Scan the lower night sky right now and you can spot a bright Jupiter, a dimmer Saturn to its left, and a lot further round is Mars, as big and bright and red as I’ve ever seen it. They remind me of my childhood dream of becoming an astronomer. I abandoned that dream as I plodded through a physics A-level, realising that the more you got into it, the more it was about maths, and while I was competent, that didn’t excite me. My interest in the stars was much more aesthetic, filled with the drama of creation, the beauty of the galaxies and nebulae, the excitement of the space missions to the planets, the sheer weirdness of black holes, neutron stars, quasars, gamma ray bursts and the rest of it. It was the wonder of insight into magical, mystical other worlds. So I turned to telling stories that take us to other worlds, even those on our own planet. And there I have remained.
As 2020 hobbles towards its close, there’s been plenty of time to dream about the stars, and many other ideas that would make a perfect project for Curly Lizard Films. To keep the astro-imagery going for a bit, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the projects we choose to pursue. As a tiny company, one of our chief selling points is that we’re modular. We just bolt on extra bits to scale up for a production, and unbolt them again afterwards. Some productions don’t even need any extra modules. It’s all very efficient and there’s no production that we can’t undertake. But it does have to be the right one. It has to have an exciting idea behind it, something that makes it special, that makes it worth devoting time, heart and soul to.
Thanks to all the lockdowns and production stoppages that 2020 has so generously presented to us, I’ve just realised I have 25 ideas on my development sheet. There are one-offs, series, even a couple of potential feature docs there, any of which would be worthy of the Curly Lizard name. So with a development department largely consisting of, well, me, these are going to have to be prioritised. There’s going to have to be a bit of analysis (what do broadcasters and SVODs want?), a bit of practicality (which of these ideas are going to be the easiest to work up?) and a whole raft of creativity. Plus some good old-fashioned guess-work: after all, a successful commission is the right idea presented to the right people at the right time. The near-astronomer within me longs for scientific certainty, but when it comes to deciding which projects are most likely to be given the green light, I might just as well ask the squirrel busily digging up all the garden bulbs right now. Or perhaps I should seek the answer in the stars.