(sometimes the classic JonnyB opening is the only one that will do).
Because I don't really live in what is tiresomely known as 'the real world', I was under the impression that programmes like 'The Apprentice' and 'Dragon's Den' were an accurate, and if anything, underplayed representation of Big Business. This was until I started to realise P (who has been a professional copywriter for umpty tum years AND has set up her own business, which is doing very well, thanks for asking) would squirm in her seat while these things were on, and murmur gentle admonishments like 'THIS IS BOLLOCKS' and 'THAT'S NOT HOW BUSINESS WORKS!' &c.
Which came as a shock to me, because apart from anything else, television DOES NOT LIE. If television is ever caught lying, Ant and Dec have to come round your house to apologise, and they're busy people, so everyone works hard to make sure this doesn't happen. But apparently on this one occasion (being where it covered business, I'm lumping it all together), television had lied.
PATROCLUS: I mean, cuh, if you actually thought business worked like this and went around shouting about giving a hundred and ten per cent, and blaming everyone else whenever something went wrong, you'd just get stared at. People would think you were mad.
ME: OH TO THE EM TO THE GEE! We should write a sitcom about exactly this, using my years of comedic experience, and your knowledge of the business world, and the absurd jargon within, particularly in the IT industry, and it should be about two guys who quit a secure office job to start up their own company working on the next Facebook or Twitter or augmented reality, or whatever nebulous thing is hovering on the horizon!
P: WE SHOULD TOTALLY DO THIS!
Us doing something else.
A FEW MONTHS LATER
A producer I know mentions she's looking for a few lines of dialogue for a couple of actors we already know. P and I suddenly realise they would be perfect for our sitcom. Nine symbolically important months later (we both wandered off for a bit in the middle), we have finished the sitcom. It's far too late to be useful to the producer, and the characters have changed a bit, to the extent the original actors wouldn't work, so in terms of fulfilling the brief, it's something of a bust, but on the other hand: BRAND NEW SITCOM SCRIPT.
What was particularly fun about this was that though I've written as part of a team, or on my own, I've never written with one other person before. And I am married to P! Which suggested moments like this:
INT* VERANDA - EVENING
The sun goes down over Penryn harbour, yachts and bronzed millionaires frolicking in the pink dusk (note: can yachts frolic? Get script editor to research).
P and I, wearing Fifties style matching pyjamas, are on the veranda. I am sitting carelessly on a chair, next to a lovely battered old lovely old typewriter (battered). P stares carelessly out over the water, where a squadron of dolphins frolic carelessly in the lovely battered water.
P.: (carelessly) Dearest heart, I cannot but wonder if on page eighteen, line nine, we could add the phrase 'realistic pigmentation of raptor perspicacity'.
ME: (carelessly) Sweetie pumpkin, what a marvellous notion. I shall action it henceforth.
ME: Let us never fight like this again.
Actually it was a bit like that. Anyway, we finished it (it's called 'Outside The Box') and it's just now being sent off to various production companies. Woo!
* or possibly EXT, it's hard to tell with verandas, they're liminal.