In 2003, after a period away from writing, I decided to take a writing course to help me get back into the rhythm. I knew that all writing courses have a short period at the start of each lesson in which the students are required to write on a topic supplied by the teacher, and it was this method of exercising my writing 'muscle' which I was most interested in. Additionally I had been presented with a book in Swedish by my wife, which I realised would make an exciting drama, and wanted to test my mettle by writing the screenplay, which decided for me the type of course I would take - a screenwriting course.
Syndafloden (Noahs flood)
The book my wife gave me is called "Syndafloden" by the now late Swedish author, Marianne Fredriksson. It deals with the problems faced by Noah in having to build a ship many times larger than the largest then in existence, to man it, and to keep the whole secret from the many warring factions along the river.
I contacted Fredriksson's agent, who arranged for me to write a speculative script, and a contract was signed. Unfortunately this is the only one of Fredriksson's books which has not been translated into English, so my first job was to do just that, after which I could start to select the story threads which would make a good film.
I now have a script which in its present form could function as a mini series in two or three parts, but I have not taken it all the way down to a 90 minute film, and now it is gathering dust in my shelves.
Bofinken (The Bullfinch)
The name is a play on words. Bo in Swedish means to live, and finkan (not finken) is a slang name for prison. It deals with Siv, who has lived with her husband in their family house since shortly after their marriage. Her husband is retired. When he suddenly dies, Siv discovers that her pension is not sufficient to afford the new property taxes on their home, and she is forced to move. She moves to the old people's home called Bofinken.
Whilslt there the minister who instituted the new taxes comes to visit - he has plans to cut back on the services provided by old people's homes. Whilst he is there, Siv murders him.
She is now faced with a new problem. Her thought was to land in prison for her crime for prison is a great deal better than an old folks' home in Sweden, but the government is planning to have her declared insane so that she would instead end up in a psychiatric hospital, the worst of all possible alternatives.
The end of the screenplay describes her struggle to be classed as a murderer and not a mentally ill person, and thus escape the threat hanging over her. This screenplan was one of the top ten in a pitchfest at the Stockholm Film Festival in 2005.
Another subject I have brooded over for many years. Notwithstanding the title, this is the old story of Robin Hood, but one in which Robin is not the do-gooder that he is generally portrayed, but a cold-blooded psychopathic killer. I take the story of Robin Hood through all the usual episodes, but from this new angle. I must admit I laughed the whole way through the writing of this screenplay.
An Apple for Teacher
I am currently working a little half-heartedly on turning my own book into a screenplay. My book is, of course, written in English, but as a film it would be more effective for a Swedish audience. Although now, as I write that, I am wondering why I thought that it would not make a good film in English also.