Science says I am no more than seven steps from Kevin Bacon. Science also says I am probably no more than ten feet from a rat whenever I’m in London. Life, like writing, is full of strange connections.
Writing is a predominantly solitary pursuit. Many writers, myself included, clearly feel this isolation. The hashtag, #amwriting, far from being a self-aggrandising statement of personal creativity is, I believe, a vital lifeline in the dark small hours when writers play God in made up worlds. We’re children, at heart, playing with our imaginary friends and feeling keenly, therefore, the need for real ones. Or maybe it’s just simply that misery loves company.
But, I digress.
Working on a low budget indie film has been the antithesis of the typically isolated writing experience. There are the obvious interactions – directors and their cohort asking for rewrites on scenes that are not deliverable on our budget; the long-discussed “wet script”; script read-throughs with actors, etc. But I’ve also found myself getting involved in other areas. Costumes, set building, location scouting, the relative merits of different catering options, and even how best to keep kids on bikes from cycling into shot when filming in a public park. Some of my “real world” skills have proved to be as useful as my writing, if not more so.
It’s certainly not the type of networking I was expecting, but it has been great fun never the less.
Most recently, I made a new strange connection – Games of Thrones actor Ross O’Hennesy.
Ross has very kindly taken on the role of “President of Earth” in Offworld, delivering an opening monologue that is crucial to setting the scene for the film. In just a minute or two of dialogue, Ross has to tell us the why, the when, the what of the whole piece, allowing us to jump straight onto the bridge of the Tantalus II (where the crew’s problems really begin).
We are very privileged to have Ross on board.
The opening monologue was one of the few scenes that Terry Cooper and I didn’t collaborate on – I wrote it as an add-on to the script after the first edit and a huge amount of time and effort went into it. Sci-fi films often start with an “info dump”; such as the Star Wars opening crawl or James Earl Jone’s monologue at the start of Mad Max. It may be a trope, but it’s a trope that works, and it’s one of the few places where I think breaking the cardinal rule of “show, don’t tell” works well.
Fingers crossed I’ve done the Offworld team justice on this one.