Simon's Proposal Space

Thoughts about ideas:

Ideas sprout like mushrooms in the night.  It's very hard to write them down and capture them as they come.  I've tried carrying a notebook round, and I've attempted to develop a writing habit.  Neither has worked very well.

But what does work is having an idea, making a mental note of it and then pitching it to colleagues.  If the idea sparks their imagination, then it's worth putting the effort in to writing it up into a proposal.  'Worth the effort' is a key phrase, because for me, writing is a lot of effort.  While I'm good verbally and visually, text is not my comfort zone and I really have to work hard.

But I think that if I can develop some strategies and processes for writing proposals, then the effort will be less, I'll be less averse to picking up pen and paper and hopefully, I'll get more useable proposals.

Vegas Show Girls.

I'm not sure if I can get to 11 mistakes!

1.  Punctuation - some real howlers that include random commas and less forgiveably, apostophes in the wrong place.

2. The first paragraph is hilariously awful.  It's mostly irrelevant, choosing to anchor the show in the price of prawn cocktails which is kind of creepy in a programme about topless dancing.  The first sentence is a classic of the genre, nowhere in the rest of treatment do we get a sense of why it's going to be an emotional rollercoaster ride, let alone an extraordinary one.

3. Style - I have no idea how this is going to be shot.  Observationally presumably, but it doesn't say so.

4.  Format - Right at the end we're told it's a series.  This should be up front and we should know how many episodes and how long they are.

5.  Characters - I don't have much of an idea of Sal.  Why would I want to watch him on his quest?  How old is he?  What's his trade?  Is he a red-neck novice show producer or a gay-New York Glee-type novice show producer? As for the other characters, they're complete cyphers.   Apparently they'll be juggling their personal lives with costume fittings, but the proposal doesn't say what their personal lives are or where they originally come from as they 'adjust to living in Las Vegas'.

6.  Motivation - a bit like the above, but specifically we don't know what is driving Sal to make this 'as authentic as possible'.  And this is the one area where the underlying logic starts to break down.  Sal goes to photographs to see the authentic show, which would have had young, beautiful girls.  So there's nothing "authentic" about casting women who are over seventy.

7.  Story 1.   A key element of this is putting together the team.  They are critical characters but we get no sense of the possible jeopardy of not getting the right team, or any of the conflicts that producers usually get from their creative collaborators.  This jeopardy and the associated tensions will drive much of the story.

8.  Story 2.  Timescale - no idea!  Is Sal doing this in 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years?  It matters, fast turnaround is more like to produce conflict.

9.  Story 3.  Scale.  How big is this?  How much money, how many people?  Again, it will drive the story.

10.  Story 4.  Venue.  Who is Sal putting the show on for?  A huge, hard-to-fill venue, or a backstreet bar.  Does this have to be a big success?  What about the money?

11.  Story 5. Jeopardy.  This is the killer - what is at stake for Sal?  Is he funded by the mafia (and so could end up buried in the desert) or maybe he just stands to lose his house/fortune/family.... ?

12. Tone - sort of a product of all the above, but worth mentioning.  The language sounds really clunky, like it's being read by a policeman in court.

13.  Channel - this is not for DIY Network!

14. Audience - this could be a fairly gentle, fond Calendar Girls-esque piece of whimsy for BBC4.  Or it could be a full on Apprentice style "Your Fired" kind of show.  Who is it really aiming at here?  If it's mainstream terestrial or cable, then most of the tension will come from who gets ditched every week and it will feel 'reality'. 

15.  Production Company - Pitiful Productions don't have an inspiring track record for this kind of show.  Change the name, make one up, whatever, do something.

Simon is on holiday until next week.  Be in touch then!

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