It turns out that the BBC don't want Winter. It seems that although they claimed they were looking for something unusual and ahead of its time, the truth is they want something that's the same as everybody else is doing.
I understand why, but it's just another sad reflection on these times of fear. In this case, fear of criticism.
However the door is not closed, my contact asked if I had something else. I didn't when she asked at 10:30 this morning. But 20 minutes on the train with my trusty note pad this evening, and now I do. Something that will fit their agenda. The code word for this new project is "Strings". Of course they still might choose someone else but that's fine.
So this evening I shall write it up into a one page pitch thingy and zoom it off to be read in the morning.
It's not the end of Winter (had you noticed? Ha-ha) because now I have the freedom to find a team to make it. I'm feeling challenged, I know this is something that nobody else has done and I doubt anyone will do it in the near future.
And I want to be the first, damn it.
High Concept is a thing that I didn't comprehend fully until a short while ago (about 5 minutes) though the understanding has been dawning for a few weeks now.
I initially took objection to the idea of it because, as far as I could tell the idea of "high" concept was actually "low" concept - something everyone could relate to. I felt that ought to be a low thing, not a high thing.
But in reading Bill Martell and Adrian Mead it's finally been dawning on me why high concept is, indeed, high. Because it's above everything else. It really is a Good Thing(tm) it's a concept that anyone can grasp because it is basic to the human experience.
You probably knew that already.
So in story terms it's a concept that, when you describe it, anybody can instantly see the story - not the detail obviously, but they can feel the emotion of it.
I was just working out the logline for Strings: I evaluated the main character's outer want as a contradiction of their inner need. And how the antagonist represented the outer want, yet it would be the acceptance of the inner need by the protagonist that defeats the antagonist.
And encapsulated that into the logline and bingo! Suddenly I understood High Concept.
[A short time later] Finished the 1 page pitch. I love having new ideas. This one is vaguely reminiscent of Jet Li's movie "The One" but doesn't have any martial arts in it and has a proper plot without silliness (infinite universes is just that, infinite). But it does have lots of versions of the same people in the multi-verse. This is why it's called "Strings" as in String Theory.
It's got a neat little twist at the end, I'd love to tell you about it, but I can't.
What's on the turntable? "Quest" by Gordon Giltrap from "Perilous Journey" - could there be anything more appropriate?
If you haven't seen John August's The Nines, do so. It's very metaphysical and is conceptually similar - different versions of the same people in different scenarios.
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