogging and creating advertising content in a small property start-up company in Hammersmith. To those of you not from the UK, that is where the Oxford-Cambridge University Boat Race takes place. Its price suggests that it is nice.

And I’m happy. Which… must seem rather odd. I am. Understanding how shit life is for some people has genuinely made me appreciate everything I am fortunate enough to have.

Prior to my London work, I had a job renovating some rat-infested stables. I got to spend some time around horses, which was pretty wonderful.

I plan to be significantly more active in the near future. I recognise that ignoring my readers for the best part of 6 weeks is likely to put me in good stead, but I implore you, don’t go just yet. Stick it out. I promise I’ll come good in the end.

I hope everyone out there is well, and I would love to hear how everybody is getting on. It’s just starting to get cold here in England!

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Confession #1

Nervous Email!

‘The first time I got the chance to write a bio of my self to a prospective contact, I got really nervous and ended up writing a 1200 word narrative of my life! If I had relaxed myself before I wrote the message and called some friends, I could have avoided the whole situation!’

 

How To Write A Screenplay In Four Days

People I have been speaking to recently seem to be surprised at how quickly I am able to churn out the first draft of a screenplay. This, in turn, seems a little odd to me – I just sit down and write. So, I thought that I would write my tutorial on how to write a screenplay quickly – well, in four days to be precise.

WARNINGS: 

  1. This is NOT an overly healthy way of spending your time – if you are ill at the time, then don’t attempt.
  2. The polishing of a screenplay takes much longer, this is only about the first draft.

I always start by ‘blocking’ (not a technical term 😛 ). I look at my schedule, and block out four days. Completely and totally – there can be no distractions. Ideally these days would be four in a row, but they can be spread out over two weekends, if necessary. 

Once this is done, I then prepare the list of things I am going to need for the project. For me this is:

  1. The WILL TO DO IT! This method, and writing long scripts in general is HAAARD, you need to really want it, if you are not quite ready to commit, then this probably isn’t for you (Just Do It!)!
  2. A well developed idea/treatment – THIS IS ESSENTIAL! This is probably an obvious point, but if you have no idea what you are going to write about, then all you are going to do is load stress onto yourself, so always come into the project well prepared!
  3. Get your food supplies. 3 meals a day are very important! If you let your health slip when you are putting pressure on to yourself, then you’re at the start of a nasty, slippery slope. 
  4. Get your drinks sorted! Everyone of course has their own drink of choice. For me, I am currently getting really into fruit squash. You are going to need to reward yourself, and a delicious tasting drink will do just that!
  5. Gather your snacks! Mine is strawberry laces…can’t get enough of the darn things… These will be important to keep you going – while you are not going to be physically tired, you are going to be mentally tired, so plan ahead!
  6. Get Netflix. ‘Netflix?’, you say… why on earth would you do that? I will explain that later, but choose a TV Program on Netflix (or however you choose to watch TV on your Computer)  – make sure the plot/genre/tone is different to that of your screenplay. 
  7. Get plenty of post-it notes. 
  8. Make sure you have -plenty of music to play (or not – I feel it soothes me, others, no doubt, hate it!).

Now we get to the fun part! The start!

I am going to assume that most are going to be using Final Draft (or at least are writing in Courier 12). Given that,  from my writing experiences, I can write between 3 and 4 pages per hour – 3 pages for ‘business heavy’ action/description scenes, and 4 for dialogue heavy scenes (when I am not feeling especially inspired, so just normal, standard writing).

So if we consider a full length screenplay to be roughly 100 pages (and more or less, then the method can simply be adapted) that leaves us 25 pages to write per day.

So that means we need to be writing for a minimum of 7 hours a day (four pages an hour, rounded to the next hour) and a maximum of 9 (3 pages an hour). Thus, here is how I structure a ‘normal’ day.

08:00 – Wake up.

08:00-09:00 – Shower, breakfast, read, prepare yourself for the day ahead.

09:00-10:00 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

10:00-10:20 – Watch episode of TV show.

10:20-11:20 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

11:20-11:40 – Watch episode of TV show.

11:40 -12:40 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

12:40-13:00 – Lunch.

13:00 -14:00 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

14:00-14:20 – Watch episode of TV show.

14:20-15:20 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay

15:20 – 15:40 – Watch episode of TV show.

15:40-16:40 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

16:40 – 17:00 – Watch episode of TV show.

17:00-18:00 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay. 

18:00-18:20 – Watch episode of TV show. 

18:20-19:20 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay.

19:20-19:40 – Supper/Dinner/tea/whatever you want to call it!

19:40 – 20:40 – Write 3/4 pages of screenplay. 

20:40-21:00 – Watch episode of TV show. 

21:00-23:50 – Free-time! Go wild, try and switch off entirely from your work. I normally go for a walk about now, just to stretch my legs and relax.

23:50 – Bed. Sleep.

Phewph! As I said, it is a long day, it is intensive, it is pressurized, but hey, at the end of the day (literally in this case 😛 ) you can look back on your work and really have a great sense of achievement of what you have accomplished! 

Some questions I expect to be raised!

  1. Again, why the TV show? Well, research (and, for most of us, personal experience as well) suggests that after studying/working hard for an hour, our concentration and performance levels tend to dip significantly. So it is important to take a break. Very important. The TV show (just my method, could be anything) takes my mind off my work and allows me to be transported to a different world (I normally choose Futurama for just that reason!).
  2. Why did you mention post-it notes? Aah! Well, I write with my desk in front of a wall. When I’m writing and I get an idea about my screenplay, I scribble it down and stick it on the wall. Usually in a break, or at the end of the day, I will spend a little time organizing them and often, they will add new light on the direction of my screenplay.
  3. Is this really necessary? No. Absolutely not. This method is for insane people like me who want to be able to be able to produce drafts of screenplays very, very quickly, and who are prepared to put their sanity on the line. It is probably the furthest thing from necessary. 

The last thing to say is that, screenwriting is an art, and it shouldn’t be rushed or disrespected. What I am suggesting here is not rushing, it is just stringing the hours you would spend writing into the space of four days.

So, there you have it – a vague guide on how to write a screenplay in four days. It works for me, will it work for you? Why don’t you give it a go sometime 😛 

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, or simply think I’m wrong then please do feel free to ask! 

Hope everyone  is having a good day!

Guy Hugo

Just Do It!

I find it rather odd that something my father has been drilling into me for as long as I have been able to walk, has only just been sinking in. Just. Do. It. 

I think that most of my trouble came from a fundamental lack of understanding of the phrase. ‘I want to do it’ I would say, ‘but it isn’t that easy’… ‘okay, I’m sure you know best…’ would inevitably be the response. I didn’t, which sucked.

I got to the stage where I was coming up with so many ideas that I could barely contain myself. From writing to thinking, to wanting to start up companies. At one point, I even tried to pitch my idea for a company to an angel investor and one of my fathers friends (who has so far helped me enormously). He sat me down and said, ‘Guy, you don’t know how to pitch to an investor, do you?’, ‘no’, I said. He then asked me how I was going to have time to do this and all the writing things I wanted to do. I didn’t know.

The death knell was when he said to me, ‘Okay, Guy, I think the idea is interesting – now I want you to show me some other creative projects you have finished – anything – I don’t mind’. I sat there and ran off a line of spiel about having lots of ideas, and how I was in the process of writing x, y and z. ‘But you don’t have anything finished to show me?’.

No.

Suddenly, I understood. God – how could I possibly have been so stupid. My father wasn’t in the room at the time. If he was he would probably have giggled.

I had a whole lot of talk, and nothing much to show for it.

So I started to finish things. Short stories, plays, and now – screenplays. I actually have things to show for myself, rather than just talk.

 

I cannot attest to their quality – other people can think what they want about my work – but all I can say now is that I am doing everything I can to help myself by actually producing, rather than just saying I will.

So I say this, do you have a great story you’ve wanted to write for ages? Sit down and write it! Been thinking of starting a photo blog? Do it! Been thinking about putting your ideas into a visual form and making a video – just do it!

There is a difference between a first draft and a polished script, but how are you ever going to get to that polished script if you never get the first draft finished? Just. Do. It! (I promise, it will feel fantastic 🙂 )

P.S. as an aside (but not an aside at all – if that makes sense 😛 ) today I hit 500 followers on this blog! Thank you so much everybody who has show their support and commented and liked my posts! It honestly means a huge amount to me, and whether you realize it or not, every like, or follow or comment or even view, gives me the motivation to work harder and harder and produce more and better work!

So thank you again! I hope everyone has a fantastic day! 🙂

Guy

 

 

Accountability Buddy!

Hey everyone!

I am looking for an accountability buddy. What exactly is an accountability buddy?

Well, it is somebody who I share my long term goals with, and then break those goals down in to manageable weekly goals.

Each week, on a Sunday or a Monday, we share our goals for the week. A week later, we then discuss our new goals and how far we have got towards achieving the previous goals we set.

It is a great way to stay motivated, week after week, and a great way to learn from and about other people!

If you think this might interest you – please get in touch or leave a comment! If more than one person gets involved, maybe we can form a group!

Look forward to hearing from anyone who is interested!

Guy Hugo!

To contact me, click here!

Us, Or Them?

I sat down to write this morning, with a sense of satisfaction. Having devoted several weeks of my life to it, I had finally finished the first draft of my screenplay. I got up, had a shower, opened up my screenplay and reread it. 

I hated it.

I hated every word, every line. I couldn’t explain why… I think I can now.

I wasn’t writing for me. It was my work, it had my mind, my time, my style etched into it. But it was never meant for me. I was writing for somebody else. I was writing for my professor, for my classmates, for my parents, for the stranger I go and meet on the street, Every and anybody, I felt, except myself. 

So I ask this to you: have you ever felt like you’ve hated something you’ve written?

I won’t go as far as to say that this is a strictly negative thing – this, I genuinely believe, has been a fantastic learning experience for me – but I do think that it is something to think about – what ever your profession. 

To be able to look on work you produce and say, ‘yes, not only am I happy with that, but I feel as if that is work that best represents me as a person’.

Let’s face it, whatever we do, we will all have to sell out to some extent at some point or another – bills must be paid – but that isn’t an excuse for hatred. 

The next time you go to hand in a piece of work, ask yourself, does this reflect me, or them?

The answer can always be, ‘me’. You just have to have the confidence to make it that way.