Ghostwriter in the Sky – Autumn and it must be ‘Strictly’?
Well perhaps not but the onset of longer nights and colder weather does mean that I will be spending more time in front of the telly. Certain critical elements might be heard to mutter that it would be difficult to devote more time to an activity that seems to take up most of my waking moments and quite a few of my non-waking ones but that would be unfair.
What is, perhaps, a more pertinent question is why does someone who purports to be a writer not divert himself in more creative ways: the cinema or the theatre for instance. It is a fair comment and as it happens I have started to patronise our local playhouse, the splendid Mercury in Colchester. But the cinema is, I admit, not something I tend to frequent. The plain fact is that the majority of films simply do not light my fire. They are either re-makes or new angles on old ideas or involve talking animals, cars or even domestic appliances. What has happened to epic sagas of human endeavour and heart stopping drama?
Well, in short, they have all moved to television. The small screen is now chock full of interesting and original series populated by fascinating and compelling characters. On our newly acquired 52″ Samsung the sharer of my roof and I can now watch American Gods, Stranger Things, the Preacher, Outlander or any of the other exciting and absorbing offerings whenever we want (although in the case of the toothsome Caitriona Balfe in Outlander that tends to be when I am alone but I’m sure you get my drift).
There is simply no doubt that in terms of popular visual entertainment TV is now streets ahead of cinema and from a writer’s point of view it is finding the next big series rather than the next box office blockbuster that occupies the time. To that end I have been looking at some of my old ideas and a few new ones with a view to seeing if a series can be coaxed out of them.
So far I have come up with a Fargoesque take on British rural life, the Archers with attitude, and an ensemble heist caper carried out by geriatric ex army guys, a sort of ‘League of Gentlemen’ concept (the original Jack Hawkins film, nothing to do with goings on in Royston Vazey). Other ideas intrude and it is interesting to see how some of my treatments, straightjacketed into a 90 minute format, can now expand like my stomach after a Chinese takeaway to fill episode after episode.
Otherwise writing competitions take up a lot of my attention and I have decided to see if I can break into the womens’ magazines’ short story market. I mean bodice ripping cannot be that difficult, can it? However, I have decided that I will need to change my persona. Gilbert Masie will now become Masie Gilbert; clever eh?
I will need a suitable head shot, can anyone supply something? I think I need a picture that suggests a cross between Joan Collins and Margaret Rutherford: classy, sexy and ballsy overlying an authoritarian butch steeliness. I await your suggestions with interest.
Otherwise my script the Caterpillar continues to crawl along its figurative cabbage leaf. The Belgian producer liked it but inevitably needs some changes. This work has had almost more re-writes than the White House staff list but I think we are heading in the right direction.
So back to the keyboard and remember,