Monday, February 28, 2011


I like it. I know it has its faults, but I genuinely like there :-P

What are those faults? Here are the two major faults as I see them: dialogue and characterisation.

The dialogue in the first episode was clunky, on the nose, often repeated in the very next scene, over expositional and used far too much to keep the story moving along. I know they had a lot of back story to get through to set the scene, but it was just so obvious in the dialogue and ruined what could have been a very good first episode. You can see the actors struggling to say the words sometimes, even in later episodes where it hasn't been such an issue. But is this the fault of the writer, or is someone else to blame? I can't see that the writers are to blame too much for this as the poor dialogue happens in almost every episode, each written by a different writer, therefore I can only assume someone else is having a bad influence on what goes into each script.

Characterisation is also very weak, characters doing odd stuff simply to justify the plot rather than their own existence. When Julius Berger came on the scene it was obvious from the moment we first saw him he was not to be trusted, yet on several occasions during the series so far people are actually being nice towards him rather than suspicious. He even got placed on the council with no opposition at all. Indeed in one episode Stella tells Julius she's going to keep an eye on him because she doesn't trust him and the very next episode she's all excited, singing his praises because he's got her daughter talking to her. Where did her suspicion, her distrust of the man go? I also thought they could have done a lot more with Mitchell Hoban, showing his slow decent into the madness that eventually took him. I don't want to be told he was a good man, I want to see it and his journey to his eventual suicide.

I think the faults emphasise just how much the series focuses on the telling of the story at the expense of characters and dialogue. The plot is everything! It shouldn't be. For me good stories are told through good dialogue and characters.

What I do like about the show is it's boldness. It dares to challenge, bring us a new, interesting world, which grows even more intriguing week by week. Episode five has been my favorite episode so far and even though I looked, and believe me I looked hard, I couldn't find a single fault with it.

So what now for the show? Will the BBC green light another series, or will sci-fi on the BBC be dead for the foreseeable future?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Outcasts And Tweets

I was very disappointed yesterday to read several tweets from writers slagging off Outcasts after it was moved from a Monday night slot to a Sunday. Come on writers, whatever your feelings towards the program, slagging it off, laughing or making jokes at its falling ratings is just plain rude.

What if it was your series that everyone was slagging off? How would you feel then? You can be sure Outcasts' creator Ben Richards is feeling bad enough without you heaping more misery on him by doing this. Constructive criticism is a good thing and should be encouraged, but there is no place in our industry for slagging off, or just being plain rude about another writer's work. There are too many others out there who have it in for us writers to begin with. Have a bit of respect, a bit of compassion for a fellow writer who dared to try something different.

The series may have its faults (I will blog about this issue in greater detail next week), but it is bold, ambitious and daring, something good TV should be. Please don't forget that without writers like Ben trying new things we would be stuck with the same endless, repetitive, boring stuff forever. Without challenging ourselves, or our writing, there really would be nothing out there for us. As writers you should know that sometimes things work and at other times things don't. You should also know that TV is a collaborative process and many factors bring changes to original scripts.

As writers you should know better.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


A couple of friends of mine have raved about InkTip in the past and how good it is, but I've never quite been convinced that spending $60 (+$20 for WGA script registration) to post a script on a website is the best way to go. I have now changed my mind, because the one thing InkTip does offer you is the chance to hone your logline and synopsis abilities. How does InkTip do this?

The first point of contact for producers is usually your logline and if it doesn't hook the reader first time producers are unlikely to be interested in your script, more so in the US than in the UK. InkTip very kindly provides a list of producers who have viewed your logline and a list of those that went on to read your synopsis and maybe even your script. What this gives you is an opportunity to try out your loglines and synopsises, fine tuning them to create better, more eye catching hooks for those producers. If you get a lot of logline views but no synopsis views then it's obvious your logline needs work. Make those changes and see how those changes affect the synopsis views. You'll know when you've hit on the correct formula when your synopsis views suddenly jump up.

Besides InkTip is great for giving your scripts exposure and you never know, you might just find a home for it. Go on, give it a try.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Short Film Script Part 3

Last month I put out an urgent appeal for a director because my short film script The Dead Side Of Life had fallen at the last hurdle for the second time in its long journey from creation to production. I was determined the third time it landed with a director it was definitely going to get made and I was going to be particularly fussy about which director took the script on to ensure this would happen.

One month on and that director has been found, although for the time being I shall keep their name to myself in fear of putting a hoodoo on this production as well. What I can say is when the directer in question approached me I was surprised and excited in equal amounts, simply because I know whatever they do, or put their mind to, they get it done. I know sometimes things fail for reasons out of our control, but I like it when people do what they say they will, and this person is definitely one of those people. I am very excited. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!