Doctor Who Magazine smashed headlong into UK shelves today. It features my eight-page article on the special effects of Series Three's last three episodes, collectively known as The Master Trilogy. There's also a bit of brief Episode 13 on-set reportage from me. Buy it at once! As I've said before, I swear it'll be of interest, even if you're not especially into the series, thanks to its wealth of information about how TV shows are made.
The first round of Power Of Three is complete: I started to make changes before the third response came back, partly because of the Red Planet Prize's September 1 deadline and partly because I'm impatient. But as usual, each and every person has delivered vital information/questions about the script. As well as consensus on some weak points (one scene on a bus is so destined for the cutting-room floor, for instance), there also seems to be a consensus that the central story idea is strong, which is encouraging.
Lucy ran an interesting piece today about writers who are offended and/or disheartened by frank PO3 critiques. To partly repeat my comment on her post, we surely need to have thicker skins than that. A PO3 person's critique is either right (and therefore useful) or wrong (and therefore well-intentioned, but ultimately irrelevant if you disagree). The only irritation I've felt after a PO3 round has been with myself, for not seeing the flaws which others have had the objectivity to point out. But when you're chipping away at the coalface, you can't see the wood for the trees (God knows what a wood's doing in this mine), and therein lies the joy of PO3.
I've had nothing but good experiences with the system so far. One PO3 helper critiqued a script of mine to high heaven, to the extent that they subsequently wrote again to apologise, having re-read their own blunt missive! It didn't offend me in the slightest, though, because they were giving me great feedback. So for what it's worth, I'd say this: forget the way in which the feedback's phrased or couched, and concentrate on drawing the maximum value from the feedback itself. That's the whole point. Besides, no-one agrees to be a PO3 helper in order to belittle or upset you, unless they're seriously in need of a life! And if their feedback carries a slightly weary tone - almost a creeping resentment at having agreed to read your work and being disappointed by its quality - then maybe that's just your fault. Accept it. Improve that script. The next draft will inevitably be better.
God Almighty: apostrophes. I'm not sure what's going on out there in the world: maybe a whole generation of people who couldn't be bothered to learn about apostrophe useage has recently spilled out into positions of copywriting power. I'm no grammatical god, but it really seems that so many people see a word ending in 's' and think, "Blimey, I'd best stick an apostrophe in there". I've noticed incorrect apostrophes and general typos all over the place lately, from fairground signs to newspaper articles to antiseptic cream packaging (more about this brilliant cream in a minute). I even saw a ludicrous typo on a BBC One between-programmes page: the word 'subtitles' being spelt 'sutitles'. Whats' going on? And yes, that was a deliberate misuse of an apostrophe.
Right, then. What's so great about this antiseptic cream, produced by Galpharm Medical? Well, in truth it's not the cream itself, but the packaging. For a start, there's a textbook apostrophe fuck-up in the shape of this:
Help's to prevent infection.
But best of all, here's a snippet from the instructions:
Avoid contact with eyes, ears, brain and surrounding membranes...
Call me picky, but if your brain's exposed, then antiseptic cream is probably a bolted horse/locked stable door interface. Hmmm?