Would you welcome another writer into the show?

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by Burnie, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. Burnie

    Burnie Skutter

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    I don't honestly think Naylor is very good at all solo (especially with BtE)... so I'm saying yes. Also I don't mean Rob Grant, but someone entirely new.
     
  2. Baxters_Hooch

    Baxters_Hooch Supply Officer

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    I think Doug's fine, but I wouldn't object to additional writers. Robert's (Llewellyn) got some writing talent!
     
  3. Paul Taylor

    Paul Taylor Console Officer

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    More writers = more ideas. As long as Doug has the final say, a lot of shows work well with different writers pitching ideas.
     
  4. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    Getting more writers has already been tried in series 7 and 8 and I have to say I wasn't pleased with the results. The style of humour was particularly crass at times and didn't feel very Dwarfy at all. I'd also argue that it didn't necessarily bring more originality so much as it brought recycled jokes and ideas from Jasper Carrot sketches. Round pegs in square holes I'm afraid.

    However I'm sure there are many competent writers out there who are fans of the show and would like to work on their own episode so its not beyond the bounds of possibility that someone who understands the show could produce a competently written episode, I just don't think that person is Paul Alexander. Sorry Paul.
     
  5. Burnie

    Burnie Skutter

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    I think it's a question of bringing in the right people - Paul Alexander et al weren't exactly that. But it's not that difficult to write in the vein of Dwarf, as I can attest being something of an amateur writer myself. I think it's also a matter of direction in which to take the show in - Naylor changes his mind dramatically on this every time he writes a new series, perhaps finding himself a new writing partner would bring back some consistency.

    Llew wrote the second best episode of Season 7 so I'll agree that he ain't bad.
     
  6. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    Co-wrote. From what I've read Doug Naylor still ended up writing something like 60% of it.
     
  7. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    It's important to note that any writer brought in wouldn't wield any real power. When Rob and Doug wrote together, it was essentially a balanced partnership, they could veto each other. Bring in a writer like Paul and he can write acres of material - but only what Doug (and to a lesser extent Ed) select gets through.

    I don't think Paul's at fault - not when Stoke, Epideme and Krytie TV are three of the best episodes of VII and VIII. Certainly he had interesting ideas and a smart eye for gags. ("For a start a book's got a spine" is especially splendid.) But I don't think his style meshed with Doug's in the end.

    But, as I say, as with all the co-writers in VII, you have to remember that it's a wholly different kind of professional collaboration to the one that went before.

    It should also be said that Doug doesn't work in a vacuum. The Back to Earth script is undoubtedly his baby, but he does draw on those around him. If you didn't care for BTE, that's fine, but many did. And it would be a mistake to see that story as being the product of the same process as VII and VIII. (And I'm not just saying this because of my own contributions. Though I remain proud of them.)

    I would heavily argue that BTE is a great deal more grounded, tonally, than VII and VIII. I'd argue that the directorial style reflects the script, in that it plays much closer to the more 'solid', less 'broad' tones of Series V and VI. Which is to say: I'd argue that BTE puts the show on track for a potential 'solo' Naylor future. And I can't think of a brand-new outsider who could come in right now and make it better.

    But who knows...?
     
  8. dvd3500

    dvd3500 Catering Officer

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    Hey Andrew, I could have sworn I saw a pic on this site that had your name on a script. Was I maybe hallucinating? (been known to happen)...
     
  9. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    You're probably thinking of the 'security stamp' that gets printed on every page of a script, including the cover, giving the name of the person the script was printed for.

    You'll see it on Chris's script that's available for auction at the moment - see the front page news for the link.
     
  10. dvd3500

    dvd3500 Catering Officer

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    Aahhh... that was it then. Thanks
     
  11. Weevil

    Weevil Deck Sergeant

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    Couldn't have put it any better myself.
    Sorry Burnie but Beyond a Joke is a terrible episode in my opinion.
     
  12. jacksolomonsmith

    jacksolomonsmith First Technician

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    Series 8 had a co-writter. Look what happened. Well, okay it was mostly Doug's work, but still, he has a vision, and seeing as he did nearly everything in BTE, perhaps it's a better option for him to do it himself, seeing as that's pretty much the only thing we've seen him do himself alone/writting/directing.
     
  13. jacksolomonsmith

    jacksolomonsmith First Technician

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    Associate producer. Not sure what that job intales but I know you did script notes Andrew? Oh and that scene where the dwarfers walk down the stairs to nose world, Andrew recommended the location for that in Shepperton, although I stand to be corrected on all this.
     
  14. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    Associate Producer's a bit of a catch-all title for the various jobs I did. In my case it covers everything from press and publicity to production help (advising on bunk room details, subtly suggesting for Doug and Howard to go for blue for Katerina's costume, that stupid gantry suggestion which nearly killed the cast from heat exhaustion and a steep fall!) to what's been my main job in recent years - script consultancy.

    It's kinda impolitic to bang on about which bits I had my little hand it, since it's still very much Doug's story - as with every show I work on, it's all suggestion and help. Working to allow the writer to best achieve what they want. Often it's a 'wood for the trees' job - they may not realise that exposition is missing, or is too heavy, or that the story's going so fast they're forgetting to be funny, or they're too busy being funny to run the plot on. It can be all sorts of stuff, but it's always 'help'; I'm not doing their homework for them.

    What ideas get in are chosen from the pile of ideas I hand over. Lots of little bits and bobs all the way through BTE - the 'look her up in the phone book' line, the use of 'ferrety' - but honestly it all starts to blur together. And all my bad stuff gets wilfully, and rightly, ignored.

    I can say that I pitched the demise of Katerina, that was mine. Best moment of the entire production for me was when I was sat on the floor with Doug in They Walk Among Us and he told me that Andy, the DoP, had told him it was his favourite moment in the latest draft.

    You can't help but glow a little. Amazing that someone thought that. More amazing still that the writer/director would pass it on so unselfishly. A bigger ego wouldn't have.

    The fun bit is when you sit down with a vague notion and Doug comes back with this nuclear detonation of a moment. I'd mentioned before a rewrite that, since the very nature of the story means some people will guess the 'twist' of it being another hallucination, it would be great to take an extra moment to look at what this means to Lister. That the offer of a 'perfect' imaginary life must hold a certain appeal for someone so alone. (Buffy tried this out in an episode called Norman Again...and, of course, Doug and Rob made magic out of that idea in the Infinity/Better Than Life novels, which is probably where I nicked it from in the first place.)

    Next draft: he's only brought Kochanski back.

    It's gobsmacking. There's this vague notion being batted around - one he'd had before, one I was interested in now - and instead of this last, interesting beat...he creates the sucker-punch that arguably MAKES that entire trilogy. One so good it feels like it was set-up from the minute Lister sat at that memorial stone.

    It's why I love re-writing as a process that benefits this art form. And why I adore Doug's work as a writer.
     
  15. no_name

    no_name Third Technician

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    In the series VII DVD documentary someone mentioned that Dwarf couldn't work with any old extra writer which is why I believe that VII and VIII weren't entirely successful. The documentary mentions that a writer has to live and breathe Red Dwarf which to me means not just being totally committed to making it the best show possible but understanding it's style of humour. Dwarf I-VI has a sense of humour that I can't see much of in any other program and I saw this return in BTE more than in VII and VIII. I don't think the additional writers were right and though there were still great moments in those two series, there were many jokes that didn't feel like they belonged in Dwarf.

    As Andrew was a fan before an employee of GNP, I think he is ideal as a Script Editor/Overlooker/Whatever his official title was as he understands Dwarf and understands what works for the programme and can give Doug constructive criticism. On Ganymede and Titan members have been working on an animated series and those who have offered gags have offered gags that are in the style of Dwarf and they work for this reason. They understand the show and it's humour and so the gags work for it's audience. Therefore any new writer musn't see it as just a job but as something to nurture and care for and something they truly understand. IMO.
     
  16. Burnie

    Burnie Skutter

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    Personally I think it's just a matter of finding the right guy. I think major mis-steps were made in hiring a man who thought that cow vindaloo visual gags would work in Red Dwarf. Someone who can get well inamongst the Red Dwarf atmosphere is essential as it is a show with a style and humour that is unlike any other.

    I like Beyond a Joke, it's funnier than most of Series VII (note: reference gags prevalent in VII are NOT FUNNY. I'm looking at you, airline chicken kievs.)
     
  17. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    Very interesting stuff Andrew. It seems incredible that we might not have had that ending now especially when it turns the trilogy into such a satisfying piece of work. I know that moment, more than any other, had people on tenderhooks over whether Lister would stay in the dream world (and Craig Charles be written out).
    One thing I'd like you to clarify though; are you saying that in the original ending they would have all just woken up without Lister ever having his dilemma? If so, I think that would have been a much flatter ending so congratulations for whatever suggestion you made that got Doug onto the idea.

    If only you'd been around for 'Only the Good' :roll:
     
  18. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    Indeed - the early ending was without that dilemma.
     
  19. bedfordfalls

    bedfordfalls Deck Sergeant

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    Wow, that really wouldn't have been as good and would have felt much more like the BTR rehash that many people have (imo) wrongly accused it of being. I love it when stories take on a life of their own like that and go in a completely different direction to where you think they will when you set out writing them.

    Very interesting stuff, especially as the Blade Runner stuff just wouldn't have felt complete without "Rachael" and the speech Lister gives when he walks away from her is one of the most lump in throat moments in RD history...I have to fight the urge to cheer everytime I see it.
     
  20. Andrew

    Andrew Executive Officer

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    To be totally fair it's likely Doug would have found a different ending anyway - his willingness to rewrite is one of his most underrated gifts.

    But yeah, I agree. Those scenes are among the best in the show's history. The made me cry the first time I saw them in the edit. In front of everyone.
     

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