MA Scriptwriting Residential – Gregynog
My last post on Gregynog was a little short to say the least. The trip felt far too brief and I could have happily spent another two to three days at Gregynog Hall, even with the lack of signal and the terrible internet.
Gregynog Hall is a Grade One country mansion in Mid Wales, near Newtown. It was rebuilt in the 1840s and was eventually gifted to the University of Wales in the 1960. It was the PERFECT place to write my new supernatural drama…only I have deadlines that needed to take priority.
We arrived expecting to share rooms and were pleasantly surprised to find out that that wasn’t going to be necessary. Of course, the shock increased ten-fold when we unlocked our doors and walked in HUGE bedrooms. I had a double and a single bed in my room. Some of the girls had 3 singles. There was enough floor space for every one of us to do lay out yoga mats and do a group pilates class. For the first two nights that was great. We spent the evenings hanging out in each others rooms, having conversations we hadn’t even thought to have in the last year.
It was mentioned pretty early on that Gregynog had been featured on Most Haunted back in 2010 so we watched the episode the first night. It was awful of course and we spent most of the time laughing at how fake it was. However, ideas planted tend to play tricks on people. I think by the end of the weekend we’d all noticed strange things that could easily have been explained away but still freaked us out ever so slightly. To that end, all I can say is thank god for alcohol. I’m not a good sleeper at the best of times and even with a couple of glasses of wine helping me sleep easier, I didn’t turn the lights out once. I have an over-active imagination, alright?
The only night I didn’t fall straight to sleep was the night before we came home. The one night without alcohol and my mind started playing tricks on me. I almost decided to sleep in one of the other girls rooms. Thankfully, my stupidity was made easier knowing that a couple of the others had experienced the exact same things only worse. One even heard someone running down the corridor at 4AM. I didn’t hear a thing and we were next door to each other. See, ghost stories play tricks on your mind, even when you don’t believe the source material.
The weekend was divided between classes/feedback sessions, socialising (drinking) with the MA scriptwriters and writing, or more planning for writing in the end. I received feedback on both Coping Ugly (the play I’m writing for my Major Project) and Confessional (a short radio play for my Short Film submission) so by Sunday, I had a lot of information to process and plot lines to mentally alter.
I intended to begin redrafting my short on the Sunday, however, the wonderful Janine Jones suggested that watching a couple of episodes of Made in Chelsea back to back might help develop the right tone for my protagonist. I thought is was pretty sound advice so decided that I would be better planning the short to match my new dialogue content than writing a draft and having to completely scrap half of the dialogue.
The best part of the weekend for me was the feedback sessions on Saturday. We were divided off into our tutor groups to read each others first draft in the week leading up to the weekend. The result was an incredibly intensive experience. We read the first 10 pages and the next hour and half flew by as we solved minor and major issues in each others scripts as well as reaffirmed the things we love about them.
I walked into that room having realised that my structure was all wrong and the Act 1 Finale was actually the Finale. So yeah, I kinda hated what I’d written….but by the time I left the room, I was tired, of course, but refreshed and excited to get started. Hopefully, I’ll get a moment to start redrafts towards the end of this week.