It’s quiet – too quiet… Ok, I’ve been away from my (blog) post for too long, but that’s because I’ve been concentrating on my first love. No, not chocolate – screenplays.
When did I decide I wanted to write screenplays? I blame Star Wars. I was 7 years old when Luke and Leia turned up at the Streatham Odeon, and like many others of my generation (please don’t Google the year it came out and work out my age), it changed my life. It wasn’t the hairy earphones or the light sabre that did it for me, though; I wanted to be Han Solo. Let’s face it, why wouldn’t you? I was short and chubby and living in a pretty crappy part of South London, so why wouldn’t I dream about doing the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? (Although I’ve since discovered that a parsec is a unit of distance, rather than time, so Han was talking bollocks. Sorry, my geek’s showing.)
Star Wars made me want to act. But short chubby 7 year old Cockney girls from Mitcham don’t end up in Hollywood, or even RADA; and at this point there was no such thing as Eastenders, where my accent would’ve fitted (showing my age again), so despite throwing myself headfirst into drama clubs and school plays I never really admitted to anyone that I wanted to be an actor. To be fair, I also wanted to be a rock star (I was well into Ska and Two Tone and quite desperately wanted to be Pauline from The Selector) and, after seeing that man Harrison Ford again in Raiders of the Lost Ark, an archaeologist.
Perhaps I just wanted to be Harrison Ford? (Was he ever in a rock band?)
Anyhoo, on and off all through my life that acting bug has stayed with me, until I read an interview with Ben Elton, talking about how he realised he was never going to be a successful actor – no one would cast him – so he started writing his own parts. Which led to Blackadder (which he STILL never got cast in) and to his own stand up career.
If he could write stuff for himself, maybe I could do the same? So I did.
I have since managed to act in a few things – mostly crappy low budget TV commercials and amateur stuff – but like Ben, I’ve accepted that actually I might not always be the best woman for the part. There are a few characters that I’ve created that I just can’t see anyone but me playing, despite the fact that I’m ten (ahem!) years too old, four inches too short and three dress sizes too big, but hey ho. They’re like my babies; I know that for them to have any chance of success in the outside world I have to let them go, but it will hurt. I know deep down that I’m a much better writer than an actor, but that frustrated performer is what drives me to write and for that, I thank her. I’m just glad she grew out of her Han Solo phase.
These days, I want to be Iron Man.