Sunday, 7 September 2008

How can it be September already?

And the writing of scripts continues. I think I finally have a plot that works, after footling around for weeks with ideas that didn't really cut it. But then, those ideas did seem to cut it when I first had them, so maybe this new outline will turn out to be equally lame.

Hopefully not, though. What I finally did was properly analyse an episode of Alan Partridge to see how they'd made it work (rather than just watching it again thinking I was analysing it, as I'd previously been doing.) And what I found was that the whole story hangs on one very funny scene near the end. Obvious, to anyone who's studied screenwriting. A revelation, to me.

If you know Alan Partridge, you know the scene. It's the lunch with the commissioning editor scene. It's unforgettable. But not being naturally analytical, I'd never identified it as the climax of the episode until now.

The meeting is mentioned in the very first minute after the opening titles, and referenced no fewer than seven times before it finally happens. The scene itself is over eight and a half minutes long - nearly a third of the total episode.

I love that you can have a single scene that lasts that long. And I love that it's set up in such a way that you don't feel like it's a big deal - even though Alan has a couple of doubts beforehand, he goes in with total conviction that he'll soon be back on telly, which makes it all the funnier when the rug is pulled from under him.

I must learn from this.

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