Perfect Profiling

As my sit com script heads into major re-draft, the advice from all angles is the same: it's all about the characters. The situations may be inherently funny, but often the real comedy value is in putting extraordinary characters into ordinary situations - and watching them flail. To get a good grasp of character, I turned to a new book my in-laws bought me: Successful Novel Plotting by Jean Saunders.. While perusing in the tub, I came across her POV on character profiles. She used the example of her daughter and issued a string of random knowledge to encourage familiarity with the "character". However, I don't do well with random. Therefore, I codified her example thus and named it "Saunders Character Profile" (catchy): Open with a unique fact. Age, marital status/dating habits and progeny. Physical trait, personality trait and occupation. Personality trait, personality trait, and career history/aspirations. Vices and social life. Hobby, hobby and hobby. Holidays and travel. Relationship with friends and family. Tastes in film and...
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The slow steps of a journey

I'm working evenings this week. Basically, this means I get to do mundane things during normal working hours - like go to the bank and pick up my prescription - and then work an eight-hour day at the end. Disruptions to my schedule tend to go badly for my writing routine. I know that I write in the evening after work. I now need to get used to writing mid-afternoon with a cup of tea - but only for five days. Shift work drives me crazy. However, the first draft of The Greenwich Problem is finished. A lot of work to go and a month to do, but I'm letting it rest a couple of days. I've pitched another plot to Persona, so we'll see how that fits in. And my friends at Realm Pictures have a sexy new website and a sexier showreel. Watch out for the sneak peak at their upcoming underwater feature: ...
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Pilot signposts

Unfortunately, Real Life has been distracting me from blogging - and my pilot script. Yet John August's brilliant analysis of Premise Pilots dragged me back today. I was having this debate with my director friend about a TV pilot he'd like me to write. Basically, it involves an ordinary guy having his world turned upside down when he realises he's living in a secret dystopia. However, the problem is this: you need a lot of setup. It's therefore difficult to make a pilot that captures the action-adventure spice of the rest of the series because the first episode has to highlight his dull, vanilla life. Another interesting post is Bitter's commentary on capitalisation in action paragraphs. I like to capitalise characters' entrance in every scene - though, in my sit com pilot, it doesn't seem to be working. I also note important props and sound effects, which Bitter identifies as outdated techniques. Then there's Scott's answers on Act One length. This post is...
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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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National Association of Scientific Asshattery

I spent the first two days of the new year at work, so when I was up at absurd o'clock on Sunday, I saw on the news about the Sunday Times' article on Nasa's list of Worst Science Fiction Films [no link - daft paywall] Nasa, deciding that bad science fiction is bad for science, named and shamed the least realistic sci fi flicks and praised the most realistic (lists at bottom). Together with the Science & Entertainment Exchange (SEE), they would like to campaign for more realistic science fiction, to include Nasa specialists and vehicles as "product placements" - in films that it approves. Professor Sidney Perkowitz, member of SEE, has also designed a mark of approval: No scientific ideas were seriously hurt during the making of this movie. I had a long argument with my director friend about scientific realism in movies, based in part on TV Tropes' Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness (though his main problem was that Star...
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