TV Deal For Testimony

As the word is now starting to circulate, I ought to mention here that I’ve signed a deal with producer Carson Black at Keo Films to develop Testimony as a three-parter for TV.  It’s early days yet and there are still many obstacles to clamber over before it gets to the screen, but it’s a positive step.

Testimony is my non-fiction investigation of a truly terrifying supernatural case at an isolated house in Wales.  You can find the book here, for UK readers, and here if you’re in the US.  (It’s also available in Amazon stores in Japan, Brazil, India, Italy and elsewhere.)

TV Drama Writers Festival 2014

I’ll be in London for this on July 2nd.  Looks like it’s shaping up to be a great event with some of the leading screenwriters in the UK, TV commissioners and other industry professionals on stage to talk about opportunities and obstacles in the coming twelve months.

The festival is organised by the BBC and is open to all screenwriters who’ve had work on air.  Scanning the list of speakers, I see Tony Jordan, Jed Mercurio and Sally Wainwright are there, along with BBC boss Ben Stephenson, and top people from Sky and ITV.  If anyone’s interested, I’ll probably be tweeting some of the most important information to arise out of the sessions.

I’m particularly interested in a session on how streaming TV – Netflix, Lovefilm, X-Box and the rest – is likely to affect the traditional TV landscape.  This world is changing fast.

You can find more here at the BBC Writers Room.

 

Game Of Thrones – Changing The World One Beheading At A Time

I’ve been spending some time talking to the futures consultancy The Future Laboratory and LS:N Global on a project they’re putting together examining how and why Game of Thrones broke out of the fantasy ghetto and into the mainstream – crossing generational and cultural lines across the globe.  The report they’re compiling will be available to their many and varied clients in business and the media, who’ll use it for future-planning and analysis.

Some of the things we discussed was how technology is making people more receptive to the fantastic, the future of storytelling in TV and games with reference to the Oculus Rift, fairytales, why Dark Ages stories are now in the zeitgeist and why that period is going to be relevant for a while, and what it is particularly about Game of Thrones that has connected with so many people – among a hundred and one other things.

Do not be surprised if you see the fantastic worming its way into many other unconnected parts of the business world in the months to come.

The Black Lodge

Unbelievably, this was primetime TV in the US and UK back in the early nineties, seven minutes of a man standing in a room, yet still creepy and nightmarish. And now we have Downton Abbey. Sigh.

Posted because I love Lynch, and this year sees the twentieth anniversary of the movie, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, one of my favourite films.

Around The Blogs

I’m on Stargate producer Joe Mallozzi’s blog talking about my short story in the just-released superhero anthology, Masked.

And a Writing For TV panel at the alt.fiction literature festival with me, Rob Shearman, Stephen Volk and Bill Boyes has just been made available as a podcast.”

Lost Finale

A few first spoiler-free thoughts on the final episode of Lost…

The series has had its critics. I think most of them are unfair – whatever you think about the nuts and bolts mechanics of the show, there is very little in the TV medium with such a weight of ideas. Some people seem stuck in a binary way of thinking – that there is only weighty high-brow or mass-market low-brow.

But several series coming out of the US (and maybe one or two from the UK) show that it’s possible to communicate on two different levels: a mainstream plot that touches many of the usual drama beats, and a deeper level of reflection on big issues that some viewers can ruminate over if they so wish. You can buy into one or the other, or both.

There is a great deal going on beneath the surface in Lost – more than a superficial glance would ever suggest – and the show’s creators have clearly put in some heavy thinking, all of which became apparent – again, in the background – in today’s finale.

I have said before that reviews are more about the reviewer than about the subject of the review. It’s the same with opinions on the finale of Lost (and of BSG before it). The way you view life and the world will impact on your view of the story’s ending. (And the degree of cognitive dissonance that inflicts you will mark the vehemence of your response.)

I found the ending wholly satisfying. I like stories where the creators give you all the information you need, but expect you to do some of the piecing together. Some people don’t. They get very angry if things aren’t spelled out. Nothing wrong with either response – it all depends on your psychology.

Without giving any spoilers away at this stage, the end of the six-season series appeared almost childishly simple and easy to criticise. Like every other aspect of the show, it was anything but. Everything you needed to make sense of it was there, but appreciation really depended on how much you put in.

But like all the best TV, it bears repeated viewings which only reveal new layers of meanings. It operates on three levels – what appears to be happening, what may well be happening, and a symbolic level that comments on very deep issues.

And in this it echoes another piece of classic TV art – the 60s version of The Prisoner. Here we have: a spy who has been kidnapped by powers unknown to discover what he knows; a spy who has been killed in the opening credits and is working through his life’s issues before moving on (the only reading that fully explains the final episode); and a symbolic examination of the individual’s place in society.

It’s certainly worth a deeper reflection on the relationship between Lost and the recently-finished and equally good Ashes to Ashes, and relating both of those to The Prisoner. Something is in the air, maybe.

In the end, Lost was deeply affecting. It will upset many people because it says quite firmly that all the things you thought mattered, aren’t important at all. In the end, like all the best stories, it’s about what it means to be human.

Duh!

Actress Tamzin Outhwaite on her BBC drama, Paradox:

“Initially I thought it was a sci-fi project…

“Then I read the script and realised it wasn’t. It’s about police officers trying to work out whether there is a worm hole between two time zones.”