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Idea IS the format

The occasional downtime of Daniel W. E. Light
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Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Like it? Grab it. Share it!

This is something we've been working on at PPC lately, recently pushed live. It's been once of those projects that's really stretched a few of us, but everybody - including the client - is really made up with the end result:



The content may seem like fairly obvious stuff, although the choice of backgrounds is a nice touch. But in terms of how far we've travelled since the days of the campaign microsite, this feels like a real milestone, and we have a nice slate of projects coming up where we should get to play with the format. Hope you like it. Hope you grab it. Hope you share it!

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Tuesday, 23 October 2007

"either you do it or you don't"

A few of my nearest and dearest know that I've been working on a short (12-15 minute) screenplay. The working title is WEATHERMAN. (It's already changed a dozen times, so don't hold me to that.)

The root concept can be traced all the way back to a poem i wrote as part of a creative writing course while studying English Lit in Edinburgh, some time around 1999. I think I eventually called it 'Alien', forming part of a fairly slapdash body of work submitted to a suitably indifferent reception. I still have it on a disc somewhere, formatted for the Apple Mackintosh Classic I was using at the time (see below) - if I manage to resurrect it maybe I'll try and get a copy up on here, for posterity alone.

'Alien' came back to mind about a year ago when I was out with Ems, wheeling Lola around Downs Park. I was trying to explain what Second Life was, how it worked, what mind-bending possibilities existed beyond it's immediate limitations.

I started playing around with the script during a week in France earlier this year. We had a blanket week-long ban on blackberries, mobiles, laptops, but on the first day we went down to the local village and I bought a typewriter in a bric-a-brac market for 10 euros. It was pretty cranky, but it basically worked ok.

The great thing about writing on a typewriter is that you don't tend to get bogged down the way you do when you word process. With a typewriter, you maintain a certain amount of forward momentum, rather than endlessly chewing over your work until the spirit and spontaneity of what made you sit down and start writing in the first place is no longer recognisable.

I came back from France with a first draft, if you could call it that. I stole the occasional moment to type it up a little, but for the most part it stood still. I picked it up again in Thailand, made some real progress thinning down the dialogue, and developed a stronger sense of how it might be structured. Of course, one step forward is so often ten steps back, and I came back from Thailand knowing that there was still a hell of a lot of work to do.

The reason I'm posting about it now is that Kelly O, a friend of mine from LA who does some work with Fox, met me for breakfast at the Broadway Deli in Santa Monica on Saturday, walked me up to Barnes & Noble, and found me a copy of Syd Field's 'SCREENPLAY: The Foundations of Screenwriting'. I started reading it on the flight back and it's already clear to me what a cruel and necessary and illuminating process it will be finding out exactly how much I have to take on board.

There was one quote that hit me square in the face the first time I read it, right at the end of the introduction: "Talent's is God's gift; either you've got it or you don't. But writing is a personal responsibility; either you do it or you don't." I like that. When I go too long without making the time to write, I feel like I'm neglecting a responsibility. I hope I go on feeling that way.

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Monday, 22 October 2007

happy endings

i have 9% of battery to try and capture the essence of yet another trip stateside. i hit LA wednesday night, Fox on thursday, Disney and Warner Bros friday. I ate a whole lot of sushi, the ultimate stack of blueberry muffins and one incredibly fine fried breakfast. england lose the rugby on saturday, west ham beat sunderland on sunday morning. swings and roundabouts from start to finish.

you can be lonely as hell, then find yourself surrounded by a throng of new friends and new possibilities. the west coast might be bad for my health, but then a lot of good things are. ups and downs, but always something new, moving forward, toward the happiest ending of all - going home :)

* * *

chronological 'big-up-yourselves' to:
- Be, for tipping the Monaco
- Rossanna, for knowing that there exists such a thing in this world as an espresso martini
- Kelly and Charlee - much needed retail orientation
- Dougal and Amanda, for the last of the Patron (and the first).
- Mary, Amy, and Hannah and Lucas, official Club Penguin consultants
- Mr Clayton and the Sunderland keeper, for the sunday morning recovery
- Brie, Mai and Jiang Xin Yi, for some much needed inspiration

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Tuesday, 9 October 2007

thailand

Just back from three weeks in Thailand with Ems and Lola. Thought I'd post this pic, since it pretty much sums up the trip, much of which was spent in a bungalow on Koh Samui getting to know a kid who's just starting to learn how to talk to the world, and is generally captivated by what it has to say back.

You can see the rest of our pics from the trip on Travel Light.

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