The exciting rough and tumble of my life was an interesting mix of the good and the bad yesterday. Here’s how it panned out:
8.30am: Get up. Turn on computer. Breakfast - juice, coffee, muffin (homemade).
9.00am: Sit at computer. Check emails, blog, internet.
10.00am: Work on a couple of ideas for Doctors.
12.30pm: I finish two full outlines for Doctors and am quite pleased. I email script editor, she’s quick to reply, and she seems pleased too. I start to feel good about today’s broadcast episode of Doctors as it’s my “lifesaver”.
1.00pm: Starving. So I have lunch (smoked haddock with broad bean salad, mmmm).
1.30pm: On the computer, I skip through my script for today’s Doctors which increases my enthusiasm for the story.
2.00pm: Settle down to watch the episode on BBC1.
2.35pm: Take my head out from behind my hands as I could barely watch without cringing or feeling physical pain.
The first half of the episode was vastly rewritten, without my knowledge or approval, and the style of direction was embarrassing (there were fantasy sequences so they felt they had to dress them up as 'fantasy sequences', complete with over-the-top acting, fanfare music and a dreamy 'look' to the screen...omigod).
2.40pm: The script editor emails to say ‘hope you enjoyed that, we thought it was really good’ (is this their stock email after every ep) ‘what did you think?’. So I tell them exactly what I think and subtly enquire as to who rewrote my script. I don’t get a follow-up response. My current script editor emails to say she wants to talk through my story ideas - I knew I was getting away too easy - and we arrange to speak at 5pm.
3.00pm: Decide to go for a swim to unwind but in my agitated state I bring the wrong amount of money with me and I’m back home in 15 mins.
3.30pm: Now very wound up but can’t be arsed to go outside again so I do a half-hour writer workout instead. In a thoroughly vain and solipsistic exercise, I re-read my script for Doctors and convince myself that my version was genius.
4.30pm: I start the rewrite of Aliens FC, one of the animation features I’ve co-written with Sam Morrison, all round good guy and Everton supporter.
5.05pm: Doctors script editor calls. I expect her to rip my stories to pieces but she’s happy with them all bar some minor, minor tweaks (“change that doctor, he’s leaving etc”). My attitude about Doctors today changes from: “I don’t want to write another episode for them as long as I live” to “Hmmm, four potential stories for commission”.
5.15pm: Continue the animation rewrite. I manage to do 10 pages and am very pleased with myself.
6.15pm: Start reading a script that a director friend is developing and has asked me to read as a favour.
7.15pm: Good news. Me and Sam did some (free) work on a pitch for a new animated show in November 2005 and my agent emails to say that the production company involved are willing to pay us a (small) fee to write the pilot script.
7.30pm: Dinner. Nothing fancy. Jacket potato, beans (some cheese on top) and left over cocktail sausages. The dinner of Screenwriting Kings.
8.00pm: Watch some football. Flick between Fiorentina Vs Inter on Bravo and Chelsea’s win over Everton (sorry Sam).
10.00pm: Finish reading the script. Normally I’d read in one sitting but as it’s a mate, I’ll read it twice anyway.
11.00pm: Check emails, blog, internet. I don’t get much of a response from friends about today’s ep (“well done!” etc) but some get in touch to say: “I didn’t see it”, “Forgot”, “Saw last 5 mins, very good”, “The video recorder exploded”. I’m relieved. Or perhaps they’re just being polite. Get a headache from the computer. Go to bed.