VIRO – Proposal for TV Series – Introduction

Introduction

And so the task begins, as I start to turn the highly successful VIRO book series into a proposal for a TV series. Over the coming weeks, I will be sharing insights and updates as to how this process is going.  So let’s begin at the beginning.

VIRO – The TV Series Proposal

GENRE: Horror/Science Fiction – Post-Apocalypse

TAG LINE: Four Kids, One Apocalypse

LOG LINE: As a viral pandemic turns the world into bloodthirsty creatures, a boy with special needs looks for his missing mum.

VIRO tells the story of Jake, a boy born with special needs who wakes one morning to find that the world has been catastrophically overrun by a deadly virus and his mum has not come home after work. Determined but unused to being out on his own, Jake sets off to find her.

The book series is set in the south east of England and Season One takes place in Burton-on-Sea, a fictional seaside town modelled on Hastings. The time is somewhere in the 1970s. 

There is no knowing exactly where the virus came from and the point of the series is that no-one will ever know. There is a lot of speculation but no definitive explanation. This makes VIRO darker and bleaker as we soon come to realise that the world will not be saved. 

The story is not a race to find a cure but about finding a way to simply survive. Science, like God, and society, is broken now. It makes no difference, especially to a group of teenage friends who don’t really have time to try and make sense of what has happened.  They just want to stay alive.

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 11 ‘From the Sea’

Mac cleared his throat, opened his Miscellanea and started reading.

‘Fomhóire means ‘from the sea’ and is the name given to the divine powers, or gods of night, death and cold. The Fomhóire were misshapen and were believed to have the heads of goats and bulls. They also were believed to have only one leg and one arm each, and these grew out of the middle of their chests. The Fomhóire were the ancestors of the evil faeries and, according to legend, of all misshapen persons. The giants and leprechauns are also said to belong to the Fomhóire.’

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 9 ‘Cataclysm’

‘Every infection needs a host,’ said Mac, ‘and the NotBeSpeak need the biggest host of all; the world.’

‘How do we stop them?’ asked Inteachán.

‘How do you stop them,’ Mac corrected her. ‘I am old and my days of fighting inter-dimensional demons intent upon cataclysm are long gone.’

‘How do I stop them?’

‘They can only be stopped by preventing them from taking their final form.’

Mac smiled sadly.

‘If we know what final form they wish to take then that is how we can stop them.’

He paused.

‘But, I am only now beginning to understand what form their final form will take.’

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 8 ‘The What-be-Speak?’

It was growing dark outside. Inteachán pulled the curtains over the window. In the orange glow of the lamp Mac looked even more ancient than normal. Inteachán sat down on the small footstool in front of the fire.

‘What are the What-Be-Speak?’ she asked.

‘Not ‘What,” Mac replied, ‘but Why.’

He looked into the distance.

‘I have spent my whole adult life searching for an answer to that question. I am no closer to the answer now than I was when I started.’

He blew his nose vigorously.

‘In fact, I’m probably further away today than I have ever been.’

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 7 ‘A Sighing Sound’

Everyone said that it was a gas leak that caused the explosion that destroyed No. 23 Wolseley Close but Inteachán and Professor Mac an Bhaird know better.

‘Do you remember hearing anything just before the explosion?’ asked Mac. ‘Think carefully.’

‘I think I remember a sighing sound,’ replied Inteachán. ‘Like a sigh that got louder and started to scream.’

‘‘Fomhóire,’ Mac said softly. ‘The NotBeSpeak.’

‘The What-be-Speak?’ said Inteachán.

‘They walk among us,’ replied Mac. ‘Since the start of Time and even before.’

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 6 ‘You may call me Mac’

It was Professor Mac an Bhaird who heard Inteachán sobbing late on that awful evening.

Who left his door open in case she needed someone. Who woke to find Inteachán curled up asleep at the end of his narrow bed. Who smiled and didn’t speak. Who allowed Inteachán to just sit. Until she was ready to talk.

‘You may call me Mac,’ he said kindly.

Now they talk all the time.

Bara Cailín Ident test

Hi Everyone

Here’s a test ident for Bara Cailín. I am trying to capture that particularly unsettling feeling that I always associate with British science fiction, supernatural and horror television shows from the 1970s – in particular, Roger Price’s The Tomorrow People (1973-1979); Children of the Stones (Peter Graham Scott, 1977); and Nigel Kneale’s wonderful Quatermass IV (1979).

What does the future hold for Bara Cailín?

Bara Cailín began as a simple experiment in writing flash fiction.

I had had the idea of young child teaming up with an elderly academic to save the planet from a cosmic threat for a while and was looking at how best to develop it. Having worked at Trinity College Dublin I also wanted to make this institution an integral part of the story. So I started writing.

I always knew that the structure was going to be episodic, even before I thought of publishing it as a daily serial, and so as I began writing I could see straightaway how the story was going to unfold. The short form really helped as well; allowing me to focus on generating narrative momentum whilst also allowing me to create enough space for other people to fill in their own blanks.

As you know, I have been publishing the daily sections as chapters and this seemed fine to begin with but now that I am at the stage in the story where a natural break has occurred (but yet to be revealed) I have had to reconsider the structuring of the project. In fact it was only this afternoon that the current structure came to me and I have now changed the existing posts and those yet to be published in order to fit this new format.

Essentially, I am now using a Chapter and Verse structure, with each ‘existing’ chapter now becoming a verse. This means that as the adventures unfold Bara Cailín will become a series of chapters, each one containing a series of numbered verses.

The beauty of this structure is that it allows me to retain the story’s episodic nature whilst also delineating clear breaks in the unfolding of Inteachán’s adventures. Another reason for reorganizing the story of Bara Cailín in this way is with regard to the future of the project.

I am currently looking at how I can further develop the series – I just haven’t decided how. I am already working on a screenplay and I can see the story’s potential as a feature, animated or otherwise. But that is just one possibility. The adventures of Inteachán and her struggle to save the world from the NotBeSpeak would also work equally well as an animated series for television or YouTube or any other audiovisual platform. Another idea would be for the adventures to be illustrated and turn Bara Cailín into a novel, graphic or otherwise. As you can see, at this stage I am simply open to any and all possibilities.

The most important thing is that the story will continue as a daily serial published on my blog but who knows what the future will bring?

If you have any thoughts then please feel free to let me know.

What does the future hold for Bara Cailín?

Breaking News

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Hi everyone

Here is the next thrilling installment from Falcon Boy and Bewilder Bird versus Dr Don’t Know in a Battle for all the Life of all the Planet

Please take a look and let me know what you think. All feedback is gratefully received. Click the link to find out more …

2. Dr Don’t Know meets Juniper Jarvis

Like almost all of some parts of the rest of the world, Panic Town had the choice of nearly twenty-seven television channels. Yet for most people, 123 Celebrity News was the only channel of choice.

123 Celebrity News was beamed, bounced, screened, recorded, streamed, downloaded, torrented, zipped, compressed, shared, copied, replayed, burnt, backed-up, archived, data-managed and saved for later all day every day so that Panic Town could gorge itself on celebrity news until it falls into an audiovisual stupor.

The breaking news this morning was coming live from the steps of the Town Hall and was a celebrity feast like no other has ever been witnessed. It was guaranteed to revitalise even the most constipated of viewers.

‘Hi everyone, my name is Juniper Jarvis and I’m reporting live for 123 Celebrity News. I’m with that well-known bad guy and all-round celebrity supervillain, the legendary Dr Don’t Know.’

For most people in Panic Town, the concept of twenty-four hour news meant exactly what it said. They imagined that presenters like Juniper had to present the news for twenty-four hours at a time.

As a result, these same people were permanently perplexed when they bumped into Juniper while they were walking down the street. Or shopping at a supermarket she had been invited to open. Entered a talent contest she was judging. Or looking in through the front window of her ground floor apartment as they just happened to be walking past.

‘Why aren’t you reporting the news?’ people asked when they saw her.

‘Shouldn’t you be on the television instead of standing in this queue?’ people would say, as Juniper patiently queued to pay her television license at the Panic Town National Bank.

‘Who’s going to give me the latest celebrity gossip while you’re busy treating yourself to a week’s groceries?’ inquired the cashier in Food and Things, Panic Town’s most successful supermarket superstore.

Some of the same people also thought that whenever they met Juniper out and about, that she was reporting live for some reason or other, and so they were somehow part of the story. Even the obvious absence of cameras and other news-reporting equipment didn’t stop people believing this.

‘They can build a camera so small nowadays that it is only visible to house flies, microscopes and scientists.’

‘Juniper’s left eye is a camera lens and whenever she talks to anyone, she is simultaneously transmitting live footage to the watching world.’

‘Juniper has a microphone embedded in her index finger and this gives her the real edge when it comes to news reporting.’

‘Juniper’s feet are actually the metal feet of a tripod that were grafted onto her body whilst she was on a so-called ‘holiday’.

‘Juniper has gills inserted into her neck so that she can do interviews in monsoons, waterfalls or underwater.’

As you can imagine, it was hard work being Juniper Jarvis but she would never let this get in the way of doing her job.

‘The breaking news this morning is that Dr Don’t Know has kidnapped Falcon Boy and Bewilder Bird, and is holding them both prisoner in an undisclosed location.’

Juniper paused briefly to let the impact of her news sink in.

‘Even despite the cataclysmic severity of the situation, and bearing in mind any possible calamity now facing the entire Solar System, Dr Don’t Know has kindly agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to be interviewed.’

Whether working with international master criminals, small children underachieving in some delightful way, celebrity ponies and other quirky mammals in the public eye, film stars – the obviously famous and their not so obviously-famous counterparts – even the occasional over-achieving citizen, they all got the same balanced approach from Juniper.

‘So, Dr Don’t Know, perhaps you could tell our viewers why you have decided to commit such an act?’

In case you hadn’t heard, are new to this type of thing, or are simply flicking through the channels looking for something to watch while the adverts are on, Dr Don’t Know is an internationally-known career criminal, reportedly responsible for more than three-quarters of all the crimes that have taken in and around Panic Town over the last fifteen years.

Dr Don’t Know is also the world’s leading authority on being nondescript. The trick to being such a successful international criminal mastermind is to be absolutely and completely one hundred and fifty-six percent nondescript.

In fact, Dr Don’t Know is so completely nondescript that my description of him will run out of words right about now.

‘Don’t know,’ says Dr Don’t Know.

These are the only words that anyone has ever heard Dr Don’t Know use and so, unsurprisingly, this is the name he has been given by the press. Why are these the only words that anyone has ever heard Dr Don’t Know use? I don’t know. You would have to ask him, but you don’t have to be a genius to guess what the answer would be.

Dr Don’t Know’s name will be of the utmost importance to all of us a little bit later on. However, for now, all you need to know is how frustrating it is when the only answer that someone gives to a question is ‘Don’t know.’ Try it now with someone you know and see how it feels. When you have finished come back to the story. We’ll be waiting.

‘Ok. Thank you for that,’ continued Juniper. ‘Perhaps you could tell our audience why what you are planning to do is so criminally important, that you have to keep our two favourite heroes prisoner somewhere secret.’

‘Don’t know,’ said Dr Don’t Know.

I imagine you are starting to feel as frustrated as everyone else is with the interview so far. Dr Don’t Know hasn’t told us anything we want to know. And isn’t likely to. We are no nearer to knowing anything. Or knowing anything more than nothing. Or simply knowing nothing.

Juniper held the microphone even closer to the Doctor.

‘Is all this necessary because you are close to committing some wickedly evil crime and need the world’s most intrepid twosome out of the way in case they try to deflect your diabolic aim?’

‘Don’t know,’ said the inscrutable supervillain once again, and even though I know you are probably extremely upset by now with the whole lack-of-information thing, I can only give you my word that you will know more of what you need to know a little later on.

‘So there you have it, folks. You heard it first on 123 Celebrity News. My name is Juniper Jarvis and I will see you all the next time you see me.’

Bewilder Bird Really Really Loves Format Television (He Really Really Does!)

Here is another thrilling extract from Falcon Boy and Bewilder Bird vs Dr Don’t Know in a Battle for all the Life of all the Planets. In this section we learn a little bit more about the kind of television programme that a superhero like Bewilder Bird likes to watch when he is not trying to save the world from complete and utter destruction. If you want to find out more about superhero viewing habits and a whole lot more besides then why not follow the link here. Here. Here. Here. And here.

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Now in its twelfth season, the premise of Paint Tales is a simple one: a single tin of paint is followed from the factory where it is made to the place where it is used, via the shop where it is sold.
For enthusiasts of the programme, the joy of the journey is immense and somehow almost immeasurable. As a result, Paint Tales has now become a global, if somewhat esoteric, phenomenon. Discovering that the tin of paint you thought was going to be used as a humble undercoat turns out instead to be the final flourish of a ceiling in a converted bathroom can be close to life-changing for aficionados of the programme.
For anyone else, the premise of the programme is almost as disturbing as actually watching an episode and both the existence and continuance of Paint Tales has become a major topic of cultural debate. For some it is the ultimate guilty pleasure, for others it is the producers who should be feeling guilty.
Falcon Boy laughed quietly.
‘The season finale of Paint Tales was about a tin of red paint, Bewilder Bird’s favourite colour, and he had been looking forward to watching it all day. He had even left a note on the fridge to remind himself that it was on that evening.’
For future reference, interest, or indeed, warning, depending on what it is that you like to watch or not watch on television or any other screen, Paint Tales is from the same production company that created Concrete Superstar.
Many media experts believed that Concrete Superstar was going to be the next big thing in format television but the programme only ran for a single season. As a result, the five episodes that do exist have achieved cult status.
Each week, Concrete Superstar challenged three celebrities to lay the perfect concrete patio. Aided by experts, a whole range of stars of stage, screen (both big and small), music and anywhere else mixed, shovelled, poured, levelled, screed, bull-floated, hand-floated, rounded (if required), cut-in, and broomed their concrete in a race against both the clock and the other contestants.
The locations chosen were both indoor and outdoor and for the second season, it had been proposed that the programme go to different locations around the world so that factors like local building customs, union regulations and temperature extremes could be brought into play. Sadly, however, this was never to be.
Like many other people (but sadly, as it turns out, ultimately not enough other people), Bewilder Bird found Concrete Superstar really exciting because you could never really tell which one of the chosen celebrities would be the best at pouring concrete just by looking.
For example, who could have known that Dame Circular Rosetwine, opera singer and biscuit entrepreneur, would beat upper body muscle model and self-confessed DIY enthusiast Flint Roland in the first episode?
‘I thought I had it in the bag,’ said Flint afterwards, ‘until one of the production crew told me that I had poured the concrete upside down. It wasn’t until I had ripped everything out and started again that I realised they had been pulling my leg.’
In the second episode, renowned aristocratic bad-boy ventriloquist Sheridan Shaw and his foul-breathed puffer fish puppet, Puff the Puffer Fish, lost out to one-time pop sensation Dorothy Sister, lead singer of the reasonably-famous (and reasonably-named) Dorothy Sisters.
Puff the Puffer Fish refused to cooperate during the aggregate mixing phase and allowed Dorothy Sister to win by a technical default, even though she had managed to bury one of her high heels beneath a crazy-paving slab.

 

Remember: here. Here. Here. Here. And here.