Requiem is no more. As the one hour drama anyway.
For awhile the thought about losing this story to the university had crossed my mind. But i thought if i think that about everything then i'll never be able to finish anything. So i just carried on. Everything about the idea and its characters just seemed to get better and better. I could see the film complete from beginning to end, from scene to scene, from motive to motive, how it would be filmed and acted, everything. So i decided it was time to start writing a scene breakdown. I only completed the first act.. At forty-something development pages and a month of ecstasy with it. I knew that this wasn't my one hour drama.
I came to the point where two things clicked at the same time. One, this story was a feature film and it would be an injustice to cut it short and Two, i don't want to give this up to the university. So after having the greatest feeling about a story and love for its characters i immediately stopped and closed down the file. A weird sudden-divorce. All i wanted to do was get a head start on the project to free up some time next term. I was way ahead but now felt like I had wasted a month and was behind. After the initial panic and self-doubt (I'm not going to top this!) I got down to business and followed my instincts. Even at the sudden departure i felt excited about finding a new idea because it was a challenge.
Many ideas came and felt great in terms of human drama and originality. But the more I developed these ideas the more they appeared larger than sixty minutes or didn't feel as good as Requiem. What was depressing is that in some cases they were more dramatic. But that wasn't the problem. I then got a bit paranoid because i knew that if i didn't top Requiem - then i'd never find an idea. But i thought that wouldn't happen. Not right away anyway. All i needed was time away as it was still fresh. So it was like a sudden divorce. I needed healing time, which is crazy if you think about it. It is only a script. And i might be taking it too seriously.
But its through this process that i believe (as corny as it sounds) that everything happens for a reason. If i didn't have that moment of realisation then I would have missed the opportunity of coming across some of my best ideas yet.
I've got a new indie comedy-drama feature, which i feel great about and within a few hours was fully formed. At one stage this was going to be my one hour drama but then got too good and i realised also that it was a feature story.
Also as a result i've got a great drama premise, which is too specific to post, but is very close to becoming my one hour drama. It's sad as hell and surpasses Requiem and anything i've written. All that's stopping it - is its title. I could have everything i want in a story but if the title isn't right then it won't happen. Its crucial.
One of the problems of getting the right idea for this is its end climax - it has to be explosive in its final moments of absolute drama. My last two scripts; for Narratives and Audiences had this element and its something i feel i need to top for this. If i don't feel that high octane/dramatic peak of everything coming together for the story's climax - then i won't bother with an idea. No matter how good it is.
I know its not a good idea to put unecessary pressure on yourself but in this case it seemed to work. For me personally i work better under pressure and having to overcome the next challenge - although to have time with an idea to fully explore and develop it is something else.
'Follow your instincts' is something that continues to amaze me. I don't know if its true for everyone but i know it works for me. But even with the bad choices or even losing notes on an idea something better ends up surfacing. What will be - will be. Shit happens. Damn i thought Requiem was the one!!
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