Friday, July 11, 2008

"Revenge is a kind of wild justice"

Trying to decide what I should write as my entry for this year's Red Planet Prize. Not that I expect to win, you understand, but the contest deadline creates a useful imperative to devise and develop another original spec script for my portfolio. Last year you could submit most anything in script form. I submitted the first ten pages of both my TV pilots, though neither got past the first sift. If I'd had a feature, that would have gone in too.

This year the criteria have been tightened a little. Only one entry per person for a start, so best make sure it's your finest work. And it has to be the pilot for a TV series or serial. I could resubmit my favourite old script, given a polish, but can't see the value in that. Better to create some new, using the craft skills I've honed in the past year. So now it's decision time: what to I write about?

Obviously, I'm not starting from scratch. Every writer I've ever met has a stack of ideas they're mulling over, looking for a suitable home or opportunity. I've got 15 titles written on index cards and pinned to the wall in my office: one-offs, features, series and serials. My problem is choosing the one to which I should devote a hefty helping of next few months. Think I've narrowed it down to two.

One is a comedy drama set in a fictional version of the place where I live. It's got long legs - the core concept seems to generate story after story, spinning out of the characters and their find out of water situation. But comedy drama is not something I've done much of up until now, so that makes me a bit skittish. Plus the Red Planet Prize requires a brilliant cold open. Not sure this ideas has that element.

The other contender is a slick, saucy comedy thriller. This one's all about the sizzle, with lashings of sex and heightened reality. Not sure how many series I could get out of the concept, but certainly enough stories for a first run. In truth I'd want to run it like a writers' room, invite others to come and have fun with the characters and their capers. It's got a great title too.

Hmm, think I'm leaning towards Bachelor Number Two. There's a slam bang first ten pages to be had from it, now I just need to plot and plan enough twisty-turny moments to make the rest of the script fly. Oh, if you're wondering about this post's title, that's a quote from Francis Bacon [the writer, not the painter]. I dug that out to accompany my comedy thriller concept: The Revengers.

1 comment:

Kevin Levell said...

It sounds like you made your decision whilst writing your blog entry. The second one sounds more spicey and attention grabbing, perhaps the fact that you're skittish about the comedy piece is the very reason to do it!
Maybe 'The Red Planet' judges will be looking out for that solidly written serial that has a clear and continuous thread and so the comedy, albeit the tougher of the two may just be the more rewarding/successful for that!