Script and Screen - Cecilia Stenbom (February 2015)
I love being at the beginning of a project, it's an enjoyable place to be. All you have is an idea that you have fallen for long enough to note it down and feel confident in sharing with the rest of the world. The possibilities are endless. There aren't any restrictions and the terror of the process hasn’t taken hold yet.
So the RISE scheme begins by taking an early morning train to York, walking through an ice-cold medieval town until you find your way to a house full of 6 strangers who all share similar ambitions and who all presumably have an idea that they are equally excited about. As you've initially warmed up after trying your best to sound like you are an interesting and personable human being, talented and with a great prospects in hand without being pretentious, you get started.
It is at this beautiful phase when it's useful to get a friendly, but firm, kick up the backside to drag you out of your delirious state of self-delusion and grandeur. Often that kick be delivered through the slow process of self-realisation, and if it goes beyond that you might have a critical friend, spouse, or even producer/commissioner to bounce the idea off, to further push you along. With this project the gentle, but firm, kick was delivered by Script Editor Kate Leys, someone who doesn't let you hide behind a half-baked idea and has the amazing skill to simultaneously remove the plaster and apply the dressing to patch you back up again.
After a night spent in the coldest house I can ever remember, I made a self imposed early start in order to get ahead with my notes and ideas in the only cafe that was open before 8am, a well-known coffee chain also hosting 2 homeless men warming up on a sofa next to oblivious latte-drinking mums. Back at the house with my equally frozen film friends, Josh Appignanesi delivered his visual storytelling workshop accompanied by the six of us all under duvets with hot water bottles. I have realised that getting critical feedback on your beloved work has a much softer edge when placed in a simulated slumber party.
The beginning of a project ends with a decision to Stick or Twist. 'Twist' and you can forget about it all and get on with your life. 'Stick' and the stakes are immediately raised and the potential for failure becomes a distinct possibility in the knowledge that once you've firmly left the beginning phase you might get stuck in the murky middle phase for an eternity! Dreading that middle might keep you in the beautiful beginning for ever …however I’m a 'Stick' person so I’d better get on with the work ahead.