Last Contact Blog

Last Contact : Blog 2 : Ideas

Last Contact : Blog 2 : Ideas

Last Contact : Blog 2 : Ideas

There’s a saying that if something that’s been forgotten is worth remembering, you’ll remember it. I think that’s rubbish. If you’ve forgotten it, then there’s no amount of therapy that’s going to bring it back to you, unless it was an idea about going to see a therapist.

Ideas arrive every day, a bit like spam mail. But unlike spam mail, there’s no way of automatically sorting through them. So, every idea that arrives gets written down, and played with, like a new toy at Christmas. And like the new toys at Christmas, the only thing that makes us play with them the next day is our own interest.
If we’re not interested, then what’s the point? You’ll get a boring script, that’s mediocre to start with, and quickly becomes padding that’s not even worth picking up. And that’s just littering.

In a way, the idea for Last Contact was a slow drip dripping torture of reading those news stories about countless, pointless, university studies. I know I’m not alone, but every time I’d read one, I’d wonder how the hell they could ever had got funding for it, be it putting snails on the moon, or recording which way a toad jumps when being forced to listen to Justin Bieber (away from the speaker would be my guess).

I’ve mentioned it before, but the first line on the first bit of (virtual) paper I wrote about Last Contact reads:

Sitcom about someone who has had their project funding pulled, after spending the last 20 years studying it. Maybe alien intelligence.

Personally, I think the most amusing word, and the one which says the most is ‘Maybe’. It reveals just how little I knew what it was going to be about. I like aliens. I like zombies. In the end, I guess it boiled down to a choice between the two, and the number of jokes a couple of zombies can crack is fairly limited, I’m sure.

I know the first lines came pretty soon afterwards. And they worked. They made me laugh. Without fail. They even made me laugh the next day, and the one after that. I’d had a funny idea, and I didn’t need to see a therapist about it (although laughing out loud in an office can get you some curious looks!)

And now, as the days count down to the shooting of the series, I’m looking forward to being able to make other people laugh at them, too. And maybe it’ll give those people ideas, and the great avalanche of spam ideas will keep on rolling.

Posted by Simon in Blog, Last Contact Blog
Last Contact : Blog 1 : Names

Last Contact : Blog 1 : Names

Last Contact : Blog 1 : Names

‘Last Contact’ was simply called ‘Harry’ before it was called ‘Last Contact’. And before it was ‘Harry’, it was called “Sitcom about someone who has had their project funding pulled…”, and, in fact, still is in the mess which makes up my Google Drive folder structure.

It’s odd, because usually I’m quite good at coming up with a great title for a project, only to find it far more difficult to recruit any decent words worthy enough to be attached to it afterwards.

But maybe that’s why I like Last Contact so much.

To say Last Contact was written is a bit of a misnomer. The first episode was actually pieced together (and not very carefully, at that) from a series of stupid/absurd dialogues I’d written over the course of about a month.

I can’t remember exactly what the first lines of it I wrote were, but looking at the Drive document, it’s probable it’s the one shown below, which is good because it’s one of my favourites.

"Didn't we have some chickens, once? Where did they go?"
 The team all look upwards.
 "What, you mean, abducted?"
 "No, they just went upstairs. More space; you know what chickens are like."

As you can see, there were no names at this stage of writing, and at times it’s only at the point of transferring them into a script that I decide exactly who does say them; and then I change that a couple of times until it works.

I can’t tell you where the names of the characters originated from. Usually this is a process of working out the probably age of the character, and then going onto a naming website and seeing what sort of things were popular in the year of their calculated birth. It’s not rocket science. It’s maths. And maths is something I do have a qualification in.

Posted by Simon in Blog, Last Contact Blog