I would guess that; like many 'budding' screenwriters who have lives to live and day-to-day employment, I've spent far too long procrastinating about whether or not I can actually do this. Seriously - it's been over a decade for myself.
Over the years I've had flurries of activity from time to time, often on the same project - the one I started with when I signed-up for that first course!
Last year I got space and time. But as 2020 drew to a close and I was just beginning to think I'd missed my window, my company took the decision to furlough me (put the job on-hold, for those outside the UK reading this). In late January I was temporarily unemployed - so I started writing. Obviously I started with the project I've been messing around with for years (Duh !), but then I realised that the two Theatre Groups I've been involved with for the last few years had nothing to do - so I decided to write a piece for each and made the bold decision to properly test myself by making sure they were VERY different.
I guessed I might be furloughed for 4-6 weeks, so I also had a deadline. Perfect. Let's see if I can do this!
Now, before I go any further, I should point out that the two pieces in question were both designed to be performed on Zoom, so I had very little existing material to draw on. David Tennant and Michael Sheen offered something to guide me, but it was an awfully high bar and I certainly wasn't going to have anything but Amateurs (with a capital A) to work with IF I ever got them to the production stage.
However, after 5 weeks I had a light comedy completed and set about getting some readings, casting, rehearsing and recording done. It was about a rural radio station in Northern England and I have to say we had the same technical issues I suspect the real station may have encountered. But 3 weeks later, it was done and I was learning how to piece it together using Microsoft's basic Video Editor software. I think this was one of the most frustrating parts of the whole process, but second to me having to achieve my second goal ie: writing a second piece while this was all happening.
As "Barnydale FM" was being published on YouTube (as quietly as possible and without any fanfare), I was finishing the second piece and listening to it being read by a second Theatre Group. Being far more organised and having done it all before, this was a smoother process and that second piece, a home drama based around seven conversations taking place during the pandemic, was published today.
It's funny how hard you can work when you've a deadline, a goal and the ambition. It's remarkable (even to me) how quickly you can learn new skills!
"Life, Love & COVID" seems far more accomplished than "Barnydale FM", yet they were written and produced 3-4 weeks apart.
You have to start somewhere is a very common (and flippant) expression, but it's true for me. So my next goal is merely to remember that I HAVE actually started now. I just need to keep it up!
For anyone who's interested, both of these Zoom plays can be found on YouTube:
Life, Love & COVID
Barnydale FM (2 episodes)
Thanks for reading !