Blog #4 (part 1) - Lou Hamilton (September 2015)
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm Winston Churchill
We feel the sense of ‘failure’ acutely, it rings a death knoll on our self-esteem, knocks a chip off our confidence. And yet, within it lies a kernel of hope. Because if we can bring ourselves to look closely at the failure, to dig deeply, and unravel its layers we will find something that we can learn from. And in that learning we build something better, create something new, move forward again at a higher level. Those who become very successful are even able to say that they are grateful for their failures. It made them stronger, more resilient, more creative, more adaptable, more persistent. Failure helps us grow. And actually let’s rename it. It’s not really failure. The world hasn’t ended. Maybe it’s better to think of it as a set-back or disappointment or re-adjustment.
Writing is full of these moments, especially when you’ve been through the momentous experience of the First Draft. You’ve got it all down on paper, the characters, the story, the structure, the dialogue, the tone. It’s all there, except not quite. As Eric Morecambe once said of his piano playing “It’s all the right notes, just in all the wrong places”. If you’re lucky your fragile gestation (and ego) is put in front of someone who knows what they’re doing. Fortunately for me I’m on the RISE scheme with five other women writer/directors as we all develop our feature films, and we’ve been given access to the Pro’s; professionals who love their craft and respect anyone else trying to master theirs. Last week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have my first draft looked at by the script editor Kaye Leys. She was genuinely encouraging and supportive but she also cracked where the problems were. She understood the characters and why and where they weren’t working properly, the same for story and structure. 8 pages of notes later, I face a huge task ahead of me. In a sense it was disappointing, as every writer harbors the secret desire to punch out the perfect draft straight off, but in reality Kate had given me a framework for looking at what I needed to do to move forward. I feel grateful, I learned a lot, and once it’s all percolated I’ll be going at it all guns blazing.