The production company kindly invited me to the first script read through of Naked Apes, this is incredibly kind of them as, while they have been sending me scripts to read through and comment on, I’ve no creative power here.
For those that don’t know how it works, I write a book, then I sell the rights for it to be commercially ‘exploited’ to a publisher. The publisher then gambles that they’ll make some money and prints a load up*, they then publicise it and look around to see if anyone else would like to change it into another format just so long as they cut us in on a piece of the action.
Some time ago the rights for the TV adaptation were sold to Daybreak Pictures (their most recent work would be C4’s The Promise) and I thought that this would be the last I heard of it.
Then, seemingly out of the blue, they phoned me up and told me that Channel 4 wanted it made into a TV show.
After a couple of months I was sent some draft scripts to see what I thought – and I really enjoyed them…
So, some time later, I found myself on a train to Leeds with the cast and crew for the first script reading.
(I’ve signed an NDA, so I have to be a bit obtuse here).
A script reading is, I believe, a chance for everyone to meet and for the actors to read through the scripts so that the writers, director, producers and the rest of the crew can get a feel for the performance and to see what bits work or not.
It was only when I walked into the huge meeting hall at the hotel we were using that it finally hit me that all these people were there because someone wanted to see my book on TV.
Which, I don’t care how cool you are, is pants-wettingly exciting.
I mean, there was always a part of my brain that thought that there was no way this was actually going to happen, that it was all a big soap bubble that would soon burst in disappointment. It was only when I saw those sixty or so people sitting around the room that it actually became real.
Just like the first day of college, we went around the room all introducing ourselves, from the actors, the writers, the producers, the costume people, the PR people, the set and lighting people and… me.
I got a round of applause.
Which, is weird, and embarrassing and most unexpected. But then, I suppose that I’ve given them all work to do, which is nice because work helps pay the rent.
(And if it shows up in the DVD extras, you’ll see me blush, and flap my hands around a bit, and thankfully I won’t be in the room with you to see it and get all embarrassed again).
The script readthrough sounded excellent – I really like the scripts and the actors were excellent, and the funny bits were very funny. Which is handy. I also learnt a tip from a professional writer on how to get through these sorts of things, when everyone is looking for flaws in your work, although I suspect that it wasn’t needed.
And then I was on my way home, for I had work the next morning, while the cast and crew stayed up in Leeds ready to start making the thing.
Later, I got to go on a set visit to watch some filming, but that was a different day.
*While also doing all the boring stuff such as making it look pretty, checking that I haven’t libelled anyone and that I’ve not made any horrendous grammatical mistakes.