Lee Crompton is an author, screenwriter, and filmmaker based in Scotland (one of my favorite countries!). He is also the founder of Lomond Films. We connected on Twitter and discussed trying to work together. Since we’re in different continents, I thought the best way to start working together was for him to start doing some contributing writing for us. As a way to introduce him to you (our lovely readers!), I thought I would do an interview with him (since that’s what I do!). He was nice enough to take the time to answer some of my questions below:
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently writing a sci-fi/thriller feature based in Edinburgh. It’s about a guy who breaks into an infected quarantined city to track down his sister’s killer. There’s a terrifying story from during the plague where a particular close (UK term for a road usually with private houses, that vehicles can only enter from one end) in Edinburgh was bricked up with the inhabitants, infected or not, still inside to try and stop the spread of the disease. I thought it would be interesting to extend this to the whole city, put a modern twist on it and have someone who has not only broken in, but then has a mission to complete amongst all the carnage.
What do you consider your biggest accomplishment so far?
I wrote a children’s book last year for my niece and nephew called The Escape-Peas. I had a few printed off for Christmas. To hear them ask for it at bedtime, to read it to them and see their faces is priceless.
What are your goals?
I find my goals are changing all the time. I think I’ll be happy when I achieve a certain level and then when I get there I assume I set the bar too low so am always upping the anti. My current goal is to have my script made into a feature-film. After that … win an Oscar. I’ve not written the winning script yet but how difficult can it be? :-)
If you could give any advice to your younger self what would it be and why?
– Don’t become a Quantity Surveyor. Apply yourself to something in life you actually enjoy. You’ve only got one go at this so make the most of it. You don’t want to feel like a middle-aged man playing catch-up do you? Well, do you?
– Read more scripts from your favourite films and learn from them.
– Don’t get hung on perfectionism on the first draft. Just get it down on paper and move on. There will be plenty of time to add meat to the bones or throw the scraps in the bin later.
You are a screenwriter and a novelist? How differently do you have to approach writing for these different mediums?
I don’t think my approach is very different. It’s still the same struggle to discipline myself to sit down and write rather than check emails, compile a twitter update or tidy the cupboard under the stairs. I do however think my screenwriting has helped my novel writing enormously. Having adapted my own novel into a screenplay, it’s like trying to condense an email into a tweet. It’s taught me to be much more focused and concise which has ultimately made my prose far more punchy.
Tell us about Lomond Films.
When I was travelling in New Zealand in 2004 I stumbled across the 48 Hour Film Project in Wellington and ended up helping out with the writing and played Neil the office manager. You’re given a prop, line of dialogue and a character on the Friday night and 48 hours to write, film and edit a short film based on those elements. I loved every minute of it. So when I got back to the UK I wanted to get involved and had a go at putting a film together. I bought myself a DSLR camera and a shotgun mic and Lomond Films was born. It’s been a steep learning curve but great fun and has led me to do promo features for local businesses and events.
It could be anything. An obscure news story or overhearing someone on the train who you think would make a great character. I could people watch for hours and I think this is a great way to come up with ideas. I also think posing “what if” questions is a great source of inspiration. My first screenplay DIGGING DEEPER was based on, “what if you suspected your partner of having an affair but the confrontation with the alleged lover ended up with their accidental death?” Now there’s a story that could go off in a multitude of tangents.
What is the biggest challenge for you in pursuing a creative career?
I often struggle to maintain a positive outlook and I think it’s very important to surround yourself with positive people. Too many folk are dismissive of goals and aspirations and if you listen to too many people asking: “why do you bother?” or “why are you wasting your time?,” together with the undoubted stream of rejections from agents and producers then it can have a destructive effect.
If you can block the negativity out and have the discipline to sit down and write and keep going regardless of the number of set-backs and rejections along the way then you deserve all the success that comes your way.