Friday, July 30, 2010

Red Plaent Prize Problem

My ten pages are in and I'm up to page thirty on the rest of the script only to find I've come to a shuddering halt. I think I have a problem with pace.

The first ten pages has a man suffering amnesia arrested when he's found with the body of a dead woman. He escapes the police car he was being transported in when it is hit but a van and goes on the run. In an effort to clear his name he has gone to a jewelers to get some information on a necklace, only to find the place being robbed. He is now a hostage and must play the robbers and their victim to get the information he needs and get out alive....

....I've never written a hostage scene before. There is a danger, especially after the action of the first ten pages, the rest of the script will be very static by comparison. How can I avoid this?

Does anyone have any advice?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I normally don't moan about TV programs, if I don't like them I just don't watch them, but on this occasion I feel I have to say something. Identity really makes my blood boil.

I wish to state for the record that I have nothing against the writer Ed Whitmore, after all he's written for Silent Witness and Waking the Dead, so it's not as if he doesn't have a good pedigree. So why has Identity fallen so short?

I've only watched three episodes and I had to force myself to watch the last of those. The series didn't improve, so it's goodbye from me, I'll spend my TV time watching something else on a Monday. Why? Let me enlighten you.

For me Identity only has one workable character, only one character who appears to have had any work done on him, and that's John Bloom. Undercover for fifteen years he's finally back working as a Detective Inspector, and appears to be the only one in the new Identity Unit who has any idea how criminals tick. The rest of the unit couldn't work out a game of Cluedo with out John's uninvited insights. The others sit there waiting for some bright insight from John, when they then jump into one dimensional action. So here are the list of characters and their one characteristic:-

  • DSI Martha Lawson - Argues every episode on John's behalf. She is the only one who thinks he's a good copper. WHY?
  • Tessa Stein - Computer genius, who constantly reminds everyone else how good she is.
  • DS Anthony Wareing - Slopes around not doing much except trying to get John into trouble, just because he doesn't like him. Or is he pissed he's now got work to do thanks to John?
  • DC Jose Rodriguez - Young, brash and still wet behind the ears, hasn't learned to be subtle yet.
The only character with any discernible background is John. We know nothing personal about any of the other characters, they are just bit parts who have been dropped into the script to pad it out. Remove them and replace them any other characters from any other cop show and you'd have an instant improvement. You need more than one character to make a series workable. Where is the characterisation in Identity?

What do you think? Hate it? Like it? Let me know.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

South West Voices Update July

And the final eight are revealed.
South West Screen helps local drama writers pitch to BBC

South West Screen and BBC Writersroom have teamed up with BBC Independent Drama Commissioning to fast track eight of the region’s most talented writers into television drama.

The eight recently took part in a two-day workshop near Corsham in the latest stage of South West Voices, a professional development scheme run by BBC Writersroom to give both experienced and emerging writers the chance to receive industry and peer group support and help develop their projects. Previous writers found and nurtured by BBC Writersroom have gone on to work on dramas including Eastenders, Doctor Who, and Waking the Dead.

The collaboration has arisen from the Bristol-BBC-Anchor partnership, which was signed last year between the BBC and Bristol City Council, South West Screen, the South West RDA and other key media enablers in the region.

It follows on from a visit to the region from Ben Stephenson, the Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning last year. Ben outlined his vision of the future of BBC drama during the visit and this week saw the latest steps to bring these ideas to fruition.

Writers were originally asked to submit a pitch for an original series, serial or single drama idea for television, along with a full-length sample script. From 120 submissions, 18 shortlisted writers were then invited to a workshop day in Bristol to meet BBC Writersroom, BBC Independent Drama Commissioning and South West Screen, and from those, eight writers were selected for the two-day residential workshop. The eight have each been paired with a mentor from the Commissioning team and now have three months to develop their ideas before formally pitching them to the BBC in September.

The eight writers come from across the South West region, including Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Bristol.
BBC Writersroom previously ran the ‘Breakers’ competition in the South West in 2004 with the support of South West Screen, but this is the first time BBC Independent Drama Commissioning has been involved in such a programme in the region.

The programme demonstrates the BBC’s ongoing commitment to original drama production in the region, following the announcement of loss from the region of popular BBC dramas, Casualty and Being Human, to Cardiff, the BBC’s designated centre for excellence for drama production, last year.

The eight writers who took part in the workshop were:
• Dom Rowe (Bristol)
• Miles Chambers (Bristol)
• Rachel Joyce (Stroud)
• Carol Noble (Exeter)
• Tom Wainwright (Bristol)
• Sean Grundy (Weston-Super Mare)
• Peter Jordi - Wood (Truro)
Bryony Ive (Bournemouth)

Congratulations to the final eight and special congratulations to Bryony, a fellow Bournemouth resident.

It was great ego boost to be included in the final eighteen who met at BBC Bristol, especially considering the amount of quality, talented writers there, with good solid writing credits. It's nice to know that my writing attracted attention from the people at the BBC Writersroom and BBC Commissioning, despite not having the credits others had. I'm certainly not resting on my laurels having already formed a writing partnership with another writer invited to Bristol, working on a brand new TV drama series we're planning to pitch to the BBC Commissioning team.

If you see another scheme like this then go for it, because you never know what doors it might open up for you.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Writing Is Easy

Right now you are probably saying something like, 'what the bleedin' 'ell are you on about?' Writing is easy. It sounds somewhat foolish to say that, but it's true. What you have to remember is the actual act of writing is only a small percentage of the work you do, that fun time getting the words of the first draft down on the page,letting your mind wander, exploring your created world, before you start the painful task of rewriting.

And what of the work you have to do before you can write? Outlining your idea, character biographies, series bibles, plot, structure and a million other things that go into making your first draft. That's right...your first draft. Then comes weeks, months and sometimes years of editing and rewriting, bringing everything together to arrive at the point where you have that final polished draft ready to send out.

This is where most beginners fail. They think all they have to do is write a screenplay, change a few bits and it's ready to be shown to the world. Wrong! If other writers are spending months on their script making it as perfect as they can, they are already way ahead of you. The script you spent a month writing is at the bottom of the pile and the more time you spend on it, working through every aspect of your screenplay over and over again, the better chance your screenplay has of getting noticed. The less time and effort you put into your work the more obvious it is you're not really committed to being a writer. For you, it's just a hobby.

Writing is's the preparation and the constant rewriting that is hard work.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hopalong Dom

Had a foot op last Friday so will be off my feet for up to six weeks. No excuse not to sit down and write loads then. I had better get on.

Another scintillating post later this week.

Monday, July 05, 2010

My Writing Day Updated

I have now left my previous job and I've gone self employed publishing the website and working on my own scripts, a scary situation indeed, but one I am loving. My working day has changed and I have a lot more time to write, approach agents and pitch my work to production companies. This is how my day works now:

7.30am: Up and out of bed, not necessarily awake.

9.00 - midday: (Mon + Wed) The boy goes to nursery so I write solidly between these time with no interruption. This includes working on the website and my own writing.

9.00 - midday: (Tues, Thurs + Fri) Work on the website (I try and get this out of the way in the mornings) and try and do some of my own writing, while keeping the boy occupied.

Midday - 5pm: It's a case of juggling my son, the housework, and my writing. Some days are easier, but most require compromise, having to play with the boy now and again so he doesn't kick up a fuss when I sit down to write. And the house work has to be done, don't want to live in a stinky house after all.

Evenings: Some evenings if I haven't had a particularly productive day, either because the boy has been playing up or my brain just hasn't been working, then I'll pop upstairs for a couple of hours and do as much on my scripts as I can while the boy is sound asleep in the next room.

So that's my new daily routine. It's changed quite a bit allowing me more time to write, so if I'm not successful now then there is only one person to blame....ME!