Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A Paradox

So by the way, I write more than just this blog. I tend to keep it quiet; I don't like the reactions you get when you tell someone you're a writer. It goes one of three ways: super-high expectations, amused scepticism, or prying questions about the latest dark and tentative imaginings I've been pouring out onto the page. I started off, as many probably do, with angsty teen poetry and a few plays at school, then I went on to churn out several novels that never quite got finished, a few short stories, and endless TV scripts and screenplays. It was just a hobby, but a hobby that I hoped one day might earn me some money...

Well, ladies and gents, today I'm proud to tell you that I'm a writer. Last month a UK production company optioned a feature film screenplay of mine, with plans to produce it later this year for release early 2012.

Skype Emoticons

I'm telling you this now for three reasons: 1) it's the latest distraction that's stopping me from keeping the blog up to date, 2) assuming all goes well, the time will come when I'm unable to stop raving about it, and you'll want to know what I'm going on about, and 3) it presents me with a tricky paradox to deal with, that's not irrelevant to this blog.

Here I am, on the one hand trying to advocate low-impact living, dreaming of an eco-friendly homestead and self-sufficiency and a simple life, repelled by waste and excess and the rich-poor divide... I don't really need to go on, do I? The film industry has to be one of the worst out there when it comes to waste and excess and overpaying its stars. This opportunity could end up nothing for me - if funding falls through, for example, maybe I'll still never see my name on the big screen. Equally, it could be the start of a whole career. If I want to be 'low impact' about it I should tell my stories in novel form - hey, novels don't even have to be printed on paper any more - but I'm just not driven to write novels; I'm driven to write movies. I love film - always have, always will. Perhaps a new ethical model for production companies is in order - perhaps they don't have to be so wasteful and excessive - and as in most other industries, film studios are doing more all the time to 'go green' - but it'll always cost a lot of money to shoot a film people want to see. It's inescapable. I believe art and culture and storytelling are important - I really, really, really do - but is it important enough that we should spend hundreds of thousands (sometimes hundreds of millions) making a film, when there's so much need in the world? Well of course not. But is there anything I can do about it? Well it's easy to say no, isn't it...? Maybe I'm not as sincere about this environment stuff as I'd like to think; a true anti-consumer wouldn't have a DVD collection the size of mine...

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself; maybe it's all right to have a weakness if I do good in other areas. Maybe I should focus on the good that can be done through storytelling; the masses that can be reached; the messages that can be sent. Maybe I should strive only to write low-budget modern-day films! But even looking at the cost of a low budget film and considering how else that money could be put to use, something doesn't sit right. Maybe I should put my, ummm, career, where my mouth is. But wouldn't it be crazy not to take every opportunity that comes my way?

How do I make peace between the two big passions in my life?

4 comments:

Green Lane Allotments said...

We all have to compromise on our principles - it's called life! You could always put some hidden enviromentally friendly messages into your scripts to salve your conscience :) At the end of the day the film industry isn't going to change it's ways just because you don't deal with it so go for it!

allot of veg said...

Congratulations on your sucess!
As to the paradox - perhaps you can use the royalties for greener things? Carry on changing your world - you can get to the rest of it one step at a time,

Nome said...

Thanks guys. You're right, compromise is unavoidable. Onwards and upwards. :)

Monica said...

Loved, adored, devoured this post. Life is all about making compromises. It is nearly impossible to live in western society and not have an impact. Look at us now, writing on our computers, using energy. I feel your paradox - I do all of my work in front of a computer, using techno gadgets, speakers, etc etc that use lots of energy to produce and use. But I think all of these things - be it writing or film - CAN lead to the greater good. Your point about storytelling is very valid. If film is what calls to you, then DO IT. You will figure out ways to make it fit into your value system. One might drive the other. But only good can come of it. So don't worry, you have loads of supporters. I think a huge big ol' congrats is in order. This is a great success!

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