On Collaborations [Or “Scripted Togethernesses”] – Pt. 1

Andy takes first hit at this…

There’s a lot of ‘creative difference’ here at Rich Teasers, but it hasn’t led to a fractious feud of call screening, social media un-friending and mutual no-eye-contacting at beer meets and barbecues. It comes from learning that in spite of those differences and the impediments other writers might identify in the practice, “collaboration” isn’t such a dirty word after all.

Skidmark“, however…

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Introduce yourselves as a writing ‘team’ to some script scribblers and they adopt the kind of expression one does when handed a Tupperware box of raw giblets and sick. They don’t agree with it, you see. It doesn’t work. It stifles creativity or makes the pure idea an ugly hodgepodge of half-formed characters and cross-purpose narratives. Reactions oscillate between ‘mildly perplexed’ and ‘Westboro Baptist’:

  • “So who does the writing and who makes the tea?”
  • “Oh, so you’re the brains? And you must be… the other one?”
  • “Do you settle plot arguments on a dice roll or with swords?”
  • “They were shaving people’s heads for that sort of thing back in the day.”
  • God will not long suffer this rank sorcery… OUT, ACCURSED DEVIL, OUT…!!

the assumption being that any genuine gold we may have mined between us will inevitably dilute down through argument and obstinacy into a patchwork jumble that succeeds only in missing its own point.

But it never does. We collaborate on every piece of writing at Rich Teasers – we always have. Howsoever the seed of an idea germinates and grows into a thick-rooted, castle-bearing beanstalk, it does so in the knowledge that the collaborative aspect of its development has made it a stronger thing than it would have been if nurtured alone: now it’ll bear a castle and an adjoining Waitrose.

WRITER: Hey, I hear you guys write together?

RT: That’s right. Hi, we’re…


Knowing each other for such a long time certainly helps but it doesn’t guarantee that twin-like synchronicity of cause-and-effect where one of us walks into a door and the other gets a bloody nose. We still have wildly different ideas about what makes characters and circumstances engaging and worthy of further exploration. Rather, it’s a ‘trust thing’ that turns our creative differences into useful development tools. We trust that however much our raw and vulnerable newborn ideas are prodded and poked at, the consequences of sharing will always be rewarding, surprising and definitive. Neither of us worry that our beautiful bouncing babes will be slighted in the same fashion as the rancid Tupperware box – and perhaps that’s what separates us from some of the resolute lone-wolves out there…?

More and more, we draw on our differences to create opportunities, the legacy of which is a confidence to share and a determination to explore any idea from any angle to find that ‘buzz’ that puts us in the same creative groove. When Rich initially pitched My First Week [see LOGLINES] as a rom-com, I was staring into the sick and giblets, gently humming “The Girl From Ipanema” and climbing aboard the mind train to Happyplace. But as averse to the genre as I am, I knew Rich would have a take on it that’d beat most others all ends up and that he’d trust me enough to know that ‘working on it’ wouldn’t mean chucking the whole thing on the fire first. The result was an idea that had us both hooked and which had its entire storyline fixed by the end of the same afternoon. How very different things would’ve been if Rich had wrapped his kid in cotton wool and kept mum. How very different my own drafts would be without the collaborative cherry-topping they’ve all finished with.


“Thus for ALL collaborators…!”

This attitude of openness has also held us in good stead when it comes to the kind of conversations we want to be having as screenwriters: conversations with film makers.

The director loves your script – loves it – but after circulating it around her equally admiring team of battle-ready movie makers, she thinks there’s some adjustments you should make to really nail this sucker to the wall. You could snatch up the prized manuscript and tell her and her team of sycophantic ingrates that they wouldn’t know gold if they were left to drown in an Olympic-sized pool of the stuff… or you could accept that even gold needs a good solid buff to accentuate that mesmerising dazzle and crack on with your edits. After all (and with apologies to Ernest Hemingway), while the first draft of everything might not always be sh*t, it’ll never be the one that gets to actually be something. And yours may not be the only footprints in the sand.

Over to Rich

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[Do you write with others or are you a creative Greta Garbo? Have your collaborative efforts improved your end products or left you wishing you’d pushed on alone? We’d love to hear about your experiences so comment away or tweet us at @RTscripts]


Liking Coffee Is NOT A Character Trait

Rich takes writers to task who measure themselves by their caffeine intake…

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WARNING: contains mild snarks.

I ‘like’ coffee. And tea. And an encyclopaedic drinks list of beverages hot and cold, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, still and sparkling* and so on and so forth. Taking on fluids is a chief criterion for staying alive, isn’t it?**. How would a Bedouin get to draw his pension otherwise?  It’s rather like saying “I like air“. Everybody drinks something. Probably many different things. As it’s one of the most abundant and popular libations on the planet, coffee is quite likely to be one of them. Hardly marks you out from the crowd though, does it? I drink coffee. I love coffee! But I hope to Christ it’s one of the least interesting things about me, otherwise pour me a flat white, colour me boring and move on to someone with a better handle on what makes them interesting.

…but which of the coloured wires would diffuse the bomb in time?  “Christ,” thought Bond, “I could murder a latte…”

So, writers, a humble suggestion: maybe don’t emblazon “drinks coffee” across your Twitter profile, blog bio, or worse, your book bio, however true it is. Because boring. Because beige. Because beverage. Yeah, writers aren’t always blow-away interesting in person (conversations tend to begin, middle and end with their books), but don’t fall into the bland-trap of advertising the fact. Think of something else to say. Or say nothing.  “I like coffee” is a wide-armed, open-mouthed biographical yawn stretch, an admission you’ve drawn a blank on anything better to say about yourself. Worse, it pretty much amounts to saying “I am a dull and unimaginative writer. Buy my book. It features people who love coffee.”

So maybe think outside the cafetière.

Or lie, of course. You write, yes? You have an imagination? Then cook up a few curiosity-piquing whopperoos. When I’m asked to review books by unknown authors, I’m far more inclined to read the one by ‘shark-wrestling, fire-eating pogo champion’ Writer A than deadpan ‘coffee connoisseur’ Writer B.  Even if ‘shark-wrestling, fire-eating pogo champion’ Writer A sounds like she puts away more coffee than perhaps is good for her. The point is she damn well sounds interesting, so I’m guessing her characters might radiate a little of that bouncy, fish-wrangling fire too.


Drinks coffee. Still interesting.

It doesn’t hurt to jazz it up a little. Start with your coffee. I’ll have a goats’ milk skinny triple-whipple mocha-choco Americano cappuccino with almond syrup and Dream Topping. And, yes, my characters are interesting.

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not champagne though – way overrated; gives me heartburn and makes my breath smell like ‘horse compost’.

** so is letting them out the other end, but no-one ever states ‘I love to pee’ as an insight into their character, do they?

A Revealing Script-Tease

A good script-tease bares a little at a time…

Rich Teasers write screenplays. Long ones. Short ones. Big screeners. Goggleboxers. Stories with dialogue. Stories without. Action in the office. Horror in the forest. Fun with rugs. Casual radiator maintenance.


Teasing eyewear worn by all Rich Teasers draft scripts.

Whether it’s long format, short format, sitcom or sketch, we’re generating book-ended, character-driven scripts for a diverse range of ideas and genres. It’d be fun at this point to strip away everything and parade our wares in all their birthday-suited glory, but like the ankle-flashing ‘adult entertainers’ of bygone times, we believe a tease is more tantalising than a tell. Follow Rich Teasers and be prepared for:

*  Unpleasant-smelling antique carpets;
*  Remote cottage break-ins;
*  Garden shed gunfights;
*  Poo-filled Tupperware;
*  Kneecapping photocopiers;
*  Crap chess enthusiasts;
*  Rubbish hobbies;
*  Abortive suburban suicides;
*  Unexpected woodland dog chases;

…and a scripted raft of musky, mirthful, murderous and mystifying situations besides. Drop us a line if you’re looking to make something of a good story – we’ve plenty more to reveal.