Ever been asked what kind of writer you want to be? It's something I've been asked on courses and sometimes ask myself. My standard response is that I want to have a body of work that I can look back on and be proud rather than stuff that just hit a deadline.
So the next question is what would I be proud of? Well the easiest way of replying is what do I wish I could have written. Well easy in theory, but I hate to leave anything out. The film list on the right is probably a good clue at how I can get carried away. And I'm forcing myself not to add to it.
Favourite 5? Do me a favour. Favourite 10? Oh rats, each time I squeeze one in, another I can't do without drops off the end. Favourite 100? Could I just add a few more please?
Deep breathe. Be strong. I'm going to list the first ones that spring into my head.
Edge of Darkness by Troy Kennedy-Martin. If any is on top of my list I think it has to be that one. Each character is memorable and multi-layered. Lots of subplots feeding into the main one. Tragedy, thriller, comedy and horror. And that reality-fantasy mix that I love so much. I've watched it so many times and don't get tired of it. If I could write like that...
Unless its Shooting the Past by Stephen Poliakoff. Missed the recent repeat and haven't got it on DVD yet so it's more the fact it sits in my memory so well. I know it is a much slower, gentler pace than is expected these days but the pace fits the story and I didn't find it hard to sit quietly and just experience it. It makes me calm just remembering it. Got to buy that DVD.
Right, that's two TV ones so on to films. But, can't I just add... Nope. Films.
I did a quick scan of my DVD case because my mind went blank. Not as a comment on film writers but because I got sensory overload.
So we have Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall. Yes I know it started as a novel and a play but I know the film version. Again the reality-fantasy mix. Great characters and a gentle pace. Wonderful dialogue. The start, moving past a range of households along with a "housewife's choice" radio broadcast sets the scene beautifully and gave me plenty of flashbacks.
Then one that a few of you might not know but please ignore panic at subtitles. It's worth it.
Le Diner de Cons by Francis Veber. At this point I am sobbing in a corner because I've just found out there's a US remake planned with Sasha Baron Cohen. No pleeeeease. This is a subtle farce with beautiful characters, great dialogue and..... Sorry. Overcome by sobbing again. All I can say is see the original first.
I'll stop it here. Maybe another post later on stage plays.