Sunday, January 11, 2009

Being human

I'm looking forward to it, though I have not actually seen the pilot. And its return more-or-less coincides with me being in Bristol. I recognise one of the locations from the trailer.

Came down on the train this afternoon (the journey is 20 minutes less than the time to Reading, though, today, much less as there was a bus replacement service on the Reading line - lucky I was going to Bristol instead). I'm also in a different Guest House, this one is much nicer though a little more expensive.

I actually committed some script for "Unit X" though I'm not 100% happy with it, it feels a bit awkward and contrived. In this instance I think it means that I'm starting in the wrong place. Which, in turn, is because I decided which character should be the one the story is "about".

In "Monsters" I had originally conceived it as having an ensemble cast and had not nailed the narrative to a single character. This was criticised by one and all, and I had a very hard time bringing it down to being about a single character. Though I did in the end.

Now in "Unit X" I have the same problem the overall issue is "Who is this about?" It's true that the other characters all get their arcs, but who is this really about?

So I chose a character (having done a negative "okay, who isn't this about?" then choosing between the remaining two. I may have got it wrong.

I suspect this problem is down to the way I develop stories: usually starting with the setting, then getting a story, then finding characters to fill it. If I started with a character (like I did for "Air" and "Winter") the question doesn't even arise.

I've also had to send out for specialist advice: My knowledge of US Army protocols in 1945 is severely limited so I am trying to find someone who knows. I've used Yahoo!Answers, by finding a question like the ones I need answered, and finding an answerer who knows what they're talking about and has their e-mail enabled.

We shall see.

I may find out this week whether the BBC want to commission me for the Winter project, then again I might not. Not sure how I can stand the strain of that plus the impending Red Planet decision. (Never mind having to finish the current contract in two days and find a more permanent contract by next week.)

Well, I never wanted a boring life.

What's on the turntable? "Oxygene (Part 3)" by Jean-Michel Jarre from "Oxygene"


laurence timms said...

Puts my worries about RP into context - I've just got one thing to worry about. Although I could argue that worrying about that is a meta-worry in itself.


Re who is the drama about; who is Heroes about, for example? Ensemble drama can work if it's well written.

Jason Arnopp said...

Hello Sir! One handy resource I've used for asking-people-about-factual-stuff is the forum at There's a section specifically called Character and Plot Realism Q&A, where you can leave a question to be answered. And it's largely American folk. Nice!

Adaddinsane said...

In a 22-parter I guess it can change, Heroes was originally about Claire (she and Sylar get introduced very early), then Hiro and then Peter.

We don't have that luxury since our limit is about 6 episodes.

Mr. A., delighted to hear from you, good sir! Indeed I am a member of Nanowrimo, I had forgotten about that.