09 October, 2008

Red Planet Prize 2008 - 3

I started my RPP a couple of weeks before the deadline and the first 10 pages flowed quite quickly (because I was thinking about it for a few weeks beforehand perhaps). Although I was pre-occupied with sucky life stuff, I still found time to think about how my show was going to work and it was a welcome distraction. It made me realise that professional writers, with sucky life stuff, still have to meet deadlines.

We have another two or three weeks to add the 50 or so pages but due to the disappointment of last year some writers may not want to finish their script until they know it has reached the next stage. I think I will finish mine because a) I'm enjoying writing it and b) if RPP don't like it (or it didn't reach before the deadline...) I can send it to other prodcos. Red Planet is but a fleck in the firmament - although it shines brighter than all the others put together.

As I've been saying, comps are just added motivation to do what we should be doing anyway. The main thing is completing a 60 minute TV pilot/sample script for our portfolio - the competition is a side-issue. A very nice side-issue if we win or place but not an unmitigated disaster and a waste of time if we don't.

Last year's new script was only a waste for me only because it wasn't a pilot for a series (a friend suggested it should be but I bottled out). Also it was too short for a feature and too long for a short. This year is different in that it had to be a pilot and it focussed our minds on creating something for a specific slot for a mass market medium.

The problem now is I just want to get started on the show and write all the episodes - which is something I share with a lot of writers. But I know that would be foolish as feedback from Red Planet and ITV may result in making the show much better.

Part of my delay in starting was that one idea morphed into two equally good ideas and I couldn't decide which one to go for. I went for the comedy-drama as opposed to the drama-drama as everyone likes to laugh and not everyone likes to cry. But I'm probably doing that next after Channel 4's Comedy Lab.

Other RPP posts:

Jon, Dom, Danny, Sheiky, Rach, Chip, David, Lucy, Stephen, Oli


J Johnston Jacob said...

Thinking about the RPP I can't help but to see myself as a winner already. Not in the competition-related meaning of the term, but by being encouraged to finish and polish one of those darn scripts already.

To us non-professional writers the lack of deadlines is a problem - when you have an unlimited (TM) amount of time on your hands a screenplay always is in severe danger never to be good enough to be sent someplace. The RPP and comparable competitions give us a reason to approach our work in a professional, target-oriented way - a fantastic motivation.

The best of luck to all the participants!

terraling said...

"feedback from Red Planet and ITV".

Uh-oh. If produced, will the winning script necessarily be destined for ITV? Didn´t notice that anywhere.

My draft zero is a little over 70 pages and the things I've identified need fixing beg for more pages not less. I reckon 66-68 pages would be okay if it were destined for the Beeb, but for ITV it would probably only need to be about 50. Yikes!

Robin Kelly said...

It's that my own particular show might be more suited to ITV, that's all.

Page counts isn't an exact science but to me under 50 and over 70 would seem wrong for 60 minutes. As long as it's between those I doubt anyone would care. Especially as it's not a shooting script but a spec.