Friday, January 20, 2006

There! Are! Eleven! Hours!

I don't know who flicked on the quality switch in UK telly recently, but I'd like to shake their hand. First Life On Mars, and now Eleventh Hour (Thursdays, 9pm, ITV), a science thriller starring Patrick Stewart, written by Stephen Gallagher. It was great stuff, intelligent, funny, with a dark shadow looming over it. Well done to Ashley Jensen (from Extras) too, more than holding her own on-screen with Stewart. Looking forward to next week's Hour, which features a deadly virus and lots of shouting. Top stuff. And yes, I'm going to use a variation on the joke in the post title *every* time Patrick Stewart is mentioned. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The Curfew outline is finally ready - it's 18 pages long, and kicks ass. Should be going off to the Important People today, so keep your fingers crossed for me. If they like what they see, hopefully it'll go to script, and I can have even more fun with it.

After what feels like a year of not having any good ideas apart from Curfew, I finally came up with something the other day. My agent liked the sound of it, so I did a 2 page outline, and gave it to him yesterday. He then sent it straight out. I couldn't believe how easy and quick it was. Normally, I have an idea, write a paragraph, send it to him, he tells me it's shit (but very politely), and I go back to the drawing board. He's harsh, but a great quality filter, making sure that only my very best stuff gets sent out. This one is for a children's TV series, but is something that could work for adults too, depending on the way it's handled. I really like it, so cross your other fingers for that one.

The tax stuff is all sorted. The accountants came back with my tax return, all done and dusted, and managed to save me some money. Because I count as self employed, I can reduce the amount I have to pay tax on by subtracting any expenses incurred during my writing - like electricity, stationery, computer gear, DVDs, cinema tickets, travel, etc etc. Or rather, *they* reduce the amount; I just wait until they're finished adding things up, then I sign bits of paper, and hand over a cheque for my tax bill. I wouldn't even know where to start with that bloody self assessment form, so I'm very impressed that Danny did his by himself - you're a braver man than I am. I hate filling in forms. In one of my previous jobs, the stationery cupboard was kept locked, and if you wanted anything - even a pen - you had to fill out a requisition form. And get it signed by your manager. Who would then get it signed by the company director. And then you would take your form to the Holder of The Key, who would come and unlock the cupboard, stand there while you took your pen, and then lock the cupboard again immediately. A fucking pen. I left before they started putting coin slots on the toilet doors, it was surely only a matter of time.

8 comments:

Danny Stack said...

This is the last time I will fill out a tax return by myself. I say that every year. But this time. Definitely.

Exciting news on Curfew & outline... great to keep the creative fires going just when you think they're about to go out sometimes!

James Moran said...

Cheers guv - yeah, I thought "that's it, I get two good ideas in my life, and that's the end of it". But then I'm a miserable sod sometimes...

MaryAn Batchellor said...

cinema tickets? really? cool!

Tim Clague said...

Can't agree with your assessment of Eleventh Hour. For a start it isn't even an hour long. 90 minutes was too long for this show. It almost was padding things out as if someone said late in the day that it could be extended from 60 to 90. Okay show - just a bit too protracted.

James Moran said...

Maryan: Yup, anything that counts as research, or keeping up with current movies, and so on. Well worth getting the monthly Unlimited UGC card...

Tim: Yeah, trimming 30 minutes off wouldn't have done any harm, I guess. It's definitely not in the same league as Life On Mars, but it's jolly good fun.

Lucy said...

I didn't watch Eleventh Hour last week, I watched Hotal Babylon but was disappointed by the lack of sex (I thought there would be lots when in actual fact there was some rather lacklustre snogging). However, since I'm always disappointed by the lack of sex in just about everything, I am coming to the conclusion that perhaps I'm some kind of nympho. So I'll probably watch Eleventh Hour tonight on the basis of your review, thanks for that. Good luck with Curfew and your outline!

James Moran said...

Cheers!

Well, there was some mild bonking action in last week's Eleventh Hour, which was cruelly interrupted by an emergency situation - so you might be out of luck this week...

Lucy said...

I'm still in mourning over the end of Rome... Ok it did seem admittedly all over the place plot-wise and had an extraordinary amount of characters for even an ensemble cast, but when you get to see James Purefoy's nob AND an unbelievingly huge amount of thrusting flesh, what more could you ask for?!

...Oh God I'm a perv, aren't I? Can't believe it's taken me 26 years to realise this. Perhaps this is why no one has bought any of my specs lately ;)