Saturday, November 19, 2005

Irish scripts

My mother's watching The Gilmore Girls, which I don't she's seen before but she seems fairly hooked so it gives me time to sneak in a post.

In answer to Berns's query about what Irish screenwriters are submitting to the Film Board, well it seems a right mix of all that she mentions. The worst ones seem to be the typical Dublin gangster, crime, drugs, lowlife scripts because they're so derivative and cliché. The concept and characters really need to be original and distinctive for the stories to have any appeal, and unfortunately, the majority of them don't.

Other scripts include period dramas about Irish history. These can be hit and miss. While it's great to mine the rich culture and interest of Ireland's past, some follow a tired and cliché route of poverty and famine without giving us real characters or a story to care about. Alternatively, some of these period dramas are quite compelling and interesting because they'll have a strong sense of story and genre, and will receive a strong recommendation.

The ones that annoy me the most are the scripts that are written with an American frame of mind or tone or sensibility. This is borne out of screenwriters who want to emulate the entertainment value of American films and place it within an Irish context. Generally, this doesn't work. However, affluent Dublin romantic comedies or dramas seem to be on the up, a kind of mixture of Hollywood and Richard Curtis with a Dublin accent. But again, these are very hit and miss.

And then there are the scripts that are actually set in America but state in the development notes that they'll transfer the characters and action to an Irish setting. Yeah right. These usually make the least impression as they're poor attempts at genre without any discerning hook or interest.

That's about it really. A fair few treatments for horrors and ghost stories come in, and modern horror scripts that utilise Irish myths and folklore are on the rise so in a typical batch of 20 submissions, it's a real mixed bag of story and genre and only a small handful are chosen to receive development support.

For all those out there obsessed with formatting your script, check out The Artful Writer's definitive guide to the pedantic art.

I'm about to miss an afternoon of glorious sport while I go shopping with me Mum. Although maybe there's an omnibus of The Gilmore Girls on to keep her quiet...


Anonymous said...

Hi Danny,

I was wondering from your experience of script-reading if male and female writers tend to write different kinds of scripts? Is it rare, say, to have a woman writing a thriller or an action movie? Would the industry take the script less seriously because of it?
I heard JK Rowling used her initials so boys wouldn't be put off reading her books because she was female.


Danny Stack said...

Interesting question Lincoln. Will post a reply soon.