Inside the Piano Shop – the story of a woman who, upon hearing news an asteroid is about to wipe out life on Earth heads to a piano shop to use her talent one last time – has taught me far more about myself as a writer and how others see my work than anything else I’ve written; which is truly bizarre given it’s a two-page script.
Like every other writer on the film, it helped me hone my screenwriting skills and the feedback from the community was invaluable. But more than that, it taught me to keep going. When I wrote the initial draft and entered it, I had a very young baby. I was struggling to find time to write. And much as everything pretty much had to take a backseat at that time to enable me to survive the sleep-deprived haze that is early motherhood, I felt I was losing part of myself. A full-length spec or a full-length play felt too daunting but I came up with the idea at 3am and remember thinking – it’s two pages, I only have to write two pages, I can definitely write two pages.
It’s a story I’ve since told in writing workshops: how this script taught me to break down the daunting. Yes, Inside the Piano Shop was self-contained, but since writing it I have planned more; I have told myself to just finish the one scene that week, to keep momentum and to not become overwhelmed.
In addition, the script taught me heaps about how others see my work, the different perspectives directors can bring to it. Three companies made the film and each take on it was unique; each team had a different vision. My background is in theatre and I’m used to being in the room and influencing production so it was fascinating for me to see the different takes from afar. It’s made me think far more about how my words can be interpreted rather than simply running a scene in my head and also how different elements of my writing appeal to different directing styles.
I can’t wait to see how it fits into the wider film now and what it contributes to and gains from the feature format. So exciting…