The movie of my life…

So for a while now I’ve been planning to do a part of my autobiography as a movie, specifically the part where I did a history show on student radio. Some of you are no doubt wondering why I chose that area and not, say, something about my adolescence or my terrible upbringing. The problem there is that I spent half my adolescence sat at my computer, alone, creating the early versions of the Morfaverse and the rest is so dull that it’s hardly worth mentioning. It all comes down to the fact that I believe those first two years I spent at university really would make a cracking movie and that movie would chart the rise and sudden downfall of my own history themed radio show, Past Force.

So a couple of years back I got down to plotting it all and then I realized something. I needed to thread everything together. The film needed a plot and it needed to flow. Most of all, the fall of Past Force was largely due to the fact that I burnt myself out in second year. I needed a way to show that and I needed to explicitly link the fall of the show to the burn out. And obviously I couldn’t just myself sat in lecture room for two hours, it had to be a lot more entertaining. So naturally I made a few inclusions in order to help the plot along and give it more life; a villainous lecturer here, a few made up characters and events there sort of thing. But nothing too off the rails. It was going to be a little on the inaccurate side (Because of story reasons) but I didn’t mind. So I set everything down and got to work.

But about thirty pages in I realized something. It was dull. It was plodding. I hadn’t even reached the point where I actually joined the radio station, let alone come up with the idea for Past Force. The problem was that I was including too much of what really happened. I was including too many people and too many scenes and too many of my activities outside of the radio station. One early scene was a drinking montage which really had no business being there. I was even including the stuff I did with the archaeology society. But it was all just far too much. Everything was slow and ponderous and the plot suffered because of it. The movie had to be changed, and drastically. It had to be sped up and it had to be less dull and far less plodding.

I put the movie aside whilst I thought about it and then promptly forgot about it for a few years (other stuff got in the way) until I actually started covering Past Force in my main autobiography. I filmed two videos- One entitled ‘Past Force Begins’ (Not yet up) and the other being an attempt at an old idea of doing a Past Force Youtube spin off. And then, by complete coincidence, I was reminded of the movie and it got me thinking once more about how I could make it work.

And it was now all so clear as to how to do it. I would drop the Archaeology society society stuff and make the thing solely focused on Past Force, acting as if the former had never even existed. This meant, also, that several people who had been in the first draft had to go. And to make it more entertaining I cannibalized a sitcom pilot I had wrote in between the drafts. The whole thrust of the sitcom had been to set up a scenario whereby one of my fictional characters (Will Morfasson) suddenly became real. Now I’d thrown Will into the first draft for shits and giggles (and because I’m mental like that) but he’d served very little purpose other than to beat someone up half way through. He was just there, just another character. But the sitcom got me asking about what might have happened if he had really been around during Past Force… What might happen if there really had been a member of Britain’s number one family of gangster-spies swanning about Bangor.

After thinking about this concept the whole reality of the story began to fracture… People started to die and a plot of sorts began to form around the radio show… It would become this amazing triumph, loathed by the academics, but it would be tainted by a shockingly brutal event (orchestrated by Will, which was in the first draft but had little impact on the show) and then it would become a victim of its own success and it would collapse under the weight of the pressure. I soon made a decision not to kill of anybody real so a lot of people who were around got the chop and I added a few more fictional characters whom I could kill off if I wished. I’d always intended that the movie would be a somewhat exaggerated version of the truth but by this point it was becoming totally absurd. The only real thing left was the radio show and a few characters, and even they didn’t come out of the reworking completely unscathed. But it was good… It worked. It managed to tell the story of Past Force in an entertaining and exciting if considerably inaccurate way.

At its heart ‘Past Force’ is a movie about history… What is it? How do we study it? Can we change the very art itself? Most importantly of all, how much do we really know about the past? I’m only half way through writing the script but I’m having so much fun with it that it certainly wont be long before it is done. And who really cares if the movie of my life is 99% bullshit? Who cares if over half the characters are completely made up? So long as it’s a good movie where’s the harm? So long as I’m not proclaiming it to be 100% the truth it’s absolutely fine… Nobody will care. So I long as I say, ‘yeah… It’s mostly fictional,’ It’s ok. It is, after all, the movie of my life and I shall tell it the way I want to!

Bangor University… Coming soon to a cinema near you? (Picture from BBC News Images)


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