I finished the first draft of my “Bigfoot!” comedy script last Sunday and submitted it to Sundance for consideration into their 2014 Writer’s Lab. It’s a great scheme that runs throughout the festival and helps writers develop their scripts from first draft to something more well rounded.
Sundance have helped many writer/directors I admire like Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Other People Whose Name End in Anderson develop their work and I really hope my project gets selected.
Finishing the feature script felt like a big step (pun very much intended) for me, as for so long I have been building towards writing one. I think to some extent I had a bit of a mental block in approaching it as it was always something I was “going to do” in the future.
I was trying to get it perfect in my head before putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard. But thanks to some words of wisdom from other more experienced writers, I eventually sat down and forced myself to write it.
It took me 12 days in total to write 125 pages. I then spent 3 days editing it before sending it off to Sundance (their deadline was midnight on Sunday). I probably should have had it ready much more in advance, but ultimately the tight deadline helped me overcome my fears and just write it.
It shows the importance of setting targets or deadlines either yourself or through others, as it removes the possibility of choice. When we “have” to do something, doubts can fall away. That said, pressing submit and finally sending the script off was still difficult. It’s something I’ve been working on, at least in my head, for 2 years. I knew that more work would make it stronger but I didn’t have the luxury of polishing the turd, so to speak.
Hopefully though the Institute will see potential in my turd and I’ll get a chance to polish it in the Lab. But if not, I’ll still have a feature script that I’m pretty happy with and I think could eventually make a great movie.
I leave Portland tomorrow back to England. But to celebrate finishing my script I embarked on a fun photo experiment yesterday with my friend, photographer Margaret Jacobsen. I borrowed a Bigfoot costume for the morning and walked around South East Portland dressed in the hairy body suit, with my head poking out the top. I had some great reactions ranging from delight from kids to genuine fear from their parents. One man hugged me, another shook my paw, and a homeless fellow told me that “monkeys have more privacy than humans because the government is spying on us.”
I look forward to sharing the photos soon. Here’s a special preview of me in the grocery store browsing for fruit…