He commented that it was the sort of thing that only happened two or three times within a professional career. He's lucky. At least it's happened within his professional career.
I've been writing and coming up with story ideas, novels and tv series for years. Some of them have just been ideas sitting in the background of my mind, gradually simmering until they're ready. Some have been things that if I had enough internal push I would have been able to get something done with, but my own lack of self esteem held me back. Some have been projects that I've been actively working on.
So now, let's trip down memory lane and see the ideas that would have been great, fresh and original - if no other bastard had gotten there first.
Most recently for me there's been a character I've been thinking about including in some of my pieces for years. A red-headed teen vampire who was turned just as his voice was breaking in the 1800's. Of course I recently discovered another Aussie had done basically the same thing (I think it was Russell Blackford).
Then there was the cyber-serial killer story that I was researching, where the hero would go actually be trapped within the mind of the serial killer. Did all the reading up on serial killers that I needed, plotted out the story and chatted with Mondy about it. "What, you mean like The Cell?" Turns out The Cell was in production. At least that was still a Hollywood serial killer story, rather than a 'true' one.
I had actually started on the pilot script for my alternate history, Orwellian, anti-terrorist project. I was up to page 14. Then I turned on the telly late one night just in time to hear about a fire in the World Trade Centre. Then I watched as the second plane hit. Now, admittedly none of my ideas were there, and this wasn't just another bloody TV show. This was a real life atrocity, but I also knew that a dark series about an anti-terrorist squad, especially one with some of the twists I was envisioning, was now dead in the water for a few years.
Finally we can go back several year to a project (Redback) I was working on with a group of friends. There were a couple of basic ideas in place, like the living engine, but little else. I took it, ran with it and poured all my creative energy into it. Sean Williams may remember me talking with him about some of these ideas. Amongst the concepts I came up with for the low budget sf series was -
- A living ship that would eventually go on to have a child that was vastly more powerful and able to be used as a weapon (Since done in Farscape)
- The inserted A.I. sharing a character's body (Farscape again)
- A natural predator for the living ships (Lexx)
- Insect wars (Lexx)
- A flashback episode where the details of the flashbacks change as characters start to argue or let their own subjectivity distort things (South Park)
- One of the characters being lost, only to be replaced by a battle-hardened future version of themselves a few episodes later (Andromeda)
It used to be frustrating, especially as it seemed like every few years yet another one of my ideas for Redback appeared. They were never handled exactly the same as I had envisioned, but the basic idea was now out there. It had ceased to be shiny, new, and most importantly, MINE!
But, on the other hand, it is kind of funny. And at least I actually like the shows that have ended up coming up with the same cool ideas.
My catch phrase in these situations is now a simple "That'd be right!"
PS Simon Brown, Sean Williams and Russell Blackford are all dudes! And fine writers to boot. Now, look into the hypnowheel - Buy their stuff and read it.