Saturday, April 30, 2005


Agent Ginny recently sent me details of the BBC's ''Continuing Drama Series Writing Academy " (aka 'Apprentice SoapMaker'), in a sort of 'this probably isn't your cup of tea, but I thought I'd let you know' sort of way.

The conclusion we came to was that unless Eastenders is about to introduce a new character called Gaping Olaf, a zombie viking (operated by four puppeteers), it's not really for me. Still might be worth forwarding details though, just in case there's anyone out there who hasn't heard about it yet.

And Gaping Olaf isn't quite such a stupid idea as he sounds. The Laxdoela Saga (written about 1250*) contains details of:

...the draugr, or dead, returning in great numbers, mutilating and killing anyone they encounter, wiping out entire regions, forcing people and animals to leave their dwellings. Unlike the ghosts of classical antiquity, these dead are not described as "images". They seem to be endowed with real bodies, as if the cadavers themselves, having returned to life, had left their graves. (source: a book I took a couple of photocopies from, but neglected to write down the title - d'oh)

Now that's what I call a saga. If zombies hadn't recently been done, I'm trying to think of a phrase other than 'to death', but I can't, then a viking vs zombie epic would be on the cards. But they have, so it isn't.

More stuff about draugr here. It's a great word - particularly the a's and u's and g's. 'Slaugh' (a kind of spooky celtic goth fairy) is a good one too. Really good monsters should have names that are not only spooky to look at, but hard to pronounce too.

Quick forum update from Izzy:

It's set up at the mo to let people read the posts, but not actually post anythng until they're registered/logged in. then you should get buttons saying 'add reply'.

*Nearly ten to one. I love that joke. Hoo boy.


logista said...

Amazon's search inside feature is very useful.

See this which is from page 13 of Ghosts in the Middle Ages : The Living and the Dead in Medieval Society

James Henry said...

Impressive - never thought of that. Many thanks orthoclase.

cello said...

I'm really not into 'continuing drama'. I like things to have some sort of ending planned even if it's a fair way off. I appreciate there are mini storylines with their own arc, but I really can't be doing with soaps.

Things I've loved for the first 2 series (ER, 6 Feet Under, Sopranos, Friends) went on to lose their magic. I can feel it happening with Shameless.

But writing for soaps is a great way in, James. Apparently Eastenders is in dire need of a visitation of Draugr to wipe a few people out.

James Henry said...

I think writing for soaps would be a step backward for me at this point - mainly because, like you, I have no enthusiasm for the genre. I'm in the fortunate position that everything I've ever written for has been something I'm genuinely enthusiastic about, and to deviate from that at this point would, I feel, be a massive mistake. I really can't moan about being skint, as I have turned down quite a few things - nothing earthshaking, just a general sense of 'hmm, they're not going to let me play, so I think not'. And if nothing comes up for a while, I can always go and temp for a bit. I'm not proud.

I know what you mean about ER and 6 Feet Under and that - a sort of creeping feeling of 'okay, these are the boundaries, and nothing's really going to change, is it?' I liked the way Friends ended though. Nice and low-key, and all the more moving for that, especially if you'd watched every episode like I was sad enought to. Ah well, it saw me through some hard times.

Miss Moon said...

I can see why you would think writing for Eastenders is a step backwards - but they definitely need a sprinkling of good comedy! Yep, you are right you have to be passionate or it will never work. I think the continued drama thing sucks to a certain extent. It's a shame that they don't give writers a chance who haven't had work on screen/theatre etc...Maybe there should be some kind of fame academy for writers. Or perhaps not. Must think of a way to fake my own tv show.