I had a meeting with a TV executive today to discuss possible sitcom ideas. They liked the Chedwood script I gave them, but not enough to make it (or there were things that they would rather make instead) but wanted me to write something else. I had already pitched most of my ideas in the last meeting, so have been trying to rack my brain for more this week. But I hadn't come up with anything brilliant.
I sat in the lobby of the broadcaster with a pad, with five minutes to go until the meeting trying to think of something to pitch. A brief chat with my manager on the phone steered me towards the kind of thing the channel might be looking for. I had an idea. It was simple (which is often not a bad thing), but I realised it fitted the parameters and immediately had all kinds of potential storylines. I went up in the lift, said hello to the man, told him this idea first. It was clear that he too saw the potential and although we went through the formality of discussing some of my other ideas - I pitched my Goodnight Sweetheart idea to a mixture of amusement and bemusement - I knew that the contender was in and indeed I got a commission to write a pilot script there and then. So within half an hour of the idea occurring to me I had been given the green light to write it. There's nothing like a deadline to get my creative juices flowing, though even for me this is cutting it a bit fine. A month of sitting in an office trying to come up with something probably wouldn't have borne as much fruit as that five minute cramming session. I believe Matt Groening came up with the basic concept of the Simpsons in a similar way. So logic tells you that this new sitcom will be as successful as the Simpsons.
I did once have a meeting with an executive where I came up with the pitch halfway through the actual meeting and got a script commissioned (for my ultimately ill-fated "Double Act" Comedy drama), but it still felt pretty cool to have pulled this one out of the bag today. And it is a really good idea too, I think.
Aside from the fact that I already have way too much to do, this is obviously good news (tempered a little by the bad news that my last script is, for now, going no further). As much as it is frustrating that so few of my scripts make it to air, a day like today makes me appreciate what a jammy bugger I am. What a stroke of luck and some much needed paid writing work to make up for the massive hole I am about to blast in my bank balance with my (still unwritten and uncast) Rasputin project. This is going to be one Hell of a year. And if the things I write are good then it will only lead to more work. Fingers crossed that I fuck it all up!
I can't sit here yapping with you pricks. I've got stuff to do.
The Jon Ronson RHLSTP (packed with great stories) is now up for free at the British Comedy Guide and (ultimately) on iTunes. Only one more official podcast and one bonus Mach Fest one for this series. But we're back in the autumn.
And please spread the word about the final two performance of We're All Going To Die! at the Bloomsbury on 22nd and 23rd May. Still quite a few tickets to sell. It'd be nice to go out with a bang. Free "10" DVD for everyone who comes to the DVD record on the 23rd. Book your tickets here.
And don't forget that the last RHMOL is being recorded on the 18th May at the Leicester Square Theatre. Only £10. With Aleks Krotoski. Book here.