Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blog me a river

What a day ... turns out I will not be going home this weekend because I will be working on the day job website, launch is in less than two weeks. It's coming together and I now have two designers to make the things I'm creating look pretty. It's going to be close, but it always is.

But I won't see the boy who, after his jaunt to Norway, is now off to France for two days. (He's going to Italy in a year with the Scouts.) Nor will I get to hear him playing some of the new music I bought him for his sax (100 Sax solos and Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah). What an instrument the saxophone is, it sounds good even when he's not playing it well.

And I don't get to see the daughter who's heading for her first Drama college audition next week, Bristol Old Vic - which is the course she'd really like to get on to, they do tons of real performance throughout the course. Second choice is Oxford (not the University) because they only take about 15 students per year. Finally RADA - not that she'd object to being offered a place at RADA, but you're not even allowed to do any public performance for the first two years.

And I don't get to see the wife which is no fun at all.

Had a conversation with Philip Shelley today about my stupid idea.

For UK TV you are supposed to create something powerful that demonstrates your own unique voice. You are not expected to produce spec scripts of existing shows (unlike in the US). However the chance of you getting your own original work produced is rather small, so someone has to take a chance that you can write with correct voices for someone else's show.

This very thing was mentioned by Toby Whithouse in his Q&A - for the episodes of Being Human that he didn't write he chose two experienced writers that he knew could duplicate the character voices. And that is totally sensible and logical.

In the UK and the US no one will read a spec script for This Brilliant Show if they are the producers of This Brilliant Show because of the potential legal problems. But in the US you can write a spec for That Other Brilliant Show and send it to This Brilliant Show. Because it can be safely read and the producers can see whether you got the voices right for the other one.

But not in the UK. They don't want spec scripts from any existing show they want Your Original Voice. Which means new writers have a difficult time proving they can duplicate voices from existing shows.

So I had a stupid idea.

What if, I thought, I wrote a short script combining two sets of characters from different shows in a plot that could never happen? Something completely ridiculous that demonstrates I can write other people's characters? (Or not, as the case may be, but let's be positive.)

I asked Philip if he thought I could do that. He thought I probably could.

So, what the hell, I damn well will. It's currently called Which of the West? and is loosely based on the Wizard of Oz but combines three (yes, three!) popular UK TV shows in a 10 minute script. When I've finished it (and if I like it) I shall make it publicly available.

What's life if you can't have fun!

It also turns out that Philip would like to introduce my writing to people who don't produce SF and Fantasy TV, which means he can't send Monsters or Air. So I shall be writing the pilot for a series my wife and I have been kicking around for a couple of years - which isn't SF or Fantasy but is my other favourite genre: Detective. It will have the working title: Tec. (And that's a pun.)

Running is on hiatus (again) basically it's just not ready for the Linehan Poo. Hm, I've checked the reference but it doesn't really explain the Linehan Poo very well: Comedy writer Graham Linehan compared writing to having a poo - if it's not ready then you will have a hard time producing anything, but when it is ready ... you get the idea. It's a perfect analogy. I hate it.

What's on the turntable? "One Vision" by Queen from "A Kind of Magic", the soundtrack to the brilliant Highlander - though the TV series was better.


Scaramanga said...

Poo?! hmmmm..In that case surely different stages of writing can be likened to different poos??

Your idea sounds intriguing. I was wondering why the counter reset there.

You able to give any info on the detective idea? I love detective stories I do.


potdoll said...

I remember this bloke i know going to an interview for that writers academy and he said they made them write scenes with characters from casualty meeting a character from another soap. i can't really remember the details but it sounds like a similar exercise.

potdoll said...

ps what i meant to say was you should write the script and then apply to the academy with the script and beat them at their own game.

Adaddinsane said...

Thanks Potty. That's very interesting.

Thing is I'm not a huge fan of Continuing Drama and you have to have at least a commission to get in. If I did have a commission I'd be in two minds as to whether to apply, it wouldn't be fair to take the place of someone who really wants to write for that. (Assuming I got in, of course.)

As it happens a person close to the academy has already seen my work, was reasonably impressed but wanted to see if I could handle something less "high concept".

I was slightly less stunned than a Norwegian Blue. Different ball game, y'see.

Charles. Please. We have some standards here. (Yes, I know, I was the one who brought it up - oh dear, that was a bad choice of words. Must. Stop. Digging.)

I will no doubt talk about Tec when I get a bit more into it. I realised today that I can't actually remember the details of the first case.

It's all written down in a notebook somewhere.