Last Saturday, the three winning writers from ‘Create50: Courage and Kindness’ shared a stage with brightest and most brilliant of British Screenwriting talent. Vera Mark took away the Best Screenplay award and here is her journey…
Where you stumble, there your treasure lies
Okay, so I am taking a bit of artistic license here – I was already clutching my treasure when I stumbled somewhat spectacularly down the steps from the London Screenwriters’ Festival stage last Saturday. That treasure was the “Best Screenplay” award for my script “Psukhe”, which I had submitted for Create 50 / Moments of Courage and Kindness.
To stay within Joseph Campbell’s terminology, winning this award was quite a Climax on my journey as a writer, a journey that had begun to feel more like an endless loop. Starting over and over again with new ideas and new formats and new everything, but never actually getting anywhere. I had almost given up on my dream of becoming a “serious” writer – sure, I would continue to write, but perhaps it wasn’t for me to be published or produced or otherwise recognised.
And then, along came Create 50. A new Call to Adventure. Two pages, hey, I can do that! And then do it again, and again! And things started happening. Along the way I found Friends and Allies in the form of many other writers offering feedback, some of who have since become real-life friends. I’m glad to say that I didn’t really encounter an Inmost Cave or Ordeal or indeed any of the bad stuff on Create 50, but when I look at my overall Writer’s Journey, I do see major obstacles – some thrown at me by “life occurring”, as Chris Jones would put it, some created by myself. The biggest of these obstacles was my inability to truly accept praise for anything I had created, and the resulting lack of belief in my own writing, which kept me from putting my work out there.
At least until now. The recognition this award brings means the world to me. And I know who I have to thank for this – Chris and his team for making these opportunities available to all of us, and my writing peers who critiqued, offered advice and generous input, and egged me on to keep writing (above all Eddie, Dee, Tracey and all the lovely people I didn’t mention in my mess of a thank-you speech).
I’ve seized the Reward. I’ve brought home the Elixir, which in this case is: dare and share, submit and support. That’s what Create 50 has done for me. Now go out and get some for yourselves, and you can be the next one stumbling onto stage to receive an award!
PS For those of you who were at the LSF and wondered whether my stumble was part of some strange choreography – fellow winner Phil Peel falling up the stairs, me crashing down them – no it wasn’t. Alexis Howell-Jones, who completed our award-winning trio, took care of that by staying on his feet, even though his words ran away with him.