Archive for the 'Tessa & Adam' Category

quick tessa & adam / new eden update

9, October 2011

I know it’s been a long time between drinks here at drettworlb so I thought it was time for an update.

I’ve been busy since my last post in July. The scripts for all ten episodes of Tessa & Adam are now completed and I’m currently working on the script for the eighth double-episode finale for New Eden.

Freek and I have been doing more work on the New Eden pilot and it’s coming together nicely. It’s taking a while due to the fact that we both have other work and contracts to complete but we’re very happy with the progress thus far. Freek is working up some more promotional images for New Eden that I can’t wait to share with you guys.

On the producing side of things, I’ve got some interesting leads on financing for both series. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how things play out. It’s too early to talk about and nothing is definite but watch this space.

In terms of distribution for Tessa & Adam and New Eden, I’ve being researching successful original web series and have drawn on my growing skills in social media to put together a solid distribution and marketing plan for both projects.

If you’re interested in the whole web series/original digital content/youtube space then you need to be reading NewTeeVee, TubeFilter and Reel SEO. Also follow NewEdenseries, which is littered with tweets and links from all three and many other sources.

And finally check out the YouTube Creator Playbook, a free resource breaking down the best practices in production, distribution, marketing and community building learnt for successful YouTube creators.

That’s it for now. Thanks for checking in and feel free to say G’day if you see me mucking about on Twitter.

Roger & Val, Him & Her, Tessa & Adam

6, September 2010

For those wondering, yes Tessa & Adam is still going ahead. I’m in the process of finishing up writing episodes but have been side-tracked with some other opportunities and pitches I’ve had come my way, so I’ve been bashing away furiously on them.

A couple of new UK television comedies have popped up lately investigating the intimate nature of relationships that play in the same sandpit as Tessa & Adam and are worth mentioning.

Roger and Val Have Just Got In – A new Dawn French comedy vehicle with her playing off Alfred Molina. Very English, very bittersweet, very real – all in a good way.

Dawn French and Alfred Molina, two of the nation’s best loved actors, star in this new six-part series focusing on the everyday, seemingly trivial trials and tribulations faced by a middle-aged married couple. The bittersweet comedy looks at how they get on in the first half an hour after walking through their front door. Developed from an original idea by Dawn French, the series is written by Emma and Beth Kilcoyne (Dogtown).

In between the comic situations peppered throughout the episodes the series story arc is creeping in more and more, which is very tragic and heartbreaking, so it feels like it’s morphing into a drama more and more with each passing episode. You can read a BBC Comedy blog on it here.

Him & Her – A new young couple sitcom premiering tonight (Mon, 6th Sept) on BBC Three at 10:30pm:

Steve (Russell Tovey) and Becky (Sarah Solemani) are Him & Her – a young couple deeply in love, often in bed and rarely in employment. Content to commit days on end to little more than eating, drinking and lazing around the pair are happy just to exist, doing their best to avoid the world beyond their flat and only occasionally letting life find them at home to visitors. Written by Stefan Golaszewski, Him & Her is an anti-romantic comedy. It lifts the lid on love as it really is – warts and all with farts, bickering and toast.

I see Tessa & Adam as being a younger sexy version of Roger and Val and even Outnumbered to a degree, which I love, so I’m interested to seeing how Him & Her plays as I think we’re talking about some of the same things. Of course Tessa & Adam is web and Him & Her is television and there are other defining differences as well, so I’m not worried … not yet at least.

Anyhoo, that’s it, back to work!

reflections on script tank reading of ‘tessa & adam’

4, June 2010

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a couple of episodes of my web sitcom ‘Tessa & Adam’ read as part of a “short works” night at Script Tank on Wednesday and I’m pleased to say I’m very happy with the result.

I got to test out my new pilot as well as another ep that I have worked up. Just hearing it read was valuable enough because it allowed me to quickly weed out the lines that weren’t needed or didn’t work and tighten both scripts up as a whole, which I am always happy to do.

Building on the feedback from my last reading and this most recent reading I’ve now been able to refine my synopsis and the parameters for what makes a ‘Tessa & Adam’ episode:

Tessa & Adam follows the idiosyncratic antics of British lad Adam and his Dutch expat girlfriend Tessa. Capturing their clash of culture, love, life and sex the show reveals just how odd someone can appear once you start sharing your life with them.

  1. It’s observational comedy- finding comedy in intimate ‘truths’ or small moments within a relationship
  2. It’s about discovery – finding out just how odd someone can be once you start living with them
  3. The hook/comic situation needs to be set up ASAP – the first page if possible. If not, open with a joke
  4. Tessa and Adam must always have opposing goals or points of views within each episode to create the greatest amount of comic conflict
  5. The twist more often than not comes from some sort of reversal or reveal related to the characters
  6. Tessa and Adam are equals and must always be able to hold their own, no matter the situation
  7. The stakes may appear low but that doesn’t mean that what is going on in each ep isn’t vitally important to them in that moment
  8. Tessa and Adam have a real and loving relationship – their fidelity and commitment to one another is never in jeopardy
  9. Each episode is self contained and must be resolved at the end

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On another note, I also got my Channel 4 Coming Up submission in this week, early even, which makes a difference already to last year. I was also far less stressed this time around because I really believe in my writing samples (episodes of ‘Tessa & Adam’) and had a clear synopsis/pitch that I re-worked and re-worked over several weeks.

To celebrate I went out for fish and chips and a midday pint on Abbey Road. Nice!

So with Coming Up completed it’s back to the keyboard to bash out some more ‘Tessa & Adam’ episodes and mulling over my potential entry for this year’s Red Planet Prize:

Each year the Prize is slightly different, to provide a fresh challenge for those who enter – and to reflect the difficulties faced by professional script writers.

This year’s competition is for an original 60 minute television script, either a single play or a pilot for a new series. You are initially required to submit the first ten pages along with a short synopsis.  The full script should be available on request, you may be required to submit this within a month of the final closing date.

As before, the winner will receive £5000, a script commission and the option of representation if required.
Red Planet and Kudos will also mentor finalists for the Prize.The competition is open to anyone within the UK. The RED PLANET PRIZE with close to new entrants at midnight on 31st July.

another upcoming reading of ‘tessa & adam’

29, May 2010

This coming Wednesday I’m having another couple episodes of my web sitcom ‘Tessa & Adam‘ read, this time at Script Tank, as part of a night of short works:

This week’s reading is a Shorts Night, featuring our usual cornucopia of short pieces, extracts, ideas and pitches, headlined by ‘My Belarussian Wife’ (probably)’ by Terry Squibb.

Toby is about to collect his new Belarussian fiancee Masha and her son Kolya from the airport. She thinks he lives in the large house of which he showed her a picture when he met her in Minsk. In fact he is only the lodger of his uncle Ted. Toby did not intend to deceive her – he showed her the photo over a romantic meal, and pointed out his room, but he has now an uneasy feeling that she did not quite grasp the fact that it was not his house.

Toby is determined to make a success of his relationship with Masha, but worried about her initial reaction when she arrives. He persuades his uncle Ted to allow him to pose as the owner for a while, but how to explain Ted’s presence? Ted, keen amateur actor, fishes out a  butler’s costume, and lends Toby his Mercedes to go to the airport.

All this plus a new short play from Ben Francis, two more episodes of Brett Snelgrove’s web-sitcom, and an eight-minute sketch.  There may be some space for more short pieces, so please contact me if you’ve got anything.

The reading starts at 6:45 for 7:00, above the Blue Posts pub, Rupert Street, nearest tube Leicester Square.  There’s a £3 charge per session.

The last reading I had was with the London Comedy Writers back in January. Since then I’ve had plenty of time to solidify the style and format for the project and have been bashing out re-writes and new episodes like a crazy man.

I’m looking forward to hearing how my new pilot episode plays as well as a new ep that I’ve recently put together. For me this whole script reading process has been instrumental in the development of ‘Tessa & Adam’ and my writing in general. It’s a wonderful safe environment where you can hear what hits the mark, what falls flat and get well considered constructive criticism all for the price of a couple of quid and a beer! What’s not to love about that?

reflections on ‘Tessa & Adam’ script reading

28, January 2010

For those just catching up, ‘Tessa & Adam’ is a project that I am currently developing:

‘Tessa & Adam’ is a comedy web series that captures the idiosyncratic moments between born-and-bred British lad Adam and his Dutch expat partner Tessa. Told in short self-contained episodes and set in their modest but well appointed London flat, each episode revolves around a small intimate moment or quirky observation that parallels into a story that any couple can relate to.

I recently had five episodes read and critiqued at the London Comedy Writers group.

-*-*-

After a reading I always take some time to digest the feedback as well as my own thoughts.

It’s hard to judge by the reading alone if something is working. I’m not too attached to whether people laugh or not as it’s often a cold read for everyone concerned. That said I had plenty of smiles, a few giggles and some hearty chuckles, which is more than enough for me.

What you can tell from a solid reading though is whether the rhythm and pace is working and what jokes really land and what ones don’t and end up broken and dying in the dirt.

I never know what is going to work. Often I find the simplest things end up playing well, whereas some of my more crafted comedic moments get no love at all.

For me, it’s the feedback after the read that really counts. That’s where I get the little pearls of wisdom and sparks of inspiration that help me identify what needs working on so I can move forward.

-*-*-

So the consensus was that it is indeed funny and entertaining. Phew. I had a few comments like “I wasn’t bored”, which is a bit of a backhanded criticism, and “I don’t like them” or “I didn’t get it” but I can take that. They’re just opinions at the end of the day and there’s nothing I can do to change them.

I picked up a few simple things that I can fix, such as don’t put the punchline in the episode title, a true Brit would never eat tinned peas and there’s great comic potential in subtle racism.

Everyone liked the characters, especially Tessa. Adam could do with a bit of work. I need to make him commit more to his point-of-view and heighten his traits and characteristics – in short I need to give him some balls. After a long period of writing ineffectual emasculated male leads I’m more than happy to oblige on this front.

There was a great deal of discussion about what is the series hook and whether the characters are “likable” or “interesting” enough. With more discussion though this clarified down to, what is unique and interesting about Tessa and Adam’s relationship that unites them? Why are they together and why should we care?

And you know what, the group hit upon a really valid point. Now, I know why they are together and what makes their relationship interesting but I haven’t communicated that well enough in any of the episodes that I have written thus far.

Out of this reading there are four key things I now realise I need to do:

  1. I need to write a new pilot episode that sets up the characters and their relationship and also welcomes the audience into their world.
  2. I can use all the questions that people had about their relationship as subjects for future episodes to reveal more about them as the series progresses.
  3. I need to clarify the kind of character moments and story beats unique to this series that each episode will turn on.
  4. And I need to let my characters commit 110% to who they are because that is where comedy gold lies.

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For me, ‘Tessa & Adam’ is about finding comedy in the smallness of things within a relationship – little observations, intimate moments or things that couples don’t normally talk about.

It’s never going to be high-concept or big and broad. At this point I have very little interest in what their lives are like in the outside world. There are plenty of other comedies out there that tackle families, work, politics, mates and society beautifully. I don’t need to compete with them. I just need to stay the course and hone what I am trying to achieve to the best of my ability.

That being said, the very last episode that was read and also the latest episode that I wrote (in a day I think) got the best response. People really connected with it and could see themselves in it, which is not something I would have expected.

It just goes to show that we all share more common experiences than we realise and that is what I’m betting will make ‘Tessa & Adam’ work.

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