Friday, October 31, 2008

Not Still Alive

The best song about zombies ever, 'Re: Your Brains', now available as a free mp3 over at Jonathon Coulton's blog.

I think he might be a teensy bit of a genius.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dead Set: Episode One

It does say something that the bits I was going 'oooh', and closing my eyes at were the opening scenes of straight Big Brother stuff: contestants in the diary room, and people outside chanting stuff and holding up signs and so on. I was really quite happy to watch properly the moment the zombies turned up. Anyway, I thought it was jolly good.

'Survivors' starts fairly soon as well.

*makes improvised crossbow out of garden tools and bungie cord, heads off to deli for some Earl Grey*

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rejection notes

While we're still on jargon, a quick email to various colleagues brought forth the following (genuine) reasons for scripts being rejected:

"We feel the script lacks primary colours." (the writer in question says "My offer to specify in the directions that the main character dresses in a pillar box red pullover throughout failed to retrieve the project from the bin").

"There are too many funny bits, and not enough other bits."

"We like the writing but we're not doing grey" (as Oli has suggested, is there perhaps a glut of execs with synaesthesia?)

"This is too intelligent for an (channel deleted) audience."

"Hattrick is not at home to whimsy."

"It's very very funny, but it begs the question 'why?'"

"It's great.  We love it.  The script made me laugh out loud.  We're not doing it."

Email from one writer to another: "Well we got the notes from ITV and basically they don't want jokes about people, ideas, books, places, history, travel, cars, politics or things.  So far in the script they have approved something about a meat auction."

And from a director about a script that was made: "I don't bother looking at the bits in italics" i.e. the stage directions.

UPDATE: James Moran says:

You can name me, because I still don't know who the guilty party was. When Severance was being sent out to production companies, about a week later some complete stranger returned a copy to the PFD office - they'd found it on a bus. Clearly somebody at one of the companies found it a very gripping read. We never found out who it was, nobody owned up to losing it.

I would add to this, to continue the developing sub-theme of mystery rejection, James's agent rejected my very first sitcom script without me ever having sent it to him. He returned a copy of the script with a very nice note saying it wasn't quite his cup of tea, but I shouldn't let this kind of thing get me down, because everyone has differing tastes, and I was bound to get representation eventually, which I did, awwww. Although I still have no idea who sent him my script.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

They grow them in vats, you know.

While I'm faffing about in a basement on Brick Lane (I got the sleeper back, or I would have bought Jayne that drink I promised her, and maybe seen if Boz wanted to come out as well, although the Great Blue Cat Booze Up will have to wait for another time now), I get a message on my phone from (Unnamed Script Editor), in which he explains his concerns I may have "failed to sufficiently internalize those notes" he had recently sent. I'm not entirely sure what this means. Was I supposed to eat them?

Then another call from Patroclus:

PATROCLUS: That script editor called for you, because he couldn't get you on the phone. I said you were on the train, and then he asked if you were completely peripatetic.


PATROCLUS: (patient) It means you move around a lot.

ME: Oh.

It's true, I do move around a lot, like Mick Jagger.

Later I get another phone message from (Unnamed Script Editor). He wants me to come in for a meeting so we can 'headline some stuff'. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT. I've decided that I will go to the meeting, but will only talk in Cornish. That'll learn them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wibbly Kingdom

More YouTube posts in lieu of actually posting anything - I don't have any strong feelings about Stephen Fry's 'Kingdom' series either way, but I did like Harry Enfield's version, from 'Harry and Paul':

Thursday, October 09, 2008


As sourced by Jayne: 'Take On Me' - the literal version.

Argh, now I want to see the Family Guy version, but YouTube's full of stupid people doing their stupid parodies of a parody. Dammit

UPDATE: Jayne comes up trumps again in the comments thread. Ten housepoints for Griffindor.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Parenthood: a guide for writers


A useful means of networking with female television executives. Note that baby photos can be used as a form of networking currency, with a value roughly akin to that of a well-painted Warhammer figurine to an Aardman animator (quite a lot). HOWEVER: do not use pictures of babies you have found on the internet 'because they look less mental'. Or if your baby is particularly odd-looking, at least take care that selected photos roughly approximate your own child's skin colour/racial origin. Do not attempt to substitute photographs of particularly cute kittens, puppies, baby crocodiles etc - WOMEN ARE TRAINED TO NOTICE THESE THINGS.


When you have a baby, people positively expect you to have odd-smelling stains all over whatever you happen to wearing. If you are a full-time writer, the chances are you would have had odd-smelling stains all over whatever you were wearing anyway, but it's nice to have an excuse.


Note that this only applies to the female babykeeper. Constant snacking to keep strength up 'for the baby' on the part of the male babykeeper/writer will only lead to writerly flesh taking on a flabby, dough-like texture. Referring to this as 'winter bulk' will not convince anyone.


Observations as to the wisdom of Mother Nature in making babies all cute rather than 'being covered in scales and having multifaceted eyes like a wasp, because if they looked like that you'd be less likely to look after them' will not be greeted as a breakthrough in evolutionary theory akin to that of Charles Darwin's 'Hey, what if populations evolved over the course of generations through a process of, oh I don't know, let's call it natural selection'.


Writers may find their dialogue skills drying up a little at this early stage, as most of the day's conversation consists of singing 'Hey now little baby, why don't you stop screaming' to the tune of the 'Ooooh Bodyform' advert from about nineteen ninety two.


A useful phrase to bring out right as soon as you've spotted a nappy change is imminent, as this gives you a useful job to do, whilst simultaneously manoeuvering the female babykeeper into the position of prime nappy-remover by the time you return from the bathroom.


A phrase to be used at the end of the nappy changing process. Take the dirty nappy in a careful, yet firm manner, to suggest that this part of the deal is AT LEAST as onerous as the actual nappy removal and maintainance bit.


Remember: the phrase 'ooh what a shiny bum!' IS ONLY TO BE USED INDOORS.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Why pasty British writers shouldn't be allowed guns

Or visas. Although to be fair, he did hit the target bang on.

Mmm, it's always entertaining to see a fellow writer get injured. More details about Jimbo's trip to see the Texanians here.

And while we're on the adventures of Moran and Arnopp, I was most tickled by the Illustrated Guide To Taking Feedback over at over at Danny's.