Saturday, 1 March 2008

"To me!" "To you!" "To me!" "To you!"

Do you remember, a couple of posts back, how I pitched my ideas for Casualty and "passed".

Well, it was all an illusion. I'm back to the drawing board, looking for guest stories to go alongside the serial element already provided by the team down in Bristol.

It's not as easy as it sounds. Everyone's watched Casualty. You've all played the game - guess the victim. Who's going to get it in the neck, and with what nasty pointed piece of apparently innocent street furniture?

Of course, amongst us professionals (ahem) it's all more serious than that. We're looking for the human drama between the victim and those they love, live and work with. And we're looking for some kind of resonance with what's going on in the lives of our doctors, nurses and paramedics (without being too corny). The incident itself (the "stunt") is simply the thing which propels them into the story.

But it's the stunt I have the most trouble with.

Have you ever seen Chucklevision? Why is it that every stunt I think of sounds like the mishaps of the Chuckle Brothers? Those of you with young kids will know what I mean.

This is meant to be serious drama, and all I can come up with are pratfalls.


Helen Smith said...

Oh God, it sounds awful - too much like hard work.

I wonder how many writers pitch 'stunts' in which Casualty-type BBC TV execs suffer horribly in a variety of ways.

Still, you'll get through it. Nose to grindstone, fingers to keyboard. There's no other way. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

David Bishop said...

I'm guessing you can't have a story about an injured clown going to Casualty?

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with a pratfall? They can have very serious consequences.

I've lost count of how many times I've told my boys "Settle down! I do NOT have time to take silly twaddlers to Carlisle*!"

*Our nearest 'casualty'.

Good luck!


Oli said...

Can I suggest perhaps a watching of the Final Destination trilogy might bring a very non-Chuckle brothers flavour to the proceedings? They are, essentially, big collections of (admittedly gory and over the top) Casualty stunts.

Paul Campbell said...

Thanks, guys.

Oli - have I mentioned that I have issues with blood and gore? It doesn't sit well with a Casualty commission.

AnneOfCleves said...

I've had this problem, too. I set out to write a serious drama and within minutes my characters are yucking it up and generally misbehaving. Truly frustrating.

Perhaps you could watch a few very scary movies to get into the mood? Or listen to smooth jazz...that usually makes me want to kill somebody.

David Lemon said...

Hi Paul
having only written doctors, with its less gore-centric approach to medical matters, I sympathise with your need to 'up the stakes'. If it's of any use, I found from my time as a VT director on BBC1's City Hospital that the more squeam-inducing injuries I filmed weren't the big bloody ones, but stuff like a nail going through a finger (I blame all those daytime DIY shows) and dislocated limbs. The pop as they were pulled and snapped back into place still gives me the shivers, though I filmed opem heart surgery without once feeling nauseous.

Hope that helps- and if you can put in a good word for a 'Doctors' writer who's filmed in real hospitals for years...?