Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dreams don't have deadlines. Or do they?

I may be a bit late discussing them, but this year’s Oscars gave me mixed emotions. There was the feeling of “What the hell?” when Meryl Streep stiffed Viola Davis for Best Actress. There were yawns when The Artist won an award – again. Bliss whenever Jean Dujardin opened his mouth and unleashed The Accent. There was disbelief when Billy Crystal debuted his new face (What was he thinking? What was his surgeon thinking??)

And there was joy, because after all, it’s the Oscars. When most people are at a yoga class and they’re asked to go to their happy place, some people will be thinking of a gorgeous beach and some people will be thinking of a hot man and a jar of peanut butter, but I’m thinking of my Oscar win. Yes, I’ve even decided what designer I want to be wearing (Armani).

And you might laugh and call it New Age mumbo jumbo, but when I come home from work and all I want to do is watch obese people being forced to run around a stately home (The Biggest Loser), that Oscar vision is what makes me walk up to the study to do some work instead. Because it’s the Oscars. All the people I’ve watched since I was little on the big screen are there, and I want to be there too, damn it! So as long as the vision forces me to stick to my dream, I’ll continue to visualise holding that heavy little gold statue.

On another note, I’ve always been the kind of person who uses deadlines to generate adrenaline. When I had a college essay due, it wouldn’t go in until the last possible moment. I used to tell myself that I produced my best work under pressure. But hey, I got a 2.1. Maybe if I’d gotten stuff in earlier, it would have been a First – I’ll never know.

This question has come up again now in relation to script competitions. Some people believe – and they may be right – that readers get mean and jaded as the deadline grows nearer and that you’re better off getting your scripts in early. On the other hand, I’ve always been paranoid that if I send my stuff in way ahead of time, I’ll keep spotting things I should have tweaked or fixed.

Any thoughts on this? Have you worked as a reader and is it true, are they creating piles of screenplays and setting fire to them by the time the Final Deadline passes? Or are all scripts treated equally?

Either way, my plan this year is to reach a compromise and get my scripts in early. But only two weeks early – I have my last-minute habit to maintain!

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