10 November, 2005

Joss stick

Actor David Boreanaz is in a new forensic drama coming to Sky One called Bones by Hart Hanson. I felt the pilot tried too hard and the title character was a bit superhuman but it's an OK watch. Doesn't compare with the writing on Buffy or Angel from showrunner Joss Whedon of course but Boreanaz is chuffed:

"As Booth, Boreanaz gets to play around with his lines, which is a big change from his "Buffy" and "Angel" days.
"That became very frustrating," he says. "For an actor to be able to create and also have a sense of freedom, you have to be able to revolve around those words and create around those words. Now, you can take the written word and have your subtext tell more than is written on the page, which is always fun and challenging too. But it's always great to revolve around the words and improvise and change things, because that comes from the character's perspective and point of view.
"Ultimately it comes from the writer, but it's the actor who breathes life into the character and makes it real. Having Hart to allow us to do that, it's a blessing."

I really understand where he's coming from but if it ain't broke why try to fix it? If it was broke then I'd hope any writer or director worth their salt would at least listen to the argument for changing it.

I believe that Buffy and Angel became the first shows where the writers became the stars - to non-writers. Sure writer geeks like me could name the writing crew of shows but suddenly the public caught on that the actors didn't improvise the dialogue and the director didn't write the action but it was all in the script.

No offense Dave but I'd rather hear what Joss and Jane and Marti and Tim etc wrote and re-wrote and honed to perfection then what you decided to improv on the day. But that's just me.

Read the full article and Hart's reponse here:

MSN News
http://tv.msn.com/news/article.aspx?news=205863&GT1=7361

Simpsons quote

In the new Simpsons there was this exchange:

BART:
"Those TV writers are geniuses."

MILHOUSE:
"Whatever they're paid, it's not enough."

I wonder if that worked and they got a pay rise.

08 November, 2005

Journo offers advice shock

Reading MediaGuardian I was struck by the following journalistic advice by Oliver Burkeman: "Be prolific rather than perfectionistic - do the very best you can but don't stress about getting every word exactly right".

Unfortunately I remember one particular article where the journalist (who I won't name) libelled the Homicide: Life on the Streets (soon to be shown on ITV4) producers and thought the Aaron Sorkin dramady Sports Night (now showing on ABC1) "was the equivalent to Match of the Day". Although to be fair that's not unusual on the Guardian/ Observer in terms of inaccurate media/ entertainment stories .

However I still think it's good advice. The more we write, the better we get - although obviously developing self-critique techniques can help us learn and improve. Strangely I also agree with not stressing about getting everything exactly right, but the problem with those aforementioned errors was that they were easily fact-checked via Google in mere minutes.

I do think research is important as long as it isn't obsessive or ends up becoming an excuse to actually avoid getting on with the writing. However it's important that any fact a reader is likely to know is accurate. So while they might not know red giants turn into white dwarfs when they die suggesting that the moon is made of cheese might irritate and detract from the good things in your script. That's why I spend the extra couple of minutes googling the facts in my scripts.