Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My pilot script for TEEN DRAMA PROJECT has gone off to the Big Chief Head Lady

...who has to look at the script and decide whether to:

1. Chuck it in the bin.
2. Shoot a pilot.

(UPDATE: Just to clarify, I don't mean pick up a Sig Sauer SP2022 and gun down a qualified aeronautical operator. This is almost certainly frowned upon at the higher echelons of the BBC).

3. Commission me to write a number of further episodes ranging from one to, dunno, realistically, four?
4. Keep the characters and setting and give them to some other writers to lark about with (I will still get some money and a 'created by' credit though).
5. Get me to rewrite it, but this time set in space (I wouldn't mind this actually).

Although before it got sent off, I had to come up with a one-page document that would sum up the tone of the beast. I turned to Patroclus for aid in this matter, as she is a professional writer who has to use punctuation and spelling or she gets told off, making her very much the Player to my Gentleman* (as t'were).

Patroclus suggested an emoticon. Presumably right in the middle of the page.

I liked this idea. It was bold, visual, and crucially, would be hard to misquote. It's tricky though, as although PROJECT TEEN DRAMA is ostensibly a drama, which would suggest:


... the pilot script has been heavily influenced by American series such as 'My So-Called Life', 'Freaks and Geeks' and, greatest of all, 'The OC', all of which have a healthy amount of humour to lighten the seriousness. Which is more:


Of course there's always:

: /

... but that looks a bit non-commital. In fact the whole thing was starting to make me feel:


In the end though, I found one which perfectly suggested 'a drama with comedy leanings, but nonethless underlying tones of seriousness that complement the humour rather than distracting from it - taking a holistic approach to the genre, if you'll allow me to be so. Which was:

; |

Which I wrote on the centre of a bit of A4 with magic marker, popped in an envelope and posted off to BBC TV Centre (Big Chief Head Commissioning Lady) with a first class stamp.

No of course I didn't. I emailed a tone document backwards and forwards between the producer and her glamorous assistant a few times until we'd got it right, and then it was sent off.

Part of me really wishes I'd done the other thing though.

* Tim F spotted that I got my arcane cricketing references the wrong way round there.


LMS said...

Surely the greatest teen drama was Press Gang?

James Henry said...

Yes, of course. But namedropping US TV in tone documents is where it's at, man. And mine's an hour long, whereas I think Press Gang was twenty five minutes, so it's a slightly different thing.

It was great though. I saw Stephen Moffot at a thing recently, but he was shouting about Harold Pinter, so I thought I'd leave him alone.

Lisa said...

It's taken me three readings to finally realise that the Big Chief Head Commissioning Lady wasn't actually going to go out with a pistol and shoot a pilot. Phew!

Love the blog.

Anonymous said...

talking of ex-gw actors in plays (well, someone was in the last post's comments anyway), saw Oliver Chris in taming of the shrew on monday. He was very good, and very tall. Especially as they put him in heels to emphasize it. Though their big massive snog at the end did make me go all giggly and want to shout 'get a room' or better yet 'kiss me instead'...

Sylvia said...

James, if you need 3 guinea pigs to view your efforts, I have 3 in house experts on teen viewing. Please. Take them.

Hope it all works out!

kaiki said...

while i wish you all the luck in the world with it james,a small part of me hopes it will be rewritten in space.

James Henry said...

Quite a big part of me hopes it will be rewritten in space. WITH SPACE MONSTERS.

LMS said...

My So Called Life was a great show but I've yet to see Freaks and Geeks due to it not being available on DVD here.

I'm hoping for the inclusion of a wise-talking robot for the space rewrite.

Lucy said...

Something about a huge " :( " slap bang in the middle of a sheet of paper REALLY makes me laugh.

Small things, small minds and all that.

Has to be sideways, though. Turn it the right way round and it's just not funny anymore.

I'll leave now.

Flirty Something said...

Always go with your gut - next time do the emoticon ! Best of luck.

patroclus said...

I did get told off by Bob Swipe recently for not using punctuation, but I'm not sure if that makes me a professional. Or a gentleman.

I quite liked the idea of the emoticon being at top left in a discreet 10pt Arial (much like your illustrations), but I can see how the magic marker in the middle of the page might be more immediately appealing to BBC commissioners.

Tim Footman said...

Surely the person who does it properly for a living and gets paid is the player. The flying-by-the-seat-of-the-pants amateur is the gentleman.

In the old days, on cricket scorecards, gentlemen had initials (eg WG Grace) whereas players just had surnames (Larwood).

Valerie said...

These big moves, like giant emoticons, call for big nerves. They also call for the willingness to commit professional suicide in the name of humor, which is always a little dicey. Usually I avoid them (the big moves, not humor), but I tried one a couple of weeks ago in the workplace chatroom and was responded to with a chilling silence. People avoided my eyes for a few days. Though on the plus side I didn't get fired.

It has come to my attention that your birthday might be the day before mine. And the same day that a dear friend of mine was born. And another one died. But anyway. Should that be true, I wish you a very merry. Should it not, I relinquish all responsibility.

I do have a Magic Marker you can borrow. (And what is it that's magic about them, exactly?)

James Henry said...

My birthday is on Sunday. And I'm thirty four, which is conclusive proof, finally, that I'n not actually Jesus.

Sylvia said...

Good grief - so I'm not actually old enough to be your mother, I only look like it!
Happy birthday, I hope you have a lovely day.

Valerie Polichar said...

Hah! My birthday is Monday, when I will be the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything.

I'll drink a toast to ya (and my friend Gra, who's in Brighton) tomorrow. It's a good excuse to start partying early.

Spinsterella said...

I loved My So-Called Life.

Poor old Clare Danes though, what a downward trajectory. Jared Leto to Leo Di Caprio to Steve Martin in a few short years.

PS Happy Birthday.

Fat Roland said...

Is Tim F related to Axl F? And will he write a book about him?

Behappy belated bebirthday. I'm 34 in four months, and I'm very nervous about getting one up on Jesus.

James Moran said...

Happy birthday, you whippersnapper. Wait till you hit 35, that's when it all goes downhill. Unless you're me, in which case, you suddenly become even more amazing.

Taiga the Fox said...

A really belated happy birthday, James!

James Henry said...

Thanks Taiga!