What's Going On?

I'm aware that the title of this post makes it sound faintly confrontational. This is merely a cunning ploy to draw you in to a piece about What's quite literally Going On with me.

I probably couldn't recommend Philip Shelley's Script Consultant service enough if I tried, but I'll give it my best shot. The former Waking The Dead script editor offers great script-notes which are at the higher end of the scale in terms of price, but you certainly get what you pay for, in terms of his boundless insight and professional expertise. Furthermore - and this is a really good furthermore - if he likes your work enough, he'll recommend it to others in the business. Thankfully, he likes my main TV spec enough to do just that, and is currently sending it to agents on my behalf. Yes, I like Philip Shelley a lot.

One agent recently responded with a pass, saying they liked the script, but it "was a bit too sick for my taste." Now, while I most certainly take this as a compliment, it does serve as a reminder of how mainstream some people's sensibilities are in this business. Especially as this script really isn't all that sick, compared to something like the enjoyable Wire In The Blood.

This month, I celebrate 20 years in the field of journalism. Yep, I know, I look far too young. Shucks, that's very nice of you, and I'm going all red. As the month progresses, I'm going to post pdfs of some of my better work from over these decades, on my website. Which will be nice.

These days, of course, I've taken several steps away from journalism, in order to concentrate more and more on screenwriting. As great as the Edinburgh TV Festival was the other month, certain elements of it truly validated how much more fun - and creatively fulfilling - screenwriting is than journalism. I'm thinking, frankly, of the Guardian journalists who interviewed various industry folk onstage. Some, like Sam Delaney, were witty and professional, without making the mistake of thinking we gave much of a fuck about their own opinions. Others weren't. While it's perfectly right not to give TV controllers an easy ride, many interviewers became tedious in their utter cynicism. A number of them also took every opportunity to slag off Big Brother - one of them in an hilariously ill-informed fashion - which is officially now just about the most boring and pointless thing you can do when discussing TV. All of which reminded me of how much more comfortable I am among screenwriters than with the majority of journalists, who reek of jaded weariness, self-importance and entitlement.

Wow, bit of a rant there. Breathe. Relax.

Funnily enough, I've done a spot of journalism this week - interviewing Marillion and their ex-singer Fish, for The Word magazine. Such nice people. I knew Fish, back from when I was a rock writer, and he was always a class act. One time when I arrived to interview him in a hotel bar, he'd lined up five pints of lager for each of us, so that we wouldn't be interrupted. Sadly, rock stars don't do that magical stuff any more - not even their overly-protective flunkies think to do it. Another reason why journalism just ain't as fun as it used to be.

I've also written a piece entitled Why Every Writer Should Have A Blog, for TwelvePoint.com. You need to be a member to read it, of course, but hopefully you already are. The very finest of days to you.


Lucy said...


Your infidelity with another script editor is all the more shocking because I had to discover it here, you fiend! Now I know how Phil Collins' wife felt when he dumped her by fax. A PESTILENCE UPON YOU SIR.

Piers said...

Sadly, your journalism for twelvepoint will be completely lost on me, for I have no subscription.

For the purposes of this comment, however, I am assuming that it is both insightful and penetrating.

Oh yes.

Adaddinsane said...

Yup, I concur about Philip Shelley (sorry, Lucy) so that makes three of us I know about :-)

(I don't actually know the third person he's recommending, I just know there's [at least] one other.)

Andy Phillips said...

Geezer! You're storming the bastions. Hack them. Slash them.

Colin McBride said...

Thanks for an informative post, Mr Arnopp. I'm looking to polish up some of my specs and will shortly be in need of a reader.
On another note, great minds seem to be thinking alike as I've just given my site a bit of a revamp.
And just wanted to say that while journalism does have more than its share of self-serving twats, there are still a lot of good guys out there. Though they are sadly becoming an endangered species.
I shall look forward to reading your article.

Tom Murphy said...

I know what you mean about Guardian hacks. We saw one desperately ill-prepared and self-important young man take on Mike Leigh at the BFI earlier in the year. As anyone who's ever seen Mike Leigh interviewed can probably imagine, it wasn't pretty...

John Soanes said...

Having a go at Big Brother is, like so last Festival, y'know?

potdoll said...

I loved reading about your Fish encounter. Can we please have more stories or snippets about rock stars?

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

too "sick" for their tastes, huh? I can see what you mean. My stuff deals with fucked up shit, too, but I've writen some "mainstream" scripts to sell on InkTip, see what goes from there, but i will still write fucked up shit and then try to get interest from producers.

good luck, man.

and DONT ever change ur style!!!