Sunday, 6 October 2019

Six Degrees of Bacon - Debbie Bennett

There are, apparently, a maximum of only six degrees of separation between anyone on the planet and Kevin Bacon – he of the irritating EE adverts: who says you can’t? Me, Kevin. I say you can’t. I say it’s enough to put anyone off EE, though the reception in our village is beyond awful anyway.

But everybody is connected to everybody. Somehow. However tenuous the link. For instance, I went to school with somebody who was Cliff Richard’s cousin. Allegedly; she wasn’t a close friend so I have no idea if it’s actually true or not. My daughter spent a week sitting opposite Cillian Murphy, aka Thomas Shelby, as a guest at his wedding. She also had a chat while sheltering from the rain with Suranne Jones, aka Gentleman Jack. And you’ll hopefully also see her (my daughter, not Suranne Jones) on Netflix next year with Edward Holcroft in The English Game, which would also connect me to author Julian Fellowes, wouldn’t it? My father in law knows Prince Charles from his Royal Navy days. Our Authors Electric ex-blogger Jan Needle is a good friend of Jimmy McGovern – who read my first psychological thriller book Hamelin’s Child, claimed to love it and said I should speak to Russell Davies (like I move in the same circles as Russell Davies, he of the Dr Who reboot fame!) And I have a friend whose brother is a Hollywood film producer …

Which is how I can say that I pitched a film script to Hollywood last week.

I’m supremely confident it will come to nothing at all. I’ll be surprised if I even get a reply. But my friend’s brother agreed to read it and so I sent it. Properly. I could have simply attached a doc file to an email with a simple thanks, but I thought if I was going to introduce myself to Hollywood, I really ought to do it properly, so I spent a few days crafting a proper pitch email with an introduction (and a bit of Jimmy McGovern name-dropping, of course), plus a tag line and a log line – and they are art-forms in themselves. How to condense a film/novel/story into a high-concept, two-sentence elevator-pitch. This was a good site I found. As was this one. But beyond that, it’s just endless rewriting, reading aloud and rewriting.

It’s funny how things turn out, isn’t it? I’ve always maintained that writing is maybe 25% talent, 50% bum-on-seat perseverance – or sheer bloody-mindedness – and the last 25% is probably connections. Who you know. Being in the right place at the right time with the right product. Which again is probably an art-form in itself, or maybe more of a science to read the zeitgeist, anticipate the next Big Thing and have the product ready. These days our influencers all seem to be young, attractive Instagrammers, v-loggers and YouTubers. I couldn’t even name one, but apparently these people are paid to wear things and say things – paid in money and product. It’s a bit like a live version of an Amazon book review, although I believe they too must declare an interest if they have received a free widget before they tell you it’s the widget to end all widgets and how it’s transformed their life.

Who’s doing this for books? Do they know Kevin Bacon?

www.debbiebennett.co.uk

5 comments:

Umberto Tosi said...

Hamelin's Child sounds fascinating. I'm looking forward to reading it. I'm with you on the endless rewriting, reading aloud and rewriting! I don't know my Kevin Bacon Number, but I did work for Francis Coppola for a while back in the 1970s, and I think Bacon was in one of Francis' films, but I can't recall with one... So maybe my number is #1, or would that be #2. I can't get the system straight. Anyway, who you know - celebrities or otherwise - is overrated. It's the work that matters. But you already know that.

Jan Needle said...

Talking of name-dropping and the Jimmy reference Debbie, I think you may have mentioned more germanely that I've written a novella about Napoleon (which is also available in German which must prove something, God knows what), and that according to my dear departed mum I actually looked like him as a baby. I also spend a fair amount of time in St Helen's, where another mate, Andy Lynch, lives, and even more telling for your pitch, I've been drunk in in Hollywood several times, although to be fair it was Hollywood Co Down, not in the South Atlantic. Keep on pitching though - Hamelin's Child is excellent, and persistence is probably the key, coupled with luck. Having just read this comment - I'll get me coat!

Jan Needle said...

PS. I've never heard of Kevin Bacon.

Debbie Bennett said...

The only thing I've been in Hollywood - well LA anyway, although it *was* a tour of the Hollywood stars' houses - is very ill. It probably looked like very drunk as I was so dizzy I couldn't stand up, and I got ejected from the tour bus God-knows-where to throw up in a small cafe and get a very expensive cab back to the hotel .... Turned out to be a virus that ate my inner ear.

Jan Needle said...

That's Hollywood for you. And your book still deserves to be a film!