2020 News Update on Writings, Rewritings, Successes and Anxieties
2020 has been a rollercoaster ride for everyone all over the world. And there’s no sign of stability to speak of yet. For me, it’s been fairly uneventful in the medical realm but certainly problematic in my professional life and homelife due to homeschooling and limited exposure to the outside world with two rambunctious kids (I must say they’re perfectly happy to stay in and wreck the house, but it’s not their mental health that’s at issue here).
In other personal news this year: No family vacation, 10-year wedding anniversary gone too low-key (even for me), general rise in sadness about what the world has come to, increased newsfeed-scrolling quickly followed by near-complete detachment from world matters, skyrocketing technological frustrations with too many new apps, more-than-usual dislike of the internet, social media and my ancient phone and laptop which are begging me to retire them, excessive obsession with my numerous obsessions…
I can go on about the iddy-biddy discomforts and happenings, ups and downs, highs and lows, but I should keep this post somewhat focused around screenwriting.
2020 has birthed a series of rewrites on four of my screenplays, though a specifically rewriting-centered year was already my intention in pre-pandemic 2020. I had been on a two-scripts-a-year streak for 3 years. I had accumulated enough scripts that required deeper attention from me. So, this year, I’ve been collecting quality feedback and rewriting extensively and ruthlessly. I am very happy with the way the scripts are turning out. In fact, the progress in my screenwriting is the reason behind this news update.
Two of the four screenplays I’ve been rewriting have finally started bearing fruit:
My TV pilot script, ‘Blue River’ was a quarterfinalist at Slamdance and a second rounder for the Orchard Project’s Episodic Lab this year. Even more importantly, for the first time ever, I managed to get my screenplay read by a production company. Art & Essai was looking for TV scripts for their new TV branch and happened to love my dystopian tale. Now I have on board a smart, talented and very supportive producer, Anaëlle Béglet, who took over the process of submitting my work to the likes of Netflix and Berlin Film Festival. If we can unlock funding and collaboration possibilities with the right people, I might be able to write the rest of the show and have my first TV project produced.
Our feature-length co-writing project, ‘At Sea’, with up-and-coming Turkish filmmaker Zeynep Köprülü has grown by leaps and bounds this year. As we approach the 1.5-year mark of starting to write and develop this lovely story that will be filmed in Paris and the west coast of Turkey, we’re finally feeling content with where it’s at.
We have two smart and capable producers, Nefes Polat and Sara Merih Ertaş, who are beginning to raise funds to make this film a reality. This project has not only given me a gem of a story and character to write but also introduced me to the world of co-creating, which has been an educational and joyfully productive experience.
In other news, 2020 also marks the year when I wrote my first book! I am looking forward to self-publishing it as an e-book later this year. It’s a series of personal essays about the process of writing and my ideas, experiences, musings and rants about screenwriting specifically. Hopefully it’s helpful to other aspiring writers but it’s mostly a purge of sorts about the painful and exhilarating union between this crazy profession and myself. It’s more of a how-I-do book than a how-to-do book, more of a self-helplessness book than a self-help book. It contains more anecdote, emotion and impression than information, advice and direction.
When the book is ready (even the title is undecided at this point, but my darling editor Irene Cooper will help me christen it with the right name very soon), I will share on this website and on my much-neglected Facebook page for Magic of Story. I won’t be posting the hell out of something so personal, for reasons you’ll find out if you read it. So, watch this space, as they say. This is the space that will provide a tiny window into my thoughts, feelings, heart and soul.
The anxiety portion of the title of this blogpost does not call for writing a set of events. Anxiety has blanketed everything that I did and am doing this year. I’ve probably enjoyed more progress and encouraging developments in my writing work this year than I ever had, but somehow something is off. Everything seems to bring with it a dark side, an uncertainty, a never-before encountered challenge.
There is much to take in and process every step of the way this year, and I can only hope something truly revolutionary will come out of all this and propel us into a future that is not unprecedented in an apocalyptic fashion but in a transformative one.
Thank you for reading.
p.s. I looked for a nice picture on the internet to go along with this post. I googled words like writing, screenwriting, storytelling, success, work-in-progress etc., but all I could find was cheesy and over-polished images. You know what’s not cheesy and polished? My desk!