Monthly Archives: March 2013

Dead On The Beach At Brighton

As of tonight my pitch for ‘Unlocked’ has gone off to Shooting People with the hope that it’ll be listed at some point during the week. I’m not sure what I’m going to get from it but key to the process this time was that I’ve said I want somebody to develop the script with. I’m comfortable with rewrites and I am in no way suggesting that I or the script are the finished article. The process with ‘Robotics’ has been a slow paced back and forth with the possibility of the end result being something quite great. I’m hoping for more of the same this time around.

Bearing in mind that the pitch for Robotics went nowhere the first time it was listed. It was read, it was rewritten but any chance of it being made died on the beaches of Brighton. It was only after waiting and sharpening it up a little did it gain any serious attention. Robotics was also very boiled down towards the end, all the dialogue was thrown away and everything is done via facial expression and movement. Unlocked is trying to get a little more story in there and as such there might be a little more fat to trim further down the road.

Somewhere here, an idea died.

For now it’s done though and an idea which was on a scrap of paper before Christmas now exists and is out there. For that there is no substitute.

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Other People’s Screenplays

My wife qualified as a nurse last summer and, whilst she was applying for a job over the next few months, she decided to have a crack at screenwriting. I’ve watched her type away furiously on her old and near busted laptop. She tweeted her progress each night and finally finished craft one about a week or so ago. I’d promised that I would read through it and see what I thought. At no point during this do I claim to be a master screenwriter handing down my knowledge from the clouds but I’m always prepared to read something over and provide notes.

This was really the first time I’ve had a chance to do this since the glorious days of college and it felt truly good to get back to it. My old tutor used to read student scripts after asking one question of ‘do you want me to be honest or lie and tell you how brilliant it is?’. Thankfully, the wife and I have long since reached the stage in our relationship where we can be honest about each other’s scripts.

I ended up writing four pages of notes which led into a hour long conversation about it. It’s a good story and well worth the rejigging it needs (she was a little bit sad when I suggested taking the axe to two characters who I felt weren’t essential to the story but they’ve gone now). Armed with this information she belted through a second draft in about a day. I’m looking forward to reading that one too.

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Nearly There

Did I mention I hate doing any kind of synopsis? This is the only effort I can gather together for The Unlocked Project.

Tony is an agoraphobic and obsessive compulsive. He lives alone in his one bed roomed flat which he hasn’t left in years. His only connections with the outside world are the window and his friend Andrea who visits him with food supplies and vitamin pills.

One night Tony hears a knock at the door and a voice behind it claiming to be his neighbour from down the corridor. Tony cautiously opens the door and meets Michael, a man brimming with sarcasm and confidence. He tries to befriend Tony, thinking that he can help somebody who seems stuck in his ways. His first act is to get Tony off the vitamin pills.

Michael says he can hear a noise in the walls of Tony’s flat and he begins to carve into the plasterwork to find out what it is. Tony finds this idea ridiculous until they find a switch. Upon flicking the switch they are shocked to discover the image through the window vanishes only to be replaced by the words ‘No Signal Detected’. Tony behind to see that everything he thought was real has been constructed for him and Andrea knows far more about the reasons why than she ever let on.

Not the greatest I know but we’ll see how this spins. Obviously I’m under no illusions that the script doesn’t still need work but it’s reaching the stage now where I want somebody else to read it. Hopefully, over this weekend, I’ll get the application together for Shooting People.

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I Like To Vanish

On odd occasions during my lunch break from work I like to ditch my usual home prepared sandwiches and head out to a coffee shop to sit down. It might cost £7 for a coffee and panini but it’s worth it to sometimes remove myself from my work for an hour.

I sat there on Tuesday afternoon with my tablet open, taking advantage of the fact this coffee bar has free WiFi. Upon looking around I found that everybody else had the same idea. Every seat seemed to be full of somebody with some kind of screen from which they were reading, listening to music with headphones or watching movies. It’s not to say I’m against this, I’m old enough to remember when having coffee in a book shop was a great novelty, but it’s odd how this has become ‘normal’ so quickly.

I had a couple of things I wanted to get down on (virtual) paper with my note book app. I think that once The Unlocked Project gets a synopsis and is listed on Shooting People then I’ll make a start on the feature that’s been nagging for a long time. I’m just not sure where to start so I found myself wondering about the opening. After having a basic idea of the beginning I was about to write it down when I noticed that it was five minutes before I was due back at work. Next time, maybe next time.

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The Latest

As drafts go on and go and rewrites become more frequent then they do get easier. This is probably something that gets forgotten about by most when they’re plugging away at getting that first draft done. I’ve had a couple of smaller tweaks to the dialogue including taking out a whole section which still eluded to the insomnia angle.

It’s around this stage that I end up doing something I hate, namely a treatment which is needed as part of the pitch document before it goes in the website. I just always feel really awkward about blowing your own trumpet by trying to ‘sell’ your script. Also, it makes almost every single idea sound dull when you condense it down into a couple of paragraphs. For example…

‘A farm boy is chosen to save the galaxy’.

Dull (when put down to one sentence)

Just sounds a bit rubbish put like that doesn’t it?

So here’s the latest version of The Unlocked Project, speaking of the title I’m thinking of just cutting it down to ‘Unlocked’ when the script goes out.

INT/ BEDROOM/ DAY

A clean bedroom, white linen bedcovers are undisturbed, metal bed frame and headboard.

Beside the bed is a small, pump operated bottle of alcohol based hand cleanser.

Every door handle in the flat is covered in what look like shower caps.

There’s a table in one corner covered in a clear plastic sheet.

Standing by the sink is a man in his late 20’s. He cleans his hands under the running tap, soaping up to his elbows and in between his fingers. It’s almost surgical. He switches off the tap with his elbows.

He walks over to the curtained window, he pulls and a pair of surgical gloves before pulling the curtains apart. It’s a bright morning, sunlight fills the room.

A knock at the door,

TONY

(Shouting)

Come in Andrea!

Andrea opens the door and walks in.

She takes off her shoes and places them in a small plastic bag next to the door.

She behind to walk forwards.

Tony motions her stop.

He throws her the pack of alcohol rub.

She uses it on her hands.

ANDREA

It’s a lovely morning.

TONY

The answer is no.

ANDREA

You’re not even sure of the question

TONY

I knew it was going to be something like “Let’s try and take a walk outside today Tony”.

ANDREA

And you’re not

She takes a bottle of water out of the bag and places it on a table.

ANDREA

You really should try y’know.

TONY

Too much going on.

ANDREA

In here?

TONY

Out there. Cars, people, building, noise. Too much.

ANDREA

You have to get out sometime.

TONY

Not now though.

She takes out a small packet from the bag.

It rattles when she moves it.

ANDREA

(Pointing at the box)

Vitamins, new ones.

Tony picks up the box and looks at the back.

TONY

What was wrong with the old ones?

ANDREA

They don’t sell them any more.

TONY

Why not?

ANDREA

I don’t know, things just move on. Tony, you don’t go outside so how would you know? It’s the same as the other ones. Probably a different coloured packet.

Tony takes out one of the pills, shoves it in his mouth and then gulps some water.

Andrea reaches into the bag again.

She produces a small booklet of puzzles.

ANDREA

I bought you this as well.

She flips it towards Tony.

Tony completely misses it and it lands on the floor.

He picks it up.

TONY

Another one?

ANDREA

<span style="font-family: 'Courier New', monospl bed frame and headboard.</r mind occupied on something else other than the window. Do some puzzles to pass the time.

TONY

You’re asking me to do Sudoku?

ANDREA

I’m asking you not to stare at a wall. Where’s the other one I gave you?

TONY

I finished it.

ANDREA

Where is it?

TONY

It’s over on the table, why?

ANDREA

Not much good having a completed puzzle book and plus…

TONY

Plus?

ANDREA

Recycling.

Tony throws the book towards Andrea who catches it and places it back in her pocket.

ANDREA

Right, I’m going to get moving. Anything else you need?

TONY

Not that I can think of.

ANDREA

Okay, call me if you need me.

Andrea exits the room, leaving Tony flicking through a puzzle book.

  1. INT/ TONY’S BEDROOM/ NIGHT

Tony is in bed, not asleep, just resting.

There’s only the bare minimum of light.

He gets up, walks over to the window, pulls back the curtains.

He sees streets, city lights and cars moving.

He quickly closes the curtains again.

There is a knock at the door.

Tony looks shocked and stands perfectly still.

Another knock

Tony creeps towards the door, getting close to it.

TONY

Who’s there?

A male voice responds

VOICE

I’m here to say hi.

TONY

Well you’ve said it now.

VOICE

Open the door so I can say it properly.

TONY

Do you know what time this is?

VOICE

Yes, I have a watch.

Tony still pauses.

VOICE

Open the door.

Tony opens the door very slowly.

On the other side is a man wearing dark trouser, a shirt and tie. He wanders straight into the room, pushing past Tony.

VOICE

(Offering handshake)

The name’s Michael.

TONY

(Refusing handshake)

Tony

Michael puts his hand down.

TONY

I’m really sorry, it’s just that I have a thing about…

MICHAEL

About?

TONY

You’ve just come from outside.

MICHAEL

Yes.

TONY

Outside there.

MICHAEL

Yes.

Tony hands him the hand sanitizer.

TONY

Would you mind?

MICHAEL

I haven’t been handling raw sewage or anything y’know.

TONY

Doesn’t have to be that, just anything.

MICHAEL

Ah, it’s like that.

Michael uses the gel on his hands.

TONY

It’s 3am by the way.

MICHAEL

Were you asleep?

TONY

Well, not really.

MICHAEL

I knew that.

TONY

You seem to know a lot.

MICHAEL

I’ve been living opposite for the last few weeks and I started thinking about you.

TONY

Me?

MICHAEL

You never leave the house, you only get one visitor.

TONY

I’m just not that social.

MICHAEL

And that one visitor is a woman. She’s either your Mum who keeps up a good skincare regime or a hooker.

TONY

Excuse me?

MICHAEL

Well which is it?

TONY

Have you just come round here to offend me?

MICHAEL

No, this is a social visit. I am visiting you, I am greeting you in the warmest possible circumstances.

TONY

At 3am.

MICHAEL

At 3am.

TONY

The time means nothing to you does it?

MICHAEL

Does it mean anything to you? You’re never outside to enjoy daylight.

Michael picks up the box of pills.

MICHAEL

What are these?

TONY

My pills.

MICHAEL

It’s nothing contagious is it? Are you in quarantine?

TONY

No, just vitamins.

MICHAEL

Why?

TONY

Because I’m not exactly walking in sunshine right now.

MICHAEL

You don’t need these, seriously stop taking them. Just eat some food or something y’know.

TONY

Thanks for the great advice, shouldn’t you be going?

MICHAEL

Let me show you something.

TONY

What?

MICHAEL

Just follow me.

Michael moves towards the door.

He stands in the doorway gesturing to Tony

Tony eventually follows him.

They walks down the corridor together.

MICHAEL

Just so you know I live right over there.

He points towards a door.

TONY

Great, fantastic.

MICHAEL

Any time you need somebody to talk to, a shoulder, anything you come round right?

TONY

Why are you doing this?

MICHAEL

Doing what, reaching out to a friend?

TONY

I’m not your friend.

MICHAEL

I’m hurt, really hurt. You might not be now but you’ll soon be. Consider something for me?

TONY

What?

Michael opens the door to his flat.

MICHAEL

When was the last time you made it as far as the lifts?

Michael closes the door behind him leaving Tony in the corridor alone.

Tony stands looking around, shocked amazement.

He runs back to his own door, shutting it behind him.

Almost automatically he runs to the bathroom and starts to scrub his hands and arms with a nail brush.

  1. INT/ TONY’S FLAT/ DAY

Andrea and Tony sit drinking coffee.

ANDREA

You left your flat?

TONY

Yeah, there was this guy here.

ANDREA

Who?

TONY

Called himself Michael, lives down the hall apparently.

ANDREA

And he visited you when?

TONY

3am.

ANDREA

Who visits people at 3am?

TONY

He does it would seem.

ANDREA

Why did you open the door anyway?

TONY

I thought I was dreaming it.

ANDREA

And you had to open it to make sure.

TONY

Pretty much. He showed me where he lives.

ANDREA

What do you mean ‘showed you’?

TONY

We were out in the hall.

ANDREA

So you can make it out there then?

TONY

Don’t get too carried away.

ANDREA

Well ignore him, I don’t think anybody should be coming into other people’s homes when they might just be asleep.

TONY

I think he was just one of these crazy guys.

ANDREA

Thin line between crazy and idiot. Where does he live?

TONY

Out the door, turn right, last one before the lifts.

ANDREA

If he knocks again let me know, I’ll be knocking on his door when he’s trying to sleep, see how he likes that.

TONY

He sounds like he’d enjoy the company.

ANDREA

Have you taken your pill today?

TONY

Not yet, I’ll take it soon.

ANDREA

You’d better, you’ll look even worse if you don’t.

TONY

Thanks for the uplift in confidence.

Andrea gathers her things.

ANDREA

That’s what I’m here for.

She leaves the room.

  1. INT/ TONY’S ROOM/ NIGHT

Tony sits alone.

A knock at the door.

Tony goes straight over and opens it.

Michael wanders in again.

TONY

My friend isn’t happy with you

MICHAEL

Who? Your sister?

TONY

She’s not my sister.

MICHAEL

Then it’s okay for me to fancy her a little bit then.

TONY

You’re not here at your usual hour?

MICHAEL

I can go and come back if you want to?

TONY

No, it’s okay.

Michael looks on the table.

MICHAEL

38.

TONY

Sorry?

MICHAEL

38 pills left in that packet.

TONY

Really?

MICHAEL

38 yesterday too, you didn’t take one today did you.

TONY

I forgot.

MICHAEL

And yet you live, amazing isn’t it?

TONY

If you say so.

Michael tilts his ear towards the ground.

MICHAEL

Did you hear that?

TONY

(looking confused)

What?

MICHAEL

(points at the wall)

That!

There is no obvious noise.

TONY

No, there’s nothing.

MICHAEL

When I was a kid I always had a thing for being able to pick up high frequency sounds. You have this high pitched buzz coming from your wall.

TONY

Stop being a fool.

MICHAEL

Look I’m trying to help you here, no wonder you’re not sleeping if this is all your hearing. You might not be hearing it but I’m pretty sure your brain will be.

TONY

How is that even possible?

MICHAEL

Get me a spoon or something.

TONY

Why?

MICHAEL

Just do it!

Tony searches around for an implement.

He finds a fork.

TONY

I’ve only got this.

Michael snatches it.

MICHAEL

It’ll do nicely.

TONY

What are you…

Michael starts jabbing part of the wall next to window.

TONY

(Shocked)

No, no ,no. You’re getting dust everywhere.

MICHAEL

It’ll just be a small hole, something’s making this noise.

TONY

I’m asking you to stop doing that please.

MICHAEL

It’s minor, a bit of plaster after this and you’ll be fine.

Michael continues jabbing the wall.

Plaster begins to fall down to the floor, gathering in a pile on the floor.

Tony is visibly cowering at this sight.

TONY

I’m going to ask you once more to stop doing that.

MICHAEL

What’s the problem? Am I wrecking your little nest here? Your perfect little room?

TONY

Actually, yes.

MICHAEL

So at no point do you want to know what this noise is?

Tony looks utterly freaked out by all this.

Suddenly Michael stops.

There’s a moment of silence

MICHAEL

There it is, I’m done now anyway.

TONY

There’s what?

MICHAEL

I give you the route of the problem.

TONY

Your problem.

MICHAEL

That’s in your flat, you perfect little, germ free flat.

Tony kneels down beside Michael.

Both stare at the wall.

There’s a thick cable running through it.

It connects to a socket.

TONY

You’ve come into my house and ruined a wall purely to reveal an electrical wire.

MICHAEL

It’s still buzzing.

TONY

Because it’s electric.

MICHAEL

What cable do you know in a house that’s this thick?

TONY

I don’t know, how fat is electricity Michael?

MICHAEL

That’s not the point.

He digs some more.

Tony pulls Michael away from the door.

TONY

That’s enough, stop this now.

MICHAEL

Okay fine but I’m coming back tomorrow and we’re finding out what that is.

TONY

It’s a cable, mystery over.

MICHAEL

That’s no cable.

Michael walks over to the sink and starts to clean the utensil.

MICHAEL

Move the bin over it or something.

TONY

Why?

MICHAEL

Because we don’t want your friend knowing do we?

TONY

Did you not want to think about that beforehand?

MICHAEL

Not when the buzzing was around.

TONY

Was?

MICHAEL

Well, not really, it’s still here. You seriously can’t hear that?

TONY

No.

MICHAEL

Must be some kind of frequency buffering or something.

TONY

Frequency what?

MICHAEL

Never mind, just put the bin over it and we’ll be done until tomorrow.

Michael walks towards the door and opens it.

MICHAEL

Remember, if you need anything then just knock. I’ll be back later.

TONY

Thank you for just turning up to wreck the place.

MICHAEL

You’re welcome.

Michael closes the door behind him.

Tony walks over to his bed and sits on the end of it.

  1. INT/TONY’S FLAT/DAY

Tony is fast asleep on his bed.

He awakes slowly, getting to a vertical basis.

He walks over to the window and pulls the curtains back.

Light streams into the room.

Tony smiles.

He looks down at the bin in the corner, covering where the hole would be.

He walks over and moves the bin.

The hole is still there.

Tony suddenly looks very concerned.

He quickly places the bin back.

The door suddenly flings open.

Michael runs in.

He is clutching a large, plastic toolbox.

He places it down on the floor before shutting the door behind him.

It seems like he’s ran down the corridor.

MICHAEL

Does she know?

TONY

Who?

MICHAEL

Your friend.

TONY

Andrea?

MICHAEL

Is Andrea your friend?

TONY

Yes

MICHAEL

Then her then, does she know?

TONY

I haven’t seen her, I was asleep.

MICHAEL

You were asleep? Like a normal human. This is progress. Can you hear that sound yet?

TONY

I’m still hearing nothing.

MICHAEL

Truly? Well I’ve brought something.

He reaches into his tool kit and brings out a stethoscope.

He puts it in his ears and holds the other end to the wall.

MICHAEL

Certainly buzzing.

TONY

I seriously thought I’d dreamt this.

MICHAEL

No, you were awake, now let’s get digging.

Michael brings out a chisel and starts to hack at the wall.

He suddenly stops.

MICHAEL

You’re not freaking out.

TONY

No, I’m not.

MICHAEL

Definite progress.

Michael hacks away more carefully this time.

A whole piece of plaster falls off revealing a switch.

MICHAEL

I’m flicking it.

TONY

You don’t even know what it is.

MICHAEL

That’s why I’m flicking it

Michael flicks the switch.

The light that filled the room from the window suddenly stops.

The window is filled with static.

The words ‘No video feed’ move across the screen.

TONY

What the hell have you done?

MICHAEL

What was that? When was your window a TV screen?

TONY

It wasn’t.

MICHAEL

Well that’s not what I’m seeing now.

TONY

There were people, cars, lights, everything.

MICHAEL

Not any more. What else in this place is fake?

TONY

Nothing, it’s been here for as long as I have.

MICHAEL

That doesn’t make it real though does it. I knew I could hear something.

Michael starts to frantically look around the flat.

MICHAEL

Reckon we could take the screen out of there?

TONY

For what?

MICHAEL

Because there must be something beyond that.

TONY

I’m not helping you any further. You’ve torn apart enough.

MICHAEL

Scrap that idea, I’m going to mine.

TONY

Oh so now you’re running away?

MICHAEL

All these flats are the same, I want to check my window.

Michael goes storming off through the front door.

Tony flicks the switch again

The light comes back and fill the room.

The screen displays the street outside again.

Tony stares in wonder.

He then runs out of the flat.

  1. INT/ CORRIDOR/ DAY

Tony goes running down the corridor towards Michael’s door.

He knocks first.

TONY

Michael?

There is no answer.

Tony cautiously opens the door.

He is faced with a bare brick wall

Tony looks horrified.

He moves across the corridor to the door opposite Michael’s flat.

He opens this as well.

Again, a brick wall.

A door at the end of the corridor opens and Andrea stands in it.

ANDREA

Tony?

Tony doesn’t say a word.

ANDREA

I know this seems strange.

TONY

You could say that.

ANDREA

You didn’t take the pills did you?

TONY

Got told not to.

ANDREA

You don’t remember much about coming here do you?

TONY

Coming here?

ANDREA

We picked you.

TONY

Who’s we?

ANDREA

You were needed for research.

TONY

You’re trying to say I’m some kind of lab rat?

ANDREA

You’re hardly a rat Tony. We just needed to know.

TONY

Know what?

ANDREA

Can we convince somebody to fear anything? Could we keep somebody locked into one building without any physical restraints?

TONY

Get me out of here.

ANDREA

That wouldn’t be a good idea.

Tony starts to stride down the corridor.

He breaks into a run

Straight past Andrea.

He ends up running straight into a field

Green grass and sunlight.

Tweeting birds.

THE END

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32

Yesterday brought with it my 32nd birthday. Seeing as I spent most of the day in work I was glad that we had moved most of the celebrating part to Sunday before. My birthday gift from my wife was a Nexus 7 tablet upon which I type this now.

I’ve already downloaded some screenwriting software (or must I always say ‘app’?) as the idea of doing a bit of scriptwriting on the fly is a good one.

It also means I’ve downloaded Football Manager 2013 which probably means no writing will get done until I’ve got Glasgow Rangers back to their former glory.

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The Electric Potato

I’m reading back over the ending of The Unlocked Project and I’m still not sure. What part of me think leaving my main character wandering into a field of birds and green grass? I can only assume that I got it from playing this…

 

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A Tomb For The Superhero

Let’s get this out of the way first, I’m a terrible comic book fan. I don’t mean this as in I like terrible comics but more to do with the fact that I don’t read nearly as much of them as people think I do. Whilst I love Batman, Iron Man and X-Men I’ve only read the obvious titles that are out in bookshops. Human bookshops that everybody uses. Basically, I know people who are far more knowledgeable than me about the medium  I usually fall into reading various comics books because aforementioned friends have recommended it or the movie version is on at the cinema and I have no time to go and see it. In 2009, this happened with Watchmen. Without the free time to go the cinema and see it the next best thing was to buy the book instead. It was probably my introduction to Alan Moore who, up until this point, I’d only had a passing knowledge of (see, terrible comic book fan). In an interview about Watchmen he had said that he wanted the comic to be ‘a tomb for the superhero’ and before I read it I wouldn’t have known what he meant by that. It all becomes perfectly clear upon finishing it.

When boiled down and held up to the cold light of day most superhero stories are complete nonsense. If Bruce Wayne were real then witnessing both his Mother and Father gunned down in cold blood whilst he was a young boy would put him in years of therapy. He would not be rushing to dress up as a large flying rodent whilst spending his vast fortune on various technical gizmos. The Batman comics are basically a deranged revenge fantasy and as far as comics go there’s nothing wrong with that but Watchmen certainly benefits from making the vast majority of its characters somehow normal. The story is based on people who acted as vigilantes and dressed up in superhero outfits in the process. It might seem a little ridiculous as an idea (although not to some people as today’s news stated) but it means that most of the Watchmen have some strand of normality in their DNA. These people are not gods, they live amongst us. They’re also well past their prime as the entire group, once defenders of justice, have no been sidelined by the public and even banned.

It’s an alternate 1985, the shadow of nuclear warfare hangs over and Watchmen begins with a murder as The Comedian is killed in his own home. At first you’d expect that there would be a need to generate sympathy for his death in seeing him as an all round good guy but there isn’t a bit of it. The Comedian is vile as a character. He is racist, violent and at one point in the story he sexually assaults a female hero. The Comedian might have fought for America in Vietnam but his attitude is selfish and self serving. He may have been on the side of ‘good’ but there’s hardly any good in him.

The death of the Comedian isn’t the first of the Watchmen to die so an unofficial investigation is carried out in which group member Rorschach attempt to fill in the blanks. His story comes across in the style of a 1950’s detective novel, a fact that his overcoat and hat assist. Rorschach’s upbringing, his mother a prostitute and his father one of her clients, has understandably given him a dark view of life.

Initially, Rorschach is the only one who believes that the heroes of the past are being killed off and he spends the first part of the book attempting to gather together the former allies into some kind of unit to put up resistance. He approaches his old partner Night Owl who is probably the closest thing Watchmen has to a Batman figure in that he has vehicles and gadgets. Alas, he does not have the mansion nor the piles of money Bruce Wayne has so therefore must do with a town house with a large basement. Night Owl ends up trying to relive the old days with Silk Spectre who only gained her hero alter ego after taking over from her Mother. This fact alone gives her plenty of problems concerning living up to her Mother’s billing.

If I had to pick one favourite character though it would be Dr Manhattan. His story of being a normal scientist who is caught up in a reactor explosion is one of the standard comic book clichés but the brilliant part about him is how he reacts to being given these god like powers. He may have the ability to manipulate objects with his mind, to teleporting anywhere he pleases and to win entire conflicts by simply stomping across the battlefield but it has removed him from being anything like human. There’s a magical part of Watchmen is which Dr Manhattan goes into hiding on Mars and spends a few pages explaining how he sees time pass and how, rather than being separate things, he sees the past, present and future together as one. It’s a complex idea to get your head round but this section is so well written it all makes sense by the end.

Watchmen’s big strength is that all of  these characters are different and all are not typical heroes as we have come to imagine them. Watchmen gives us a small taste of what it would be like if real people started to dress up at night to go off fighting crime. In most cases it would lead to a rather lonely and paranoid existence which the book reflects. Alan Moore is also infamously against the 2009 movie version as he says it was designed to be a comic book and should be remembered as such. In a way he’s right, there’s just too much depth and too many interwoven strands of story in the book meaning any film adaptation was always going to be a cut down version of events. One character has written their memoirs which are glossed over quickly in the movie but in the book you are given full opportunity to read a few sample chapters. There’s a comic book within a comic in the book as one character reads a story based on piracy. It’s something the screen version simply cannot go into for fear of losing an audience. The film still works but there’s so much more to discover in the book.

I’m a rubbish comic book fan so I’ve probably just spent one thousand words preaching to the converted but if you come to this blog to read about amateur adventures in screen writing and haven’t discovered Watchmen’s brilliance then I suggest you pick it up.

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