Friday, September 08, 2006

More Seepage

Yep. Another day gone.

The reason for procrastination this time? My agents called to say they'd read the Bible for 'Project X' and thought it was ready to go.

They also said that they didn't get a lot of humour from the Bible.

That doesn't really bother me. The script is the place where the humour can appear, a suggestion in the Bible that there WILL be humour is good enough for me. The bones of the Bible are mainly concerned with premise, story and character.

But see my previous blog. This is the project where I am struggling with tone on the spec. And the response from my agents got me looking again at what I'd written so far.

The extra day of procrastination has enabled me to see something very important.

It isn't so much to do with tone as THE SCRIPT IS SHIT.

Harsh but true.

Having gotten used to writing on commission over the years I've forgotten to use all the tools of the spec writer. Or rather, ignored them in favour of the ' Serial Pro' style of perfunctory description of action and character, with an eye to giving the hard pressed executive producer on serial drama what they need. A shootable script with no 'greenies' and the minimum of flowery, time consuming language in the action. It does what it says on the tin.

And it doesn't work in a spec.

I guess I'm dense. Something was gnawing at me for days before I realised what it was. THE SCRIPT IS SHIT.

Yeah you could shoot it. No there are no greenies [ budget busting FX or expensive one-off scenes with hordes of extras...etc]

But this isn't a production draft. This is a selling draft. And that's what I failed to realise when I was writing it. Unless you are absolutely at the top of the tree where you can practically pitch your shopping list and be commissioned, your spec is fighting for recognition in a pile of others.

I need to get back to the style of writing that got me work in the first place. Heart in every line.
Writing so that the jaded script editor wants to keep reading rather than has to and sleeps well at night so long as it ticked the boxes.

A good number of years ago a well known agent told me that if you want to write in different genres then 'perception' was an obstacle you had to overcome. He meant 'perception' by those with the ability to produce your stuff and was talking about a well known comedy writer who had written a drama.

I'm not sure that's true. Granted there are a lot of idiots in the biz but if you write a great spec in whatever genre, anyone who dismisses that because of their perception of your writing background shouldn't really be in the business

I wouldn't let that 'perception' thing bother you. Paul Abbot can write Corrie, and Shameless and State of Play. Fairly diverse I think you'd agree? It's all about the writing.

I haven't written [or rather half-written] a great spec for Project X.
But now I know I haven't, I'm working on it. And now I know what was really gnawing at me I feel pretty good.

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