Cover of Keeping Mum

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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Last time I was here shedding and posting, I was directing all possible victory vibes via Tutu, The Terrier of the Balavil. The dog had watched as 15 writers grappled with the bare bones of plot and character.

“Tutu,” I said. “The book will happen.” And it did.

Now we are past the hundred per cent mark and still going strong. So the tasks of brainstorming, writing, assembling, editing, proofing (and so on) have happened. Collectively.

In film, the script writers and script consultants collaborate to make a robust script. The script supervisor ensures continuity, no matter what order the scenes are shot. The director holds the entire project’s vision in mind, all the way through. Each actor has a grip on each scene and how it fits within his/her narrative arc. Yes. I'm talking film. Naturally I am, because we 15 writing collectivists who got a book together aren’t going to leave it at that. “What about a film?” we say…

So on Saturday 9th November, at Wordstock, an all-day festival of stories, talks, workshops and cake, Martin Lee (AKA the fictional character Solomon) pitched the film idea to Trademark Films producer David Parfitt – he of Shakespeare in Love fame, and others.

The crowd cheered. It helped that an army of authorial collectivists was lined up in a row and enthusing. Martin came across as a seasoned producer pitching the idea, story, genre, setting and context in winning style. He was concise and colourful, wisely reserving the PR PS to the end of his slot: this book is written by 15 writers – which is rare and special and makes for a bonus story.

The Parfitt response was very positive. “Why not?” he said. “Let's see the novel first. Bring us a chunk of screenplay next year. The film title might have to be different. Oh, is it funny? And is it legal to carry a corpse around in a van all over the country…?”

Not willing to take his foot out of the open door, Martin assured the production company that to carry a corpse around in a van all over the country is legal, and illegal, either, both and/or neither. The unwritten screenplay is assured and yet accommodating. So the next step is...

Get that book out and start working on the script. That's wow. And hey. And Tutu, let's go for a run in the wild woods. 

Elise Valmorbida

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Published
Publication date: May 2014
116% funded
340 backers