Ines O’Halloran and Bob Rattigan. Protagonist and antagonist respectively and both very dear to me, despite their egregious character flaws. In my head, they’ve always looked like Jennifer Lopez and John Cusak. I expect they always will. There’s no reason, now, why that should alter.
Today is Monday 9th January 2017. You know that, of course (at least, you’ve probably got a rough idea). More pertinently, today is the day that the current BBC Writersroom Drama window bangs shut. Which means that today, I formally lay to rest one of my longest-standing projects.
I started If Blood Be The Price, hmm, three years ago, maybe a little over. It’s a full length spec screenplay, loosely based on real naughty Big Pharma behaviour in the US in the nineteen-nineties. In those three years, it’s gone through at least three total rewrites (plus persistent tinkerings too numerous and small to count separately) and had four different names.
In its first iteration and under its first name, I submitted it to the BBC in 2014. It came bouncing back, pretty much by return of email. Since then, I’ve transformed it and last month, I submitted it again. You’re not suppose to send the same screenplay twice but this has been so completely reworked that I don’t think it counts as the same piece of work. I do, however, think it will be rejected again.
Why? Partly, I’ve arbitrarily decided that it’s going to tank. That makes it easier to roll with the blow when it does come. But mainly, it’s because the bones of the piece aren’t strong enough, I don’t think. Yes, I could do it again. Write it again, write it better. But now, the only way to improve upon what I’ve got would be literally to tear the whole thing up and start absolutely from scratch. And I don’t want to do that.
As I said, it’s based on real events. To restructure the bones fundamentally might improve the story but it would move it further away from the facts. I’m reluctant to do that with this particular work. At least, at the moment. Furthermore, the work as it is stands as a reminder of where I started and how far I moved in the first couple of years. It may not be perfect, but there are plenty of good things about this screenplay – and a whole lot of improvement. It’s good to have a record of that.
So, as of today, that’s that for If Blood Be The Price. It’s good-bye and good riddance to Ines, good-bye and good luck to Bob.
Now what? Onwards and – I sincerely hope – upwards to the next. Starting tomorrow.
Watch this space.