[ED: Our new blogger Playwright_Paul joins us today. Professional Actors will read from his new screenplay on day 3 of The Wolverhampton’s Disability Film Festival, in this, his first blog, he tells us how he got there – it started with a course….]

The idea of such a course after such a long absence from serious writing was scary. My confidence was low and I had a lot of fears.
Would I fail miserably, was my idea good enough, did I have any talent in me, would I do well, was I just fooling myself?
I knew deep down that my determination and competitive spirit may just get noticed providing I could write a reasonably good script. Putting good ideas onto paper may strike a chord with the readers and audience. Though I must admit I was impressed upon listening to some of the other outlines but also made my heart sink slightly as in comparison my idea didn’t seem as good. Perhaps this outlook was simply slight paranoia instilled by low confidence. I’d chosen my idea though, no turning back, I must make my idea work! Modify here and there, tweak, WRITE, delve into the minds of the characters to tease and intrigue the audience, captivate. Do all this and I may have  a chance.

At the end of Day 2 the course had covered quite a lot. We were asked to try and write a 10 page draft screen play! Yikes. Well, the challenge had been issued. I set to it, wrote for a few days but only got to 6 pages. I had no more ideas and couldn’t think what else to write. I kept at it and more ideas to progress the play came. By Saturday I had printed out a 12 page Draft screen play. But I still didn’t have a proper title or conclusion. Tutors fundamental words buzzing in my head, “Establish, Develop, Resolve.”

By day 3 a couple of others had written mainly outlines.
Outlines and my full draft screen play would be read out in class! Contemplating this was so scary! I thought back to when I was able bodied, aged about 13 and about to sit on a rope seat to traverse a high gorge in North Wales! Something that must be done now that you’re there.
“Are you ready?” the tutor said.
“Nervous.”
“Yes just a bit.”

The words I’d wrote were being read in class by my tutors, course director and a Birmingham Rep staff member. Gulp and wow, I listened and could hardly stop laughing. Wonder what the class think? I thought. At the end of the reading I received such a loud round of applause and cheers. This shocked and overwhelmed me totally and to the extent I didn’t know how to react. I had had a few rounds of applause in my life but nothing quite as rapturous. The class must have liked it. One of life’s unforgettable moments.

Everyone wrote feedback. Some feedback was glowing, some wasn’t but all constructive.

I still had a lot to do. The tutor said I could have a week free from homework but I said I’d like to improve my play noting the feedback. I still felt somewhat elated by the applause still ringing in my mind.  Journeying back I felt as though I had a proverbial spring in my step even though in my wheelchair.  So as soon as I got back home I began again. I scrutinised every word, the layout, the dialogue, the characters everything. I had to condense slightly and think of an ending and hope it would be satisfying.
I did just this by Day 4 and made further enhancements before the hand In date. I felt I could not do any more to improve my play further and selection would be up to the external reader.

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