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Posters for the films 'The Rifleman' and '1918: Battle of Kruty'

After a few months prep: I am now writing a script set during the First World War. In parallel I am reading and reviewing over 14 novels writing by men (and one woman) who served during the Great War and adding these to The Western Front Association Book Reviews pages. I'm also watching movies made about #WW1 which includes 1918: The Battle of Kruty which has Ukrainian students fighting to delay an attack by the Red Army and the brilliant 'The Rifleman' or 'Blizzard of Souls' from a book of the same name. This is about a teen in the Russian/Red Army but includes in its conclusion the brief attempt by Lithuania to form a state apart from the Russian Empire / Soviet Union. I'm yet to find if Estonia has produced the equivalent, while Poland has many.  I've created a list of over 180 films on or about the First World War in IMDb > http://www.imdb.com/list/ls539199369/ 

My own writing concerns the antics, fictionlised, about Lieutenant HRH Edward, Prince of Wales. This is something I worked on as a novel five years ago and have returned to as the first of several scripts I wish to develop. Getting them in front of a producer via an agent will be another matter. 

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Jed Mercurio Screenwriting BBC Maestro Course

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First time round I was dismissive of this course as a set of 24 10 to 15 minute long videos of Jed talking at us. I didn't realise until I was re-doing the course that there is a substantial 154 page 'workbook' that accompanies the course - not just 'support notes' as indicated, but something different, an accompanying text written, it would appear, by Jed Mercurio, saying more and summarising the videos. It also includes three or four worthwhile exercises after each 'module' which I am now doing as I once again decide to device, write and then send out a TV series proposal.

I got into the BBC, Children's BBC, Children's ITV, Zenith, Jim Henson and others, including a Paris based producer, to discuss ideas so feel I can do this again. This time older, wiser and enlightened. It justifies watching a lot of Netflix, Amazon and now Disney +

Whether I revisit the many old scripts and concepts is another matter. Whilst some of those ideas should still get the attention of producers I know also that they need to be written up from scratch - just as well, as I don't fancy transcribing the contents of various Really Useful boxes in the shed, or lifting scripts of CDs, Amstrad discs or other devices. 

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What next?

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Scriptwriting beckons - again. I wrote my first in 1984 called 'The French Test' about a young female French teacher on secondment to an all male school in the north east of England. There have been many others since: science fiction, history series ... and for a couple of years I had an agent. But a short film for Channel 4 and an option on a script was all that materialised.

The Jed Mecurio Master Class from the BBC has inspired me once again. Its a series of 28 videos of him talking - its hard to call it teaching or a class, more a podcast with a face. But there you go. For me teaching requires activity and interaction with the tutor, teaching team and fellow students - like the creative writing course from the Open University via FutureLearn which is brilliant.

That and about to turn 60 is an opportunity to reflect. I find myself asking the same question I asked when I was 13: what am I going to do when I grow up. I used to roll a set of dice and say 'if I get a double 6 I'll be an actor' - I believed it sometimes, just as when I said, 'Sally loves me if I get a double 6' - she didn't, and neither did I.

All this and 'Normal People' has me returning to multiple efforts to write about teen love, but also a story that has been festering for a very long time called 'The Girl in the Garden' in which a  runaway from a nearby Children's Home hides away in the extensive wooded grounds of a all male boarding school. Does she end up dead and buried in a garden that wins the 'gardening cup' that year? I still haven't decided. I rather think 'they' should meet again ... 

On verra

Stomping along with Lingvist and French > 125 hours learning over 4 years (or is that 5) my vocabulary up from 370 words to 4,800+ My pronunciation fluent, my written French improving. 

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