Support your local wordslinger

Someone has to write the words.

Not necessarily to put in the mouths of the contestants, but to delineate the scenario. To work out the plot. To create the challenges.

This is a job.
It’s a writing job.

And twelve brave people have gone on strike to prove it.

These people are writers.

If you work in Los Angeles, and you can spare a part of your lunch hour, go visit. Talk to them. Find out why they’re on strike. Find out what they really do.

They’re at 1640 S Sepulveda.

And they could do with some pizza. Or even just a kind word.

Go and say hi.

Direct to DVD

It seems that Babylon 5 creator Joe Straczynski will be making some D2DVD stories set in the B5 Universe.

Aint It Cool and Jan report on the announcement at Comic-Con.

Interestingly, neither Variety or The Hollywood Reporter have picked up on this story at the time of posting.

Some interesting points:

1) I listed Straczynski in the second tier of showrunners, those who couldn’t greenlight a D2DVD show on their own. Obviously that judgement was wrong.

The original prediction was made before the announcement of his huge spec sale to Imagine. Still, a bit of a boo-boo on my part.

2) The franchise already exists. Unlike my speculative D2DVD series, we already have pent-up demand for this – and figures to back it up. Specifically half-a-billion dollars in DVD sales. (source: the AICN report)

3) The commission is for 3 half-hours. Three half-hours plus extra features fits rather neatly on one DVD. You could even think of this as being three-pilots-in-one. So they’ve gone for a vanilla-releases model to see if the market will hold up.

Good choice.

A lot of people will be watching the progress of this with interest.

If the financial model works out, we can expect to see a lot more D2DVD series. My prediction, though, is that the other studios will wait and see how this does financially before committing to any D2DVD content themselves.

Ghost Story

The ghost of an English soldier who died more than a hundred years ago in Gaya, India, haunts the local graveyard, appearing to locals and passers-by after dark.

He can only be pacified by offerings of tea and biscuits.


Interacting with your audience

With Peter Tolan, writer of Rescue Me, getting seriously burned recently while talking about his show on a message board, I’ve been thinking about how far a writer should go towards interacting with fans.

Indeed, Denis McGrath argues that writers should never ever talk to their audience.

So it’s with great interest that I’d like to point you to the Wordplay forums where, in the section marked Movies Message Board, the two screenplayers of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest are responding to various critiques of the movie and clarifying plot points from the writers’ perspective.

Their posts are reasoned, well-argued, and more to the point prove that They Thought About The Bizarro Structure Of The Film. Quite deeply, as it turns out.

Perhaps even more interestingly, the majority of the posts from others come across as polite and well-thought out as well. This may be because the forums are Ted & Terry’s own, rather than (as in the Tolan case) held on a third-party website, and it’s considered impolite to insult your host.

Whatever the reason is, I find it immensely pleasing – and helpful to my own work – that two such high-profile screenwriters are able to spend some time talking about their art and craft in a public forum regardless of the danger.

Treading the boards

I went to see a play a few months ago.  You’ll probably not have heard of it.
It was called “Their Very Own And Golden City”, by Arnold Wesker. It’s a story about a man called Andrew Cobham, an architect with a vision and a passion – to build a beautiful place for people to live, and work, and play, and dream.

No reason you should have come across the play, I suppose. It’s rarely been put on in the UK since the original production in 1966 with Ian McKellen in the lead role. The production I saw was the first in Britain for many, many years.

It was astonishingly well-written, and it’s a wonder that it’s not performed more regularly.

I saw the play at a Drama School.  East Fifteen, to be precise. It was one of the last performances before all of the newborn actors are thrown onto the streets and left to fend for themselves. 

Everyone in that production is now putting miles of pavement behind them, auditioning for acting work in the real world. Some of them will make it. Some of them won’t.

One of them I’m sure will do well, though. The man that played Andy Cobham in 2006.

My brother, Rafe Beckley.

Immensely talented.

Watch out for him.