Monthly Wrap-Up – February 2018

It’s been an up-and-down month, I’m not feeling great and I have no idea what I have written below – I hope it makes sense! Here we go:

WATCHING a lot of daggy game shows on telly – Pointless, Think Tank etc – and daggily cheering for the return of Hard Quiz. I am such a dag.

SEEING nowhere near as many movies as I’d like. I did however get to I, Tonya, which, while very good, left me feeling a little hollow. Unlike most people I’ve spoken to about this film, I didn’t feel we got a firm sense of the Nancy Kerrigan character or Tonya’s world beyond her home life. Her interactions with other skaters left a lot to be desired and I think I struggled to get a sense of what competition really meant for her (what it was for the character of her mother, played brilliantly by Alison Janney, is a whole other story)… I also caught a documentary as part of the Mardi Gras Film Festival called The 34th about Ireland’s campaign for marriage equality. It was a moving and eye-opening look at the process there and it was interesting to compare it to the campaigning done in Australia late last year.

GOING TO some immersive theatre! Visiting Hours was an ambitious, multi-storied (literally) performance piece staged in the unused areas of the Kings Cross Hotel. We as the audience found ourselves patients of an old-school Sanitorium run by a dubious doctor on a quest for immortality. A new and tweaked version of the sold-out 2016 Vivid Festival, I’m so glad I was talked into spontaneously attending this fascinating show. While I would have liked a stronger, more layered narrative, the emotional and physical sensations created by the space and the performers poking, prodding and steering you through the surreal landscapes was a real treat. More immersive theatre please!

READING a couple of things: I’m part way through The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter – perhaps THE seminal text on feminist readings of classical fairy tales (or something impressive like that…) Anyway, it is grand and sexy and fascinating. Not exactly easy or enjoyable but murky in the good ways. My small mind is a little blown to think this was written in the early 70s… I also FLEW through Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by screenwriter John August. A middle grade novel (that means it’s for the 8 to 12 set), it is the first for August who normally pens big Hollywood screenplays for a crust. It’s an excellent read, and I’m already champing at the bit for books 2 and 3. Which brings me to…

LISTENING to John August’s podcast Launch about the process of writing Arlo Finch. Considering I’m a screenwriter who began my career working in children’s publishing and now write a lot for children’s television, I was of course very keen to learn about August’s decision to write a children’s novel and know more about his process getting the book to print. The podcast isn’t really about his writing process as such – it’s about how an already established writer goes about getting into another industry and how a book is actually made once it’s been picked up by a publisher.

EATING a lot of Thai take-away.

MAKING not very much. A bad sinus cold put me out of commission for most of this month…

WRITING another (unexpected!) script for Neighbours (hurrah!) and re-working the pilot script of a personal project I developed some time ago. Don’t you love it when another idea you have nothing to do with gets commissioned and it seems to have almost the exact same premise as your idea which is not commissioned?? Yeah, that. Sigh.

PLANTING herbs and a chilli plant in my rejuvenated planter box on my front verandah. The heat has made them wither, but a night-time water sees them perking back up by morning. Fingers crossed…

BOOKMARKING articles and opinion pieces on the issue of gender stereotyping in storytelling. I’m researching in preparation for an upcoming post on how to deal with (or rather, avoid) gender stereotypes in the development of children’s television…

What have you been up to this month?

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