Monday, April 30, 2007

Life On Mars

Life On Mars has come to an end. I haven't written about the ending before because I wanted to examine the final episode from all angles, and there were so many. That's what good drama leaves you with; it answers some questions but allows the viewer to come to their own conclusions on others. Good drama is discussed long after it has ended.

So was Sam really in the past or was he mad? Here are my own conclusions.

For me Sam had been transported back in time after his accident. When he returned to the future he realised that he belonged, and could do more good, in 1973. Sam wasn't really living in 2006, he was just existing, going through the motions. In 2006 Sam was a very small cog in a very large machine, with very little influence on the world he inhabited. He just didn't feel he belonged. Realising this he committs suicide and returns to 1973, a place where he feels alive.

This view of the ending can be disputed and this is what I mean by 'good' drama. You could argue that Sam was in fact from 1973 and because of the childhood trauma, revealed in the final episode, he had created the vision of the future to cope with the loss of his parents. 2006 was all in his imagination, an illusion reborn from a recent accident. Going back to 'his' 2006 Sam was having a breakdown. Making a conscious decision to stay in 1973 he finally saved himself and his sanity.

These are only two interpretations of the ending and I'm sure others have come up with many more.

And then of course there's the ending I would have written.

Sam discovers Gene Hunt was the person who ran him over in 2006 and to get home Sam has to destroy Gene Hunt in 1973. However, by doing so he has to destroy the rest of the team, people he considers friends. Sam realises he can't do this and saves the team and Gene Hunt, sacrificing his own life for the sake of the others.

What did the finale of Life On Mars mean to you?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Five Goals

I've been tagged...WOO HOO!!!!!

1) To buy a house that I can afford, which has more than one room.

2) To afford my first child.

3) To make some money from this writing malarkey.

4) To write for Doctor Who.

5) To write my first novel this year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

To Swear Or Not To Swear?

Faith is coming together nicely but I'm having a bit of trouble deciding how much swearing is acceptable in a script.

As the script is set in the back streets of London, among the prostitutes and crack addicts, you have to accept there is going to be a few swear words in it. What I don't want to do is write so many it becomes almost farcical. I know SEXY BEAST is a film with a high swear count and that worked, but could I get away with a large count as a new writer? Would production companies avoid a script with lots of swearing in it?

I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Q&A With Steven Russell

Cletic Film's very own Steven Russell has kindly agreed to be my first Q&A victim. He's a very, very nice man.

Q: What's your job title?

Development Coordinator.

Q: What's your job description?

All incoming material (scripts, treatments, books) come through me, and everything stems from that. I ensure everything gets read in a timely fashion, and keep in contact with agents and writers that we like. I brainstorm ideas in-house for the type of TV and film we want to be making, and tally that material up with the right screenwriter. On projects already in active development, it's a case of constantly refining the material at a script stage, and how it is packaged for potential financiers and distributors.

Q: How did you get to where you are now?

Just working hard, and I don't think I ever turned down the chance to read anything. There was a point when I was reading scripts for five different companies at the same time. I just decided what I wanted to do, then did as much of it as I could.

Q: Describe a typical day?

There's no such thing as typical. I start every day reading the news, on Variety, Broadcast and Screen, as well as geek refuge I end every day by going home. The stuff in between, thankfully, is rarely ever the same.

Q: What tool you use at work would you find it hard to live without?


Q: What attracts you to a project?

A hook. Always a hook; every screenplay should be instilled with rewarding arcs and characters that you are interested in, but combining this with a strong hook helps immeasurably. I am a strong believer that a script can be fun and potent at the same time, and there's nothing I loathe more than a bombastic screenplay, trembling under the weight of its own perceived drama. Levity is everything.

Q: What script (of an already produced and released film) do you wish you had discovered?

"Little Miss Sunshine". It's such a smart, self-enclosed piece of scripting but somehow still relates to the world it exists in.

Q: Are Celtic Films open to unsolicited submissions at this time?


Q: What's the best way to approach Celtic Films?

Through your agent.

Q: Does Celtic support new writers?

Yes, but the position I'm in now means I don't read as much as I would like to. A writer not being protected by a fixed agent-client relationship is one reason (if by 'new' you mean unrepped), but also the fact that we are a business as opposed to a public service is another. If you saw our office, and indeed parts of my house, the amount of scripts to read is already an insurmountable pile.

Q: What advice do you have for new writers?

Make sure you're writing in the right medium, don't write selfishly, and write material that people are actually going to enjoy watching.

Q: What's your favourite film quote?

"Jaws", and "you're gonna need a bigger boat." What else is there to say? A moment of levity in a moment of tension, and for me, it still really sums up the fact that Brody doesn't quite feel a team with Quint and Hooper yet, hence "you're" and not "we're".

Thanks Steven.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I thought I knew which two of my shorts film scripts I was sending to this years BSSC. Then I let my wife read all of my back catalogue of short scripts and she chose another one. She said it was better than the one I wanted to send.

I don't know which to send now so I'm leaving the decision up to you lovely bloggers. The links to all three scripts are below (don't worry only ten pages each roughly). All you have to do is name the two you like the most in the comments and I'll go with the majority decision.

Thanks for your help.

The Dead Side Of Life.


I Do?

Monday, April 02, 2007


Faith is coming on in leaps and bounds, alternative plot lines are suggesting themselves on a daily basis. As I'm on a no rewrite policy I just add a script note so I will be reminded of these alternative ideas at a later date. Some might work better, others might not. God I love writing a new script, I've missed it so much.

It's hard to resist the urge to go back and rewrite what I've written, but so far I've succeeded. Every time I've been tempted I get up and have a quick wander around the room, or look out of the window, just to distract myself. It works.

However, one problem has reared its ugly head. I've found that I've named many of my characters with the same first letter. So far I have three 'F's, Frank, Faith and Flash, and two 'M's, Mary and Michael. With the names too similar it might cause confusion with the reader so I'm going to have to face facts and admit I will have to change some of the character's names. Again this is something I'll leave until the first draft is finished, I don't want to distract myself before I'm done.

Things are on track for an end of April finish.