the state of things

 

Alien v Predator 3 meets The Wombles

by Douglas Lindsay - 08:39 on 12 November 2008

Received an e-mail from my agent yesterday. That probably sounds like the kind of thing that writers get all the time. I usually have to struggle for mine.

I share an agent with the writers of such films as Mrs Brown, The Full Monty, Billy Elliot and In Bruges. On the one hand this allows me to say that I share an agent with the writers of such films as Mrs Brown, The Full Monty, Billy Elliot and In Bruges, thereby making me look windswept and exotic, and something of a player in the movie business. I can casually drop this information at parties, and people swarm around and think I’m much more interesting than I actually am. On the other hand - apart from the fact that I rarely ever go to parties, and when I do I usually find a book and sit in a corner and don’t talk to anyone - it means, basically, that my agent has far more interesting clients to deal with than me.

I don’t resent this in the least, it’s the nature of business. I see it more as a challenge, to write a successful movie or tv show, so that other clients of the agency can say, Yeah, like guess what, I have the same agent as the guy who wrote A Short History of Traffic Accidents in Polish, or Hey, did you see that movie Pinky & Perky Make A Porno? I have the same agent as the bloke who wrote that.

My latest attempt at breaking into the inner circle of screenwriting - where something that you write actually gets filmed - is a tv show. Films don’t get made much. Thought I’d try tv for a change. I got the idea sitting at my home church in Cambuslang in March, listening to a reading from Ezekiel. I wrote the idea out on page and sent it to my agent. Two months later she whizzed back the reply that she really liked the idea, but she’d need me to write the first episode. She termed it Spooks meets Messiah. That’s what agents have to do. A show can’t just be a show in its own right. It has to be The Little House on the Prairie meets Saw IV, or Twin Peaks meets Pop Idol.

I wrote the episode in the summer and sent it off. The first task isn’t to impress the potential producer or director or star. The first task is to impress your agent, because if they don’t like it then it’s not going anywhere. (Unless, I guess, your last film was The Full Monty, in which case people are going to read your script anyway.)

Yesterday, after another couple of months waiting, she got back to me with her The Man from Del Monte he say yes... e-mail, which was a relief. That was all for the moment, but it’s a start. So, rather than immediately screeching back to the drawing board, I can settle down to Barney Thomson #7 safe in the knowledge that Spooks meets Messiah will shortly be doing the rounds of the relevant tv production companies, and that at some point in the next three years one of them might get back to me.


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