Mark Devenport – Big Things

May 29, 2009

Edinburgh International Film Festival has a link to the screening details of Mark’s film Big Things here. It plays next month on the 20th June.

Lead actor and co-writer Tony Claassen is coming in next week to talk to some NTU students about the process. We are also screening the film. Tony is accompanying the film to Edinburgh and also to Japan where it is screening in a festival.

It’s a really well shot, well acted piece that avoids the cliched ‘amateur film maker tries to make a film’ that are so ofter apparent in low-budget films like this.

The Wives (Many) of Fela anikulapo Kuti

May 29, 2009

In preparation for my meeting with Kate Chapman tomorrow I’m Re-reading my first draft of my stageplay The Wives (Many) of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Reflections are that it is better than I remembered.
Completed this draft in August and haven’t read it since then.
The language is better than I remembered. I felt the five wives were too similar but they are more idiosynchratic than I thought. Also a lot of energy and dynamism in the opening.
The project stalled for some reason but hopefully twp and I can together get it back on track.

Boat Gypsies- ActOneDraft1

May 19, 2009

Uploading draft One of Act One for your perusal if interested.

This will be changing quite alot based on the interim Writers’ Lab 09 session that took place last week at New Perspectives.I will hopefully post the final draft, contractual agreements allowing so an opportunity for direct comparison may be available.

A few notes on the way I write that may inform you when you read this draft

1- I tend to write first and then research later so there are a number of technical details that I have no idea about present in this draft, some of which are:

A) how a barge might sink or more importantly protect itself from sinking after a collision I know nothing about yet

B) The use of periodic tables is incorrect and in the latest draft I have amended that

2- I tend to write on average three pages a night. I always start by re-reading and editing the last few pages. This leads to draft that are quite tight but I still change radically and have yet to be so wedded to a line that I am not up for changing it. This is despite each line probably being re-considered and re-written many, many times over the gestation of the writing of the script.  This style of wriitng also means that I get quite random about what is a draft and what is a revision of a draft. If it changes quite radically then I call it a new draft, otherwise I call it revisions for a while until revision number three of four make me call it a new draft as these incremental revisions had actually led to quite substantial change.

You can read the Boat Gypsies_interim by clicking on the link. You may then need to click on the ‘Boat Gypsies Interim’ link again just above the comments box. It is a pdf file. You should then be able to download and save it.

Feel free to comment if you wish. I’m currently working on the second half and also doing some research now.

Boat Gypsies-Rural Touring Project

May 15, 2009

Had the interim meeting day yesterday for the writers’ Lab 09 project. Five writers, myself included have been selected to develop an idea suitable for rural touring venues. There will be a rehearsed reading of extracts from each play presented on 23rd July  to rural touring producers so we are all working towards that.

Yesterday involved discussion of each project and then feedback from all involved, writers and artist director’s /company managers.

really useful day and some good notes to take forward for my project. The writing process was very different for all of us so that was good to see.

the next major step for me is to start doing some technical research on canal boats and some serious character biog work.

Deadline for casting is end of June, deadline for extract draft is mid-july. I have a very busy next two/three months with three projects on the go and potentially a short film drama also to add to that and a trip to Brisbane, Oz for a week to fit in!!


May 11, 2009

The publicity events for Decibel are swinging along now. This is my profile page on the Decibel09 website.

Have purchased some books that will help me create the pitch. Very busy at the moment with other projects so no time to even look at them yet. The two books are Apple Motion and Apple Color books from the Apple training series of books. I have an elaborate, complicated pitch idea planned so trying to learn how to use those two pieces of software so I can pull it off. It is very representative of the idea for the play I have in kind so not just me jolly-ing off.

There is a Decibel Artists briefing meeting taking place on 25th June that I am hoping to get to. I just need to get the other two projects off and then I can concentrate more attention on the pitch. Very busy juggling all various commitments so having to be super organised

Boat Gypsies-Rural Touring Project

May 8, 2009

Sent my interim draft off this morning in preparation for the Writers Lab09 interim meeting next week.

This is part of the notes I added for the readers:

“The play is about the idea that you have to kill your  parents a little in order to progress. They know this and we know this. The play takes the position that this ‘death’ is one of life’s essential points. We are not our parents, at least not when we are young, and they and we must act to make this apparent, to them and to us”

The draft takes us to the interval (which I am actually undecided about having).

Next week Tyrone Huggins, Leah Chillery, myself and Segun Lee French are there as writers with Kate Chapman (TWP), Ivan Cutting (Eastern Angles) and Daniel Buckroyd (New Perspectives).

The other crucial element to understanding the draft is:

” running from parents, authority and in that running they are growing, creating new self-identities as young adults. For the first time, not identities framed through their parents”

The idea is we discuss whatever each writer has produced up until this point (scripts, notes, research, etc) and see what happens as regards feedback and where each writer wants to take it in preparation for readings based on full drafts,  July 23rd.

incidentally I posted a few days ago about each the eastern angles and new perspectives companies’ current touring shows. Click on the link to see tour schedules. Both shows well worth seeing in you are in the vicinities.

Boat Gypsies- rural touring project

May 5, 2009

Really enjoying this project. I intended to have a draft done by this interim point but am not going to make that self-imposed deadline due to drift and illness. Decided a few days ago to try and get a really tight first half.
I always imagined an interval and wrote a treatment with that in mind but am now considering whether this is necessary. The two plays I saw last week were very different and have given me a number of contrasting useful thoughts.
Enjoying the draft and as usual not sticking to my treatment. I use them as sketches and am continually developing and incorporating new ideas and extending ones that are in the treatment already. I use treatments as jumping off points, guides and conversation/discussion points. This sometimes causes problems. Process will out. Check out the Double Diamond design process for an idea of one of my methods.

Wasteland- Rural touring play

May 2, 2009

Went to see New Perspectives New rural touring show Wasteland last night. It’s playing at the assembly rooms in derby before embarking on a rural tour of the east midlands. The debut play by writer Laura Lomas is inspired by the Fred Barras/Tony Martin/Brendan Fearon case of a few years back.
It’s a young creative team and features really strong performances through. The ‘traverse’ staging (stage in the middle, audience either side) works really well and Director Esther Richardson uses the space well. My rural piece I’m developing is set on a narrowboat so seeing this staging working well was useful. It was also useful to see this piece the day after Return To Akenfield another rural piece. Both simply staged but requiring different things in terms of stage. Management. My piece which I thought potentially overly complicated after seeing the eastern angles show, I now feel more reassured about. Still lots of difficulties that hopefully the development process will throw up.
Wasteland runs until June 6. Go see it for one of the best ‘introducing a character scenes’ you’re likely to see. Tour schedule here

return to akenfield rural touring show

May 1, 2009

Kate Chapman, Tyrone Huggins, Segun Lee-French and myself  went down to Suffolk last night to see Return to Akenfield.  Written by Craig Taylor the Eastern Angles show is touring until June.

It used verbatim theatre techniques to explore issues of community, globalisation and consumerism.  These accounts are mixed with a narrative thread that stands outside the books Akenfield and Return to Akenfield.

The show is Directed by Naomi Jones.  It is a real ensemble piece. Worked really well, Lots of lovely stage-y type things as the cast play multiple characters.

It was good to see the piece and made me reflect on how simply things can be staged. Still making my piece Boat Gypsies overly complicated though!!!

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