Monday, August 09, 2010

Gah.

After a year and a half of development, and positive reactions all the way up the BBC Drama food chain (well, right up until it got the Really Big Desk) Cornish Cop project for BBC Drama has been turned down for a series commission. Early indications suggest the tone of it just didn't click with the last person who had to make the decision. Which is gutting, obviously, but there we are, can't be helped.

It's not the end of the line - the script's now going over to Comedy to see if it's something that would sit better over there - but even if they embrace it with open arms, it's very unlikely to be picked up unchanged, and the procedural element (it's a proper cop show, with crime plots, and investigations) is likely to have to go. Which would be a great shame - the show was a direct attempt to have something with a real dramatic base, but a bit more wit and fun up top than you tend to get in that 9pm slot - and more to the point, I was loving working with Sarah the producer and Joe the script editor (with whom I developed my similarly fated teen drama pilot) and was thinking this was finally going to be the time we all got to take something right into a series.

I was just starting dare to compile a little list of other writers I would have loved to get in to write episodes, and working up a spreadsheet of plot arcs, and all that. As I said, 'Gah'.

Still, after having a weekend to get over it, I can laugh Rejection in his fat stupid face, and without wanting to sound too Pollyannaish, here are some reasons why:

1. Dude, I still totally got paid moneys for writing wordses, and they're never getting that back NEVER.
2. The script got an incredibly positive response from the senior BBC development bods, who I know are just as gutted as I am it didn't make it all the way to the top.
3. I now have a really strong hour long crime drama (okay, with comedy bits) script that my agent can show around, which might open a few new doors.
4. The comedy department person who's looking at it has a very good track record with comedy dramas, so even if Bandit Country (that was its name, sigh) isn't right for her, that's still someone who hasn't read my stuff before, so, you know, new contact.
5. While I was waiting to hear back on Bandit Country, I finished the first draft of the US superhero pilot script AND IT WAS GOOD (which, of course, you always feel about the first draft, the idea of the script editor ever coming back with anything other than 'OMG this is the bestest thing I have ever read you are AMAZUNG!' is laughable, but still).
6. If you aren't laughing Rejection in his fat stupid face at least once a month YOU ARE NOT A PROPER RITER.

16 comments:

Boz said...

Blimey - this is sad. Gah indeed. But I stand in awe of your bouncing back mad skillz. It only took you a weekend!? Props. And all the reasons you give are awesome and excellent.

I maintain all belief that this sort of thing will happen. And soon.

james henry said...

I reckon if you have enough projects in development with the Beeb, they have to give you one eventually, out of sheer social awkwardness.

Diane Duane said...

Argh... condolences. P. and I once had a series get right through all the hoops until the final one before contract-inking -- the decision on how many episodes would be made. (Sounds witless, doesn't it?...) Producer and finance people fell out with each other, and the whole thing unraveled. As you say: GAH.

All you can do is Get On to the Next Thing. :) Courage!

Lisa Holdsworth said...

7. You got a very wise blog post out of it that will help lots of other folks.

Nice one.

james henry said...

Aww, thanks for kind words.

LC said...

Seems a bit sad that (presumably) quite a lot of good, creative stuff gets to quite an advanced stage but never ends up getting made.

I bet there's a big underground bunker under a little known BBC office somewhere, with crates full of fantastic rejected scripts, all piled high as far as the eye can see, like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Simes said...

LC:

Top men.

Oli said...

I don't even stop to laugh at rejection anymore. I just jog past it, point and giggle. Bad luck, Cornish cop drama sounded quite literally up my street.

Eleanor said...

*Sigh!* I would have watched that if it had been made.

Tim Footman said...

In the next thing you write, have a character called Rejection, and make him an abject tossbucket. Evelyn Waugh used to do things like that to people who annoyed him.

Of course, if you give your characters names like Rejection, the whole thing will feel like a medieval morality play. Although that’s not necessarily such a bad thing, provided there’s still a part for James Nesbitt.

Alex Crowe said...

I was wondering, is there any mileage in releasing the script as a download? With a new episode every, say, X weeks. Create a new kind of pure TV, without the tedious, expensive and potentially damaging production process. Or the TV.

james henry said...

As a theoretical idea, I like it. Financially, however, I think my agent might have something to say about the effort/reward balance of the equation...

LC said...

Make it yourself, with SCIENCE!

Valerie said...

Well… drat. But I hope shopping it around turns out to be even more lucrative than the original plan was. (Hey, it could happen!)

If I'd read this earlier, I wouldn't have hassled you about the stray exclamation point on twitter. Insult to injury and all that.

Imo said...

Don't the BBC realise yet that the general public (i.e. me) are crying out for new drama and decent comedy instead of endless reality programmes. Although the reality stuff seems to have been taken over by cooking and antiques at the moment - must be the summer holidays!

Bad luck, but at least you have a shiny new script to sell to the highest bidder.

Imo said...

Don't the BBC realise yet that the general public (i.e. me) are crying out for new drama and decent comedy instead of endless reality programmes. Although the reality stuff seems to have been taken over by cooking and antiques at the moment - must be the summer holidays!

Bad luck, but at least you have a shiny new script to sell to the highest bidder.