Wednesday, 20 August 2008


So I've talked about thinking long and hard about starting my own blog and then how I'd got to this point, screenwriting career wise. Then Michael Colman asked the following. "I heard blogs are often ego based and a good excuse not to keep on with what we wanted to write in the first place.What is your motivation to have a blog?"

And I thought, bloody good question.

It would be dishonest to suggest a certain amount of ego doesn't come into it. I think it was Egri who wrote that everything we do comes down to self-interest! So I would reiterate that a little self-promotion doesn't hurt. Another aspect is cyber networking. I am disabled and get knackered quicker than average, so schlapping about to every networking event under the sun is not an option. I go to some, but don't bother with many others. And it could be the same for others but for different reasons, family commitments, expense, etc. So I try and make the most of both facebook and now this blog, to make connections and get my name about in the industry.

But when thinking about a reply to Michael's question, the real answer I kept coming up with for doing a blog was the same I came up with for screenwriting. When I tell people what I do the reaction is almost always the same. They start off very excited with the glamorous notion that I mix with the rich and famous. But after each follow up question, about what I've done that they might have seen (er nothing) what are you writing now (loads of things, but all on spec) etc etc, their eyes narrow and very soon I suspect they begin to think that I am mad. And they are right of course. Because screenwriting is a completely ludicrous way to earn a living.

A friend of mine once asked Jeffrey Caine (Goldeneye, The Constant Gardener) how he coped in the early part of his career. And his reply was that he and his wife were basically poor for about 10 years. My friend then kindly related this story to me in front of my own wife, so I just sat there squirming on the sofa.

So why do it? Ask most writers and they will tell you the same thing. Because they have to. And so even though I tried to think up a nice, charming, glib answer to this question, I sadly find I am no different to everyone else.

A lot of writers also suffer from insomniac tendencies. And here too, I am sadly no different. I suffer with chronic pain issues which doesn't help when trying to get comfy in bed, but what keeps me up most of the time is that I can't shut my head up. Don't get me wrong, I am not claiming to be some deep philosophical thinker. The vast majority of the time I am thinking about why the hell haven't Arsenal signed the players I think they should because I quite clearly know better than anyone else in the entire world.

But just occasionally, I am thinking about this story, and that scene, and this character and that movie I saw and this TV series I am loving... and so on and so forth. And so I write them down. Or some of them at least. I have finally accepted that unless I complete my research on how to live forever, I will never write everything I want to. But I try. And if I don't, there is a good chance I will stop sleeping all together and/or my head will explode. When I was a single lad I kept a notebook by my bed. Nowadays, turning the light on at 4am would not go down too well, so the notebook stays in the loo and I totter off there!

And to answer Michael's question, I blog for the same reason. It keeps me working. It keeps me thinking and analysing what I am watching, reading, and writing. The irony of course is that now I am lying awake at night thinking about what to write in the blog! There is no end to the curse.

Everyone needs to earn a living and with my disability a traditional 9-5 job would be out of the question. But surely I could find a part time something. There must be plenty of ways to earn a living easier than screenwriting. But of course I don't do it just to earn a living. I firmly believe that even if I were a millionaire, I would still write screenplays. (Of course if I was rich I could bloody fund them myself so I could write whatever I wanted and stuff everyone else's opinion!)

But the point is that if you don't have that drive, if you don't have that determination, if you don't have a very loving, indulgent other half (!) you are in big trouble. So in the words of Roy Castle... "dedication's what you need...!!"

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