To be honest I wish I could answer that myself, this would have saved me a lot of stress, time and sleepless nights BUT something within me is unable to quit this project, its unable to swerve off until all four episodes are written and delivered. A calling? A moment of madness? Who knows, who cares…apparently I do and its something I have to deliver to the finishing line.
What is this project? Read on…
My writing brain had laid dormant for quite some time, in fact for quite some years. An attempt at script-writing again with a friend at work a few years back turned more into a headache than an enjoyable collaboration as we encountered multiple obstacles and barriers which scuppered our spirits so that project died along with our creative aspirations.
However with my husband mostly on night shifts, I found I was in charge of the remote control again and decided to watch a few classic films, The Last Emperor and M. Butterfly and was totally, jaw-droppingly blown away by John Lone’s performances.
Checking on IMDb I could see by his list of films he had been very specific about what he appeared in and I was super keen to watch more (even his Chinese movies I couldn’t understand). There was something in his voice – so tonal, deep and light, in his performances and sheer presence on screen that gave birth to my character, Bertie. John manages to completely out-act anyone else he shares screen time with, not many actors can do that in my humble opinion.
That’s when my fingers started tapping out ideas for this dramatic four-parter. I can’t write historical, action or chick-flick films but I can write ‘unusual’ – Bertie himself a brilliant complex combination of characters John has played before, through my eyes and mind.
Finally I knew I could write again, and most importantly wanted to write again, for this intriguing, annoying, mysterious, crafty character called Bertie Chan. John himself would probably be horrified at the story, (its by no means in any league of what he has been in) but it started my creative brain turning again and I spent most of my free time last year writing the first episode and laying down the ideas for the remaining three episodes.
The first episode has been submitted into BBC Writers Room Drama window and with possibly 4,000 other scripts may not see the light of day, BUT there’s a small chance I could get some feedback at least which would be wonderful as this will steer me to a potential re-write or to other places where I could send the script.
Its a British TV series essentially but it will go back to China to explore Bertie’s past and I will be sharing an upcoming trip to Beijing on here. The last time I visited was in 1992 so I assume there has been a few changes since! As an ex-Hong Kong expat I have always had a fascination with the Chinese culture, something I have blamed my brother for introducing me to Bruce Lee when I was a tiny, wee girl. Something I have never grown out of either I am proud to say. To experience China with my daughter is a dream come true, and is something I wish she will remember for the rest of her life.
So my adventures this year will see me scouting locations for the rest of it, I have some ideas where I’d like it to be. My ambitions are TV as its rightful place to broadcast however I am very keen to adapt the story to stage too and give to local actors here in the UK, this I will look at later in the year. Plus an illustrated novel, but that’s where I am getting way too ahead of myself. May be though the story shouldn’t be categorised into anything really, as Bertie himself would never be labelled.
It doesn’t matter where this project in itself gets to it will enrich me so much, push my creative mind as far as it can go and whether he see’s this or not, I would like to thank John, as without his performances Bertie would never have slipped on his fedora and uttered some brilliant, sarcastic one-liners.
Hope you can stay with me on this journey, upcoming soon are interviews with some writers sharing their thoughts on the writing process plus an insight into productions past and present.
Thank you for dropping by! See you soon…