Saturday, 28 June 2008

Now, I'm not saying you're evil, but...

We're writers. We give birth to characters, tell them what to say and put them through all sorts of cruel situations. We've all got a bit of a megalomaniacal streak. So this should appeal to you all...

I'm stuck on what to write next. I've got a bunch of ideas, and I like them all, but if I write one I shall always be worrying that I'm neglecting the rest, that my time would have been spent better elsewhere. So you're going to choose for me.

I present for your consideration four short ideas, accompanied by my patented LazyPitch. You can tell me in the comments section which you'd most like to see. If any of the ideas is particularly popular, or someone just puts forward a really good case for writing one of them, then written it shall be.

Your contenders are:

The Kid's One: A group of early-teen misfits are drawn to investigate when a new kid turns up at their school, covered in scratches - and everyone else acts like he's always been there. The type of dark kid's drama that they used to make in the late eighties and early nineties, usually with a pre-Who Russel T. Davies somewhere behind the scenes. LazyPitch: It's Dark Season meets Dark City. Y'know, for kids!

The Commercial One:
Female centric comedy drama concerning an unusual occupation. Hopefully funny, sexy, clever and glamorous, with a smidgen of tabloid TV about it. LazyPitch: It's Sex and the City meets (an imaginary, good version of) Footballers' Wives!

The Expensive One:
A feature idea this time, a rip roaring adventure movie that would be waaaay too expensive to make, but the sort of thing that might get me noticed just as a spec if I was to knock it out of the park. A famous historical character leads a double life, involving sword fights, cannibals, costume balls and forbidden romance. LazyPitch: It's Shakespeare in Love meets The Princess Bride!

The Other One: Kind of combining aspects of all the others (including being a bit pricey...), it's the fantasy comedy drama TV show, for adults this time around. An ordinary Joe tries to make his way in a modern London where mythical Greek creatures are all around. LazyPitch: It's Reaper meets Jason and the Argonauts!

So there you go. I need your input, people. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

I can only assume I was number 26...

So, it seems that everyone else had bribed/slept with the judges, because I didn't qualify for Sharps. Despite making room for another five people, I was not amongst them. Harrumph.

Actually, I'm alright about the whole thing. Genuinely. The script I entered was a very early draft - if it hadn't been for the competition deadline, it would still only be doing the rounds amongst my private circle of readers. But, hey, look, a thirty minute comedy drama. Didn't have one of those before.

The Fixer Upper, which is finished, has gone off to the writersroom classic, and to the British Short Screenplay Competition. I unleash boggarts on them all.

Anyway, it's stupid late, and this post seems to have rambled it's way into a fairly dull cull-de-sac, so I shall leave it there, promise a more adroit, urbane post at a later date, and wish all of those on the Sharps shortlist the very best of luck. Fuckers.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The lottery...

So, Sharps has received about 600 applicants. Given that Red Planet (which was admittedly less prescriptive and had a LARGE CASH PRIZE) received just under 7 billion, I'm kind of liking those odds. As David points out, we've all got about a 1 in 30 chance of getting through to the workshop.

Which, of course, we haven't really*. I've heard a lot of variations on "You've got more chance of winning the lottery than making a living as a screenwriter" and so forth. But you can't be a talented lottery player. You can't have a gift for the lottery, or get better at the lottery through practice.

So screenwriting's not a lottery. If I don't get through, it'll be because someone more talented than me did instead**.

This sadly means that if I do get through, I WILL BE UNBEARABLE.

* Yes, David said this too. I've essentially stolen his post wholesale.

** I am pragmatic now, but if no e-mail comes on Monday to congratulate me, then I will become convinced that all of the short list are both screwing and bribing the judges, possibly at the same time.

Monday, 16 June 2008


Every writer, whether they're in round-the-clock meetings with commissioning editors or still typing for a couple of hours after getting home from their day job, has written something they're not proud of. That stinker, that reeker, the one that not even the mother could love.

That script? The one you keep in your bottom draw to remind yourself how not to do things? The one Uwe Boll would reject with a polite letter? The one with NEVER AGAIN scrawled across it in flourescent marker?

That script is better than The Incredible Hulk.

Friday, 13 June 2008

It goes samurai, cowboys, songs, then maybe dwarves...

So, it's Friday, I'm this close to finishing my Sharps entry (a hasty proof reading and dash to the post office at lunchtime...) and I have been memed, by Rach, so that I can destress, bless her virtual cotton socks. My brief is thus:
"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs."
And my answer is this:

1. Ladytron – Predict the Day

I could have happily just listed a random selection of 7 songs from the new Ladytron album, which I will go on and on and on about until you all hate me. This one's particularly good though, and shows off a few of the things they've learnt whilst touring with Nine Inch Nails.

2. Black Kids - I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You (Twelves remix)

a) Take one corking indie tune that sounds more than a little like The Cure; b) remix into synth-pop genius; c) bounce around in your car d) a lot.

3. Los Campesinos! - Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats

At a time when indie is largely represented by Scouting for Girls (urgh) and the Hoosiers (uuuuuurrrrrggghhh), it's nice that someone still thinks it's 1994.

4. Mark Lanegan and Isabel Campbell - Who Built the Road

The man from Queens of the Stone Age and the lady from Belle and Sebastian out Nick Cave Nick Cave. Good things result.

5. The Organ – Memorize the City

Because fast, sad, singalong pop corkers are a rare thing to find, and because sounding like The Smiths never hurt anyone. Sadly missed.

6. Does it Offend You, Yeah? - We Are Rockstars

They've got stick for having a name which is admittedly rubbish, but you know what? They are rockstars, and this grinding smashing synth rock proves it irrefutably.

7. Electrelane - To The East

I've always got time for Electrelane, especially when they're this good. Riot-grrrl and prog combine in a way that really shouldn't mix, but does so beautifully anyway. Also sadly missed.
I think everyone who's likely to have had a go has, but on the off, tagging Boz, Michelle Lipton, Patroclus and Michael Dennis. Don't feel you have to take part though. No chain letter-esque vengeance will follow*.

* It will.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Post tantrum...

Oooooo, that was all a bit dramatic, wasn't it?

Very first draft of Sharps entry now complete, which admittedly doesn't leave me a lot of time for feedback or redrafting, but we go to war with the soldiers we have: in this case, me, a bucket load of insecurities, and a sub-par laptop.

I can take some small comfort in that nobody (at least nobody who's posting...) seems to have had the easiest ride with their entries, with a couple of people abandoning their first drafts altogether or wondering if they've written "self-indulgent twaddle". I am not alone.

Now off to cut vast swathes of it out with a highlighter in my hand and a smile on my lips.

Also: I've been more than a bit grumpy (of course, the perfect mindset for writing a light comedy drama) whilst trying to finish this up, so if you know me in meat-space, I can only apologize.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

In which I throw a Streisand-esque tantrum...

So, despite having a head-start on most of you script-writin’ fools* when Sharps was announced, despite already being half way through a half hour piece that easily fits into the ‘health of the nation’ category some weeks ago, despite having all my stars aligned and despite keeping up to date on my nightly prayers to the Great Cthulhu, my Sharps entry is STILL NOT FINISHED.

This is causing me some small** modicum of stress.

We are at 26 pages, and we have five days, but it needs to be posted off on Saturday at the latest…. Notice in that last sentence how I have already begun dissociation by referring to myself in the plural.

Four pages. That’s all. Just four. But where are they? Where?

I’m glad I love writing so much, or I’d really hate it.

* You are not fools.

** It is not small.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Writing as a job…

…is still something I’m a long way off achieving, but I got a little taster of it on Tuesday, like one of those ‘experience days’ you can buy from Smiths. I didn’t get paid or anything (oh, the thought), but the process was…

Applied for one of the jobs on on Monday, most of which are clearly a load of hairy nothing put up by ‘producers’ who’ve had a half-baked idea for a film and have placed an ad before they can stop themselves. This one seemed pretty good though – the producers had made two films, the last of which had people I had heard of in it, which means they must be able to raise a decent amount of money*. Thought I’d give it a go.

They’re looking at a few writers, and wanted an outline by Wednesday – not something I could achieve without several uncomfortable panic attacks if I were to try and do it in the evenings, so I took the next day off work (don’t worry, it was holiday not a sicky I AM NOT A MONSTER**).

Got up, dropped girlfriend to work, sat at a table (I know! Already this is the most professional writing I have done!) and worked through the day on John Rogers' suggested 48 minutes work, 12 minutes break schedule. Got an outline that I was happy with in about 6 hours, put it out for feedback, amongst the more positive I’ve had, which helped me to clarify a few bits I’d left out.

It’s gone off to the producers now, who are reviewing all the outlines submitted and will let the lucky lady/boy/lady-boy know early next week.

I’m sure there was a profound point to this post, with themes and allusions and everything, but I think all it really says is:

Yes please. I’d like to do that some more.”

* I mean this in the least whorish way possible.

** Plus I write this blog under my real name, so an admission of guilt here would be inadvisable.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

You may bow before me now...

I have just got the Let Sleeping Rockstars Lie achievement on Grand Theft Auto IV. This is because I have just taken out someone who made the game in an online death match.

If you think this is too trivial a thing to merit a full blog post, then YOU UNDERSTAND NOTHING.