Not much of a Bank Holiday for me this weekend. Was all set to finish reading the film board's scripts and start doing the reports but was struck with some god-awful virus on Friday, which rendered me mute and useless for the remainder. As a result, I only finished reading the scripts on Monday morning and have since been typing like crazy to finish the reports (deadline today). Am feeling a bit better but I'm absolutely knackered. My Aussie friend left this morning so I drove her to Heathrow (up at 6am this time). She does Antonio Carluccio's PR in Australia so we had dinner with him and his lovely wife Priscilla in his Putney Bridge restaurant. And very nice it was too. A bit of a Bank Holiday treat after a miserable weekend. Just wanted to share this little bit of glitz and glamour with the blog. Get me.
One of the things I noticed from this batch of scripts was how most of them could easily be TV dramas or thrillers. It is rare to read a script and think: "now that's a good movie". But it got me thinking. How do you know if your story is good TV or quality cinema? Obviously, there's a fine line between both, especially given the high quality production values of US TV series these days. Look at 'Lost'. My God. The most expensive pilot ever made. I think one of the producers actually said (in the link below) that Lost is one big feature film divided into a TV series. By the way, those of you who are petrified to click the link and be exposed to the answers of Lost's many mysteries, do not fear. They only mention something in a vague sort of manner which doesn't make much sense if you haven't seen it yet (it hasn't happened yet) but people seem to be extremely sensitive to even the mildest of spoilers, so hence the warning.
I missed The Messiah, BBC's annual cop thriller with Ken Stott, because of illness and living it up with Carluccio but it struck me from the trailers (and the previous Messiahs) how most scripts would kill to have that much style and grit in their spec cop thrillers. And that's the trouble these days. More and more, TV likes it do it bigger and better so that raises the bar even higher for us struggling screenwriters trying to make an impact with our bold and original stories. But how, I hear you ask, do we generate truly cinematic stories? What makes our ideas and characters so special that they cannot be reduced to the gogglebox in the corner, that they have to be expressed on the cinematic canvass? There is no simple answer. Many good cinematic stories come from a basic concept of man, ug, want something but man stopped by many things that get in his way. And working this out into a good logline often helps to clarify if the story is something that needs to run and be resolved over a 90/120min stretch. But that of course, is up to us. We could sit here all day and list the many TV movies that have achieved awards and success at the flicks so essentially, the argument boils down if you've got 'a good story, well told', then any amount of people will be drawn to it, whether it be on the cinema or the small screen.
Better get back to those reports...