Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not As Sweet

Maybe it was too much to ask in the end. I was already in line to be published at my very first attempt at writing a short story. Hoping for the same kind of result in the Short + Sweet open call was probably a little too writer-fantasy.

The verdict came from the Short + Sweet people a few weeks back. My 10-minute play didn’t make the cut. Naturally I was disappointed. Even though I know, even at the structural level, the script had telling flaws. I guess Steve Coogan was right when he said in Hamlet 2 – writing is so hard! But, again, it was a last minute effort. I can’t help it. It’s hard-wired into my brain. This time it was even worse than the Body2Body episode. At least, back then, significant progress can be seen 4 days before the deadline. This time however, 4 hours before submission time and I was still staring at a blank screen! You have no idea how tempting it was just to give it all up during those final edgy moments. But I couldn’t have forgiven myself if I did. And so, I trudged on. Albeit unsuccessfully. At the very least, I gave it a shot. If this was kindergarten, I would have received a participation trophy.

However, looking back, maybe it was a good thing my script was unsuccessful. A kind of blessing in disguise. Just like when Iniesta scored that injury time winner. Shit, that still hurts.

Anyway, Lady of the Evening (which is a rubbish title, by the way), should it had been accepted, I think would have driven my complacency level to an all-time high. Look what Celebrating A Birthday (the Body2Body title) did to me. Since those so-called final hours before deadline, I haven’t written anything worth reading. Anything! Or, as Davina Goh would put it – I got jackshit! At least, after this S+S setback, I managed to write a decent history for Incarnation’s press kit. It wasn’t a classic but still there are a few nice touches in there. And, c’mon, it’s a press kit. It’s dope.

As for future endeavors, well, for starters I need to come up with a better title to replace Celebrating A Birthday. The Matahari people think it’s too generic. A fair argument considering I came with it in under two minutes. It’s definitely not Love in the Time of Cholera.

So, they came up with a few alternatives. They are Segregated, The Party Addict and (their favorite) The Friendship Dictator. First of all, ‘Segregated’ reminds me of the movie Partition which tells the story during the difficult period when Pakistan was separated from mainland India and starred an incredibly smoking hot Canadian.

Still, it’s a sad story and I do not do sad stories. Or anything that reminds me of it.

The Party Addict, on the other hand, suggests a bucketload of joy. Problem is, it sounds too much like a Candace Bushnell title. I enjoyed SATC but chic lit isn’t the kind of theme I’m aiming for here.

As for Friendship Dictator, well, the word ‘dictator alone conjures up images of Mussolini and that German guy with a funny moustache.

Bottom line is I hate all of them. None of them carry the right message that I want to portray. First of all it’s supposed to be kind of funny which makes the use of negative words in the title a big turn off for me. And it’s also about friendship, loyalty and some of the outrageous things that can go on when a group of 20-something friends get together on a Saturday night. Although, I’ll admit Celebrating a Birthday does sound generic. But the absence of an alternative title really bugs me down. And it does boil down to me. The Matahari people have 20 other stories to worry about. It is up to me to save Bianca and her buddy friends.

Bianca is my female protagonist. Although not clearly defined, when you do finally read about her, imagining her as a somewhat Chritina Ricci lookalike wouldn’t hurt.

As for a reminder, Body2Body will be launched sometime in August. Let me repeat that: A-U-G-U-S-T. Even though I do appreciate the support of friends who continually asking me the same question every time I see them, please, ask me again in one and a half months time. Especially Najmi. Dah, jangan ang dok tanya aku lagi.

Apart from that, well, let’s solve this first. My brain is beat. Forcing oneself to be witty tend to do that. Writing is SO HARD!

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