Friday, February 10, 2006

The Noise of Art

A long time ago I wrote a novel called the Noise of Art. It wasn't good enough and very few people have read it. I've not tried to get it published.

After doing two screen-writing courses, and having experienced the joy of actually having a piece of work accepted by and broadcast on BBC Radio 4, I decided to rewrite the novel as a screenplay. I was reasonably happy with the first draft and have tinkered with it ever since.

Last year an independent producer asked to read it and, after six months, told me he liked it but was too busy to option it. He would love to read it again after the next re-write.

It has been re-written so many times now that I feel like an artist who just uses one more dab of paint and ruins his picture.

I am not a movie maker, I am a writer. I want to sell my script so I have decided not to touch it again, to get the treatment out there and make sure someone is always reading it.

Synopsis follows:

The Noise of Art

It’s a story about a work of art nobody was meant to see – but everybody did.


Robin James is the editor of a failing, Christian magazine. He is also failing as a Christian, failing to find love and failing to do anything to put these things in order.

Dan Holloway is a mature art student. He has confronted his own mid-life crisis by going to university in his 40s. Anxious to ask deep and important questions about the very nature of art he has devised an installation which nobody will see.

Robin decides to spend two weeks of his annual holiday helping Dan. Using a borrowed van they are touring the country. At each of ten, town-centre venues, in the early hours of the morning, Dan’s installation is to be erected, photographed and dismantled.

The project proceeds smoothly for one of its ten days when progress is interrupted by a disastrous impact between the van and a curry house. Thereafter a succession of borrowed vehicles, tabloid reporters and eventually publicists, manage to make this one of the most observed displays of art ever.

On the journey Robin breaks a lot of laws, finds love, a new meaning and a different job.
Fade out
Lemeno if you have any contacts. I'll be trying the usual ones.


Simon said...

Guess what... I've been a screenwriter for 10 years.

I think you've got 2 main characters when you only need 1. (it's a bit like you and God when you only really need you - haha! see how I slipped that one in?!)

It's difficult to see what his being a failing Christian has to do with the art installation in your story. The dots don't join up.

I think the last line is too throw-away. It leaves me with the feeling that this is just another run-of-the-mill story where a guy falls in love, learns something and moves on.

I'm not saying it is, it's just that's how you've made it come across in the outline.

If I meet anyone who's into this type of story (not sure what type it is???) I'll let you know.

Jonathan Potts said...

I've a friend who's trying to "make it" in filming - has made several films, works for a film company (I think - or similar such thing), would like to branch out, Christian etc. Certainly not high-profile (yet...) and you may not be interested for that reason. But if you are, drop me an email and I'll send you details - I have a copy of a film he's already done, too, if you want...

St said...

Jon, I'd be happy to let your friend see treatment or script if he wanted to.

Simon I know you are a screen-writer. I read your blog see. That was one of the reasons I put the synopsis on mine. Red rag ... Bull. Join dots.

I love the fact that to get someone to read a screen play you have to show how it is the same as every one that has even been made (one protagonist, one antagonist, up the stakes, protagonist must change and develop, three acts, all characters in first ten minutes, other rules) and then how it is differnt to every one that has ever been made and not just another love story etc.

How come so many Hollywood movies are the same then?

I've decided that I care more about keeping it together than getting it made but will look at the synopsis again as it may not sell the thing that well; the treatment is better I think. Thanks for the advice.

In summary it's a comedy road love story about art and theology. The Cannonball Run meets Dogma.

It isn't evangelistic and no-one gets converted. God gets a little bit mocked. You'd like that.

Simon said...

I hate formulas. I just hate them. But all "original" films use the old devices, they just update them and give them a new twist. Unless your making an arthouse film, in which case you can throw away the rules and nobody will watch your film (they dont care because they get government funding).

If your characters are in this together, in a road movie way - Thelma and Louise, Sideways etc - I think you should set them up together.

Editor of failing Christian magazine, Robin, and mature art student, Dan, tour the country in a borrowed van with Dan's new project...

Sort of thing.

...But their journey is thrown into turmoil when the van crashes into a curry house, forcing them to confront... (?)

What you've written isn't a synopisis. It's more of a long-winded logline. A synopsis should present the whole story in shortened form - ie the beginning middle and end.

St said...

Thanks again Simon. Will think about what you say. Only reason for not changing it at once is that I've never met a screen writer yet who didn't think he or she couldn't do it better. And this 'synopsis' has already persuaded several people to read the treatment without a personal pitch.

Simon said...

UK producers are far less fussy about what you send them. I emailed my Hollywood agent an synopsis once, leaving the last 3rd of the story as a cliff-hanger, thinking this would hook him into reading it. He wrote back saying that for some reason some paragraphs had got lost on their way and that I should check to see if there was a ISP problem. I sent him the last two paragraphs, saying I didn't know what had happened to them.

I still don't know if he was being sarcastic.

Kathryn said...

Probably not very helpful, but your post did make me want to know what happened next...