So, I just watched La La Land.
And it was fine.
I genuinely don’t seek to damn with faint praise: it was perfectly fine. It was very well-made; the design and lighting were at times exceptional; the song and dance numbers included both songs and dances. Emma Stone really needs to eat some food. And Ryan Gosling is a proper Movie Star.
But for the life of me, I can’t see why it’s received 14 Oscar® nominations. (Then again, this is the same Academy that gave the 2015 Best Picture award to the pig’s abortion that was Birdman instead of the brilliant-in-every-way Boyhood.)
I was, however, rather proud that I recognised John Legend, a musician I understand has been popular in the hit parade since I stopped paying attention to it circa 2001, without having to look him up on IMDb. I did, though, have to check it was really him on IMDb.
And while I had the IMDb app open, I thought I’d look myself up. As you do, when you’re a self-absorbed narcissist.
And it seems that 10th April is going to be a red letter day.
For Monday 10th April 2017 is when No Easy Days, the TV series wot I wrote, is apparently—finally—going to see the light of day.
If you think I sound surprised, it’s because I’m actually stunned.
The production company that began making the series went into administration during post-production. The administrator faffed around for a couple of years as administrators do—during which time I kind of lost interest—but seemingly must have found a buyer for it.
So, yes. All very exciting.
I particularly enjoyed looking up the first episode and seeing that I was listed as “1 more credit”.
My bruised ego slightly recovered when I saw I got more prominent billing on episodes two and three:
I’m credited as having written six episodes.
I actually wrote 10.
The finished series seems to have nine.
So who the fuck knows, eh?
I like the series title, No Easy Days. I suggested it. The hero of the series is a Navy SEAL, sort of akin to our own SAS. Unlike the SAS (“Who Dares Wins”), the Navy SEALs don’t have an official motto: “No Easy Days” is as close as they get. That’s why I suggested it. My suggestion was roundly and immediately rejected by the commissioning producer. So that’s one in the eye for that short-arsed fucker.
As a writer, you are the lowest form of life in the entertainment industry’s food chain. So it’s always interesting to see how much—if any—of your words actually make it into the final product.
For example, I see from the synopsis of episode one that the President’s daughter gets kidnapped from a New York nightclub. It was very definitely a Washington, D.C., nightclub in the teleplay I wrote—because that’s where I was told to set the action.
If Alice is kidnapped in New York, it’s going to have a significant knock-on effect for the rest of the plot.
At least “Alice” is still “Alice”. Having looked down the cast list, I don’t recognise at least 60% of the characters named.
So, to recap:
- there are somewhere between six and 10 episodes—some, all or none of which I may have written;
- it may or may not be set in D.C. and/or New York; and
- someone who’s definitely not me has renamed most of the characters.
Like I said: who the fuck knows, eh?
I am, though, really pleased that one character has survived with his name intact.
Sometimes you can slip things like this under the radar.
I grew up two doors down from Gavin Lawson and we were in the same year at school. His mum, Joan, used to work in our shop and his dad, John, used to drive me to and from boarding school.
Very sadly, Gavin died in a road traffic accident in 1998. If memory serves me correctly, he was just 25 years old.
So, Peter Michael Dillon: I’m really hoping you did the original Gavin Lawson proud.
I look forward to finding out in two months’ time. When—in the time-honoured tradition of writers everywhere—I presume I’ll have to pay to actually see the damned thing that wouldn’t exist were it not for my words and story.