Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In my paranoia, I swear the CBC has ripped off a script idea of mine and I am pissed right off

Also on your play writing.

On the stages of some sort of breakdown here.

Exhaustion. Paranoia.

Somebody has already done a short film about the play I was proposing last year.

Paranoia will destroy ya.

Here is what one film maker in Canada has put together:

The Other Celia follows Slim Walsh as he discovers the mysterious activities of Celia Sarton, one of his rooming house neighbors. Driven by curiosity, Slim pokes a small hole through the floor of his closet, allowing him to see into Celia's room. Witnessing Celia preform a bizarre transformation, Slim comes to the realization that she's unlike anyone he has ever known. He takes it upon himself r as much as possible about this strange being. Written by Skid Gasket

Here is what I had in my Act II, Scene Four of my Fire in Bradford, whose heroine's name is Celia.

Act II, Scene Four:
It is morning in the same yuppie apartment. A coffeepot is hissing merrily in the kitchenette stage left.
Lights: Up.
There is a woman in an 18th century corsetted paisley dress and red granny boots. It is Celia. She is all energy and crispness
All right. Let's get it together! Lief! David!
There is noise overhead. Lief presently comes down the attic stairs centre stage. There is a VTR in his right arm. He is fumbling in his left-hand pocket for something. The professor has hastily put on his trousers. There is a shirttail hanging out. He enters from stage right. They gather around the oak dinner table. Celia busies herself, pouring coffee into portable plastic cups. The professor gets his coffee and is about to drink when he notices that there is an unnatural bulge in Lief's left-hand pocket. Lief had placed the VTR on the table.
Doing something at work, Lief?
Lief: Uh.Yeah.
The professor is stil half-drunk. Lief is standing over him, a bulge in he left pant pocket. The professor gropes at the bulge.
Whatcha hidin' there Lief?
Lief: Ah, just some equipment.
He is moving his left hip towards the professor, his crotch towards the professor's hand.
You're kind of moving into that, Lief.
Come on whatcha got?
Lief follows the professor's hand, lingers there for a bit and finally produces a pair of jewelled opera glasses. He places the lorgnette on the table, beside the VTR.
Professor (looking right to Celia, who is having her cofee on the left side of the chesterfield with its cofee table, like a TV tray, in front).
He looks up again at Lief. Lief is half giggling.
Nice paraphanelia, Lief. Made in China. Still has 'Peiping' on it. Hey, Peiping Tom!
Peiping Tom?( He makes a face).
This breaks the ice. They all laugh.
Celia is now standing. She motions lief and the professor toawards the back door.
No time for breakfast, guys. Sorry. We're running late.
They leave the house.
Music: First bar of theme from William Wyler's olf film"The Collector.'
Fade out.
Lights: Down........end act II, Scene Four, THE FIRE IN BRADFORD.

Ah paranoia.
Will destroy ya.

I am sure the CBC play was on another tack altogether.
But ya never know.

Captain Queeg (Rolling two steel balls between thumb and forfinger, like, perhaps, a frustrated masturbator):
"It was the strawfberries. That's where I knew I had them. I proved with geomettic logic that...they stole the strawberries...

Who is plagiarizing whom?
...And I think I've lost my steel balls!


TomCat said...

Ivan, had your shared your idea there, or could it be a case of great minds falling into the same ditch?

ivan said...

Very possibly.
Screenwriting around these parts has been described as "Sick Canada".

Charles Gramlich said...

Ever heard the Jerry Clower skit about "Hot Steel Balls?" It's quite hilarious.

ivan said...


Seems tha we're almost down the elevator of Country Music at this stage.

What I was thinking of, though, was Humphrey Bogart in the old classic movie, The Caine Mutiny, where a burnt-out captain had this nervous habit of rubbing two steel balls together while being questioned in a courtmartial.
He was quiet paranoid at this stage and "distinctly" rememers how part of his crew stole some strawberries from the galley. Lol.

the walking man said...

We already heard you'd been gelded but about the steel balls are they implants or do you have a way to insert them as needed?



ivan said...

Heh heh.
Those are Humphrey Bogart's steel balls in The Caine Mutiny movie.
But then who of us didn't like Humphrey Bogart?
Maybe I should start a new fitness informercial? Balls of Steel?
Sure had them when I was a prickly young writer on the make.
Now it's more like the "Canadian Broadcorping Castration.

ivan said...

p.s. to the Walking Man.

We cold be twins:
Castor and Pollux. Heh.

Middle Ditch said...

Something like that happened to me. A production company used several of my lines from a script I sent in another serial. How maddening is that! But what can you do?

ivan said...


Sometimes a playwright is just far enough ahead of his/her audience that the material is just dying to be lifted by established authors themselves a little dry in material.
There was a little old lady out of Mt. Albert, Ontario, who claimed that the great author H.G. Wells stole The Story of Civilization from her, word for word.
It was in the late l920's. I believe there was a lawsuit but I forget what came of it.
Apparently, she'd sent the manuscript to a Toronto subsidiary of Mr. Wells' publisher and that was the last she heard of it until Mr. Wells' best seller came out!
In my case it was just the idea of a "peeping Tom" playlet, and that, I suppose can be common domain.

ea monroe said...

We had a painter friend in art school. One day he walked into an art gallery/museum and he saw his painting hanging on display!

Only, his name had been painted out and another "person" had painted their name on his painting. Whatcha gonna do about that?!

I remember that act when you posted it earlier. Probably a sneaky lurker!


ivan said...

Ah well.
That's what sometimes happens when you post on the inernet. Becomes sort of common domain.

Josie said...

Ivan, that's what I thought too. Someone stole it from you. Apparently someone who reads my blog borrowed my post about the girl on the cellphone being hit by a car, and he read it over the air (he's a radio announcer). At least he told me about it.

What the h*ll is that cat doing, in TomCat's avatar? Heh.

ivan said...

Peeing on my comment space, that's what TomCat's cat is doing! :)

Lana Gramlich said...

My sympathies. I remember the devestation at learning that my brilliant idea--Video Fish--was already a reality. *sigh*

ivan said...

Sounds by all the subsequent projects of others, some of them self-published, that it was a good idea.
I used to be much better at execution than ideating.
This led to tremendous output, but easy pickings for the idea sharks.

Sienna said...

How can they do that Ivan? It's not right, how come George Harrison gets taken to court (My Sweet Lord) and the script thief gets away with this?

It's not right, thief, if you are reading this, confess, own up, apologise and sort this out, don't go to your grave with integrity smashed.

My friend works for one of the biggest legal firms in the USA (world) Ivan, they specialise in copyright...writing ownership is personal, it's your livelihood and your work...your babies.

Could you ring them? Make an enquiry?


ivan said...

Thanks so much for your concern about this.

They didn't take the idea word for word, and my slight knowledge of copyright law tells me that if a line or two--or more--was changed, they're probably legally all right.
The mini-movie will be aired again
on CBC, Sunday midnight, EDT.

I don't have the DVD, so I'll have to watch "The Other Celia" on my TV
to see if they took a whole lot out out of my idea/play.

No one is truly innocent, as in the course of my journalistic life, I have been at various times been ordered to take somebody else's idea--like "How To Grow 'Instant Grass' without the Use of Sods" and then present it to my editors at Reader's Digest.

.."Better Moustrap" stories. The papers are polluted with them.

I guess I could draw a lesson out of all this: Next time don't go to a producer of plays; go to a television producer!

You are a real dear for being concerned with this.
I have been ripped off before, for I am told a bootleg copy of my Black Icon exists, though I can't find it; the libraries seemed to drop the bootleg copy as soon as I told Margaret Atwood about it and she started tramping up the woods looking for the bootleg copy herself. For this, I admired her.

Monique said...

You know, I am posting my scripts on Monique blog. Does that assure copyright? It should, shouldn't it? I mean there it is black on white.

The same for Middle Ditch. I'm sure that nobody could steal that. Maybe the idea, but not the same sort of story line. Or could they?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


I Canada, anything you write of some length in Canada is automatically copywrighted.
Not sure if this applies to the UK, from where you write.
I'll have to have another look at Monique blog just for reading pleasure.

p.s. My "The Fire in Bradford" has been posited at Ottawa's National Library, with the ISBN number they have issued me.
If push comes to shove and I decide to take legal action (and who can afford to?), the original book is right up there as "Celia" as the heroine.


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