A busy festive season of pantos and performances, while an e-publisher accepts a proposal for a book series from my pseudonymous alter ego - which means I can't blog about it. Never mind - it's all writing work.
December 4, 2010
There's no denying Christmas is here now. The decorations went up last weekend and the first festive show is in the bag - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at Northampton's Royal Theatre (review at StageReviews.co.uk). Plenty more to come...
December 1, 2010
The eccentric Professor who delivered the Curve performance (see October 30 below) may get another outing. Writer Will Morris is in talks for a new version at another Midlands playhouse in 2011.
November 30, 2010
The launch of StageReviews.co.uk attracts the interest of the BBC, who invite me on for an interview on the regional Breakfast Show - hear it here until December 7 (it starts at about 1:49).
November 18, 2010
Officially now an MA - news of my Merit on the TV Scriptwriting course at De Montfort University arrived today!
November 9, 2010
Finally able to reveal the new theatre review website (see October 12), which goes under the catchy title of www.StageReviews.co.uk - from today, all reviews will be appearing there instead of here.
November 5, 2010
Deadline for revising the first edits of episode one of a multi-part novel, due to be published over 14 months starting next year. Can't say any more as it's written under a pseudonym and I'm bound to secrecy, but it's very exciting.
October 30, 2010
After more than a week's manic script-learning, today's the day for the performance of Will Morris's monologue at Curve, and all goes really well. Produced by Bianca Winter of the Theatre Writing Partnership, the performance of CurvAture is very well received. Photos to follow...
October 19, 2010
So many hats, so little time. Well, the Londons Screenwriters' Festival is now officially off the menu as I've just had the call to perform at Curve, Leicester's dramatic and exciting theatre venue which replaced the Haymarket. Fellow scribe and De Montfort University MA graduate Will Morris has written a monologue, commissioned by the Theatre Writing Partnership, for performance as part of Curve's Momentum Festival next weekend, and I shall be performing it on Saturday, October 30. Now all I've got to do is learn the damn thing...
October 12, 2010
Work is progressing on a new website dedicated to theatre reviews, to which all such related material on this site will be migrating in due course. I'll keep you posted... Meanwhile, a variety of competition deadlines have passed or are approaching rapidly, with the accompanying scurry to prepare entries.
October 8, 2010
Just heard I've been cast in a short film with renowned children's TV presenter Dave Benson Phillips! Shooting somewhere between now and Christmas, I'll be playing the protagonist's book publisher. Yet to see a script, but it sounds like fun.
Action-packed month devoted almost entirely to completing numerous drafts and rewrites of what I can now reveal is called Death of a Premier, the true story of the only assassination of a British Prime Minister... from the killer's point of view. Feature film script completes the portfolio, as well as the two-year MA degree, and it's now time to launch Michael Davies (Inc) on an unsuspecting world!
August 27, 2010
Exciting news from the Perfectly Formed short story competition run by Waterstone's: out of 1,250 entries, mine made it to the final 18. Although it's not officially a prize-winning feat, it does make me a finalist in a national writing competition, so I feel entitled to a little self-satisfied shake of the shoulders and a private smile... You can read South Sea Bubble here.
August 27, 2010
Return to find extensive scenes sent by roleplay agent to be learned for a job next Wednesday and Thursday. Meanwhile, there are two other scripts to be learned for Tuesday and Friday for a different corporate filming job. Do you ever have that feeling when your head says: Don't put any more in, please - I'm full?
August 24, 2010
Somehow there's a first draft finished. Long days, lots of supportive noises from the family, but it's in the bag. Copies off to Tony and my other reliable readers for their opinions, and me off to Blackpool with Tricia and Lexy for a couple of days, hopefully to resurface as me, rather than the grumpy creature who lives in the study and pops his head out occasionally to growl.
August 17, 2010
More terrific notes from Tony - he's happy that it's in reasonable shape to go ahead, but adds some more highly appropriate suggestions for tweaking and strengthening, which will all get added to the mix along the way.
August 16, 2010
Scene-by-scene now in place and delivered to Tony for opinions. It'll change a little already, I can tell from my own reading of it, but the basic shape is there. Now it's a mad dash to get the first draft done asap.
August 6, 2010
New outline complete for the revamped 90-minuter. Quite a different take on the story and (I hope) much stronger as a result.
July 28, 2010
Treated to a lovely lunch at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith by David Brawn, publishing director at HarperCollins and the man responsible for printing Desmond Bagley's novels. A lot of cud - and even some cod - was chewed, and he offered the logical opinion that HC would be delighted to see some kind of adaptation of one of the novels as a fillip to sales. He also happened to mention that he liked what I'd done with Tightrope. Which is nice.
July 26, 2010
Really exciting meeting with agent/personal manager who likes my writing and has loads of great ideas about where to take it. The only drawback is she's about to give birth, so we're on hold for a month or two until that important business is out of the way.
July 23, 2010
The gamble didn't quite pay off, but it's definitely for the best. A fantastic set of notes on the outline now means a complete reworking of the story, with much more emphasis on the human drama and emotion - on which Tony is something of an expert, having run Holby City for many years! What I now have to do is what The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal (also a former journalist) admitted he was advised to do: take a large knife and stab myself repeatedly until I've killed all traces of the journalist in my writing!
July 19, 2010
With time pressing, I've gone ahead with a scene-by-scene without waiting for Tony's notes on the outline. Dangerous, but hey...
July 15, 2010
So an outline's complete for the new 90-minute TV film, which is a kind of biopic of a little-told story from British history. Unfortunately it's a bit of British history I know very little about, so some research will be in order. First step, though, is the view of Tony McHale.
July 14, 2010
All change! Having lost a certain amount of confidence in the crime caper as the scene-by-scene developed (not enough credible story, mainly), I've shelved it in favour of a completely different idea, which I now have to start from scratch. There's nothing like adding a bit of pressure to a deadline.
July 13, 2010
Meetings lined up for later in the month with an agent and a publisher. So much to do, so little time...
July 9, 2010
Working outline for the crime caper now complete. Next stop, a scene-by-scene treatment.
July 1, 2010
Work finally under way on a 90-minute TV film project, the last submitted formal piece for my MA in TV Scriptwriting at De Montfort University in Leicester. My mentor, Tony McHale (lately exec prod of Holby City), has already seen a brief pitch and offered some great suggestions, and now it's time to build up the concept into a treatment. It's a crime caper but I won't say too much more at this stage - it could well mutate and I don't want to pin myself down just yet.
June 30, 2010
The scripts I sent to the latest agent (see June 3) have been extremely well received, and the next step is to arrange a meeting. Meanwhile, numerous scripts despatched to various competitions - TV, short film, stage - with more deadlines coming up soon.
June 25, 2010
So my work is to be seen in the West End - well, a West End programme, at least! A piece commissioned by theatre publishers John Good is to appear in a forthcoming version of the We Will Rock You programme at the Dominion Theatre. One small step...
June 16, 2010
Well, what a beast that turned out to be! Finally delivered two 90-minute episodes of Tightrope, my TV adaptation of the Desmond Bagley thriller The Tightrope Men. Now awaiting feedback and approach to the agent who manages the rights to Bagley's novels.
June 10, 2010
To the big city for BBC masterclass in radio drama at The Drill Hall. Interesting insights from writers Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Sebastian Baczkiewicz, who's also written next week's Holby City episode.
June 4, 2010
More promising feedback from TV agent (see April 8 and May 28) and an invitation to send another script - radio this time.
June 3, 2010
Meeting with another agent and invitation to send various scripts. Duly dispatched...
May 29, 2010
Signed up for BBC Radio Drama Masterclass at the Drill Hall on June 10. Should be a very interesting session with useful networking opportunities.
May 28, 2010
To Richmond for fabulous revival of Ayckbourn's Taking Steps at the Orange Tree, directed by Alan himself and including Matt Cottle (with whom I appeared last summer in Northampton). Faultless production - no surprise there - and great to catch it before the run ends tomorrow.
May 13, 2010
Met the leading TV agent again today (see April 8) - he's still poring over the second script I've sent him, having asked for another on the back of the first, so watch this space. Meanwhile, work on Tightrope continues - first ep almost complete (first draft at least), second still to come. So that's next week sorted...
May 12, 2010
Really useful meeting with a Radio 4 producer at the BBC - left her with four pitches for the next commissioning round later in the year, so fingers crossed.
May 4, 2010
Lectured on theatre criticism to a keen, interested bunch of creative writing students at the University of Leicester's Northampton College outpost - aside from being great fun, it forces you to think about what you write and why.
April 30, 2010
Final decision made on which script to submit for the Writers' Academy application, and submission duly made. Deadline is May 5, so we'll see what happens after that.
April 8, 2010
The past 24 hours have seen requests arrive from a leading TV agent, one of the UK's top theatre directors and a BBC commissioner to read various scripts. The post office has been busy this afternoon...
April 4, 2010
Treatments complete for both parts of Tightrope, plus a full scene-by-scene of Part One. Off to celebrate Sondheim's 80th birthday at a special concert at the Derngate in Northampton tonight featuring Daniel Evans, Maria Friedman and the RPO.
April 1, 2010
A good day to begin my adaptation of Desmond Bagley's novel The Tightrope Men. Using Script Frenzy as a kick-up-the-backside device, I'm working it up as a 2x60-minute TV drama entitled Tightrope.
March 18, 2010
Murder They Read is delivered to the BBC...
February 26, 2010
The end of the tunnel. Finished drafts of both Murder They Read and Granny Get Your Gun are now ready for delivery. MTR has had a bit of a polish, GGYG a total rewrite. Meanwhile, the BBC tell me they like Hacks enough to ask to see another script - MTR's looking favourite for that, so the timing's worked out nicely. Next up, an adaptation of the Desmond Bagley novel The Tightrope Men - I'm thinking a 2x60-minuter but it's early days yet.
February 25, 2010
Session with Ben Stephenson, the BBC's controller of drama commissioning. What a nice man! A genuine fan of TV drama - you couldn't really ask for more from someone in his position.
February 1, 2010
Couple of months or so writing first drafts of two shows (see below). Team-writing effort Murder They Read is now with m'learned colleagues for script editing, while the sitcom pilot - Granny Get Your Gun - has had both barrels from a very generous Laurence Marks (as in Marks & Gran - Birds of a Feather, Goodnight Sweetheart, The New Statesman et al). Wonderful, detailed masterclass advice from one of our leading sitcom kings. Unfortunately for me, it now means a return to the drawing board. It would be churlish to complain...