Friday, 20 December 2013

Make Things Happen : 2013, phew, you were good!

Last year I said I wanted to get stuff produced. It was a simple, desperate sort of yearning born from years of frustration. Scripts, as we all know, are no use winking at us from the shelf - they need to be realised, brought to life and that's a collaborative exercise that isn't always without deep, even root-canal-level trauma!

But it worked!

I had two plays staged - SALT ON OUR SKIN in Smock Alley (performed by Aoife Moore, directed by Antoinette Duffy) and BY MR FARQUHAR (performed by Stephen Bradley and Kate O'Rourke, director Caroline Brady) in the enormous Waterside Theatre, Derry - this after a gap of 15 years!

A fellow writer asked me in January what I wished for in 2013 and I said I'd always wanted a theatre commission -- and I got it! I got my first stage commission from the Co. Wexford Youth Theatre. A contemporary, powerful piece for a cast of 24 - the working title is ELEPHANT - , it is now cast and due for production in February next year with Arts Council (Young Ensemble) support.

I have two films under option - the live action one is due to shoot next April, all being well; it has some cast n crew attached; the other is an animated feature with a studio attached and seeking development funding.

I had my first short film made in years - BARZAKH, directed by Donogh MacCarthy Morrogh - and it became my first award-winning short; next stop London Film Festival in January. I saw it in a 300+ seater cinema at the Cork International Film Festival in November which was awesome, especially given the company it was in. It's next up at the London Short Film Festival on Jaunary 18th!

I've also seen the second series of my IFTA-nominated animation series, PUNKY, (Geronimo Animation) go on air and another, WULFIE get Media funding to allow for full development with Monster Entertainment. We've rewritten the bible, they've taken it to Mipcom and now we're working on scripts for the Kidscreen package.

My CREATIVES IN ANIMATITON NETWORK nearly doubled in size though we only managed three meetings - but there are now several active collaborations happening, some of them with funding, which is exciting! It's lovely to be there at the start of something!

Then, out of the blue, I was asked to write scripts for my first app in November - launch should be early next year but it looks amazingly, undeniably sweet and magical and fun. Great animation by Giant Animation/ Dan Spenser and software by Marino Software/ Heidi Egger but I can't say any more for now.

I also started work as a creative consultant on my first kids' game unexpectedly - NewzMonkeys, produced by Carmel Crawford in Dundalk. Pre-launch registration opened in November and feedback from test groups is wonderful.

Out fo the Galway Film Fleadh, I began developing my first comedy drama series. Best thing is that the producer is someone with whom I've always wanted to work. That's a pleasure in itself and lovely to be working with someone fromt he very start whose vision is as ambitious as your own! And in December, a new contact has led me to write my first radio series pitches in years for an independent company who have the energy to make stuff happen.

In the downtime, I finished two children's novels. These are out seeking publishers; others were put on hold because the feature scripts from which they grew have come to life again.

For the first time, I moderated... at SDGI's Digital Biscuit, interviewing the wonderful Chris Nee, creator of Doc McStuffins - I loved it! I also sat on an animation panel in the IFI and I taught two courses in Filmbase with two really good groups of students from whom I expect great things!

And then, to top it all, I got engaged!

(Yeah, I know that has nothing to do with work but then it sort of does because his support and enthusiasm for my work is wonderful and necessary, especially when everything seems to be exploding under your feet into smelly gloop and you need someone to hold you up so you don't sink too far.)

And yet, this is only the stuff that happened.

It's not the other series that were optioned or that I developed for various companies... or the many scripts - shorts and features - that were entered into competitions and sometimes shortlisted (Pigpen: semi-finalist, Screenwriting Goldmine; Salt: shortlisted RTE/ Filmbase)

Neither does the list include all the interesting people I met this year with whom I would love to work in the year(s) ahead -- if we can just find the right project or the right constellation of stars zooms into orbit and whispers 'you have funding' in our ears!!

Before I made this list, I was thinking that I hadn't done much this year at all, wasted tons of time intending to do things... Mastering the Art of Procrastination to award level. Now I think I might take a few days off even though the pre-Christmas hummmmm has quietened! (Unless I decide to reward myself by starting to brainstorm another feature project that might be the first new script of 2013!)

Mind you, I'm waiting feedback on several projects at present so my sense of achievement could yet be nicely rocked into a supreme lack of confidence and panic as soon as various production companies return to work on Jan 6th so I'm just going to enjoy this satisfied 'lull'.

Cos, regardless of what happens to our dreams and projects, we keep doing it, don't we? We keep writing because we make MAGIC! I hope 2014 brings that magic to life for all of you in at least some of the projects you've dreamt up.

Happy New Year !