Friday, November 14, 2008

Shameless Fan

I have recently discovered the brilliant writing genius of the amazing Paul Abbott, and must say that I am a raving, "shameless" fan.

Abbott created the exquisitely twisted British comedy "Shameless" and the BBC miniseries thriller State of Play. His ability to craft tight story lines that blindside the viewer while simultaneously making total sense is a genuine delight.

Abbott has perfected the art of creating characters so flawed, so thoroughly odious, that they take on a life of their own -- and worm their way into your heart. He makes you root for the deadbeat alcoholic, the Robin Hood of car thieves, the unfaithful MP, the juvenile child-napper, the agoraphobic nymphomaniac, and the perpetrators of insurance fraud.

His characters may be people you wouldn't want in your social circle -- but you can't wait to invite them into your home because they're so alive.

It's true; I think I have a little writer's crush. I'm studying some of what he does and shamelessly applying some of what I find to my latest screenplay project. And I'm stunned at how much more interested I am in my characters. They're much more complex, multi-dimensional, and real. It's quite exciting, because I suddenly can't wait to find out what they do next.

Project Updates

The V.I.P. project for my Major Client has reached an important milestone. Part I is, for all intents and purposes, completed. Part II is coming together nicely. By all accounts, the project will likely end up being a sort of living legacy to the client's industry. I am extremely proud of it and honored to have been involved in its creation.

This does not mean, however, that it is smooth sailing from here. The project deadline is a non-negotiable one that is mere months away. And, while the content is (finally) more or less under control, the illustrations are another story.

Back in April, when I told the Chair of the Project Committee that -- in my experience -- choosing and captioning illustrations to complement the text generally took nearly as long as writing the text in the first place, she positively blanched. Well, it is now seven months closer to the deadline, and we have still not begun photo selection or captioning. I am envisioning calling in lots of favors from friends to help me wade through pictures in the near future. I pray that I am wrong.

Ryan's book project is progressing slowly, but steadily. I have about two days' worth of concentrated work to do on it before the ball is ready to throw back in his court.

And the screenplay writing project that I mentioned earlier has become quite a Blessed Event. I have a draft of the first Act -- the first three sequences -- nearly finished, and am enjoying the process immensely.

I'm working on a bio-pic -- a script based on real events in the life of a real person. Earlier this week, I finally got my first solid sense of who the character is (which necessitated going back and rewriting the pages up to that point). Now I love this guy. I love putting him into situations and finding out what he'll say, what he'll do, and how he'll get out of the mess he creates.

I could work on the screenplay every waking hour. It's that invigorating. Plus, there is the added incentive of the director wanting a draft finished by the end of the month.

No pressure, you understand...

Further bulletins as events warrant.