The script ideas for my MA are firming up nicely. 

A mixture of some ideas that have been knocking around my head for a goodly while and new projects, these half dozen or so concepts will then get whittled down to two scripts which I’ll write over the two years of the course.

They’re a pretty good estimation of what I’m about, I think, but there’s one ideain there  that both excites and terrifies me in equal measure: it’s a biopic.

The estimable D Stack suggests biopics may be a useful addition to a writer’s spec pile and I’ve been looking out for an interesting subject for a long while. Of course, as is the way of these things, the lady in question was sitting on my bookcase the whole time.

The person in question had an eventful life, there’s one terrific narrative which would propel her story, and a lot of vivid imagery which could be used. Plenty of opportunity, then, to tease out themes and meaning.

Trouble is, a biographical script is a complicated beast, even a young whippersnapper writer like myself can see that. The questions, should I eventually  pursue the project, would come up thick and fast.

Practical: How long would it take to research the subject? What kind of first-hand research would I have to do about this person –  there are few books about her. I’ve made plenty of documentaries about people, but they tend to concentrate on a small section of a creative life, and have a central spine of a story already. Plus, there are Estates and copyrights and all those things about which I know little.

Creative: What kind of creative license do I give myself when writing a biopic? As long as the basic facts are there, and the ‘truth’ of her life is told – as I see it, anyway – should I be approaching this as a fictionalised life, or a drama that just happens to be about someone who existed?

Am I over-reaching myself already? Maybe I should take this idea of the list and put it on the back-burner. After all, this lady’s life has unfurled already, her story will always be there for another day.

Part of me is thrilled by the possibilities. I can’t keep from thinking about it. It would be, in the words of Mr Capello, a “beautiful challenge.”

But if I wait a while, a few seconds perhaps, I’m sure I can muster me up a new favourite idea.

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