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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Why You Should Never Pitch What You Haven't Written


Ok, it’s been a while since I last blogged. That’s because my life has been nothing but an oversized stool slowly working its way out of an anus too small for it. Whichever way I’ve pushed or turned it a) only increased the pain and b) didn’t seem to affect the outcome – my attempts at becoming a writer were going down the shitter.

A while ago I pitched an idea that I had previously tried to offload onto The Asylum – a cult straight to DVD production company – to a small time independent producer – who loved it! Only problem being I hadn’t written it, so when the request for the script came through I had to think quick – I’m on my way to a voluntary conservation stint in the middle of Ecuadorian jungle so won’t have internet access for a month – I’ll ping it when I get back. That should buy me just enough time to write a reasonable first draft. No problem he says, look forward to reading it/ have a good time - which he’d cleverly translated into Spanish – what a card!

 Cue the worst writer’s block/ savage wankathon of my life.

I swear my eyes are a full half inch further embedded into my skull than they were a month ago. I’m walking like a crab and doing all my shopping in the middle of the night, wearing steel toecapped boots and my right arm in a sling to hide the callouses and over-sized forearm,  hoping that they think I’m a construction worker who’s had an industrial accident.

Two days before I’m due to return, and he is expecting the script, and I’m producing nothing but dust and running a temperature of 105°. Worse still, I’ve written nothing. Then something really fucking weird happened. I’m not going to write about that though- it’s too freaky. Then I started to write, more than I’ve ever written before.

I’ve always thought that I could be a great writer, but it’s difficult to tell when you’ve never sat in a chair and written for more than half an hour before your hand somehow ended up in your pants, or you were half way to the shops, or to sleep. Now though, I couldn’t help it. I had literally wanked myself into a cul-de-sac of potentialities wherein the only option was to write. So I did. For nineteen solid hours.

When I woke up the day after the next day I felt amazing. My temperature had gone and I had written a feature length script in less than a day! The edge was slightly taken off by the fact I had fallen asleep on a jammy dodger biscuit – the fine details of which were etched into my forehead for the next three days, like the hand of that cunt in Raiders of the Lost Ark, who picks up the burning hot amulet. At least the night workers now had an additional clue as to the possible nature of my industrial accident.

Anyway, I give it a quick read through – it’s fucking awful, but who cares! I’m like the dad of the kid at school who looks like a sausage, with four teeth in the hole where it was pricked, none of which agree on the best direction to face and who eats like a fleshy car compactor. It doesn’t matter how ugly the thing is, it’s mine and I’m proud of it. I check it for typos and ping it off.

The producer gets back to me – it’s interesting but he has some issues to discuss. ‘Fuck off, I’m not Carl fucking Jung’ I think , but don’t write. We meet for coffee and it’s not going too badly – I manage to palm off my social insecurities and twitches as a tropical disease I picked up in Ecuador when he drops it like a bombshell.

“And how is the place?” The place? Sounds like he might be familiar with it.

“Er, you know, pretty green, lots of spiders”. 

“Ha! Yeah, I take it you went down the Napo River?”

Shit. He has been there and goes off on a mad, sparkly ramble. I haven’t and now I’m in a situation that is impossible to escape. I feel like an idiot, but how the fuck am I supposed to know that Rivadeneira, his name, is an Ecuadorian name? That he spent practically his whole life wandering around the entire fucking country? I thought his accent was fake, I thought it was just a Brighton thing, like moustaches, lumberjack shirts and soft mouths. He asks me a question, one that I am in no way qualified to answer. I do the only thing open to me.

I forcibly shat myself in Costa Coffee.

Still, they say your first meeting is always the hardest.

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