Thursday, 26 December 2013

Same Language, Three Versions.

Foe some time now I have felt that as one gets older the words I have used all my life seem to have a different meaning to different generation groups, all of whom seem to have their own versions and meaning of the same words.

Let us say that young people speak in Youngese,(YE) the middle aged, children, mortgage, debts, worries etc, speak in Midese (ME)  and the oldies speak in Oldese (OE). ..Try these samples.

YE:..Butterflies, flowers, nonsensical Japanese symbols, Scorpions, animals, names etc, everywhere. They last forever .
ME: Fun transfers that wash off in a day.
OE: Edinburgh.

YE: A cool machine that can do 0-60m in less than ten seconds.
ME: A latge vehicle to carry kids ,dogs, prams, cheap to run
OE: A byus pass

YE: A total must have electronic gadget, non posession of which means  living in total social die for.
ME: Something to wear at cricket or high impact sports.
OE: Something absorbent you place in your underwear.

TE: Something to drink before you go out to the pub,for a drink.
ME: Something to drink with a group of friends in the pub.
OE: A  foreign import, rubbish.

YE: As often as possible, anywhere with anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, or suitability.
ME: Once a week..  when allowed, unless you are playing away from home. As often as you can manage on your own.
OE: Whassat?

YE: A Chance to make a complete tit of yourself along with all of your girlfriends, might even get a sneaky legover behind the pub... definitely get to grope the male stripper, just to remind you of what you are passing up on. (for males just change the gender)
ME: When one hits your pub avoid the drunken harlots like the plague, unless there is the chance of a quick legover behind the pub.
OE:Nice in a plastic basket with chips.

YE: A grands worth of looking cool
ME: Cheapest from M&S
OE: The one I got married in might last until the cremation.


YE:Luvly Jubbly,
ME: Picking the kids up from swimming.
OE: "I would rather chew my foot off"

Are you getting the general idea..try it out at home.

RJ Dodd

The Magic of Maginty's Quest

"MAGIC"..a word that has caused fear,terror, enlightenment, delight and awareness for many centuries.
In the old world anyone connected, even remotely, with what was perceived at  that time to be "Magic" was also considered to be in league with "Auld Nick" himself.

Today of course we are much better informed and we all worship at the cinematic feats of those who wave magic wands, mix potions,mutter strange words, right wrongs and create evil.

Magic and it's practitioners are now  creatures of Hollywood, there are no such things as spells, time travel, the ability to speak in tongues, for exotic annd wonderful creatures to converse with each other, of course not, we know it is all a spoof.

The magic stops when the Director says "CUT"

Or does it....not in the world of Maginty, who just happens to be one of the worlds least loved creatures, an Octopus.

MAGINTY(Who has a passion for Prawn Crackers) and his two companions,DEACON, a turtle and navigator (He can get lost in his large underwater cavern) along with SISSY, an electric eel (She has a slight speech impediment,which she quite likes) are charged with protecting the family of a notorious Pirate of the Spanish Main, Red Rufus Maginty.

Are you still with me, if you have travelled this far then the magic has already entered your soul...

Maginty and his team accept the role that has been thrust upon them and settle down to wait for the takes several hundred years and it arrives via that most wonderful piece of modern magic which we all take for granted, the humble TV receiver.
 The call also means they have to travel many thousands of miles from their home in the Carribbean to far away England, London to be precise..Chelsea to be absolutely exact.

They face many dangers when they arrive but that is where more magic plays its part in a mysterious way.

MAGINTY'S QUEST...The new novel will be published in late January 2014...It is a good yarn for the young adventurous reader aged between 9 and the meantime I am involved in the sketching of over fifty small drawings for chapter headings, now that is really where I personally need some magic.

The book will be available on   initially then on all of the other worldwide amazon outlets in kindle and paper book form...share the magic moments.

More details nearer publication the meantime tou can read, by the same writing team of MaryLou Clarke and RJ Dodd two vastly different novels.

The Sandrunners   @      witten under the pen name of Chelsy Swann.

The Stack    Set mainly in Australia,   by RJ Dodd    also on

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Stack, Australia and Norfolk Island

Why a blog on Australia, such a large country and a blog is a very small item.

It is not just the physical size of Australia that I find interesting, the country is matched in size by the character and vitality of its relatively small population.

Where to begin to describe what Australia is and what it has meant to me over nearly five decades.

Let's go way back to my frst landfall,  January 1970.

As a young film technician working for a newly formed but large TV production company in the UK, I, along with other members of the crew were advised to always carry our passports with us ..just in case. So it was on a wintry January morning I was informed that two days later I would be off to Canada, for a three month trip with a famous reporter of that time..  Alan Whicker.

Just after lunch I was informed that Canada was cancelled, we were going to Australia instead.

To say I was diasappointed would be an understatement.I really wanted to go across the Atlantic to the mainland of the Americas, I did not want to go to a dustbowl at the bottom of the world..

What a fool.

We landed late at night in Western Australia, in Perth.The approach to the airport should have given me an inkling of what to expect as we turned in from the ocean to see the twinkling lights of that city and the dark line of the ocean but instead it was with a heavy heart and a little jet lag, that we trudged through the arricvals hall and took our short drive to our hotel wher we had a couple of drinks at the bar and then went to bed.

My induction ws to begin very early the following morning, a ring on the door  "Room Service Sir, the breakfast you ordered"

The breakfast I  had ordered was delivered by a six foot tall blonde haired well tanned beauty wearing the shortest black leather mini skirt I had ever seen outside of Carnaby St London  and she was carrying that great OZ discovery, a proper breakfast,  a massive ribeye steak covered with two fried eggs , plus all the trimmings..I instantly fell in love.

Perth was fantastic, I  went flying with Lang Hancock, quite an experience, he was looking for white flowers among the hillside rock, an indication of some sort of ore, and I was wetting myself looking at the rapidly approaching walls of rock. He was an able pilot.
His daughter threw a gret party at their riverside home and we went out to Wittenoom for a barby, Wittenoom was a deserted boom mining town, streets of deserted houses, no one lived there, but the traffic lights on the only crossroads were still working, just blnking away all day.Surreal.

I adored Sydney and still do, out first hotel was the Sebel Town House, with wonderful views over Rushcutters Bay, on a recent vist we stayed at the ANA. hotel. What a delight.

Pull back the curtains and to your left is Darling Harbour, straight ahead is the famous bridge and below that the Rocks, great food area, to the immediate right is the fantastic Sydney Oprera House and beyond that the spread of Sydney Harbour with Manly in the distance.

Sydney should be a mandatory visit every year'

Adelaide, we were locked in our hotel because there were hordes of screaming females outside the front door. they weren't there for us,Dire Straits were in residence. It was considered dangerous for young English lads to go outside.Pity.

Brisbane, a delight, soi st he run up to Noosa, great resorts there and of cousrse a bit further north is the entrancing Heron Island, a nayure reserve and well worth a visit to a perfect coral atoll.

Darwin and the Northern much happened up there it will keep for another blog if requested..but an amazing area.

Western Australia..Superb, I love deserts and spent a lot of time there ..we were made Ambassadors to the court of Prince Leonard and hs wife in the Hutt River Province, listened to some Californian cattle men who told us they had contributed to Kennedy's assasination fund,, that was scary, and been attacked by wild Emu's at forty miles an hour as we drove across the desert, they were running alongside pecking at our faces.

I have a mountain of stories about OZ but one of the more interesting ones is about Norfolk Island'

This former penal colony sticks up out of the Pacific ocean like a broken tooth about a thousand miles from Sydney. It was where the really bad lads were sent, they never returned..

Originally, I am informed, the Island was discovered by Captain Cook, he was carrying a hold full of sapling Norfolk pine and wanted somewhere to plant them, this semi barren island seemed a likely place.Why Norfolk pines?.. It seems these tall straight, strong trees were favourite for the masts of the Royal Navy and the Brits ,with some forethought sought to plant a continuing supply in faraway places for use of generations of ships..Clever.
So now this once grim place is smothered in these rather magnificent trees, there is a sound that comes from them as the continuous wind from the wide Pacific blows through their branches, it could  have been the only sound that the prisoners in their underground open topped cells must have heard.

One other aspect to the planting of the trees, during world war 2 the Japanese ,in their insane sweep across the Pacific wanted to use the Island as a forward air base in order to bomb Sydney, no one told them about Cooks tree planting mission and they were thwarted. The Americans with more machinery later knocked down a few teees and built a very short runway.

The inhabitants seemed to be of the hippy variety, but they had a very pleasant lifestyle doing what they darn well wantetd. There may have been changes in recent years but as one of Australias well hidden jewels in its jewel encrusted crown it is well worth a visit ..just to go down to the remote prison area at night and listen to the wind in the trees.

It is also worth looking at the Islands waste disposal units, sharks, big ones, hundreds of them, at the bottom of the rubbish tip cliff, nothing is refused.

Which nicely brings me to The Stack, a novel written with deep affection for this faraway country, which my partner and I have visited many times, we hope to have captured the essence of the place and its great people, I supppose only Autralians can really give a comment on that but we are ready to come back and have another go if anyone has a complaint..
The Stack is on Amazon

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Ancient Story Tellers.

Some years ago I was on a documentary assignment with the US Military, in a country that was foreign to both me and the soldiers I was filming..During one of our informal chats we discussed the quality of the local motor cars.
They were all in very bad condition, not surprisingly, and my military companions put this down to the inability of the locals to make good get this...They all agreed among themselves that as vehicles had been around for several hundred years the locals should have made some improvements in their production lines...I did point out that the country we were in did not manufacture vehicles of any sort ..  ever ..they bred sturdy camels tho.

Why mention this odd thought process, well I did some more research among film crew members, most of them being graduates from various film colleges, it was a common theme that computers had always been around, TV also, planes, phones, electricity, fridges, foreign package holidays..the list is almost endless..all of these recent techy advances were all taken for granted.....which brings me to the point of this article.

Story tellers, particularly from ancient times were the frontrunners in what has become one of the more enlightening experiences of mankind,the ability to read stories.....but these ancient fellas who wandered around the small villages, in virtually every country in the world and who told their wonderful stories to awestruck villagers in smoke filled shacks, huts, village campfires, you name it.

They did not store their stories on paper, just memory, which no doubt changed slightly with the numerous tellings, no point in having paper because they probably couldn't read anyway, nonethe less they would entrance their audiences, after all there was very little in the way of entertainment in those far off days.
 The storytellers were the pioneers of our modern day writers, screen writers, play rights, Directors.If they had been around today there is litttle doubt they would have been in the entertainment business.

The same could be said about someone like Will Shakespeare, forget Stratford on Avon, that lad would have gone straight to LA.

One thing always impresses me about the writers such as Shakespeare,Mark Twain, Dickens,  RL Stevenson,The Brontes, Carroll.. et al..  there were dozens of them churning out stories that were all the products of amazing imaginations, they sat in darkened rooms with a quill and some candles and conjured up breathtaking tales, all from the mind.
What did Shakespeare know of the Traders of Venice, the Royal Court of Denmark etc.. Treasure Island is a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, what did the writer know of the ways of pirates, who can forget Blind Pugh struggling along the storm swept coast road to reach the Admiral Benbow, to deliver his message of death,the Black Spot.

The readers of these stories were hooked from the first chapter.

Which brings me to another more relevant point..who taught these brilliant storytellers, just like the ancient forerunners of their trade, the simple answer is..  No one.

There were no computers or search engines, all of these writers and storytellers created their own world.So is it really necessary to go to college to obtain a degree in Literature, to analyse every single sentence and motivation, to examine the subplot,the gauging of dialogue and its delivery.Not a quiestion I can answer really, but I think I  would rather spend an evening in a smoky old hut listening to an ancient story teller than spen timewith  a sophisticated group of Professors of Literature elaborating on  their theories...Why don't they just go home and write another blockbuster adventure story instead of talking about it.

These are the personal views of RJ Dodd.
Please feel free to disagree.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Dumbing Down of Directors, aka "Coverage"

Coverage...the new buzz word among Producers, certainly those that work in the TV industry.

Over the past few years the word 'Coverage', as in, "we have to have lots of it" has become one of the major reasons for filming schedules and attendant costs, to have soared.
Those extra hours being demanded and the Six day week have been imposed on productions and crews in order to get more of it.

What is this thing that crews and Directors have to get more of, and why?.

Let us take a journey backwards in time for a few years to the period when most drama Directors had a theatrical background and not a TV studio one.

In those far off days a Director would arrive on the set fully prepared for the days shoot having done something called Homework.

He\She would know exactly what frame they wanted, whose dialogue would be covered and on what lens size, what reaction shots would be required....BINGO..the scene would cut like a dream and be a pleasure to watch.  The actors  could give a peak performance from being able to time it just right, as opposed to todays technique ...

For example, take a simple little two page dialogue scene, three actors,in a room, even more simple, the script calls for them to be seated, all have lines. This is probably how it is shot today...

At least two wide establishers  from different angles. All the scene would be run.
A two shot one way..all the scene run.
A tighter two shot..All the scene run.
Singles on both actors from the two shot. All the scene run
A reverse two shot, over the third actors shoulder..All the scene would be run.
Singles of the first two actors.all on down the line lenses.. at least three of them  All of the scene will be run.
At least three lens sizes on the single actor All of the scene run.
The reactions would be covered on down the line lenses..All of the scen would be run.
There will probaly be two short tracks, one behind the two sets of actors, at least two lens sizes and then the inevitable rock and roll on the dolly, hoping to catch the pertinent piece of dialogue.
There might be some profile shots of all of the actors , running all of the lines.
This is called Coverage.
It is also nonsense.
This technique is an excuse for not knowing your craft as a Director. My granny, who has been dead for many a year, could direct this crap.

I have  a great deal of respect for most of the Directors I work with but it is now time for them, collectively, to tell their inexperienced media school , two day course, Producers to get stuffed, that they will direct the show, and that a visit to the cinema by the said Producers to watch some classic movies might help.
There is also another immportant aspect to massive overshooting...  The perfomance of the actors, which is the main reason for everyone t to turn up at the studio.

Having spent many years on set watching very closely I have noticed that the vast majority of actors peak in performancse at about take five, at take seven they begin to glaze over a little, by take twelve they have lost it and are in complete robot mode, which makes everyones efforts a total waste of time.

Directors  get your skills back and show some flair.

Edits should not be done by a committee  of Producers in the cutting room, it should done in your hesad at the outset.

The views expressed here are entirely my own , please feel free to disagree.

R J Dodd

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Three out of four ain't bad.

1200  feet underground is a long way down and getting there was a quite a ride.

As coalminers we had to take that journey squatting four to a small cage,there were three other cages on the lift  so that was 16 men in total, it was essential that the ride was a quick one in order to get the next shift of miners underground as quickly as possible.
The solution to that was an easy one, the winchman just took the brake off and the cage plummetted into the bowels of the earth, in freefall.
I suppose it was the forerunner of a bungee jump..totally free falling trying to avoid looking at the shaft wall  whizzing by a few feet away as we went hurtling downwards.. and then the brakes were slowly applied to bring you gently to a stop at your drift level.
I made that ride hundreds of times and never ever got to like it  and I would rather chew my foot off than take a bungee jump.
The point of this little anecdote!!...
There is nowhere on earth quite as dark as a deep shaft coal mine when the lights are switched off, and I don't mean the lights that are every twenty yards or so  along the drift walkway which give off a very dim glow because the glass is covered in years of accumulated coal dust, I mean the darkness after you go through an airlock door into a worked out seam and find somewhere reasonably comfortable to sit, then you switch off your helmet lamp..That sort of darkness...  Total Darkness.

A a young man working down a coal mine was one of the few options available in my part of the United Kingdom, it was either that or being family needed the money.
My problem was that I had no real desire to be a miner....that's where the switching off the lamp comes into it.
As a school child I was an avaricious reader, I devoured every book that entered the local childrens library, every book on every subject in our poorly equipeed school library, and the hunger for knowledge,about everything, never left me, it also cursed me with an unbelievable imagination.

I wanted to travel, to be on the Hispaniola as it sailed across  the Atlantic to find treasure Island, to be with Christopher columbus when he made landfall in America, to fly a Spitfire.. what I did not want to do was dig out coal from a mine several hundred feet you get the drift?

So it  was that the switching off the miners lamp and being in complete darkness  actually illuminated another world.....the one in my mind

I would sit and listen to the drip of water seeping through the cracked stone of the roof, the distant crump of explosives blasting another seam of coal and turn them into something else....Another world

I emerged from my mining days realising I wanted four things in life 1.Travel  2.Money  3. Meeting lots of girls  4. Adventures.
This wild ambition led me to becoming a Director of Photography and latterly a writer along with my partner Mary Lou Clarke

Two of our novels The Sandrunners  and The Stack are available on

So three out of four  ambitions ain't bad, the other one is a work in progress.

Come back to the site and I will let you know how I got on.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Stack a Novel by RJ Dodd

The Stack
What exactly is The Stack?
In this instance it is a massive timber forest in Australia.
Why that name?
When my partner and I were researching the story we met a young man in  London who had lived on just such a place, his family owned a one million acre timber farm and they called it the Stack.
He  never went back there once he had left because he much preferred the bright lights of cities such as New York and London, which he could afford to enjoy as he was now a successful stockbroker, but the idea of such a large property stuck way out in the Aussie bushlands got our creative juices going and we began to research in earnest, including another trip out to Australia, never a hardship for either of us because it  is one of our favourite places and we have travelled extensively in that country.
So now we had a location,what to do with it...?
We had to create the story that would allow us to visit the location and fill it with characters who would want to live there.
That's where my grandfather came in. He was a young lad of 16 when he lied his way into the British Army that was engaged in that most vicious of recent bloody conflicts..  World War 0ne.
No doubt he was excited by the idea of travel, of being involved in some great and glorious adventure, where no one really got hurt or maimed, and all of his friends had volunteered. There was no such thing as TV News in those days so the ignorant stayed ignorant, they would not have seen 60,000 men being shot,killed, maimed in just one day on the battlefields.I fancy the enthusiasm of the worlds youth to enrol might have been a little dampened if they had. However, there he was, straight from a slum town where he had lived in a slum to being one of the heroes of the world..In a place called Gallipoli, a peninsula in Turkey.
Those in High Command decreed that this piece of land must be taken and held to suit their strategic purposes.It cost thousands of Allied and Turkish lives and will be rememberd as one of the major  errors,,among many others, of that gruesome four year encounter.
Grandfather had four brothers in that campaign, one was killed, one lost an eye,one lost a leg and the other one lost an arm,... grandad robbed a bank...of its gold...then he lost the gold in a desperate chase with the Turks who wanted it back.
As he tells the tale it got to a situation where he and his fellow robber, his best mate, could keep the gold and be shot  or get rid and live, obviously he chose the latter. Wise lad.  Or maybe not so wise..  he went on to France where he was gassed and spent the rest of his life struggling with the problems that created.
So now we had another element that we could use in building the base story line for The Stack.
It started life as a script, not unnaturally, as I am employed in the filming business, and it was read by a number of Producers who all liked the basic premise but who all passed on the grounds of the high cost of production..Historic, costumes, foreign locations, war, battle fleets,  aging characters..dadum dida..
So it is now a brand new novel in a shiny new jacket and is available on Amazon..see how we got on!!
RJ Dodd

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Changing a Script into a Novel

How to turn 30,000 words into 60,000 words using the exact same story line.
I didn't say it would be easy, and it isn't.....
...but it is possible.
Take one well honed final draft script.
Keep the same characters.
Keep the exact same story.
Now write the novel.
Simple example..Script, Actor A  opens the door to the small room and moves to the window where he pulls back the tattered curtain to look out onto the street.  28 words.
Novel,  Actor A, wearing a black leather overcoat  and a red baseball cap slowly opens the door to the small sparsely furnished apartment, carefully checking that there is no-one else in the room he moves across to the window and pulls the faded and torn curtain to one side and keeping well back he looks out onto the street ...59 words.
A basic example but I am sure you get the drift. With  a script there will be Designer input, also input from the Wardrobe dept, the Make up dept, the Location dept,  the Lighting dept..and of course the massive input from the Producer-Director
So as you can see it is easy to just take all of those talented people's efforts and replace them with your own colourful words..and thats what we have been doing with four of our scripts'
The Sandrunners, a story of young love in Egypt, the ancient tombs and the first of the New Olympics in 1896.Now published and available from Amazon.
The Stack, a family saga set mainly in Australia which begins in the battlefields of WW1.
Soon to be published and available on Amazon.
Maginty's Quest, A magical story for the younger intelligent reader, Piracy, sea creatures that can talk and gangs of crooks in modern day London.
Soon to be published and available on Amazon.
Sex,Drugs and a String Quartet, Th journey of a young musician in 18th century Italy and his life changing encounters among the rock and rollers of that period. 
Soon to be published and available on Amazon.

Note:  It has been pointed out by several visitors that the example above is ,as stated, a very simple one.I made it that way because not all visitors have had the experience of working on a film set, where even the most basic stage direction can create quite complex problems.
If any readers of the blog have other examples then please feel free to illustrate them on this site.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Tom Clancy and Elmore Leonard Great America Creatives


Two great contempory American writers, both sadly moved on within the space of a few days.Thank heaven America has a few of them still working.

As a tribute to both writers I have been revisiting their books, in some cases re -re-reading them, they still have the magic.

To read +Elmores books is to visit a world one would never wish to visit without an armed guard, totally enjoyable.
+Clancy had the gift, usually referred to as "The Clancy Moment", of writing just a few words that would change the entire story line and make the hairs on the back of the head stand up, he had great talent and his readers were so lucky
As a filmmaker I would read both authors works and totally visualise every chapter/scene..A Producers/Directors/Director of Photography's delight.

Thank you fellas.


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Lawrence of Arabia, Yusuf ,and a camel called Suzy.

One of the most admired cinematic experiences of recent decades was the wonderful film +"LawrenceofArabia"  Directed by +DavidLean and starrring in the title role the fantastic +Peter O'Toole
 The music, +cinematography, acting,design and location  were sublime, so much so that the images  and sound track are as fresh today as the day they were released.

Set in the 1st World War the story ranged over that area known as the +MiddleEast, a wild and beautiful part of the world which , sadly, is still in a state of great political and religious  turmoil today.

Often in stories that reflect social upheaval the main concentration is on the heroes and the ones who were in some way responsible for bringing about peace or war.  The small person, the peasant, the ordinary citizen,  is quite often neglected and their plight ignored.

+TheSandrunners story is about one such peasant and  set before our intrepid Lawrence began his adventures in the area of +Egypt. It centres on a young man, Yusuf, who is employed at one of the many tomb excavations in Egypt, a site that is under the supevision of an English +Egypytologist, Francis Wetherby.

Wetherby is also a member of the newly formed New Olympic Committee whose purpose is to hold the very first of the new Olympics in Athens,in the year of 1896, at the original site of the ancient games.

What brings this wealthy, educated and sophisticated Englishman and a young Egyptian boy together to create an Olympic Gold Medal winning athlete is the story.  It also involves Egyptian Nationalism, Germany's secret plans to take over the Suez Canal, controlled by the British, Yusuf's plans to marry his childhood sweetheart Marelka and her family's opposition.
Complications are throw in Yusufs path as criminal charges  are brought against Wetherby,  he faces the class snobbery of the upper classes of Egypt and another complication of his own making is his insistance  to run in the Marathon with his great pal, his small camel called +Suzy.

During the course of the story Yusuf has to embrace a concept which is totally alien to him, the idea of sport, to compete against others for the pure pleasure of it, an idea that was completely unknown in those times in that area. His situation forces his hand and exposes him to great danger.
RJ Dodd

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Novels from scripts


Which started life as ..The SANDRUNNERS..The  Screenplay

 Why the transformation?

 It goes a long way back. .In my  career in the TV business I have read, dissected, examined, queried  and finally shot hundreds of scripts, these have mainly been Drama scripts, Scripts with long running series, so there is always a continuity of style to consider, Scripts for Comedy, Scripts for Documentaries, yes there are some..  and of course scripts for Commercials, along with the inevitable storyboard.

There has also been numerous scripts for Movies.

When my partner Mary Lou Clarke and I decided to write movie scripts we took a year out and went to live in an idyllic place in Northern Italy, right on the beach, in spite of the obvious diversions associated with such a location we did manage to set down a number of detailed storylines  and one of them was The Sandrunners. 

At the end of the year we had to get back to work ad returned to London, we finally finished the first draft of the screenplay and it looked fine…more drafts and it began to shape up, then we produced the final draft.

Producers loved it, mainly because it was visual, had young attractive leads, set in the Tombs of Egypt, had a troubled romantic theme and a frisky mischievous pet camel, Suzy.

It was set in 1896 ,the year of the first of the new Olympics to be staged in Athens and involved
Political intrigue, rising Egyptian Nationalism, class warfare,  death threats, corruption and the inevitable Committee to Stop Everything.

Why was it not made into a movie?.. Simple…     The very reasons Producers would not film it were the things they raved about.

Costume Drama.. expensive

Trained Animal...expensive

Foreign and somewhat hostile location… expensive and to be avoided.

70.000 crowd at the Olympic stadium in Athens...unthinkable,  all in costume.

Lead players were essentially foreign… hard to sell.

And so it went on.

The film script. Along with several others by this time was put back in the drawer and we moved on.

Then we had a wonderful idea. The script and all of the others were great stories, why not turn them into novels, so that more than just a dozen or so film Producers could read them ..

Terrific, Lets start with The Sandrunners….

Several years later, having lost what remained of my once flowing locks and nearing insanity we managed to turn out a passable novel, then we began the hard work of turning it into one that people might like to buy and read.

It was an unbelievably difficult task, writing a film script is much easier than writing a novel where visuals have to turned into description,  in an entertaining and interesting way,

Hopefully,   Mission Accomplished….We finally published The Sandrunners.

We now have to set about marketing the book, meanwhile three other scripts have painfully passed along the writers fallopian tube and made the transformation from fertilised egg of a Script to a book.

Be prepared for..

The Stack..  An Australian Family saga starting in the First World War and culminating, (Book 0ne) in modern times.

Maginty’s Quest…A great adventure story for the intelligent adventurous 11/12 year old, with Pirates, Exotic sea creatures, a besieged family in modern day London  and some dastardly crooks…and lots of Magic.

The Fiddler…aka    Sex Drugs and a String Quartet.. A young Italian farm boy with great musical talent wishes to join Mozart’s orchestra.

 This raunchy adventure takes the reader into deep dark places and encounters in the Venice and Rome of that period.

Was the effort worth it?..  absolutely..   and we also learned a few tricks about writing along the way.

Now, where did my hair go, it was around here twenty years and four books ago..

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Sandrunners


Odd title , how many people run in sand? Some athletes maybe, it is supposed to strengthen the legs and improve the Cardio Vascular system. In our story it is the way our hero Yusuf actually gets to work.

Along with his best pal, a young runt camel called Suzy, he runs from his tiny Egyptian village to an excavation site at one of the many  ancient temples in Egypt.

Why run? Not a lot of choice  because the year is 1896, not much in the way of community bus services in those days, no busses
To get to work there were two choices.  Walk or Run.

Which brings me to the nub of the story.

Yusuf is a sand boy at the site, along with his camel he hauls the  rubble away from the excavation, it is not a well paid job but it brings in a few pennies which help him and his widowed mother survive.
In the course of his daily running workout.Yusuf has developed into a major athlete , in a country where the concept of athletes is totally unknown.

The rest of the story you will have to read for yourselves but the idea of a young man from humble origins being able to change his world and that of the people around him by just simply running is one that appealed to my co- writer and co- creator Mary Lou Clarke and myself. 

In the modern era, ours it is possible for athletes from impoverished backgrounds to make vast amounts of money in the sporting arena but back in the Egypt of 1896 the possibility of that occurring was zilch.

Mary Lou and I are also fascinated by personal motivation and  in  this story, which, like all the others we will be publishing shortly, we try to depict the journey of discovery,  to get from the starting point in life to the final goal.
The journey of life really, which has many twists and turns, crossroads, highways and lonely track, which one to choose and why, where will the chosen  route lead.
The Sandrunners is the story of Yusufs journey.  
R.J Dodd