Monday, September 28, 2009

The Precious

YES! I have finally started work on my long gestating family drama series. Fingers crossed for the Robin Hood slot. Actually there's not a hope in hell of it being made. It would cost a fortune and no one would invest in an expensive series by an untested writer. It's just meant to show what I can do. It's great fun to outline anyway, and hopefully that will come across to readers. Planning to have the first pass on the pilot script complete by the end of October.

I've been working on one feature script all year, in between changing jobs and other scary/exciting real life stuff, so it feels good to put that aside and work on something new. One skill I seem to totally lack is the ability to juggle numerous projects at the same time. I have to crack that. The revised target for this year is to hit January with three new specs, feels like I'm on course for the first time in ages. Very exciting.

There seems to have been some grumbling recently from writers who want to get into TV but don't want to write for Doctors, or Casualty or the soaps. There's nothing wrong with those shows you know. Chances are, unless you're incredibly fortunate, you'll have to write for something along those lines before anyone decides to film your magnificent octopus so don't get too precious. No one is too good for Casualty or the serial dramas, and those shows are going to look pretty damn good on your cv. Here are some gob-smackingly excellent writers who started out on these shows;

Tony Warren (Corrie)
Jack Rosenthall (Corrie)

Paul Abbott (Corrie)

Frank Cottrell Boyce (Corrie)

Paul Cornell (Corrie, Casualty)
Matt Jones (Corrie)

Gerry Davis (Corrie)

Barbara Machin (Emmerdale Farm)

Tony McHale (Eastenders)
Catherine Tregenna (Eastenders, Casualty)

Ashley Pharoah (Casualty)
Keith Temple (Casualty)

And some fella called Tony Jordan (Boon, Eldorado, Minder, Eastenders).

If it was good enough for them (and many more) then it's well good enough for me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tell, don't show

Watching The Blair Witch Project and The Haunting in the same week has highlighted to me that the two films, though very different in execution, use the same techniques to render the viewer terrified.

In neither film do you ever see anything truly supernatural or horrific. The tension and scares come from hearing the history of Hill House, or the urban myths of Burkittsville as locals recall stories concerning the history of the town.

Even when the forces of evil strike you still see nothing. The presence of evil is demonstrated purely through the terrifying sound effects and reactions of the cast, building on what you have learned from the films characters.

So sometimes it does pay to tell, not show.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Can You Save Her?

TV's James Moran and the previously mentioned Monsieur Daniel Turner have a new project coming at the end of October, just in time for Halloween.

It's a web series called Girl Number 9 which will be available internationally from here at 9pm GMT on October 30th.

The press release says...

Vincent Boylan (Joe Absolom) has just been arrested, suspected of being behind the brutal murder of seven girls, but the team only have a limited time to get a confession. If they can't make him talk, he could slip through their fingers. Detective Matheson (Gareth David-Lloyd), who is leading the investigation, is sent in to try and get some answers. But things soon take a horrifying turn for the worse, as Matheson and his boss Lyndon (Tracy-Ann Oberman) find out that all is not as it seems. The mystery deepens as everyone is drawn into Boylan's sick mind games, and each twist-packed episode ends on a tantalising cliffhanger, making every instalment a must-see.

Sounds exciting, n'est pas? There is a Facebook page and if you're on Twitter (aren't we all?) you can follow the characters right up until the first episode becomes available. How modern!

Those Twitter links are...

Girl Number 9





Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Free screenwriting podcasts‏

Hello you.

The Mighty Adrian Mead has filmed a series of awesome free podcasts for The Scottish Book Trust about building a career as a professional screenwriter. The intro to the series is now available

If you get something out of the podcasts why not download Adrian's excellent book, Making It As A Screenwriter. All money from the book goes to the UK charity Childline. I've recommended it before, as have many others.

That is all.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Legen - wait for it - dary!

Starting today at 7.30pm E4 will be showing How I Met Your Mother. I'm a huge fan of this show and if you give it a look you'll see why. Reading about it will probably just make you think it's another Friends-type comedy, which I guess it is... but it's also so much more.

The series is about this chap in the year 2030 telling his children how he met their mother. Each episode is a flashback to his youth and a particular incident in his ongoing (up to four seasons now) saga of romance and friendship.
Here are three of the reasons why I love How I Met Your Mother...
  • It never tells stories in chronological order. There is always at least some jumping back and forth in time. A bit like Coupling used to do.
  • The scripts are funny and clever, and touching without making you puke.
  • Legendary womaniser Barney Stinson may well be one of the funniest characters on television. Not for nothing does NPH keep getting nominated for Emmys. Check out Barney's Blog.
Anyway, give it a look if you can. I discovered it while channel hopping when it was running on Trouble (a channel that doesn't seem to exist any more). I don't think I ever would have watched it otherwise. True story.

E4 will be showing How I Met Your Mother every weekday at 7.30pm (a little early if you ask me) so it may be one for your PVR to collect.


The Official CBS site (Beware SPOILERS!)