Friday, January 30, 2009

Denied.

Finally got BBC3's verdict on m'teen drama, scripts for the first two episodes of which they've had for a while now, and the answer cometh back.... negative.

Bah. I was reasonably braced for it, to be honest, when I hadn't heard anything by New Year, but it's never nice to have stuff turned down (although always nicer than not hearing anything at all, until you just assume it hasn't worked out). Early indications seem to be that Echo Beach (what was also about Cornwall, and beaches, and teenagers) loomed just a little too large in the recent past. What a ghastly and blighted shadow that show has cast. Although of course there are always plenty of reasons you just don't know about, and the more experienced you get, the more you realise how astonishing it is that any television drama gets made at all, so I take these things a lot less personally that I might have done a few years ago.

Other reasons not to despond:

1. I have a meeting on Tuesday to talk about a brand new BBC project I've been asked to write, what is an actual bona fide literary adaptation, and isn't a one-off, hour-long special as I initially thought, but is now being talked about as six half-hour episodes. I will say no more about this for now, lest I jinx it right up the wazoo, but still, hurrah!

2. The BBC Drama people I worked with were incredibly generous and supportive. The scripts got championed at a very high level by people who were also good enough to let me pretty much do my own thing with the characters, which was much appreciated. Some of them actually seem more upset about ROCK being turned down that I am, which is nice.

3. The scripts themselves seem to have gone down very well with those who've read them (which is how 1. came about), so I'm getting put up for writing jobs that wouldn't have happened before.

I might put the scripts themselves up at some point, although that might not be allowed, because the BBC have, you know, paid for them and everything, so I'll have to check that out. Still, here's the Teen Drama Saga in full:


The commissioning meeting
Prevaricating with Lego.
Heading the one-page document
Accents and beach parties.
Second episode commissioned (that's what that one was all about).
Logos and buzzwords.
Solo writing versus team writing.
Echo Beach.
A dramatic meeting.
Going from comedy to drama.
Cutting to length.
The Timeline.

Le sigh.


27 comments:

Lucy said...

Kill them all. Then bake their flesh in interesting pies and become some sort of cannibal Mr. Kipling. you know it makes sense.

spacemonkey said...

Boo, and boo. And also, boo. I can target TV Centre from here, if you can supply me with something shoulder-mounted and fiery...

james henry said...

I shall simply leave a parcel of home-baked macaroons in the foyer of BBC3. I think that will elegantly convey my opnions on the matter.

Lucy said...

Yes, yes. But make the macaroons of FLESH. Though I hear eyeballs go better with coconut.

Jason Arnopp said...

Commiserations, my dear sir. But you are taking it like a man. A man with his pride intact, and some home-baked goods to impart.

Boz said...

Noooooooooooooooooo. I'm gutted.

You are marvellously stoic in the face of quasi-defeat. I suppose it's not a personal rejection - there could be a million other factors that you have no idea about or control over. Viz:

1. Traumatic childhood events in Cornwall of commissioning bods.
2. EastEnders relocating to Dorset.
3. The 'Is It Cornish?' quiz show in development.

james henry said...

I might try making some actual coconut ones later today. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

Piers said...

Bah.

But still:

Yay for 1, 2, and 3!

Maud said...

Alas and sorry to hear it, but the other things sound like good news so hurrah for them! (Yes, I'm still here, just been lurking a bit.)

james henry said...

Piers: well exactly.

*waves at Maud*

Maud said...

*waves*

Newf said...

Ee. I'm sorry to hear about ROCK. I've been stalking your entries on it for ages, because this is the first time I've ever read a writer speak so openly about the process. :( I've attached myself to them like a... like a limpet. Er.

Brand new BBC project sounds great, though. :)

Good Dog said...

Are you saying that Echo Beach put Rock in a hard place?

Sorry to hear about that. Forget the macaroons and send BBC3 some nice rock cakes instead.

Karen's Mouth said...

Fools. Silly silly fools (except for those mentioned in 1, 2 and 3).

Kevin said...

Chin up, James. It'll all work out.

Bingethink said...

Bummer.

The horrible thing is, however much you rationalise it, and you understand how they can have made that decision, THE BASTARDS STILL AREN'T GOING TO MAKE YOUR BLOODY SHOW. And though you know that they are not really bastards, you also know that you got THIS CLOSE, and that your show would have been FUCKING BRILLIANT.

What I would now do is wallow in self-pity for a bit. But you seem to have a better strategy, so good luck with 1, 2 and 3.

Mike said...

*Mopes on your behalf*

thegirl said...

Growling, quietly, on your behalf. How very, very annoying. Glad to see that old cliche about 'when one door closes, another one opens' has some truth in it, but still, grr.

Annie said...

Ack, sorry to hear that. But what's the score with sending it to other producers instead?

james henry said...

Hmm, doubtful, I think, unless I wanted to buy the rights back. Which in the current climate, isn't entirely practical. Although I'm sure Agent Matt will investigate all possibilities.

I also think I'd rather crack on with a new thing now, to be honest.

Boz, sorry, your comment snuck in there, just realised it looked like I was ignoring you.

Thanks for nice words, people, but the Other BBC Project has gone a long way to not letting me get too upset about this. And to be honest, this is just what it's like being a full-time screenwriter, things get knocked back all the time. You just have to make sure you have other things on the go pretty much constantly.

Now, to get back to my dark re-imagining of 'Button Moon'...

Valerie said...

POOP!

Er, I mean COCONUT MACAROONS!

Now is the time for righteous self-indulgence (tempered perhaps with a tinge of relief because you don't have to think about this same idea anymore?)

This of course means you've got stored-up karma and they'll buy the next idea post-haste... though I'm not sure post-haste is all that hasty these days, unless it's Fedex-haste...

Jayne said...

Bugger. They're eejits. Still, yay for the BBC Drama Dept - who wants to work for 3 anyway?

The Bureauista said...

Fuck socks.

Fat Roland said...

Oh crappingtons. There is a bunch of people protesting every day outside the BBC in Manchester. I think it is about this, probably.

Tim Footman said...

They are all bumholes.

But I really liked Echo Beach. It was bad, but because of all the metafictional interplay with Moving Wallaper, it made you look at badness in a new way. If Bonekickers had been paired with a show about a TV company making a show about slightly odd archaeologists, I think it would have done rather better.

cello said...

You get nearer and higher every time though James, so I'm just reading it as step 346 on the road to fame and wealth.

There are some lovely people at the BBC. Stick with 'em.

james henry said...

Indeed there are, and I very much plan to.