Stuff that inspires me and people that I love
I know it’s probably a cliché to quote Robert McKee but this is one of the most inspirational things that I’ve ever read about screenwriting:
“A culture cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling. When society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society.”
This is one of the reasons why I love Shane Meadows so much. I’ve just finished watching the last ever episode (sob) of This Is England and have also recently watched the Stone Roses documentary Made of Stone and re-watched Dead Man’s Shoes and I just really basically want to be Shane Meadows. Or at least work with him, or stand somewhere near to him, or be in the same room as him, once in my life. Yep, I’m a fan geek.
The sweet thing about Shane is that he’s a fan geek too. He was so overwhelmed at the beginning of the Stone Roses documentary to be in the presence of his idols and touch the things that they had used – I think it’s that ability to stay in touch with ho he is and where he comes from that allows him to bring such amazing, emotionally affecting work out of his actors. As we were watching the documentary, my boyfriend (his family being from Manchester) was cringing at the ageing Roses fans who didn’t want to let go of their youth. But Shane Meadows doesn’t cringe at them – he understands them, identifies with them and admires them for their passion, and his camera raises them up from their drab surroundings and makes them part of something epic, thrilling, and unforgettable.
It’s the same with This is England. The characters are poor, they come from dingy, depressing, tragic or sometimes just mundane backgrounds, but through their relationships with one another, their ability to make mistakes, to forgive and to love, Shane Meadows shows us something that we rarely see – he shines a light on these small town lives and makes them beautiful.
If I ever write something that balances light and shade, humour and sadness and shows such a deep understanding of character with even half of the skill of Shane Meadows then I will feel I can call myself a screenwriter.