There was a small tsunami of encouragement following my last week’s post about the possible film of The Witness. So much so, in fact, that I wondered whether some people might have taken it as a fait accompli – which is very much not the case. Not yet anyway. But thanks all the same to everyone who took the trouble to wish me well with the project via email, Twitter and Facebook.
What happens now, as I understand it, is that someone (not me) is persuaded to write a short treatment. This is used to raise development funding so that a full first draft screenplay can be written. That in turn is used to attract a director and once he or she is on board, then the producer sets about the bushes with a big stick in the hope of dislodging the real cash. It’s a long, often fraught process and should it all turn out well, I still won’t be taking the family away on holiday this Christmas, or the next or even the one after that.
Patience, persistence and nerves of steel seem to be the pre-requisites – which is where producers come in. Happily Phillip, founder of Cloudburst Productions and now proud possessor of a 12-month option on The Witness, shows signs of being endowed with all three. Furthermore, which matters a great deal to me, he understands the story and the relationships that drive it. Following our walkabout earlier this week (on a cloudless afternoon) he also has a good sense of just how important the Highland landscape is to the story, almost as a character in its own right. So far, therefore, so good. But if anyone has any crafty hints, or even Danny Boyle’s mobile number, do please let us know …
Meanwhile, I’m going to India next week to recover from all the excitement – well, actually, to recover from a busy Edinburgh Book Festival, a mad late summer influx of house guests and a round of Dark Angels activity and other workshops. In my experience – and this, I think, will be my ninth visit – India refreshes the parts other holiday destinations cannot reach.
I loved it from the first time I stepped out of the plane at Indira Gandhi International and I’ve never since failed to be thrilled by the whirlwind of sheer energy with which India envelops one. It’s brighter, noisier, busier, smellier, more brilliantly coloured, older, more profound, more uplifting and more infuriating than anywhere else I’ve ever been. What’s more, we’re going to stay and travel with one of my very oldest friends, Pramod, and his partner Malavika. I first met Pramod in London slightly over 40 years ago. Our friendship was really cemented when, having known each other for a few years we lost touch briefly while he went to work in the Gulf, only to discover on his return that we were living three doors apart in the same street in London.
So October will be a month for recharging the batteries, forgetting the onset of Scottish winter, and being transported by tigers and palaces in Rajasthan, the social whirl in Delhi, and finally, down in Kerala, the INK conference (the Indian version of TED) in Cochin. What more could one ask?
Meanwhile, again … a thousand miles or more to the north-west a neighbour and former client of mine is having a rather different experience of Asia. Philip Riddle is a former chief executive of VisitScotland. Since June, he’s been in Tajikistan where he’s spending six months with VSO, advising on tourism development. Philip writes a weekly blog, Off Piste, from Dushanbe, the capital. It’s vivid and funny and I urge you to check it out and take a trip off piste with him to a part of the world you most probably know less than nothing about. I’ll be back in November – unless moved to post a bulletin from the sub-continent. Namaste.