2011: My year with writing

This time last year, I reviewed where I was in my writing career. I thought I had written the penultimate draft of Steampunk Assassins. I was writing the first draft of The Greenwich Problem. I was planning to write a romantic comedy termed Baking Lawyer (which I abandoned due to fatal flaws). I determined that Military Monster needed a complete overall (which is still awaited.) And I put everything else on hold. And then 2011 happened. In January, I finished the first draft of The Greenwich Problem for the BBC's Laughing Stock competition. In February, Realm Pictures won the Raindance/Pepsi Max competition. This started them on the road to The Underwater Realm. In March, I was longlisted for Laughing Stock, which caused much excitement. In April, I attended the London Comedy Writers Festival, got some great advice and met some awesome creatives. I also wrote another feature script for Script Frenzy. In May, Realm House hosted the first UWR big production meeting. In July, Dave, Jon...
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An octopus in a pie factory

You remember that New Years Resolution to concentrate on one thing at a time? Yeah, guess how well that's going. Still reeling from my Laughing Stock second round status (unbelievable squee), I ran straight into a horror short about the Tube. Which is perfect for creepiness. Oh, and I'm working on a webcomic idea with an incredibly talented artist. More on that when we've decided on Strip #1. For now, I'll say three words: Victoriana. Spirits. Steaaaaam. And there's that other horror short? Why am I so in love with horror shorts? Horror films make me freak out. I should probably actually finish Steampunk Assassins off, yeah? Also, sticking my nose into my friends' script will probably just end up in more work for me - though there may be a whiff of a credit. I need to make like squash and CONCENTRATE....
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Make ’em laugh

Two short, sweet screenwriting comps courtesy of the London Comedy Screenwriters Festival: British brevity your speciality? Laugh A Minute Competition - one page of comedy gold, win a festival ticket and fifty quid. Too long-winded for you? Try #comedyswf Twitfest - a comedy logline in a single Tweet. Take three rolls of the dice - and you could come away with a golden festival ticket and a stack of Script Secret CDs. And if you need tips on how to make comedy gold (and how I wish I'd had this when I was writing my Laughing Stock entry!), Lucy Vee has written a cracking (up) post on how comedy dialogue may not be all that: Comedy: It’s All In The Delivery… Of Everything!!....
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Sucking, sex and (laughing) stock

(This is actually an exercise in drumming up spam comments) I leave the Internet alone for a couple of days and it vomited up all kinds of interesting and useful things. If only that technique worked with spec scripts. - Maureen Johnson's fabulous "Dare to Suck" video (with transcript by Martin_B, found here): - Lucy V's call to copulation - in scripts, of course (though I'm sure a little more IRL couldn't do any harm...). I admit to a little...er, frigidity in this arena but I'm pushing myself beyond the 'fade to black'. - Laughing Stock Submission Pile - A Behemoth. I actually started scanning the photo for my entry - I like to think it's that slim white one on top of the second pile from the left. *bounces off to the next project*...
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Chaos theory

I've been immersing myself in my Laughing Stock entry. I've just hit the finale, though my pages are running way too long - used to a feature or drama-length and I need to rein it in. However, the thing that's surprising me most is this: I'm kinda funny. I've never been a comedian (or comedienne, if you prefer). I'm the one making the bad puns and not getting the jokes for a good two minutes, filling in with the fake laughter. I showed my partner a sequence of dialogue from The Greenwich Project and his response was "oh, you're a lot funnier on paper than you are in person". Charming. I've been watching a number of British comedy pilots to refresh my memory and seek out my style. This week, I've watched Gavin and Stacey, Spaced, Black Books and Yes Minister. There's quite a range in there, from the dramatic to the surreal, the surreal to the dialogue-dastardly. My style seems to run on...
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Along the byway

Of course, it's the time of year for summaries and conclusions, personal achievement counting and reflection. I have finished Steampunk Assassins. By which I mean it's with my beloved director and editor friends and I suppose there might be One Final Draft to complete. I have made a start on The Greenwich Problem for Laughing Stack 2011. I ran the logline past my director, extrapolated the plot of the pilot and shaded in the main characters' traits and tics. He was very enthusiastic - and, as I trust his tastes, this pleases me greatly. I'm also going to try my hand at a Rom Com feature spec - we'll term it Baking Lawyer. That has a beat sheet but nothing else at the moment. Military Monster needs a complete overhaul before it can have anything going for it. I need to take a step back on Asylum and write a beat sheet for the pilot before I sink further into the intricacies of plotting...
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Tis the season

A belated Merry Christmas and an anticipatory Happy New Year! Well, Steampunk Assassins isn't yet at its final draft, but let's extend the deadline to New Year and see how it goes. I'm thinking through my entry to Laughing Stock 2011, which we will call The Greenwich Problem. My current dilemma is sub-genre: do I go for Science Fiction or Science Fact? That will determine the content of the comedy and the overall series direction, though the characters and setting are fairly fixed in my mind. And I'm waiting to hear where I could slot into this year's Persona schedule. While we wait, here's a teaser for us all: ...
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Density and Comedy

In my ongoing struggle with original voice, I spotted similar questions from readers of TBSR about blocky action paragraphs. I have issues in Steampunk Assassins with scenes where my protagonist is with his partner - who is completely silent. Therefore, all his dialogue is replaced by action paragraphing. That adds up to a lot of bulk. Trying to cut that down without losing the sense of the scene is proving very challenging. Bitter also links to one of Scott's posts where he describes WALL-E's haiku-style paragraphing. He does make the legitimate point, however, that it has to suit the tone of your film. Robot drama, yes. Rom Com...perhaps not. Now for something completely different: Laughing Stock 2011 - BBC comedy competition for those without a network commission (i.e. awesome funny newbies). 15-30min script plus one-page series outline. Winner takes a comedy masterclass and a one-week intensive development session. Closing Date: Monday 21st February 2011. Well worth a look. I do love my BBC....
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