Football’s (not) coming home

I promised you some content so here we go. But first, this happened:

Three Lions on the Shirt.

Three Lions on the Shirt!

It might come as a surprise to most of you, but I’m not the biggest fan of organised sports. I rarely watch sports on TV or anywhere else and I don’t really follow a team, I have sympathies though and there are a few exceptions to the rule, a ski race, mostly the big downhill races, and the World Cup and the Euro.

It sounds a bit silly but I get quite emotional during the World Cup and especially when England plays. Being an England supporter is obviously a bad idea but I’m happy that I turned out that way and I’m pretty sure that England is the only team I can get this emotional about and I’m going to the you why. I think it has something to with their history or maybe even myth and in some sense, their lack of success.

There’s 1966, the only Championship England has ever won and I think that the biggest part of being an England supporter is the fact that we’re waiting for that moment again, it’s almost biblical, waiting for the messiah, the second coming and in a way that’s what being an England fan is all about. We’re waiting for it to happen again, every time we start to hope again, every time we get this feeling only to get disappointed again.

I said that I don’t like sports but I love sports movies and being an England supporter is probably the closest you can get to a sports movie story in real life. You have the drama, you have hope only to have that hope crushed all over again… but no, we don’t learn. It’s a feeling probably best described in one of the best sports songs ever:

It’s coming home
It’s coming home
It’s coming
Football’s coming home
Everyone seems to know the score
They’ve seen it all before
They just know
They’re so sure
That England’s gonna throw it away
Gonna blow it away
But I know they can play
‘Cause I remember
Three Lions on a shirt
Jules Rimet still gleaming
Thirty years of hurt
Never stopped me dreaming
So many jokes, so many sneers
But all those oh-so-nears
Wear you down
Through the years
But I still see that tackle by Moore
And when Linekar scored
Bobby belting the ball
And Nobby Dancing
Three Lions on a shirt

It’s not fun being an England supporter, especially when you consider tat were now at more than 50 years of hurt but every two years the feeling returns and you start to hope again until that moment where against all odds the underdog, yeah England, where football was invented is the underdog now, wins the championship. Isn’t that how the movie is supposed to play out? But on the other hand, not winning is what the myth is all about. England fans are used to supported their team no matter what in good and let’s be honest especially the bad times. Obviously, reaching the semi-final was a big feat but nobody cares about third place and the dream is to get the Cup. This is real life and not Cool Runnings or Eddie the Eagle but it sure feels like these two movies at the moment.

So, what am I actually trying to say here. Well, I’m disappointed but I support my team and I know that there will be a happy end at some point, it might take some time but “Football will come home one day”.

 

About that Toy Story 3 Ending

It has been a while and I know that I wrote that sentence a lot lately, well a lot would require a lot of posts and that is exactly the issue. I haven’t felt like writing during the last couple of weeks, life and work have kept me pretty busy. I did some translations and feedback for Orlindo but my own projects have been dormant. I need to change that and get the #ProjectMomentum going again but that’s for another day, today I feel like something (completely) different.

It’s just a short excerpt from a great scene at the end of a great movie and for those of you who’ve never seen Toy Story 3, shame on you but you can remedy that, just drop everything your doing and watch the movie right now. Everyone else, go and watch the whole scene, I couldn’t find a good video of the whole scene online. There are many great Pixar moments and all being said and done, I think this scene, this moment, is probably my favourite one and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

I also have a confession to make, I cry every time I watch this but it’s not because it makes me sad, on the contrary, it’s actually really endearing, uplifting and a celebration of the relationship between Andy and his toys, Woody in particular… but yes, it’s a little bit sad as well. There’s this moment, little Bonnie sees Woody and says: ”There’s a snake in my boot!”, one of Woody’s catchphrases and I don’t know why, my eyes just start to tear up and then we see Andy, not sure what he should do, he initially indented to keep Woody but he has no chance against Bonnie’s big eyes and I have no chance to hold back my tears. The moment is beautifully animated and one of the most emotional moments in cinema history1. Andy decides to let go of Woody, his favourite toy. He basically let’s his childhood go. We are witnessing the moment he grows up but not before one last playtime. A (last) rite of passage if you will.

I like how the moment plays out. It’s not just a heartfelt goodbye, it’s a celebration and a reminder of the great times he had with his toys and let’s face it, a college kid with too many toys is weird and Bonnie will take good care of the toys, she will cherish them just like Andy did and he will always cherish the memories he made with Woody, Buzz, Mr. Potato Head, Rex, Jessie, Hamm … and the Aliens. Andy will miss his toys but he knows that he has to let them go. They had their time together and now it is time to let go, move on and let someone else have their fun with them and even more importantly, let them have fun with someone new. It’s not just him saying goodbye to them, it‘s also them (especially Woody) saying goodbye to him. Damn, I’m already tearing up again… and when Andy leaves, Bonnie waves with Woody’s arms. Damn you.

So, why am I writing about the ending of Toy Story 3? Let’s just say I’m feeling bit like Andy at the moment. I have/had to say goodbye to my 7th graders. They’re writing their matura right now, so we already had our last lessons together and I had to try really hard to hold my tears back but just like Andy not because I was just sad but because I knew that our time together has/had to come to an end2 They need to move on and I need to let go, but I’ll always remember the playtimes we had together. It was mostly a lot of fun and I’m thankful for all the memories.

I’m pretty sure that my students don’t read my blog, I mean, let’s face it, this post, while honest and heartfelt, is also a bit embarrassing but I don’t care, I embarrassed myself more than once. So, if “you” do read this, I’ll just wish you all the best in your future endeavours. I hope you find someone who plays with you like Bonnie. And don’t worry about me, I get new toys next school year. 🙂

But let’s end this sappy piece of writing the only way I know how. The way they did it in the movie….

“Thanks guys (and gals).” 
“So long, Partner.”

…and with a video of Jennifer Lawrence tripping at the Oscars3 because, well you know why.

  1. You disagree? I don’t care. 🙂
  2. That being said, due to the fact that they have two subjects with me…let’s just say I still have options. :-).
  3. Note to self: Be more like Hugh Jackman.

ITFS 2018 – Here I Come

I have to admit, I’m getting nervous. I leave for the ITFS today. I have a 4 hour trainride ahead of me but I’m so excited that I don’t mind. Slowly, the fact that I’m attending a festival where I’ve been nominated for a prize, starts to really sink in. I’m not fully there yet, I’m quite sure that it will happen once I have my lanyard with my name on it that says filmmaker. I’ll post pictures. 🙂

I’m probably going to use my instagram account this weekend and the plan is to write a follow up on saturday on my way home. I don’t really know what to expect from the festival, I just know that I’m really excited.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Orlindo, my partner in crime (in the flesh), again. A long time ago we started this journey together, on somehow diverging paths but it’s fitting that we can experience this together and that “Skyscraper” is the screenplay that made it happen.

I obviously have no idea if and how this weekend will influence our careers and to some extend maybe even our lives, if at all, but I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s going to be a great weekend and because we worked hard and long for it, karma should reward us at least a little bit. A journey that started on April 7th 2007 and that had its ups and downs, lead us to this weekend and as I said, I have absolutely no idea what will haben but I know that we are going to have some serious fun this weekend.

Stay tuned. 🙂

It’s official!

Another bit of ITFS follow up.

Orlindo’s and my nomination is now official. We’re still waiting for a proper press release but our names appear in the official festival catalogue and although the possibility of it being a very elaborate practical joke still seem like a viable explanation… all signs point to it being a real thing. Yeah! Rejoice!

Skyscraper

from the Official Festival Catalogue

We feel humbled to be included among these other nominees. Ron Segal is an accomplished author and his novel that the screenplay is based on, went straight on my to read list. Ali Samadi Ahadi and Arne Nolting are two prolific filmmakers with a long list of IMDB credits. Orlindo and I definitely feel like the underdog here but I actually prefer it this way. No matter what happens in Stuttgart, the fact that we were nominated is rewarding enough, especially with these fellow nominees.

We seem a bit like the odd one out, no producers attached, no grants awarded yet but I guess that’s why these writing competitions are so great, in the end it’s just what’s on the page. Sure, there’s the tiny possibility that only three screenplays were entered into the competition but I choose to ignore that thought.

So, I wish to congratulate my fellow nominees and I can’t wait to meet them in Stuttgart. It’s going to be a blast.

A bit of follow-up on that ITFS business

It’s been a couple of days since that awesome news and I had some time to process all of it and I want to share my thoughts. Let me start by saying that since the news of the nomination, there’s this warm and fuzzy feeling all over me. It feels awesome to have your work finally recognised by professionals but I also have to admit that part of me is still a bit in denial and tries to downplay all of it. To be honest, this is probably the closest I will ever come to achieving my childhood dream and I’m pretty sure that on the 27th of April in Stuttgart, once I fully realise where I am and what is happening that feeling will totally sink in. I will be in a room with industry professional and they will assume that I belong there because of something I wrote. I’m pretty sure, that that feeling will be great and probably a bit overwhelming. 

I now know who the other nominees1 are and I’m sure that we’re not going to win, which is actually freeing. I’m just going to Stuttgart to have a good time and maybe talk to some movie people and who knows maybe one of them buys “Skyscraper” or has an interesting job offer. The other nominees are in production and have producers and funds attached to them so we’re definitely the underdog or the only one without a date for the big ball which technically makes us the most interesting girl at the dance. 

A boy can dream and that’s definitely what I’ll try to do for the next couple of weeks. I’ll dream about achieving my dream and who knows, I’ve never been closer and I’m quite sure that the night will be a blast and even if nothing develops, not many people can claim that they came this close to achieving their childhood dream and I consider myself really lucky. 

  1. So far the ITFS and the other nominess have not officially announces the nominations, so I’m going to refrain from divulging that informiation until it’s official.

Almost there, just give me a second

…I’m almost there. Things are looking good. I’m slowly getting into it. I’m doing some housekeeping on my computer, I’m reorganising my notes and I even started to write a few words. I don’t know why it takes me so long to ease into my process again but I guess it’s because I lost momentum and I need to get it back.

There’s this one problem with momentum though, you don’t have it until you have it. It’s basically an uphill battle to get it but once you have it, it’s pretty much flat or even downhill…in the good sense. It’s going to be a lot of work but I’m sure I can don it. I lined up a little project that should allow me to be creative without too much preparation and if things work out it should be creatively rewarding. I think a small thing like that might be the ideal way to get started again. I have some other projects and ideas but they all seem big and daunting and I just know that I need something small to get started….just give me a second.

Sisyphus

Almost there…seriously.

That took longer than expected…

Ok, that took longer than expected but I think I needed the time. I just needed to relax and take some time off from this endeavor. It’s not that I was fed up with it, I just needed time to gather my thoughts and get a few things out of my system.

I don’t have an exact plan yet, I have no idea when and what I’m going to write but I can feel that there’s something burning underneath all my other thoughts. Unfortunately I don’t have specifics yet but I’m pretty sure that by easter I have something to show.

Maybe I’ll have a look at some of my older projects, but to be honest I really want to do something new or at least something older in a totally new way. But who knows, maybe an old project suddenly requires some more or additional work, you never know and I’m also toying with the idea of giving the Blacklist another shot.

The new version of Saber Rider and Skyscraper are different enough to try again ans see whether or not we can get some momentum. See what I did there? 🙂

There’s nothing new to report now on the Skyscraper front. These things take time and the Spaniards are not the fastest when it comes to reading your script and writing back. We also handed in the script to a competition and to some production companies. Hopefully something interesting will develop there. I’ll let you know if something cool or interesting happens.

That’s it for today. I promise to return to regular programming soon. Stay tuned. 2018 is going to be exciting, seriously, I have a feeling about this one.

A New Dawn

Greetings…

So yeah, it has been longer than I intended it to be and I don’t know if I’m ready yet. For some reason I don’t feel the itch at the moment and I know that I should work through that but unfortunately it’s not just my writing it’s pretty much everything.

I blame the weather and I hope that the next couple of days and weeks will pass and I0m confident that with the sun, motivation will come as well.

I’ll try to use the time to get inspired. I played some games, watched some shows and movies and I’m sure that I will hit critical mass soon. I’m looking forward to that. 🙂

So I don’t have that much to say other than have a great and successful 2018.

Stay tuned.

Progress Report 55 – No Progress

Yeah, it’s that time of the year, the end of the year slump. I haven’t done anything since my last post. I just couldn’t sit myself down to type. My head is just empty and I desperately need some down time to recharge my batteries. I realise that this autumn hasn’t been as productive as it could have been but I’m positive that I will be able to return to form next year. I have a feeling that 2018 could become a great year. 

Maybe I’ll do a 2017 wrap up post next after Christmas, if not take care and I see you in 2018. 

Let’s do some News – #Rascacielos

Yes, someone likes our work!

In the last couple of months there have been some developments I want to share with you. I left some cryptic clues here and there but it’s time to set the record straight that tell you what we’ve been up to. It’s quite cool but I’m pretty sure it will fall apart quite soon, that’s basically why I’m posting this now, before this post becomes obsolete.

But not too fast, let’s rewind a bit… previously on Hard but unfair… You probably know that the last year was a difficult one for me. Things1 didn’t go according to plan and life has been strange, difficult and just generally sucky. I always had a really hard time coping with these kinds of experiences and feelings and this time it completely knocked me off base. I’m a different person because of it, at least I feel different and I’m finally moving on. I hope though that these feelings and experiences make me a better person or at least inspire me to become a better writer but when it comes to unrequited love, being emotional just sucks. Life is hard but unfair… but even in these dark times, there’s usually a silver lining, you just have to look really hard. Sometimes a personal failure can lead to something good and in this case it did.

Out of respect to others, I’m not going into the details of what exactly happened, it’s not too hard to guess though and as an avid reader of this blog you have enough information to fill in the blanks but I’ll tell you what happened afterwards. I cried my soul out and I promised myself something: Become the best possible version of yourself.

So, who is that? Well, basically it’s a better looking more successful version of the thing I was looking at in the mirror. If you follow this blog you probably read about what came next, I lost some weight, started to use some hair product, bought some new shirts, tighter trousers, generally speaking, I started to take better care of myself and my looks. One thing was missing though, professional success. I’m not saying that I’m a loser, I have a decent job I like and I’m not bad at it but this blog is supposed to be about my endeavours as a writer so you probably know how I’d describe success or what my dream version of success is.

Take your broken heart, make it into art. – Carrie Fischer

I wrote a new screenplay last fall and I promised myself to work hard on achieving my goal of becoming a professional writer. A broken heart can be a really good incentive to get things done and I admit, I definitely used those feelings, as chronicled on this blog. My motivation was about 50% hope and 50% defiance, or maybe the other way round. So I worked really hard on some new material, worked a bit on some old stuff and made sure that word (the screenplays to be specific) got around. I’m not sure how but … and here it comes … no, she didn’t confess her love for me…we reached someone. Yes, you read that right. Someone got interested in something we wrote, we being Orlindo and I. Yes, I’m serious.

On May 8th2 we got contacted through www.whiteworms.com by Capitán Araña, a Spanish production company. They heard about our script Skyscraper on the Blacklist and wanted to read it. They seemed legit, they just produced an animated movie called Ozzy that looked decent and professional enough, so we sent them a copy.

They read it.
They liked it.

A week later I was on a Skype call with them. They had some concerns but generally they saw a lot of potential. Their biggest issue, length. 104 pages was at least 24 too much. Too expensive was another issue. So we searched our feelings and a week later we had another Skype call. We agreed to cut the pages and find ways to make the script less expensive to produce. There were some easy fixes but also some areas that required a lot of work and some creative problem solving.

We worked our asses off. At this point I’d like to mention writerduet.com. Cutting the script down was very collaborative and writerduet’s collaboration features made it just so much easier. I don’t want to think about how much time and hassle that piece of software saved us. We also used Slack and Evernote to communicate and share notes and thoughts. It’s amazing how essential these tools became for me in the last couple of weeks and months. Somehow I can’t imagine my workflow without those tools anymore, especially if there’s a co-writer you have to share notes and ideas with.

There were a couple of steps we had to take to turn 104 pages into an under 80 pages. Some pages were easier to cut than others but after a few days we were down to a 73 page screenplay and that was where the real work started. In order to cut pages we had to get rid of some connecting scenes and sequences. We had to come up with new connecting scenes and reworked entire sequences.

Another thing we had to keep in mind was the proposed budget. We wrote Skyscraper without thinking too much about money, the world was big, many characters, crowd sequences, water, wet fur, … . So when the proposed budget is less than 10% of that of a Pixar movie, you have to make some adjustments. This was probably the most difficult issue but also the one that required to most creativity.

The biggest nuisance was proofreading though and I’m not just talking about typos and stuff, by cutting pages, whole scenes or even sequences you risk cutting something vital, a small detail that was important for the plot but because you’re so into the story you don’t realise its importance. That’s why I, on behalf of Orlindo and myself, want to thank our friends who provided some proofreading/feed-backing. It was vital and fresh eyes were sorely needed. Thanks, if there’s a showing in town, you’re invited… if the villagers want to run us out of the village afterwards we need someone to blame.

Jokes aside, we’re actually very happy with how the script turned out. There are a few details missing and some moments I quite liked are gone but generally speaking the script feels more focused and no matter what happens we’re glad that we rewrote Skyscraper and we learned some valuable lessons for our next screenplay, yes we’re actively pursuing some of our ideas and I’m positive that this rewrite will lead to a better next script.

But I digress, you were wondering about the guys from Spain. Well, we sent them the new version and started waiting and waiting and waiting …. After a week we started to doubt ourselves … not that they were taking that much time but they were really fast the first time around and let’s face it, emotions were running high. After the second week, all our doubts were gone, yes we suck. After week three….
Let’s just say we waited for some time. Our Spanish friends were busy with other projects and summer went by without any new developments. I’d love to say that in autumn the whole story gained “momentum” again but apparently they are really busy. We’re still waiting. So were basically experiencing our very first “development hell”, at least we can strike that off our bucket list.

This is the whole story up to this point. We’re obviously just at the beginning of this journey and there are many things that could and probably will go wrong but it feels like a really big step in the right direction. I’ve never been closer to achieving my childhood dream and I’m cautiously optimistic. There aren’t that many people who are lucky enough to get this close to achieving their dreams, especially if it’s something outrageous like becoming a screenwriter and yet here I am.

There are truly exciting times ahead and I hope that this journey takes me where I want to go or at least where I need to be. So stay tuned, hopefully there’s more to come, either a great Hollywood success story or a hilarious Hollywood failure story that ended before it really started… well not exactly Hollywood but you get the drift. I will continue to share news about this adventure under a new segment I’m calling #Rascacielos, that’s Spanish for Skyscraper.

The Hollywood process is like trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people coming into the room and breathing on it. – Douglas Adams

This is getting really long, so I should wrap it up. Just two more thoughts, first, thank you3. Not for breaking my heart but for pushing me to become the best possible version of myself. I couldn’t have done it without you. Second, this is a strange thought though, it’s probably just me being me, like totally stupid and ungrateful for this awesome opportunity and just by contemplating this I feel like I’m betraying my childhood-self or it might just be that part of my brain/personality again that makes me a writer, anyway, if someone (fairy godmother, I’m talking to you) offered me a choice, either this or a little more luck in that other area… how shall I put it… a heartbeat seems like an awfully long time to decide something so easy.

You know what? Actually, I think my childhood-self would definitely approve. 🙂

Stay Tuned.

  1. Let’s be honest, we all know that I’m talking about a girl. I have no idea what it says about me that I start this post about my greatest achievement with one of my biggest failures… but I guess it’s fitting.
  2. That’s exactly 10 years, 1 month and 1 day since we officially started the project, April 7th 2007. Coincidence?
  3. You know who your are.