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Archive for December, 2008

It Lives!

It lives!

It lives!

No, honestly it does.  Three, two, one … I’m back in the room (NB outdated reference – could have got away with it a year ago, in fact I could still get away with it were I writing “topical satire”, but this is the sort of thing that should really be cut out before the rewrite).

Anyway, a year has almost passed since my last entry (in fact, there were more but I decided they needed deleting – I promise it won’t happen again) and I suddenly feel the need to get back to this thing.  The “blackmailing myself into writing” idea was a good one and I shouldn’t have abandoned it so early.

Back on 7 January 2008 I had two definite (ie paid-for) projects – a promo for an intertube TV channel and some sketches for a kids TV show.  I was also laying down plans for (a) a children’s fantasy novel, (b) a play, (c) a sitcom and (d) an internet drama.  So, what has happened in the intervening period?

Well, the intertube TV channel has died on its arse.  If you want an idea of why, just look back over some of my other entries from Jan ’08.  It was a good idea and had some great people involved but sadly the money man behind it all was a … now there’s a funny thing (good old Max Miller).

And the kids’  TV show?  All done and dusted.  Wrote some good sketches, got a nice little commission, looking forward to seeing the end result in the new year – especially as the final tranche of my fee will come in on broadcast.

As to the other projects.  The novel is still circling somewhere in a holding pattern, the sitcom has been written and (after a major strop on my part about who should get to write it) has been with a producer since the end of October, there is even half a chance that it may actually have been read. The play has been written.  Looking back at it, I reckon it’s got some potential but needs work.  I’ve got an actor interested and we’ll be meeting up soon to talk about re-writes.

And the internet drama?  Well, that’s an interesting one.  I knocked up the treatment early in the year, my agent sent it out and I got a couple of nibbles.  One in particular was really exciting, an offer not to produce my show but to get me in as head writer on a brand new internet drama (they actually called my writing “brilliant” … in an email, so it’s written down and I can wave it in front of people!).  Unfortunately, as so often in the comedy world, time drags by slowly and projects wither and die.  I’ve gone from being asked to clear the whole of my availability for the autumn to waiting around in the winter wondering if anything at all is going to come of the idea.  Ho hum.  We shall see.

The rest of the year has been spent watching this and assorted other projects rise and fall, cut down in the no-man’s-land that is the TV/radio commissioning process.  Watching my brave ideas fall in wave after wave has been pretty gutting.  At various times in the year I’ve been on the verge of (a) being the man behind an exciting, new, Saturday-night family drama based on King Arthur (and then Merlin finally got its green light), (b) co-creating an exciting, new reality-TV comedy (and then Peter Kay came up with his X-Factor thing) and (c) chucking myself off the nearest available tall building.

So, what have I got to be getting on with in the new year? Well, here goes …

  1. a possible 15-minute satirical series for Radio 4.  This is currently with the powers-that-be (in fact it has been since mid-October).  Apparently it’s “witty, clever and absolutely perfect”, whether this means it’ll happen is anyone’s guess.
  2. a possible 15-minute sketch show for Radio 4.  Exciting one this, there are three of us behind the idea and Radio Entertainment like the idea enough to have paid for a pilot.  Fingers crossed.
  3. short stories.  I think it’s time for me to try to get some of these ideas published.  If you know of any good outlets, do drop me a line.
  4. the film.  I’ve got a great idea for a film (inspired indirectly by a brilliant idea I had in a dream, the first time I’ve had a complete story just pop into my head, which turned out to be the plot of Roald Dahl’s The BFG).  I suspect I’ll be talking about this more in the future.  A lot more.
  5. adaptations.  I’ve got a few ideas here.  One definite pitch to R4 as a classic serial based on a novel by a favourite Czech author of mine.  Plus a couple of books to read up to see if they might fit the bill.  And how long has it been since anyone tried to do anything with Tarzan?
  6. the back catalogue.  Lots of projects get started and then sort of … … … tail off.  It’s time for me to have a look and see if any of them are worth reviving.  In fact there’s one idea, involving a barrister who ends up working for Death, that I really think might be worth doing something with.

There, that should be enough to be going on with, I reckon.

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