Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

'Good job there Snoop, but the tree goes on the inside!'

I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I hope it's a great one!

Best wishes


Me and the Beagle.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Writing for Holby City

Over at the Screenwriting Goldmine there is a great interview with Simon Harper who is responsible for finding new screenwriters for BBC1's show Holby City. In the interview, he discusses how to start writing for the show and how you might get him to read your script.

If you are interested in writing for the show and finding out about Holby's Shadow Scheme, then head on over to the interview, which can be found here. The interview takes place over the phone and is best listened to with headphones.

A few highlights from the interview:

Always looking for new writers.

He works with the Writers Academy, although, his job is to recruit new writers not through the writers academy. He's the alternative path onto Holby City.

He takes on a "I will read anything attitude."

Works with writers on the Shadow Scheme, which is for less experienced writers.

Scripts that show a great synthesis between guest and serial story are the spine of the show.

"Good, cracking, intelligent, ballsy dialogue is a must."

"It's about getting the characters voices because the characters drive these shows. It is a love for and investment in these characters and the consistency of those characters..."

You don't have to know the show that well. - "It doesn't discount you."

It's a matter of sending him your script. He will read it and gets back to everyone.

Reads 20 spec scripts a week.

Doesn't have enough female writers. Would like more.

It's his pleasure and privilege to read stuff and see who is out there.

You don't have to send a medical spec script.

He's looking for strong, meaty, dramatic writers, but equally people who can do drama and big emotional stories, but also who can be funny and playful... people who can write wonderful characters.

There is a hell of a lot of competition for a limited slot.

True talent will win through.

Scriptwriting in the UK has a great post about BBC Shadow Schemes/Trial Scripts for continuing dramas, which is worth checking out, here.

Information on the various BBC Shadow Schemes can be found at the writersroom.

The current episode of radio comedy show Ed Reardon's Week - Series 1 entitled Holby City centres on an attempt at writing for the show and is an amusing episode. It can be found here on the bbc iplayer.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

By Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszeski.

First Draft, 2005.

I've been intrigued by this screenplay for awhile, as I knew it was based on an old television series and the oddity exhibition and phenomenon. I hadn't seen any of the television show, exhibition/museum content, or read any of the stories behind the scenes. I was just aware of the reputation and nature of the phenomenon. So a screenplay based on that is an interesting idea and an attractive read, not to mention, a possibly strange experience. But did it deliver? The verdict is: it does, however...

The story begins in 1930s New York and centres on Robert L. Ripley, an eccentric man who has gained celebrity status through a newspaper column that chronicles his search for the greatest oddities in the world. His next adventure and potential money-spinning attraction is the mythic tale of the Horn Man, and so with a handpicked entourage of odd and uniquely gifted friends, he heads for China.

The screenplay was an enjoyable read; amusing, eventful, touching and driven by the highly likable, wonderful and unique, Ripley himself. The supporting cast and band of friends were nicely written and executed, each with their own talent and weirdness. It carried a pressing pace, which like the force of Ripley's childlike wonder, and ambition, makes you feel like part of the gang as the scenery and events are passing you by without time to think. However, at the end of an enjoyable, relentless and grounded two-thirds, the story settles into a strange third act and ending, which didn't compliment what had gone before and took things into an unsatisfying direction. This may be the nature of the Ripley television show and therefore my own bias isn't a negative against the screenplay, just my lack of understanding within its wider context.

The story is about the pursuit of the extraordinary and unlikely truths and the ignorance and disrespect that goes into the pursuit of such a goal. Everyone is the Centre of the Universe within their own perspective, but it's wrong to act selfishly without conscience and in disregard of others. Everyone deserves respect, no matter how different.

It was an enjoyable, unique and fast paced read and I'm interested in the film when it comes out in 2011. I may skip the cinema visit and be content with the DVD rental instead, although, that does depend on who will play Ripley (as there's really only one person), and of course, who the director will be...

Thursday, 17 December 2009

The Superconducting Supercollider of Sparkle Creek, Wisconsin

By David Koepp and John Kamps.

This was a random pick for a read and a rewarding one at that. The title alone is enough to entice anyone to have a peek and wonder what the Superconducting Supercollider is, does, and what could possibly be its story.

I had some expectations going in on this one but no knowledge, as I assumed it was a David Koepp/John Kamps dream spec due to the long and rather wacky title. David Koepp's produced screenplays that I've seen have offered a high quality and particular blend of suspense, drama, humour and tenderness i.e Secret Window, and polar opposite, Zathura. I enjoyed both films and so wondered whether this could live up to its expectation of being something completely different, unique, out there, consuming and immersing. And the verdict is: it does -- it does.

The story centres around twice divorced, Karen Krauthafer, the local sheriff, as she and a man, Howard, a local scientist, collide on a stretch of road, but more specifically, his body to the bonnet of her squad car. Shortly after the abrupt meeting, a strange phenomenon startles the town and causes a panic, which sends Karen out to investigate.

The screenplay is a wonderful, charming and exciting read. It offers an interesting, ultra cool, and challenging story with unique characters who are realistic, humorous and empathetic. It's a fantastical story that exists in reality and is believable yet makes for a magical read. As its opening credit reads: 'This is a true story. It just hasn't happened yet,' it's one to be remembered.

The story is about the pursuit of knowledge and knowing all there is to know, and at the same time whether that knowledge would deprive you of the very essence, pursuit and wonder of living. Would there be any fun in knowing everything?

I'm glad that I took the chance on this as it was one of the most original, wonderful and interesting screenplays I've read. I hope that the film is being made and isn't just a spec screenplay that won't see the light of day.