So this was a weird one! I’d become quite accustomed to these weekends, going in and having an industry professional delight us with tales of their own work and helpful advice. So having my own work read and commented on by the group was really quite peculiar.
It was immensely helpful to hear my Major Project work read aloud. I learned things about my writing; the pacing wasn’t quite as I imagined, for example. I also realised some huge flaws in my first draft. I’m writing a 6-part TV comedy series (30 min episodes), called The Appeal. It is about a man named Rick who is stuck in the afterlife as he did not do enough good in life to go straight to Heaven. As a result, he must complete a series of tasks to earn his way through the pearly gates.
Each episode sets him on a task designed to help him discover something about himself and his death, and the real reason that he can not move on yet. The show is about loyalty, acceptance and friendship.
As I sat there listening to my work being read aloud, I realised 2 major problems:
1) There is no inciting incident in episode 1
2) Rick is exactly the same at the end as he is at the start. He learns nothing and gains nothing and he doesn’t change at all.
Due to these factors, the episode really has no hook that would encourage an audience to continue watching. The show doesn’t actually seem to be about anything that anyone could relate to. This will be the focus for my re-draft, which I am starting this week.
Listening to other people’s work was fantastic as well, I learned a lot from other people. The scripts that really stood out for me were the ones in which each character had a clearly defined ‘voice’ of their own. I realised that all my characters speak in the same manner, in the same sort of patterns and with the same edge of humour. Basically, all of my characters just sound like me! This is something I don’t think I would have realised were it not for reading through everyone else’s work.
Overall, this was a very informative (if a little intense at times!) weekend, which I believe has given me a massive boost in terms of learning how to improve upon my own work.