Well my script for Sharps is ready. I've done the application form. I've got my email. I've bought new print cartridges. There's a stack of crisp, clean paper waiting. I've sacrificed the black cockerel. I've spun three times winnershins. I've raced up the nearest fell and back. OK not the last one. Me… running. I don't think so.
I'd like to thank the wonderful people who's feedback got me to the point. Bloggers Dave, Lucy, Elinor and Chip. Commenter Caroline and Non-bloggers Paul and John. Yes I know that's more than three but I'm really insecure and covering all demographics is my comfort blanket.
I used at least one point from everyone's feedback and they all said I was too subtle in showing the history of the characters relationships. I think I've sorted that now. Problem with subtlety. When all the background is in your head, how can you be certain you have put enough on the page?
I also got to read some of their submissions and I think they are brilliant so competition will be tough.
There seems to have been a lot of drop-outs on this one. And many people have scrapped ideas and started again, myself included. So what made it so tough?
Some felt it was the topic. The Nation's Health. The first thought was a hospital or health centre. Everyone's going to write that right? But health is a big topic and they were encouraging people to experiment so it shouldn't be hard to move well away from those areas while keeping with the theme.
However I think the problem was that they asked for a half-hour drama. You don't get to see many of those these days. Yes we have sitcoms. But BBC said they weren't looking for a sitcom. (I suspect they won't turn their noses up at one that ticks all the boxes though.)
So if you wanted a lighter route then that left comedy drama or dramedy or whatever you fancy calling it. There are some brilliant ones out there and it is my favourite viewing but they are about an hour long.
And for pure half hour drama you have soaps, sorry continuing drama. I hate it when the names change. I still buy Marathons, not Snickers! Anway hardly self-contained, excluding the odd one-on-one specials. All those threads from other episodes. I suppose the closest to a half hour drama in the past few years was the Bill in its short form.
Those of us of a more mature persuasion will remember Comedy Playhouse but that was…well…comedy. So there isn't a lot of half hour pure drama on TV as an example. Unless I'm just missing some brilliant stuff because it is on during the day or at sprog bedtime. Please let me know if I am. So easy to miss the gems in the gravel.
I've seen some lovely examples in short films by the way so I would recommend watching more of these. See Short Films on the sidebar of here for a list of sites.
I can understand why BBC chose half hour. You want it long enough to be sure the writer can sustain the quality but not so long that you double the reading time and costs. However with few examples of the form it seems to have proved an interesting challenge.
I haven't tried to second-guess the reader. It's pointless because they will all be different. Instead I've written something I'm proud of and would want to watch. Even if I get no-where on Sharps it is something I'm happy to add to my portfolio so no wasted time.
Good luck to everyone who's entered. Let me know how you do.