Project ‘Game’ is on!

As I wrote a few days back, I was asked to write a treatment for a friend in Mumbai. It had to be based on a thread he had given me. He is planning to make a low budget 90 minutes movie. He had some theatre actors and technician friends with him. So the only cost will be that of the equipments. His plan is to go onto the festival circuit and then try to get some distributors based on the reception and the reactions.

But he was stalled because he could not decide on a final story. I had sent him three different treatments for the same thread 2 days back. The thread is about 6 strangers who go through some strange stuff together. Well, he has liked one of the treatments and wants to go on with it. It is going to be a thriller. He is going to discuss all the three versions with financing friends this week. After that we will start writing the script together most probably within 1 month. So if this actually gets made, this is going to be my first produced script. But there is a long way to go before things really materialise. Lets see what happens.

Photo by josh-n

Short film script ‘The search’ completed

Finished my first short film script today. Its about a person who is searching for his missing wife inside a library. It clocks around 9-10 minutes. Now I have to sent it to some writer friends for some valuable opinion.

Writing the short film script was fun. Because the process is more flexible. With a feature length script, midway into the 2nd act, you cannot suddenly decide that you want to change the character or plot. You will be undoing a lot of work. On the other hand with a short film script you can experiment. And you are not in a hurry to make the story go from point A to point B. You can savour the small small events. It was a good break for me from the ‘heist’ script which involved a lot of planning for the ‘heist’ set pieces.
This short is for an assistant director who wants to do a short as a part of CV or something. Now I move on to my next short which is about two political party hit men and a party intellectual who set off for a political assassination. Something about where the boundary between a gang war and a ideological war blurs. It will be also around the same length.

In the mean time I am also doing a treatment for an idea given by a friend. He is planning to do a low budget movie of over 90 minutes with it. And I have to finish writing notes for a screenplay scripted by a friend.
After completing all these, I have to read the 1st draft of my heist script. Right now I am trying to maintain a distance from it so that I can be more objective in assessing it. Then I will start working on the second draft. Hopefully by the third draft I will have something presentable in my hands.

Photo by ~aspidistra~

Internet- the enemy of ‘actual’ scriptwriting?

Does internet really harm the productivity of a writer rather than improve it? It’s a question with which I have been struggling for more than a year. Definitely it’s a time sucker- rather a time drinker. It takes away valuable time that can be used for writing. But the real question is whether for the writer the advantages of net are more than the disadvantages.

So what are the perceived advantages of the internet for the writer?

Inspiration and resources or  swimming on sand
But how much inspiration do you require? To write script for 1 hour do you need to read script articles for 3 hours? Some times search for inspiration is a ploy to procrastinate. Searching for resources is sometimes a bigger trap.

Writers especially scriptwriters have the tendency to become highly specialised swimmers who have never touched water. There is a whole lot of literature available out there. But when should one stop? When do we become knowledge-able enough to write the script? I think it should be when you have read one scriptwriting book completely. Your education need not end there. But your writing should definitely start there. After that, reading something scriptrelated in the net in the name of ‘education’ should be at least in the ratio of 1:20 in favour of writing. Because the greatest education is writing scripts. And believe me, there is no site or book or article that is going to give you the perfect key to write good screenplays.

Trap of immediate gratification
Writing a script takes around 3-6 months. That too there is no guarantee that some one relevant enough would even read your script. Naturally writing a blog or commenting on random posts is better. You get immediate feedback. Feedback, even negative feedback gives a feeling of fulfillment. A fulfillment of being paid attention to. That too without much effort. In that sense writers are delusional. They sit writing something sacrificing their Saturday nights, losing precious time to be with family, friends and jeopardising their work. All this, believing in something that could turn out to be utter crap. You never know what is going to come out. Continue reading



The lake was glistening in the afternoon sun like the belly of a water animal on land.

He walked through the pavement separating the lake from the road. Finally he sat on a bench.
The old tree with its feet soaking in the water stooped to look at him. ‘You don’t look happy,’ it said.
He smiled. ‘Its not that.’
The old tree passed fingers through its slowly shrivelling mane.
‘No one comes to Nainital unhappy,’ the tree said.
‘I didn’t come to Nainital unhappy.’
Tree didn’t say anything. A couple passed by. Wrapped around each other, giggling. Continue reading

Tips to keep writing every day

I got some mails after my post on the first draft. People keep asking for tips to write everyday. To find time. To keep enthusiasm from waning. To finish off the task.

The problem with writing scripts (for that matter anything long) is that you have to hammer at it for months. Writers are notorious for their low self confidence. And assessment of one’s work is very objective. Some times you love it. Some times you hate it. So how to keep going?

These are some of the things that have helped me.

There is no ‘not enough time’
You have 15 minutes free? You should be writing. Never wait to get that major chunk of time to start writing. You will only be able to write a line of dialogue? Do that 10 times a day for two days and you almost have a scene. People become philosophical and talks about the need to get into the mood to write. But sometimes you may be just rationalising your procrastination. Getting into the zone fast is an habit that you can learn.

Writing does not need fingers
Writing does not mean that you should be in front of a laptop or a legal pad. One gets many breaks in plotting and character bits while travelling or walking or just sitting through a boring lecture. Actually I have done most of my outlining for the heist script while travelling to my workplace. Continue reading

The spy who came in from the cold

The protagonist says:
What do you think spies are? Moral philosophers who measure everything under the will of God or Karl Marx? They are not. They are just a bunch of seedy squalid bastards like me. Little men- queers, drunkards, henpecked husbands, civil servants- playing cowboys to brighten their rotten little lives. Do you think they sit like monks in London balancing good and evil?

This is easily the best spy movie I have ever seen.
Intelligent. Intricately woven. Honest. Cynical.
James Bond turns out to be just another action hero with the job tag of a ‘spy’ to cook up some reason to show many foreign locales. If you really want to see how spies operate, this is one of the movies that you should see.