Friday, 24 October 2008

Procrastination meme...

I thought I'd better do this while on a lunch break at work rather than at home over the weekend at which point I'd be procrastinating by writing about procrastinating and the irony would be too much. Although that's probably the point.

First off, since it won't fit anywhere else, I watched All That Jazz last night and was properly blown away by it. I know I keep going on about films I like and sometimes I probably do exaggerate a bit, but this one really is amazing. As well as Roy Scheider's performance, which is perfect, it's got some fantastic visuals and really plays with the cinematic form in a way we see too rarely these days. So go watch that, although seeing as it was made in 1979 and is really famous most of you probably already have. In which case, you should've been telling me to watch it sooner!

Right, back to this:

List the top five ways you distract yourself when you should be writing and then procrastinate some more by sending it to all those other writers who should really procrastinate more often (so we can all catch-up!).

1) Internet. I'm including everything under this one heading - checking e-mail (then refreshing 5 seconds later just in case someone sent me something really important that second), Facebook, MySpace if I'm really desperate. Also reading blogs, watching trailers, spending ages looking for cool stuff on YouTube then choosing to watch a monkey doing karate or something daft instead. Endless hours wasted.

2) 'Research'. This is sort of included in the above, but I'm also talking about watching films for 'research'. There was this great period when I was at the end of my Scriptwriting MA and I'd managed to blag some funding for the last couple of months so I could quit my part time jobs. And I was sitting on the sofa watching films about witches and magic to 'help' me with my script thinking 'this is what it must be like to be a real writer'. Since then, anytime I want to watch a film I call it research, like I am actually working even though I'm clearly not. Sometimes I'll get stuck and think 'I know, I need to do some research' and I'll seek out a vaguely related film and watch that instead. I do that a lot.

3) Computer games. I love my Playstation 2 and my borrowed Xbox, despite being ten years behind everyone else. I truly believe that narrative games are the next art form and can provide a level of emotional involvement far greater than any film, or they would if they had any decent writers working on them. It does happen though - try playing Project Zero in the dark on your own and I guarantee you will be a hundred times more terrified than you ever could be watching a film. I would also really like to write for games one day. The problem with games is that while it takes 2-3 hours at most to watch a film, a game will take usually 2-3 days at least. And they're really addictive. So I quite often think 'oh I'll just have a go of this' then five days without food or sleep later I'll get up and go back to writing. Lethal.

4) Seeing what Andrea is doing. Usually she's doing something more interesting than what I'm doing as I'm quite often doing one of the above. Then I might have a bit of a moan about how hard I'm working and the plight of the struggling writer with a day job. Then she'll suggest doing some kind of mutual activity instead and I'll say 'no, I couldn't possibly, I've got far too much work to do', then I'll go back to doing one of the above. Unless Andrea's reading this, in which case I never procrastinate, I work super-hard all the time, honest!

5) Listening to music. Or listening to a piece of music on repeat. Okay, specifically, listening to the intro of a particular song on repeat over and over again while visualising it playing over the opening/ending credits or trailer to the film of the script I'm writing. This usually follows lots of alcohol. I was going to include drinking in my 5, but worried that a) it would make me look like an alcoholic and b) it's not really procrastinating. Sometimes I find that if I get stuck on a script and don't know where to go next drinking a lot and writing any old rubbish will get me over the bad bit into safe territory again. Usually I then have to go back over it all and delete most of it, but at least I'm over the bad bit. However, drinking while writing almost always ends with me listening to songs on repeat. Or occasionally watching the opening scene of a film on repeat, usually Streets of Fire. I bet no one else has this one on their list.

So those are my five. I'm tagging Rich Badley presuming he hasn't been tagged already.

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