Wednesday, 15 July 2009

No CBBC For Me!

Hello, and congratulations to anyone who made it into the Masterclass for the CBBC opportunity! As you can probably guess from the title, I didn't get a sniff. I was slightly disappointed that I didn't even get an e-mail from the BBC to say "You're crap, give up now!" but neither did about 600 other people, so I'm in good company!

Some people got a nice e-mail stating that they'd made it through to a second reading, so congratulations to all of you. Michelle Goode got such an e-mail and while she would obviously have liked to make the final 20 it's still a huge achievement to get through to the second reading, so mega congratulations to Michelle! If there's anyone else who got through to a second reading or even got through to the Masterclass itself, then let me know so I can give you a mention!

So what's next on the agenda? Well, I'll be working on the script I submitted, as I personally think it's rather good! It does need a lot of polishing and I have to admit that I rushed it towards the end in order to make the deadline. Michelle also mentioned that it was quite an ambitious script which would probably require a large budget and as such may have not been what the BBC were looking for (that's what I'm believing anyway!)

I'm also going to finally finish my previous channel 4 script, which I will now reveal is called "Cosmic Cabs" - just so I don't have to keep referring to it as "that channel 4 script that I didn't enter in the end 'cos it wasn't right... blah blah".

Something that did cheer me up, after the CBBC failure, was that the Writersroom roadshow is finally coming to Birmingham on August 18th! It's just down the road from me (well about 15 miles) so I'm looking forward to going to that. I've already sent my registration e-mail (twice, because I couldn't work out whether they wanted my name in the subject or body of the e-mail!)

I'm writing a new spec script specifically for it. So I can take it with me to hand in personally. I don't want to take my CBBC script because I should imagine that they'll be getting a LOT of children's scripts sent to them over the next few weeks (I don't know why!)

I'm really excited about the new idea I've come up with. I've already written the outline and will be starting the first draft when I've finished this post! I don't have a title yet, but I'll let you all know as soon as I have one! It'll be a 1 hour long drama, which I don't yet have in my portfolio.

So, if anyone is going to the Birmingham Roadshow, let me know. I'm looking forward to meeting some fellow writers!

Finally, for those that haven't seen it, check out the Pavaline website for some great writing competitions. They usually charge $9.99 to enter a script, but they're currently running a free competition based on the environment. Brenda Strong of Desperate Housewives fame (she's the voice of the dead woman) will be starring in the finished film! Deadline is August 15th but this is a "Short Story" script, so it only needs to be between 5-20 pages. You also need to register on the site but it's all free, so go for it! (Thanks to someone called "Nlog" for the heads up on this - he/she left a comment a while back - don't know who they are because their profile is private... But thanks anyway!)

Thursday, 2 July 2009

For Those About To Write - We Salute You!

What's this? Another blog entry just shy of 2 weeks after my last one!? It can't be!

One blog entry for June is a pretty poor showing, don't you think? I blame the CBBC competition, the AC/DC concert, London and the day job. All of these (maybe not the day job) will get a mention in the following post, which will be quite long. So, grab yourself a nice cup of tea (preferably Yorkshire), a biscuit or three (preferably chocolate Hob Nobs) and a comfy chair (preferably your own) and sit back, relax and enjoy the ramblings...

First up, the infamous CBBC script...

A few of us blogo-types have been working hard for the past month to hammer out something decent to send to the BBC. As mentioned in my last blog, I was doing a major re-write on mine and think that it's now a lot better than the original. I still think I could have improved it further, but I just ran out of time and even had to send it via Special Delivery, to ensure it got there before the deadline (it actually got there on the very last day!)

In my last post I mentioned the possibility of handing it in myself, as I was in London last weekend, but it still wasn't finished so that idea was a no go. In fact, I looked on Google maps and saw that Grafton House (the Writersroom HQ) is just up the road from where I stayed in Marylebone! No harm done anyway, it got there safe and sound (so the Royal Mail website says...)

I really enjoyed writing this script and I think this is the first time that I've actually understood what a proper "re-write" is. In previous scripts I've just "tinkered" - you couldn't really call them full re-writes. But my CBBC entry totally changed direction. There were a couple of scenes that survived and expanded but the overall story arc changed dramatically! For the better I think.

It's quite scary when you come to actually sending the thing away for professional scrutiny. I always feel that it could be improved further and if it wasn't for the deadline I'd probably improve it forever! I'm still working on the script that was going to be an entry to Channel 4's "Coming Up" competition, because I'm still not getting the feeling that it's the best I can do!

I suppose there comes a time when you just have to say "That's enough! It's ready for human consumption!" There are always extra bits I want to add but half an hour is quite limiting, so you have to cut out bits that you quite like, but that aren't really necessary for the flow of the story. I save all these bits up though, ready to sneak into future episodes!

So, after frantically checking for errors and carefully printing and binding the script on Monday, it's gone. I haven't read through it since because I'm worried about spotting more mistakes that I can't do anything about now!

One small error I did make, which I realised too late, was putting "The End" at the end (funnily enough) when I should really have put "End of Episode". The reason this is such an annoying error is because it ends on a cliffhanger and "The End" makes it feel like there won't be an explanation for it all. But, I suppose the readers aren't going to say "This is fantastic! The best script we've ever read! Get this man on the phone immed... oh hang on... what's this? The End? THE END? Forget it! Another one for the pyre..."

Ok, so any other areas of business?

Oh yeah, the Rock-Band-A-Thon that took place a couple of weeks ago...

What a brilliant night/morning that was! Me and 4 of my brothers (yes, I said FOUR - I actually have SIX brothers) staged an all night Rock Band session in anticipation of the AC/DC concert the following week. My younger brother has the AC/DC Rock Band game, so we played that (and Rock Band 2) from about 5:00pm on Saturday afternoon to 5:00am Sunday morning. Much alcoholic beverages were consumed and a few pizzas were mutilated during the event.

Here's one of me playing Iron Maiden's "The Number of The Beast" on "Hard" difficulty (probably):

How Rock and Roll is that China Cabinet!? ;)

And here's one of my niece who stood in as the support act before the main session got going. She was surprisingly good on the drums, especially as she's never touched a drumstick in her life before (apart from the chicken variety). You haven't lived until you've rocked hard to "Spongebob Squarepants - Best Day Ever".

Yes, she's a Wolves fan!

Ok, so that was the prelude to the main event...

... AC/DC at Wembley Stadium...

As mentioned in my last post, I'm not a "rocker" but I do appreciate good music and great concerts! I can honestly say it was THE BEST concert I've ever been to in my life! - I actually went to the Queen's "Party at the Palace" in 2003 (I was one of the lucky winners!) which was amazing - but this was better!

Just visiting Wembley Stadium was an event in itself. It's HUGE!

That's not an ice-rink, that's the covering they put over the pitch!

AC/DC totally blew the roof off! Not that the roof was on in the first place, but if it was, it would have been blown off! So it's a good thing that they didn't put the roof on, because... (you get the idea)

Angus Young is a total genius on guitar. I've always been a big fan of Slash (the guitar player, not taking a pee) but after seeing Angus in action, I think he raises the bar so high, there's ice on it!

All of the fans were brilliant too. Extremely well behaved - there was a real sense of camaraderie amongst everyone. The weather was great, the pyrotechnics all worked flawlessly and there were no sound problems. It really was a shining example of the perfect gig! Hat's off to the Wembley Stadium staff and promoters!

If you want a sense of the scale of this thing, check out this video.

And for a song you've definitely heard of (and some Angus action),check out this one.

The only downside was that they tried to charge my brother £24.00 for 2 beers and 2 burgers! That's outrageous! It should only have been a much more respectable £19.00!!! Ahem!

After the concert, we went out for a few drinks around London (mostly in Leicester Square) which was great! I've never been around London at night and I was totally amazed by the amount of people wondering about at 2:30am! It was like the middle of the day! Even the shops were open! It was quite a sight!

There were even a LOT of people in Trafalgar Square (at 2:00am) laying out candles and flowers for Michael Jackson. There was even someone dressed in his famous red "Thriller" suit (who I think ended up in one of the fountains!)

After a lovely 4 hour sleep we got up and enjoyed an "all you can eat" breakfast in the hotel, which actually turned into an "all you can find" breakfast, as they seemed reluctant to put out any more food once we'd finished our first helping!

Then we jumped on the tube and spent a few hours walking around London. I'd forgotten how HUGE everything is! Statues, buildings, the Thames, people! I loved it and the weather held out for us too. I know some of you probably live in and around London, so forgive me if I sound all "Ooooh Ahhhhh!" I live in the Wolverhampton, so London is a "bit" different and exciting!

So, with that in mind, here's a random shot of the London Eye for your viewing pleasure!

So, a fantastic time was had by all and we got home safe and sound on Saturday night.

But, what was the best sight in London? Big Ben? Nelson's Column? Wembley?
Nope! It was this...

I nearly exterminated my pants when I saw this!

It was cool seeing a Dalek in the middle of the street! You don't get THAT in Wolverhampton! (Although the exhibition is currently in Coventry, which is just down the road...)

Finally, a big shout out to my brothers who footed the bill for most of the weekend. I wouldn't have gone if it wasn't for them, so BIG UPs all round! (whatever that means).

OK, that's it for another month... But, seriously, I really will try to post more often! Some of you bloggers out there post at least once a week, so shame on me...

Of course I'll need to blog anyway, to tell you about the BBC giving me a call to invite me to the CBBC Masterclass... I wish! ;)