Wednesday, February 27, 2008

All Hail Our Shadowy Overlords

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Not seen any of the Onion videos before (I only tend to read the A.V. club stuff now), but PP pointed me towards this clip, which is really rather spiffy. And suprisingly high production values too, nerdy nerd nerd.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Second Green Wing scriptbook

I had a very nice email from Annabel Gardner, who said:

"As a BIG fan of Green Wing; I am OUTRAGED that Titan books are not going to publish the Second series scriptbook! I feel so strongly against it that I have started a Petition at:

www. (click on the 'petition text' bit to sign it)
I am hoping to reach, at least, the 1000 mark as I know there are a lot of GW fans out there! Here's to hoping that this makes Titan books change their mind?! Unless of course, you know any differently and that a Petition of this kind would not work? Could you let me know if thats the case?!"

I don't know whether a petition would work or not,to be honest, although it's certainly worth a try.

And if they don't publish it, it may well be possible to put some of the second series scripts out as PDFs in some sort of unofficial basis* - they won't be the same as the books (which are compiled by poor Rachel from the Green Wing office having to sit in front of the DVDand write down every word), so they don't have some of the improvy bits, although they do have lots of stuff that didn't make it in, which is quite nice. Might see if I can round those up anyway.

* Unless I get one of Those Calls from Rob.

Ooh, ooh, on-topic, did anyone see Karl Theobald (Green Wing's Martin) controlling an army of future evolved radio-controlled bat-monsters on Primeval last week? I'm starting to think I may have imagined it, in which case I'm commissioning six further episodes on the same sort of basis asap.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Ten Doctors

Completely unofficial Doctor Who fancomic, the sort of thing that normally makes me go 'bleurgh' and 'argh', except this is completely brilliant. I can't get over the characterisation of each Doctor, how he's made each one recognizable in just a few pencil lines, and the story and dialogue is pretty cracking as well.

Sometimes the internet makes me really happy.

The Ten Doctors

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ironside Used To Get Bits In His Wheels

One of the farmers at Tuesday's Farmers' Market in Falmouth (sometimes referred to, rather confusingly, as 'Truro Farmers' Market) is usually accompanied by one of his children, running around snotty of nose and muddy of face, eurgh, children, etc.

However this time I did overhear this week's child having quite an enthusiastic conversation with one of the shoppers, hereafter referred to as Posh Nice Lady.

CHILD: ... and then we got up, and the horse wasn't in the field, because it had got out, and then it turned out it had gone down the road and into a completely different field!

POSH NICE LADY: Well it was terribly clever of you to find it dear. However did you track it down?


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Who's bullying who now?

I was going to leave the guardian travel blog thing alone, but it's infuriating how they're trying to rewrite the whole thing as 'cyber-bullying', when as most of the commenters themselves made clear what they were infuriated by a) the appallingly hackneyed theme of the blog itself (with apologies to Max, because of course the subject matter is important to him, he's nineteen years old), and b) the increasing obviousness that the thing was only commissioned in the first place because of a link to Skins, and the fact that his dad is already in the biz.

By constantly trying to reframe this as 'anonymous bullies gang up on poor youth', or some kind of 'class hatred' they're not only stirring up the whole business again (which can't be much fun for Max himself), they're also making themselves look worryingly as though they're circling the wagons against their own nasty, disagreeable readership, who are clearly only jealous because they wish they'd been commissioned themselves, whereas in fact they simply saw at least three levels of bullshit and claimed it as such.

A couple of reactions from other blogs:

I cannot help but think the Guardian has somewhat Fucked This Up.

UPDATE: Hurrah!

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm sure everyone's seen this by now, but still..

Guardian Online Travel Section Radically Underestimates Readers' Hatred Of Skins, Nepotism, Skinny Jeans, Self.

They seem to have closed the comments section now.

UPDATE: the best comment, as far as I can see, is from 'oniongravy':

"The real issue here, as others have pointed out, is with the travel eds. I don't think it honestly occurs to you - and when I say 'you', I mean London based journos on the nationals - just how often, how incessantly and how forcefully we are fed the stories of the lives of a small subsection of London society, how we can't open a paper or magazine without hearing their bleating, self-important voices complaining about their nannies, discussing whether it's OK to wear a mini skirt round the Portobello Road if you're over 40, and yes, just what their kids did on their gap years. It's so dispiriting and depressing to find that there is LESS of a cross section of a society represented in the acres of newsprint that there were 30 years ago. Like university education, the clock is turning back from the brave years of working class kids taking a step up. Unis are more middle class than ever and so are newspapers."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

dumbFUNDED Comedy Showcase Presents: 'Town & Country'

Quick plug for the aforementioned sketch show - sketches have now been selected, with rehearsals having gone for the past few weeks, so by the time you go and see this, everyone involved should be PRIMED LIKE GUNS.
Live comedy sketch show extravaganza using sketches themed on town & country chosen from our international sketch writing competition.
At Miss Peapod's, Jubilee Wharf, Penryn.
Thurs 6th, Fri 7th, Sat 8th March
7pm - late.
Tickets £5 (£4 Concs.) Meal Deal + £6.
Box Office: 01326 212300 or
Full details available at

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Phoo Action

No idea what this will be like, but previewed BBC3 at 10pm 9pm tonight.

NOTE: I would have linked to the BBC3 channel on YouTube, but they've specifically banned embedding, which seems a bit short-sighted, mainly because it's easy to just get someone else's version, so all that happens in they lose the pageviews. Tch.

ALSO: ooh, my old boss at Waterstone's Canterbury has done got a blog. Please feel free to go there to complain that you ordered a baked potato in the coffee shop, and it hasn't turned up yet and that was HALF AN HOUR AGO!


PHOO REVIEW: me no likey.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Parte the Seconde

More "How I Done Got A Agent", but first, my new favourite fictional agent: Ramsey, from which took me a while to get into, but I'm now starting to think might be really very good indeed.

JAMES MORAN (Severance, Doctor Who, Torchwood)

Basically, I got some scripts together (one TV episode and one film), got a list of agencies from that massive Writer & Artist & Workshy Fop book, and picked out the ones that seemed to accept things like what I wrote. I checked their websites for (a) friendliness, (b) bigness, and (c) a submissions section. Assuming all three were present, then they went on the list. My plan was: send my stuff to the first one on the list. Wait. If they reject it, go to the next one. And so on. I thought, with typical waiting times, it'd probably take a year or so. If I got to the end of the list and they'd all rejected me, then I would sellotape my scripts to my naked body, set them on fire, and leap off the top of Big Ben. Luckily for everyone, the first place I approached had my brilliant agent on slushpile duty, and there we go. Seriously, if I had got to the end of the list, I really might have just packed it in, as I had been writing for ages and didn't know if I was just fooling myself or not.

A few months before that though, I'd got a recommendation from someone who worked on the short film I wrote - they spoke to their agent, who agreed to read my stuff. All excited, I sent it over, only to immediately get a curt, two line rejection. And this was the same stuff I eventually sent out that got me my agent. So hahaha, fuck you stupid agent who didn't believe in me. Yes I still feel bitter about it, and yes I still have the rejection letter. There you go, rejection isn't always the end. And getting an agent isn't impossible, if you write good stuff it'll get through sooner or later.

Once I got the agent, I started getting general meetings, but all off the back of one of the scripts I'd sent him - everyone involved usually said "hey, great, let me see your next thing". I didn't sell anything or get a gig until a year later, when I sold Severance. Agents can put you forward for jobs, but without experience or a set of scripts to show you have the skills, you won't get them. I was up for a few gigs in that first year, but didn't get anything. Getting an agent is an important step, but if you don't write stuff that they can sell, then you won't get anywhere. And then your agent will tear out your heart and eat it while it's still beating.

STUART KENWORTHY (Green Wing, TV Burp, Spacehopper)

I got my first job just by sending work off to people and shit and that. However, I was still convinced that an agent was essential if my career was going to progress. One of the people I was working with was Nick Symons (producer of TV Burp and An Audience with Al Murray amongst many others) and he was very enthusiastic about my work. Nick contacted an agent friend of his and arranged for me to meet them. Of course I was living in Preston at the time, so I had to make a special a trip to London. I was signing on between jobs, so I was incredibly skint and this trip was going to cost me an entire fortnight's money so I knew I had to make it pay.
After another really fantastic journey on Virgin Trains I made my way up to offices on Regent's Street and felt intoxicated with expectation. I genuinely thought this was going to be my big break. I was then introduced to the agent in question and the very first thing she told me was that she was only interested in working with writer/performers, this was because writers earn peanuts and 'life's too short'. I started to sense this might not be my big break after all. She then went on to explain that she wasn't taking on new clients in any case and had only agreed to see me as a favour. The room had now merged into a dizzying array of shapes and colours and smells and my fight or flight impulses were starting to kick in (and as the agent was a woman, the impulse to fight was winning the day). She then asked if there were any questions I'd like to ask her, but there was only one: How am I supposed to live for the next fortnight you, repellent, stuck up, cankerous, old hag? And then I calmed down and went home.
I continued to send work off to producers and eventually ended up working on Green Wing. Oriane then asked a friend of hers on my behalf and he became my agent.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

“How I Done Got A Agent” – Parte the Firste

One question I always get asked when talking to writing groups about how AMAZING AND SUCCESSFUL I AM is ‘How did you get an agent?’, there apparently being an assumption that the getting-of-an-agent is the difficult bit and that from that moment on, the work will flow like honey and that the putting down of a mortgage on a sensibly-sized castle is but a twelvemonth away. I know that because that was the assumption I always had.

Obviously the reality isn’t quite like that, but who cares about the reality? Much more interesting to email random people from my hotmail contacts list and ask them how they went about procuring themselves a godforsaken bloodsucking culturally-illiterate fifteen-per-cent-taking workshy fop all of their own:

ALEX WILLIAMS: Writer (Sir Gadabout)

”I tackled the whole thing in two ways. I established contact with a couple of agencies with something I'd written and then the vibe was very much 'come back when you can prove you can be a working writer for us'. I kept writing and getting encouraging feedback from the industry so when I was finally invited in to meet with an agent I had a shoebox full of personal letters endorsing my work. The agent was new and looking to build a list of clients so she took me on. Nothing changed overnight and in fact my first paid job came about through contacts I'd made myself. But it was nice to have someone to deal with contracts etc.”

DANNY STACK: Writer (Doctors)

Well, I approached about 10 agents (all of whom I knew were good, or had clients I liked), and some rejected me outright, while some met me and said ("let us know of your next project, and maybe we can do something"). Basically, I got some positive noises but I wasn't getting
anywhere. I hadn't heard back from one particular agent so I sent them a polite follow-up query. They hadn't received, or had mislaid, my scripts for some reason, so they asked me to re-send. I didn't hear anything for a few months, then got an email to come in for a chat.
Previously, all of the other agents I met were only interested in my 'next script' or deal, but the agent said: "I like your writing, I think we can help your career, what do you think?" So I knew I had someone who believed in me as a writer rather than a useful commodity.

Danny’s agent there was the fragrant and beautiful Ginny Sennett, who also became my agent in a very similar process (although I’d point out I saw her first). Tragically, Ginny is now lost to the labyrinthine corridors of the contracts department of the National Theatre, may the Lord have mercy on her soul. Fortunately, her then-acolyte Matt proved himself a worthy, if chromosomally less gifted successor.

More ASTOUNDING tale of agent obtaining to come. If you're reading this and have an agent, feel free to expand on the gettingness in the comments section. My aim is in time for this to become the most preeminent site for agent snaring there ever has been or will be.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

'The self-employed man has a slave-driver as a boss'

Something my dad, who's self-employed*, likes to say. There is a slim possibility that I haven't quite picked up his work ethic, which can be illustrated by the following brief conversation:

ME: (pushing the laptop away, sighing heavily) Oh man, I've worked every day this week!
PATROCLUS: It's Tuesday afternoon.

* Professional killer.