Spin has unsavoury connotations. We think untruths and hidden agendas. But in fact if you put a spin on it, Spin can do wonders to the way you see things, the way you think about something, the way you interpret events, the way you face the future.
Spin can turn the negative into the positive and it can bounce you into a world of possibilities. In my Journal at the end of each day, I write three good things that have happened. Sometimes it’s hard to think of three, or any, but I put a spin on it and I always manage to conjure up the good stuff. Often little things and to others insignificant, but at the right angle you can find a rosy glow somewhere.
Someone said to me the other day “But isn’t that cheating?” My reply was “Well you can dwell on the bad stuff and feel lousy, or you can focus on the merrier moments and feel better.” I know which makes me sleep more peacefully at night.
So, the same is true when it comes to screenwriting. The process as any writer knows is not writing, but re-writing ad infinitum. So to keep up your interest and prevent sinking into a slurry of despondency at a set of new ‘feedback’ notes I grab my Inner Spin Doctor by the scruff of the neck and beg for a different insight.
This week, on tackling a new draft, I decided to think about my story as a re-telling of Peter Pan and Wendy, in a modern twist with Wendy at the helm. All the corresponding elements to my story are there. ‘Wendy’ cares too much for everybody, including crazy Nana, two Darling children and her husband Peter Pan who is stuck in the past with childhood trauma and won’t grow up.
It all comes to head when he has a midlife crisis and Wendy once again has to pick up the pieces except that this time in the fight against Peter’s demons (Hook, his dad who killed himself) she teams up with Tinker Bell the Lithium Fairy and together they save the day. Only now Wendy’s got the message and realizes she has to let go, force Peter to take responsibility and in so doing set herself free.
I wrote all this as a poem and the process of doing that made me understand with much better clarity what the crucial elements of my own modern day story are. The Spin I put on my writing process freed me to go back to my script with renewed vigor.
For those who fancy a bit of poetry on a Monday morning here you go:
The Hunt for Hook by Lou Hamilton
Wendy’s Nan was poorly, Her Peter hard at work, She alone was there, To read the kids a book.
Nana barked away, In bed next door, Crazy grandma banging, Stick upon the floor.
Those Darling kids, With Wendy at the helm, Sat on Sofa-boat, Dreaming where to roam
Wendy’s Peter joined them, To fly the boat away, But he had troubles of his own, That Wendy had to slay
She gave him pills to keep him up, But sadness was too strong, He wanted to stay forever young, Like when Hook, his dad did wrong
Wendy steered with all her might, To keep the family straight, And knew that to survive, She’d have to find a bait
The Hunt for Hook is on she cried, As they flew across the skies, The Darling kids clung on tight, And Peter fed them flies
Then a spring popped out from underneath, The cushions busting bare, And there was Hook all tooth and claw, To snare them in his lair.
Wendy grabbed the Darling kids, But Peter pleased to see his dad, Was hooked with claw and blinded, By fond memories that he had
Wendy shouted “Hook killed himself”, His ghost’s in sofa form, Now come to steal his son back, In the midst of this cruel storm
Thrown about in ferocious gusts, The battle did commence, Wendy out to save them all, Before Peter lost his sense
Sofa-Hook was mighty strong, With twisted springs to spear, The Darling kids and Wendy, So Peter gave in to fear
Wendy screamed for Tinker Bell, Lithium sting in her tail, She heard and flew in armed, With needle sharp as nails
Wendy kicked back the springs, And held the Darlings tight, As Tinker joined the scrum, To snatch Peter from his plight
Sofa’s springs scratched and snarled, Hook’s claw tore Tinker’s wings, But Wendy caught the needle, To pierce poor Peter’s skin
Sofa crashed to the lake below, Flinging Wendy, Peter, Darlings free, Sinking Hook without at trace, To injured Tinker’s glee
Lithium had done the trick, Blasting Peter’s past with Hook, and the family safe ashore, Wendy gave not a backwards look
Back home Nana’s cursing loud, “I’m hungry” comes the holler, But Wendy’s had enough of Caring, It’s Peter’s turn to bother
The Darling kids are off to school, Peter’s forced to try, His boyhood trauma all grown up, and Wendy’s free to fly.