I was recently told by my agent that a very well-respected scriptwriter had just read one of my recent efforts and had told him that it was the best script he’s read this year.
Now as someone who rarely receives praise for anything other than my tea making skills (which are, to be fair, legendary. Then again, I usually practice them when I’m supposed to be writing) my initial reaction was ‘holy f**k!’. This was closely followed by the obvious question, ‘so what happens next?’
Thankfully, that question was answered fairly quickly and if all goes to plan, exciting times lay ahead. However, as I reflected on things over the next few days, I began to wonder how I’d managed to create a script which had received such glowing praise from someone who certainly knows their way around a screenplay. For as I’ve written before, I don’t really consider myself to be a screenwriter at all.
OK, I’ve had some success in that area but I’m not one of those writers who will happily polish a spec script to within an inch of it’s life before they even show it to someone else. No, I’m more of a concept writer because in most instances, I’m more than happy to throw together a decent first draft and show that around to see if it gains any interest. And that interest is generally dependent on the concept because in my experience, scripts don’t sell scripts, concepts sell scripts.
After all, it surely stands to reason that not even a brilliantly written and constructed script will sell if the basic concept is flawed. By the same token, a brilliant concept will sell even an average script. Therefore my job, as I see it, is to develop an idea to the point where a producer will get excited enough about it to start talking money. After that, the whole thing becomes a collaborative process involving producers, directors and even actors with my role being simply to work with them to develop the concept to the point where the camera starts rolling.
As if to prove my point, about 18 months ago I received this email:
…had a concept pitch from a distributor you may or may not want a crack at pitching a treatment for…
A group of old-school, Krays/Richardsons era retired gangsters (Alan Ford, PH Moriarty, Berkoff etc) are all living off past glories in East London, thinking there’s no school like the old school. One of them is savagely murdered by a group of hoodies (they probably film it etc) and they go back to their old ways to exact revenge and clean up the streets. Think Harry Brown on crack with a smidgeon of the Wild Geese. And of course, nobody thinks its them because they’re OLD
I thought it was brilliant and with the help of my good mate Gary Lawrence, we developed a half decent draft and then worked with the director to develop the shooting script of what became We Still Kill The Old Way. You see, it’s all about the concept.
And in case you were wondering, yes, the concept for the script which received that wonderful and confidence boosting praise is indeed, quite brilliant. But that’s all I can tell you about it for now.
Watch this space.
I am pleased to announce that Top Dog has been nominated in the ‘Best Action’ category of the National Film Awards to be held in London on 31st March 2015.
Obviously, we need votes so if you have seen and enjoyed the movie, please click on the link, do your bit and then help out even further by spreading the word!
If you haven’t seen it, then still vote! I won’t judge you.
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