Friday, January 30, 2004

Meetings and things

Was supposed to be meeting some tv people today about The School, but one of them can't make it, so it's rescheduled for the 12th Feb. Which is cool, because I was able to meet a really groovy French director who loved P45, and would love to make it. We had a great chat about the script, and all sorts of things, so if anyone wants to buy it, there's already somebody who would like to direct it. This is all good. He also had a couple of cool suggestions, which gave me an idea of how to make the subplot even cooler, so I might have a fiddle with it soon.

He also wants me to read this book that he and his producer want to make. It's a gritty ganster thriller, with odd elements, and he thinks I'd be able to adapt it well. I'm going to read it and see what it's like, but it sounds good.

No reponses from producers or companies yet, I'm going to assume that they'll all read it over the weekend...

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Dammit, babies are not funny

Okay, this is for all you comedy writers out there: Babies. They're not funny. Not. Funny. AT ALL.

Friends was going great, then they threw a baby into the mix, not once, but twice. Sure, Phoebe's reactions were kind of amusing, but then it turned into the same old screaming-woman-demands-drugs-and-scares-the-doctor routine (although the doctor who loves Fonzie was a touch of genius). Then Rachel got up the duff, there was love, there was hugging, I was too busy vomiting to notice. I gave up on Friends when Joey and Rachel started the will-they-won't-they shite.

Frasier. Fantastic show. But now Daphne is pregnant. They've wrung some comedy milage out of it with Niles' testicle trouser fans (yes, really), but 2 episodes in and I'm already tired of it. Why? WHY? I watch these shows because they make me laugh. Babies do not make me laugh. Birth scenes do not make me laugh. Heartwarming scenes of emotion do not make me laugh. And that episode where Niles had a heart scare? Really, really not funny.

Birth scenes are so overused and abused. I must have seen a hundred of them over the years, in various shows and movies, and they're all the same. The woman suddenly becomes transformed into a hideous, screaming demon, red faced, grabs the doctor, screams "DRUGS!", makes some witty comment to any men present ("shut up, people like you made me like this!" or "it's your fault I'm here!" or something equally hilarious), the doctor cries "push!", the woman screams "I'M PUSHING!", maybe the baby will be coming out backwards or have the cord around its neck for tension, whatever, and suddenly there's a baby, it cries, the doctor hands it over, and the red-faced, screaming woman-demon is suddenly a soft-focus Venus, beaming radiantly, mother and child in harmony, nature's greatest gift and joy. It's boring. It's always the same, always. I'm sick of it.

It's a common pitfall in comedy, they think, hmm, let's shake things up a bit, throw in a serious element just to make it more realistic - bollocks. I don't watch comedy shows for realism. Some are realistic, that's great, but if you start off as an all-out comedy, don't suddenly throw serious things in. Remember Roseanne? Used to be the funniest thing on television. Then, for some crazy fucking reason, they decided that Dan and Roseanne should have marriage difficulties. Yes, it was realistic, it was well done, but Christ! I thought it was supposed to be a comedy! I tuned into that show every week for half an hour of laughter, to be taken away from the drudgery of my then-miserable little grey life, not for MORE bloody depressing realism.

So, in conclusion: if you start out as one thing, don't turn into something else. Us simple folk who watch television don't like it. We don't like change in general, to be honest, so just avoid it. You can mix genres, but not suddenly, after 3 seasons of something else. It's just not fair. So stop it. Thanks. And babies aren't funny. Ever.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Time to corrupt some innocent minds

So, after all the changes, drafts, tearing-out-of-hair, blood, sweat, tears, semen stains - semen stains? - the script is, as of today, on the desks of a shitload of movie people. Right now. Right now, it is on their desks. My fate, my testicles, my anus, all are in their hands. In a manner of speaking.

Before it got sent out, apparently Jago's assistant read it out to her flatmates, who all thought it was funny. And one of his clients, a director, started reading it, and said his wife thought he was having a heart attack, he was laughing so hard. He said he "nearly puked in the bath", and I can think of no higher recommendation than that. I just wish I'd managed to push him that extra mile...

So I'm nervously optimistic, yet, at the same time, utterly pessimistic. Meanwhile, I need to do another draft of the big scifi action thingy - I've got 6 weeks to work on a new outline, and construct an exciting new draft. I'm looking forward to that, partly because it isn't Craw Lodge/P45/whatever it's called today.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Title Change

Forgot to mention - as "The Craw Lodge" doesn't really fit the script now, what with the way it's been changed over the last few drafts, I've had to change the title. I'm shit at titles and character names, so we've compromised and called it "P45", which is a nice, meaningless yet ominous title. A P45 is what you get when you leave a job here in Engerland, and is sometimes used as an unsubtle method of telling someone they've been sacked.

The Columbo Effect

...just one more quick polish, rasped Peter Falk, one eye staring at me, the other staring off into space. Spent yesterday and today having several phonecalls with My Agent (now I'm starting to like the sound of that, it's not at all wanky to say it, it's actually very manly and clever), just fine tuning and polishing little bits and pieces. There are still a couple of typos cropping up, and a few lines of exposition that really sound like it ("Golly gee, so that means that the murderer was the butler the whole time, using us to fulfill his sick fantasy of having toys that come to life? Wow!"), and other such shite. So we fixed as much as possible yesterday, trying not to disrupt the page order, because they'd already printed 10 copies...

...but the page order was different on their copy of Word than mine, so we just said fuck it let's print it again when we're finished. This script is killing more trees than a logging company. Why the hell does a document have a different page count on two different machines? The font is the same, the margins, paper size, everything - so why is that? It doesn't make sense.

Anyway, we did that yesterday, then he phoned back today and we made some more changes, which I've just finished and sent off. If I haven't made any horrible mistakes, then it'll get sent out on Monday. I don't think I can bear to open it up again and change anything else - I really like it now, it's a good, solid script, but I don't ever want to see it again. For at least a month.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

God is in the details

Just some more details as to what happens, this is supposed to be an informative writing blog, I've just remembered:

Now that the draft is ready - written in Word, using a free script template available from somewhere on the excellent BBC website (somewhere on the writing section) - my agent will spring into action. Several copies will be printed out, and bound with two of those big metal clippy things, with a nice cover with the agency's name and address on. They will be posted out, and tomorrow morning (or Friday morning) a fat envelope will be landing on the desk of every film producer that might be interested. Obviously, people who only make romantic comedies will not be approached - part of the agent's job is to pick out people who are interested in the subject matter, and target them accordingly. I've already met some of the people, so some of them will be expecting to see this particular script, for others it will be a horrible surprise.

Then I wait here, terrified, hoping that someone will like it. If they do, they'll contact the agency, and I'll probably go to meet them. What happens then, I don't know. I'm just hoping it gets to that stage, where someone likes it. More news as it happens...

And now, the end is near...

I never, ever thought I would get to this stage. Never. It's been so, so long... Did a few more minor polishes on Craw Lodge, just tweaking lines and one or two scenes at the end, just trying to make it work. Did the final work last night. Then did the final final really I mean it this time final work on it this morning, some of it over the phone, deciding what worked best. Then I emailed it off.

It's finished. For now. I had some interest in a previous draft, the guy was trying to get some investment money together, which still might happen, but as of today, we're sending it out to everyone. When I say "we", I mean my agent is sending it out while I just sit at home. If someone wants to make it, they'll probably want changes and things, but I don't care. The bulk of the donkey work is over and done with. I can write something else, forget all about it for a while.

Of course, now the waiting begins. And the nagging, terrifying feeling that nobody will like it or want to make it, and I'll have wasted all that work, all that awful, soul-destroying work... I learned a lot from the experience, though, so it is kind of good, in a way. But I'm glad it's over. I'm just worried now that it'll all be for nothing. Of course, every new draft improved it, and if it had been sent out a couple of months ago, nobody would have been interested. I know it's good. But still...

In the meantime, I need to start work on something else. Haven't decided what, yet. I know it won't be a horror, that's for damn sure. Not for a while.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Yikes, no updates since December - but there's not been much to say. Chatted with Jago about the latest draft of Craw Lodge, we agreed that it's great right up till the very end, then the last ten pages or so just don't quite make it. So I spent several days trying to sort out the ending bit, and I think it's there, it feels like it's working. I took a break from writing for a week or so, and have been working away recently, getting things back in order. Also fleshed out an outline for something completely different while I was at it, and kept having ideas for this and that.

Hopefully more news soon, as I get it...