Why did I move on so fundamentally from this first version?
I realised that the script didn’t work. I knew it wasn’t working after I’d given it to at least one reader who gave a reasonably polite assessment, but really wasn’t enthused. I wanted her to love it, and her ‘ho-hum’ response was pretty telling.
The concerns I think I had at the time:
- Questioning whether Albion really was a better place. I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that I was looking for Albion to truly be a better society, and what I’d presented here didn’t really seem to do it. There’s a scene where two ‘peasants’ are effectively arguing what the standard measurement for rope is, and the King has to make a decision… That didn’t really seem an improvement on our world.
- The script is overlong and overwritten. It’s 123 pages long and not formatted like a normal script. It would probably be about 160 pages long if properly formatted. For non-screenwriters, that’s very long as the rule of thumb is one page equals one minute of screentime.)
- There’s a lack of subtext. Everyone pretty much says what they mean.
- The events were large-scale and felt unreal. In particular, the King taking over the entire country felt too big.
- I realised that the characters needed more depth.
My solution to these perceived problems was to throw the entire version out the window, and try to come up with a whole different approach to the story that solved them all.
So there’s an insight into my personality!