Taking your clothes off in public

The creative process is a difficult one, whether you are painting, shooting a movie, writing poetry or writing a script.

A few days ago I finished the first draft of the script for our latest movie – The Last Train to Budapest. It’s an amazing true story about the 1956 Hungarian revolution and one young man’s part in that.

It’s adapted from the book of the same name by Richard Pekar and tells the story of his dad’s fight during the revolution and escape to the UK.

As soon as I read it I wanted to make the film. So I started working on the adaptation, pulling the book apart, doing all the usual stuff you do to turn a book into a film. Writing a screenplay is an amazing thing to do, the start of the journey to seeing this on the big screen

The issue is though, at some stage you’ll write FADE OUT, and that’s where it gets difficult. Because now you have show the result of all that creative toil to someone and ask for their opinion. It’s laying bare your sole, opening yourself up to criticism. The creative process is intensely personal and when our work gets criticized, we tend to take it personally – however much we say we don’t and however professional we try to be.

It’s like taking all your clothes off in public. No one likes to be criticized and having people point at your slightly flabby and out of shape naked body is about as uncomfortable as it gets. The thing is, that’s how I feel when I show someone a script for the first time.

All your insecurities laid bare. It’s just not big enough is it?

So anyway, I sent the script to Richard and also to a Hungarian actress that I really wanted to be in the film. We met at BAFTA and my nerves were not in good shape. I was naked and everyone was pointing.

Then this very lovely lady says “ I absolutely love it, it’s amazing.” I was still naked but all of a sudden I wasn’t quite as out of shape as I’d thought – in fact I was goddamn ripped.

That is, until the next time.

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