Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The DW/TW effect

One of the unexpected things for me this year has been a steady rise in my profile - partly in "the business", but also partly in the real world. It's something you can never really prepare for, even when you know what's coming. With Severance, there was a gradual increase, some interviews, the odd photo, all building up to the big FrightFest premiere, where I was on stage talking and everything, and the gobsmacking moment where I was asked for my first autograph. After that, I did two more festivals, on my own this time, and gradually got more comfortable. Each time things go a little bit further. You adjust, get the hang of it, then they go further still. So it's been manageable. Much as I love it, it can be a bit unnerving - not because there have been any weirdoes, far from it, it's just because one day you're an anonymous audience member, then suddenly strangers know who you are. It's cool. Just strange.

And now things are about to jump up several levels at once. I knew going in that doing Torchwood would instantly throw me into the spotlight somewhat. And then again with Doctor Who, but even more so. It's just starting to sink in now. DW is big. Huge. It gets roughly 7 or 8 million viewers every episode. There's a making-of show on straight after, there'll be interviews, articles, all sorts. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for it. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about it, can't bloody WAIT, as the insecure, vain, needy part of me (all writers have it, don't lie, come on) desperately wants it, craves it, like some sort of delicious crack/heroin/Marmite cocktail. Mmm, Marmite. But at the same time, it's going to be something I can't control past a certain point.

When I first got the gig, I got loads of requests for info, interviews, all sorts of things. The first interview I said yes to, but then a few weeks later had to tell them I wanted to postpone for a while (sorry about that again, if you're reading). I put off any others, too, because I was a bit taken aback by the massive response to the announcement. The online and offline response was mostly positive - but there was so much of it, I panicked a bit. My name was everywhere, along with links and discussions about Severance. A couple of casual mentions on the blog got taken out of context and misinterpreted (not in a bad way, luckily), which made me worry about saying the wrong thing and accidentally spilling the beans or something. So I decided to pull back, avoid interviews for at least a few months, and not talk too much about it on the blog. I've never had so much interest in something that I hadn't even started writing yet, and I didn't want to do a cheery interview before I knew if I was even capable of doing an episode yet. What if I did all the interviews, then messed up the script and got kicked off? Extreme example, probably wouldn't happen, but that's what my brain started worrying about. I didn't want to jinx it. And that's why I've been a bit quiet about TW and DW for a while. And probably will be for a month or two. I've now done my drafts of the script, I'm incredibly happy with it, and hopefully it will be filming sometime soonish, so I can step back for the moment and take stock of myself. I'm getting used to the idea now that yes, I'm actually writing for DW and TW, I got there thanks to hard slog, and there's going to be lots of fun ahead. Fun, and probably more free scale-model diecast replica figures that are in NO WAY toys.

Just to clarify: I am *not* saying that all the lovely fans are scary. I am saying that thousands of people suddenly looking in your direction can make a person *feel* scared. Even if those thousands of people are supercool and friendly. You just feel paranoid that your flies are undone or something (which they are, regularly, lately I seem to be forgetting to zip up in the morning). Even now, I'm picking over every word carefully, because it's so easy to imply the wrong thing. Anyway, I'm a fan of the show too, so I would never say anything bad about other fans just being fans. This post isn't a moan or anything, just trying to explain how strange it all is, to go from some anonymous bloke to being "a Doctor Who writer". For the record: everyone and everything is brilliant and nice. Except Hitler, and murderers, and stuff. And Chris DeBurgh. Although early Chris DeBurgh stuff is great ("Spanish Train" etc, come on, admit it, he did really good stuff back then). I'm talking about the "Lady In Red"-era Chris DeBurgh.

So I'm approaching the point of no return. Soon, information about my episode will be out there, and lots of people will want to talk to me about it. It'll be a relief, because it's killing me keeping this all secret, I'm dying for people to know everything. But I'll have to wait a bit longer. Don't know if/when there will be announcements or press releases, but these things seem to pop up regularly. And as soon as it's out there, I'll be in a different place, so to speak. It's a bit scary. But I'm really looking forward to it.

20 comments:

martin said...

Apparently there was an academic survey of Doctor Who fans a few years back that found that most of us think that OTHER who fans are wierd.

(This is according to my mate, a fellow who fan - but he is a bit strange. Unlike me, of course ;)

Paul said...

Who fans are a great bunch. You'll never meet an odder mix of normal, weird, gay, straight, male, female, old, young obsessives in your life.

And, to steal a quote, they're mostly harmless :-)

Looking forward to hearing about your episodes James...

Lucy said...

Dr. Who fans should all be rounded up, boiled, melted down and sold as face cream. What do you mean that's strange? It makes perfect sense, think of the Geek effect on your pores. Perfect. Now get me another motherhumming marmite cocktail.

Peter Pan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Pan said...

Chris De Burgh .. right up there with Celine Dion and Bryan Adams. If those three ever team up against me, it will make a movie in its own right.
As for me .. sure, i got here through the TW/DW news, but have stayed because I genuinely enjoy reading your blog. You make me laugh!
Nice to see a decent bloke getting a break in this shitfest of a world.

Peter Pan said...

oh .. and dont panic .. the deleted comment was me, not some crazed Whovian .. the typos were shocking first time around...

Dan Owen said...

I love deleted comments. It's like someone said something REALLY controversial (even for a blog!), but then had second thoughts and censored themselves. It's even better if the blog owner deletes someone elses comment. Oooh.

Ref, DW: I get the impression the prawns thing you let slip awhile back was a red herring then? Shame.

Danny Stack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Megan said...

Don't blame you for being a bit scared - I think I'd just turn into a super-luminous blob of BBC Green goo!
Good luck with it all - can't wait to see the episodes!

james henry said...

That 'A spaceman came travelling' is really good as well.

James Moran said...

Thanks everyone! I've been made very welcome so far, so let's hope opinion doesn't turn against me when the episodes air - "He did WHAT with a prawn??"

Dan Owen: Prawns a red herring? Hmm, you maybe be closer to the truth than you realise... OR ARE YOU?? etc

OtherJames: It certainly is, I can't remember what album I had on tape, but it had all those good ones on it. Little did I know the terrible future that lay ahead.

Jools not James said...

Chris de bloody Burgh????? Did I teach you NOTHING???

Neal Romanek said...

You should reward yourself with something utterly frivolous and idiotic - like an aromatherapy massage with full cucumber cream enema, etc.

Or go get a good steak.

Cameron McEwan said...

Personally, as a WHO fan of 30 years, I hate the internet fandom that surrounds it. It is, at best, tiresome.

I cannot wait to see both your episodes of TORCHWOOD and WHO.

There should be more new blood, as it were.

Best of luck,
Cam

Rosby said...

Don't blame you in the least for being scared - but we're here for you! (As far as blog-readers whom you have not seen nor met can be here for you. I think it still counts.)

Really looking forward to seeing Torchwood back again. Have you written a Martha-centric episode? Or is that classified?

(On the Chris de Burgh front - you and Bill Bailey would get on like a house on fire.)

James Moran said...

Jools: *Early* Chris DeBurgh. The early stuff is good, I stand by it. Before he turned into Mr Romancey-LoveyDovey. There was a soul there, but he burned it away to become a purveyor of the worst sort of filth: love songs. Much like Darth Vader's fall from grace, really.

Cameron: Cheers, I hope you enjoy the episodes. Can't agree about the internet fandom though, I find it all really exciting and adds to the buzz. Just takes getting used to when you become the focus of it, even in a small way - but it's all been positive to me so far.

Rosby: Simply by asking that, you have now been placed on a BBC hit list. Terry Wogan will be round in 24 hours to silence you. Don't fight him, it just makes him angry.

Jools not James said...

It's no use trying to style it out with that "early" disclaimer. Chris de Burgh is Chris de Burgh, early or late.
Yew are not mah bruthah!

Dozeymagz said...

Crusader Chris de Burgh - VERY GOOD.

Lady in Red Chris de Burgh - ZOGGING AWFUL!

Couldn't agree more!
:)

Salina said...

I can't wait to see your episode! Heck I'm going crazy waiting for the series to start. What kind of research went into the writing? (Character-wise, not asking for plot give aways) I wonder if you need to double check things, and how the Torchwood teams' individual voices are preserved when the scripts are done by so many different writers. Did you have a member of the team that was your favorite to write? Did this become an interview? Haha, sorry. Writing for Torchwood would be a dream come true for me so I'm a bit eager in the curiosity department.

Will you still remember all of us blog watchers when you are a superstar? :p

James Moran said...

Salina: I was a fan of the show before I ever got the job, and I'd already seen the whole first season - so I had the advantage of knowing how they all sounded, and what type of things they would and wouldn't say. As far as I know, everyone watches the other episodes too and tries to keep the voices consistent, plus we have spooky-talented script editors and producers to steer us right if we veer off course. Favourite to write for, well, they all are in their own different ways, although Jack is particularly fun cause he can get away with saying anything, and Ianto is also huge amounts of fun cause he can do deadpan so well (among other things), he's fab. I'll be doing a longer post about this after transmission, cause there's all sorts of spoilery stuff I want to talk about. If it's any consolation, the waiting is just as maddening for me, cause I'm dying to tell people about it all...