Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Story Engine: The Scene of the Crime

On Thursday I travel northward. I am going to spend the weekend in the beautiful city of Newcastle Upon Tyne where I will be attending The Story Engine: The Scene of the Crime. A two day conference dedicated to screenwriting – with an emphasis on crime, as you’ll note by this year’s subtitle. The opening event, on Friday night, is a screening of Mike Hodges seminal gangster flick Get Carter. One of my favourite films of all time; I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it. The bonus of this screening is Mike Hodges is in attendance and will be speaking about the film.

The second day of events promises even more excitement. We’ll be hearing from Denise Mina about writing crime fiction, Mike Hodges and David Peace exploring the importance of place in genre fiction. Then Tony Grisoni outlines writing the superb Red Riding quarter for Channel 4. Then the BBC’s John Yorke talks about crime on television. Then Script editor Eva Svenstedt Ward and writer Antonia Pyk discuss Scandinavian crime fiction, and their role in it as writers for Yellow Bird (behind Wallander and the Millennium films). Then novelist Ann Cleeves and screenwriter Paul Rutman discuss bringing Vera to ITV. Finally, Eva Svenstedt Ward discusses adapting Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy for the screen, followed by a screening of that film. All in all a jam-packed informative weekend ahead. Sadly, the event is now sold out, so if you got all excited reading that line-up and wanted to go: tough.

I’ve been working quietly on a crime drama pilot that I’m going to approach the BBC Writersroom with if the teenage science fiction series goes nowhere. I’ve completed a rough first draft – it rollicks along, lots of action, lots of tension, and a good chase across some rooftops: the opening of Vertigo influences me still, years after I first saw it. Hopefully The Story Engine will provide a chance to network and meet those who might be able to help my work along.

As a consequence of being in Newcastle, and not owning a laptop, I think my blog will go quiet from Thursday until the following Monday. As I’m travelling by coach there and back (8hrs of travelling!) the two day event becomes four days for me! I think I better take some good books. Perhaps one of Ann Cleeves, or David Peace’s… they’re always worth a re-read.

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