January 30, 2007

the write stuff

there's a saying in swahili that depicts the duality of man. it goes something like-

Kisebusebu na roho kipapo.
-Refusing and wanting at the same time.

that seems to be the norm of the writing world. writing is a strange business. you write in speculation and expect in abundance. most of the time you are told to write something that you don't really believe in but are forced to and when you end up doing it, a million changes are ordered. and some times you write something in utter disgust~

from all the stuff that i have written i have enjoyed the things that i wrote for myself. the two screenplays that i have finished and the third one that threatens to arrive soon are something that gave me immense pleasure. in addition the stuff that i have written for print medium is what i have enjoyed the most. there was a certain kind of freedom in it. there was hardly any pressure and there was a freedom of what to write on. since i wrote on films and no one else knew more about them than me (true for people dealing with me!) and when you start your writing career with a column you feel like you are nib of the world.

writing for TV is a different ball game all together. don't get me wrong i enjoy the ball game but what i detest is being the ball and a TV write, mostly, is a distant cousin of a football being kicked around. there are 20 year old something who think that they know something about everything and these are the kind of people you’d bump into when you pay a visit to fancy TV channel offices. they have an opinion about everything and what escapes them can't get on TV. they can make you wait for hours and make you write what they feel is the 'pulse' of the people. i must confess that though real writing, as syd field preaches, is in the re-write and as ernest hemingway considered, the first draft of anything to be crap; i have re-writes. i take ages to write but once the words flow from my fingers on to the keypad, i think they have been distilled enough. so i do tweaking, i tweak a lot, but re-writes are something that i detest. most of the TV shows i wrote went into many drafts and 5 wasn’t just my lucky number. the shows that i have written in utter pain and disgust have got me a lot of praises...

i believe that there are only two ways of writing- passion or disgust. anything in between gets lost in the numerous re-writes. but me, like the most of us, carry on re-writing and wait for miracles.

i love toast and usually prefer it buttered so i keep quite and rarely complain and i also am a very fast writer, by TV standards! there is some fun still left. maybe i just want to see how far i can stretch it.

there is another saying in swahili that sums my attitude towards writing for TV...

Mnyamaa kadumbu.
-One who keeps silent ,endures.

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