Celebrating Great Films

Saturday, January 09, 2010


I am in the process of writing a feature-length screenplay. How did I come to be writing a film script?

The short answer is Garrick Hamm.

The long answer? Where do I start...

All my life, I've been writing short stories.

In about 2005 I discovered Terry Rossio's Wordplay, a series of columns on how to write successful screenplays. I was so inspired that I wrote a feature-length script - about an entrepreneurial student trying to get into a morally ambiguous secret fraternity. The script was, shall we say, deeply flawed.

Over the next few years, I started getting more and more emails from people asking permission to adapt my short stories into short films. Occasionally, these people wanted me to collaborate, but I always felt too busy to say yes.

Then in late 2008 I started a Masters degree in Creative Writing, and chose Screenwriting as my optional module. I wrote a 30-page script - and this time it was damn good.

I replied to one of the keen amateurs who had emailed me looking for a collaboration, and we got to work making the script into a short film. But, as is the way with so many such projects, it stalled and fell into the eternal limbo.

None of the above has anything to do with Garrick Hamm.

He emailed me in Feb 2009. He'd just finished producing a short called Lucky Numbers, which was touring the festivals, and he was looking for a story for his next short. He picked one of my stories to adapt: The Man Who Married Himself. I volunteered to collaborate.

By May, we had a first draft. It must have been good, because by June, Garrick had persuaded Richard E Grant to star. By October we were up to version 14 of the script. By November filming was wrapped.

The short is still having the final touches applied. Soon it will be launched and start touring the festivals. At best, it'll win lots of awards, at worst it'll raise a lot of smiles on filmgoers' faces.

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