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marlon brando

My Hpi Radio Play

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Been trying to write something for BBC Radio 4 drama. Several rejected attempts, including this one, which is supposed to be a sort of comedy drama about the insanity of HPI and BTL in London.

Don't know how successful it is, but thought the members of this site might like to take a look, seeing as it brazenly borrows many of the ideas and language of this forum. it is at http://anyonesittinghere.weebly.com

The page requires a password which is 'ash' then the play can be downloaded as a PDF. Thanks.

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I'll have a read. One post-work project I've got on the go is a radio play. I'm an engineer by training and this lark is almost entirely new to me. But not totally - when I was a penniless student I had a nice side gig going - typing up scripts for writers (radio mainly) which morphed into setting up computers for them (think Amstrad!). I always thought "I could do that" and, here I am, 30 years later sharpening my pencil.

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Thanks JTB. Worth having a go. The good thing about writing for BBC radio is that they need a lot of scripts. The downside is that getting them to read anything by a 'nobody' is not easy.

The Writers' Room is really the only way in. I've had various levels of success there, but it has always ended up in rejection so far.

Take a read and you might think that's no surprise!

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I enjoyed it Marlon. I was visualising my old place in Bristol as I read it. My landlady there used to let herself in to clean once a week but she never really cleaned the place, she would leave little post it notes on the kitchen worktop to prompt us to fix things.

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Thanks for the play. Nice to see something like this on HPC. First impression. Ideal for a radio slot. Small cast, basic SFX, so very easy on the production budget. Some nice humorous touches (you should exploit your black comedy skills more). Criticism? You've tried to cram absolutely everything HPC into such a tight slot. Bernard is very over-egged as the ultimate ******* landlord, while Declan's emotional/mental transition from harassed tenant into another horrible Bernard strains credibility. In one jump the crafty blackmailer is now also a total hypocrite.

Emotional transitions are the hardest bit of script writing. They are often the most important scenes in a drama.

I think we should get into this play quicker, with something on page one or two that will make the script reader sit up sharply , curiosity piqued. That Bernard works with Julie and Declan isn't really story-relevant _ that strand goes nowhere. Use it or lose it. Forget who's-eating-what for lunch. The drama could open with Bernard having left their pub table,and their outraged whispered reaction to what has just gone on. "Why does any landlord ever want to come round? To justify putting our rent up,or kick us out, that's why!!" Create the dramatic question quickly that the play will answer. Hook the listener (and script reader) in.

Bernard's dialogue needs cutting sharply down to size. Just a few light-touch indicators will get the point over that he's a real *****. The page space gained can then be used for a late scene where Declan tries to justify his total change of heart to Julie (and us), before the arrival of Ray.

She's got her 'dream house', but how does she really feel about just how much Declan has changed? Is there an alternative ending where the audience can see the first cracks appearing in their relationship, with ambitious, newly-greedy Declan unaware that his avarice may ultimately cost him something more valuable than money.

As it stands, you leave us with no-one to like, no-one to identify with. Just a dog-eat-dog world where a home of your own simply spawns the desire for more of 'em to let out. This bleak message may be the one you want to get over, but your audience may not fully buy into it. They will look for a moral centre in at least one character that aligns with their own beliefs . Julie seems tailor made for this role. All she ever really wanted was her own place..

Your drama is 75% on the money. It just needs an emotional heart among the greedy ducking and diving. Hope I haven't been too tough. I know how hard script writing is.

Seriously, the very best of luck with it. Let us know if you get a meeting..

Edited by juvenal

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Thanks both for taking the time to read it, and really appreciate these excellent notes juvenal.

Must admit I've never really attempted a second draft to sort the thing out. Your thoughts are really helpful, and inspire me to take another look at it.

Danger is by the time I get it in shape the HPC will have happened!

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The Writers' Room is really the only way in. I've had various levels of success there, but it has always ended up in rejection so far.

I think they changed it to submissions twice a year. It used to be ongoing.

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There's not much I can add to the excellent comments above. However, here are my thoughts.

- it's hard to put myself in the shoes of the average R4 listener. All the HPC tropes are in there and they mean something to me. But I tell if they are presented in an enlightening manner non-HPCers or whether they are almost in-jokes to us. I think the former, but how can I tell?

- Juvenal is correct. The transition jars. And the landlord-in-cellar scene doesn't flow.

- Characters are slightly stereotype. But I think this is just how radio drama is done - there's not time to develop interesting character.

- But you use the characters well. Love the dialogue and mild humour - you've really got this down to a tee.

- Unlike Juvenal, I like the fact they work together. From an HPC message point of view, it's good as it illustrates that there's no difference between HPI winners and losers bar date of birth and a willingness to wing things. But I also think it works from a dramatic point of view - otherwise the anonymous ******* landlord would purely be just a stereotype.

- The problem is the transition/ending. Endings are always hard. No advice from me, though. And, maybe it's just me - maybe it works for others.

- One HPC idea you missed (and I was sure was coming) was calling the EA about the new flat from the pub - only to find it had been already bought by their LL ("sold it to a BTL; they get IO, of course - so offered asking price").

Ignore my negative points - it's a good piece.

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