Blog posts by year and month February 2010

Posts (11)

  1. This year's Oscar-nominated scripts are all available online. Find 'em here.

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  2. I always find the suicide of a successful artist shocking. Such as Alexander McQueen this past month. Take a profile shot of his life and all seems gleaming: World renowned in his chosen field, rich behold comprehension, famous friends and famous admirers. He achieved everything this society say...

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  3. Check out the alternative endings to last week's live episode of EastEnders, and reveal the other possible murderers of Archie Mitchell!

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  4. In the book The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters there is a section on the hours these highly successful scribblers devote to their craft. Each and every one of them tells the editor of their gruelling work schedule. Getting up before dawn and pounding on the laptop, at furious pace...

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  5. Hart Hanson - creator and showrunner of Bones - gave a talk at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada recently. Fortunately, one of the audience members recorded and transcribed his speech, which you can now find online here. As a straight transcript, it's a bit of work to get through - but well worth your time, as there's a lot of good advice in there.

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  6. Ok, in memory of Johnny Dankworth, here's how a sketch is like a jazz tune. Say you're listening to Coltrane play 'My Favourite Things'. He'll start out with the basic tune, and then he'll take it and muck about. He'll take that tune all over the shop, he'll noodle, he'll swoop, he'll throw i...

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  7. Given the short turnaround for our call for Welsh writers, we have decided to extend the deadline by one week to allow writers more time to get their script and idea in to us. So the deadline is now: 5pm on Wednesday 17th February Just to clarify too - we are stipulating writers must have at least some form of professional track-record, but that might include a bursary/award to write, or a commission for an as-yet unproduced work, or a professionally staged reading in the theatre, or a funded short film. If you are unsure whether you qualify, get in touch with us.

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  8. Hello. Apologies for missing a week - I was off in Bristol doing some acting and then I lost the email with my login details. Also, I'm only half way through series one of Mad Men so something had to give. Anyway, to make up for my absence, I promise my next blog will contain at least 75% more bullish opinion. This one, though, I'm going to turn over to wiser heads. When I started this blog I asked a few writers I knew who'd been through the topical sketch mill for any advice they'd give if they were in my position. Well now, through the magic of cut-and-paste and formatting they are. We start with Laurence Howarth. One half of Radio 4's Laurence & Gus (but I'm not saying which half), Laurence has written for, among others, Armstrong & Miller, Dead Ringers, Omid Djalili, Mitchell & Webb, Look Away Now as well as his own sitcoms Rigor Mortis and Safety Catch and the granddaddy of all topical radio shows Weekending. Be careful of writing in the subjunctive. Not in the sense of using the subjunctive (it's a perfectly good mood) but in the sense of writing something that might work, that could be funny, that may fly if it gets a good rewrite or is really well performed etc. If you're struggling to think of a really good idea, it's tempting to alight on a mediocre one and work on that in the hope that it may eventually, somehow turn into something really good. Such ideas rarely do. Better to wait for the really good idea and then write in the indicative, i.e. a sketch that does work, is funny and will fly. Easier said than done, mind. If this was an Alan Yentob documentary I'd fly to New York for the next interview. As it is, I just sent a friend an email. Danny Robins, as well as being a comedian, presenter and art panel pundit, is my long term comedy partner. We've done loads. You can trust him. Beginnings and ends are the hardest. Go for unpredictability if you can and have a killer punchline - don't let it fizzle out, even if the beginning and middle are good, sketches with bad ends always get cut. Keep it lean and mean. Look at every line and see if it justifies it's place in there comedically. A short and very funny sketch is better than a longer quite funny sketch. Arial 12 point. It's the professional sketch-writer's font of choice. Times New Roman is for people who don't know how to work their computer properly and Comic San Serif is for the dangerously mad. See, Arial 12pt. I said you could trust him. Since I asked Simon Blackwell (The Thick of It, The Old Guys, Peep Show) his opinion, he's been nominated for an Oscar, so hark unto this: Always rewrite when you're asked to, and, unless you have a huge objection, in the way you're asked to. Most of what's in your first draft won't get broadcast, and that's a good thing. Finally, Gareth Gwynn is one of the Radio Entertainment department's staff writers and has helped read / rewrite for every episode of Newsjack - as well as working on The News Quiz, The Now Show and I Guess That's Why They Call It The News. He's chosen to express the Newsjack submissions he read in the form of a graph. Yeah, graphs in a blog. I'm like Ben Goldacre. Next time: Why Sketch Writing Is Like Jazz. No, come back, where are you going? It is. It is like jazz.

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  9. The new season of The Wire strand of original new dramas on Radio 3 starts this weekend with Alan Harris's play The Goldfarmer. The strand is in it's 10th season, has always been commissioned out of Writersroom by Kate Rowland and has always included commissions for writers brand new to radio an...

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  10. Eran Creevy's script for his low-budget film Shifty is now available to read. The film was developed through the Film London Microwave scheme in partnership with BBC Films. As part of the BBC's support of the project, I spent some time with Eran and his producers looking at the story before he w...

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