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Friday 22 April 2011

Selected Entries From The Secret Diary Of Harry Flannel

Harry Flannel was one of the finest screenwriters ever to go an entire career without writing a single page. He did, however, manage to keep a diary, which gives us an insight into his creativity, his difficulties, and his penchant for roasted chestnuts.

Here are some selected entries from his memoirs.

February 6th 1994
I feel absolutely alive. This screenplay is going to be so good that it will knock the socks off people and then calmly place them back on. Not only is my idea fabulous, but It's guaranteed to win awards. I start writing tomorrow.

September 14th 2002
Sorry for the delay. Writing had to take a back seat while real life got in the way. Back in 1997 there was the whole pregnancy scare with Betsy, although it blew over (she assured me she'd never had sex with me and was pretty sure no other women had either). And then in the year 2000 I had a small case of writers block, which eventually disappeared (it is a very small case, no bigger than a baby panda, if you see it [the case, not the panda]). 

October 11th 2002
Tomorrow will be my first day of writing, although I'm a little concerned about the subject matter. I spoke briefly to my friend Kim Dwofly about the topic, and she told me that it would be frowned upon in many circles (and possibly some rectangles) but then I have always found her to be a bit of a square.

Tomorrow is the day.

October 17th 2002
I've been delayed by a few days. My pen went missing, meaning I was unable to write. I eventually found it behind the big giant immovable cupboard, which is coincidentally where my large notepad and laptop were. I'm beginning to think someone doesn't want me to write!

October 18th 2002
I was all set to begin writing today but came across a fabulous website that you must visit. Did you know that Kurt Cobain was actually killed by a Freemason called Barry Fernball? And did you know that JFK secretly married Elton John and that's why Estonia is really small? The Internet really is a fascinating place. And there are literally thousands of pictures of Minka Vladsty, the Russian porn star, although I've yet to see one of her face. Overall, a productive day. Although I've not written any of my script yet, this wealth of Internet knowledge and insight will undoubtedly help me implant some giant ideas into my bouncy screenplay.

October 25th 2002
I have just re-watched some Quentin Tarantino films. They're very inspiring to me as a writer, I absolutely love the way he doesn't tell his stories chronologically.

I feel it is important for me to share three key events from my week so far, but perhaps I should tell them in a more creative and Tarantinoesque way. I will tell the second story first, the third one second, and secondly the first story will be told thirdly and the reason is, firstly, that the third story will be told secondly, and secondly, as mentioned firstly, the first story will be told thirdly, so to avoid any confusion. (note: I am really beginning to sense my genius, the only problem is I now can't remember the three things I was going to share.)

November 2nd 2002
I was sitting next to my typewriter last night, chewing on some fresh roasted chestnuts, and feeling such a delight that God has blessed me with such undeniable talents. I have such a strong vision for this project; I think it will inspire young people, bring a complete end to prejudice in the world, and hopefully get me a date with Veronica Neff, who, back in 1994, said she finds there to be nothing more wonderful than a screenwriter. This was, along with my natural born talents, the reason I dedicated myself to writing the greatest screenplay ever, over eight years ago. 

January 19th 2009
As you may have noticed, a few years have passed. I wanted to wait for the idea to ripen, which it now has; and I am able to clearly see the arc of my main character for the first time. It is going to be shaped somewhat like a banana, but it is going to be more orange than yellow. Orange in colour, not in shape. Not that orange is a shape, but an orange itself does have a shape. Anyway, my point is; I have spent a lot of time building the arc of my character, and if you ever come to visit I will show you where I put it. 

November 1st 2010
You won't believe this. Today was to be the first day of writing the screenplay. I had prepared the paper, and my thoughts, and a small packet of freshly roasted chestnuts, when my world changed. I thought it would be a good idea to go to the shops to buy a bottle of water, because hydration is important for a writer, but what I bumped into made me wish I had stayed at home.

Just as I entered the store, I bumped into Veronica Neff, which caused a small amount of bruising (but after a few weeks I shall be fine). She seemed delighted to see me, as I did her. I decided to give her the fabulous news. "I am now a professional screenwriter!" I said. 
"That's great," replied my angel, "but what is a screenwriter?"

I looked at her like she was crazy. And then I said "you're crazy." She didn't say anything, so we stood there awkwardly. After five minutes, I decided to add something, "I thought you really like screenwriters?". She didn't have a clue what I was talking about. 

Turns out she liked screen readers. They were developed in the 1980's as a way of helping the visually impaired see computer keyboards. To add insult to serious bruising, she stopped liking screen readers in 1998, and I kept screen writing, hoping to impress her, for another twelve years. 

I am now putting my screenplay aside, to focus on other projects. 


  1. Ha! What a tragedy that his screenplay never got made into a film...or a screenplay.

  2. Hahaha at least he never wrote anything, he kept on saying he would but he never did. And O.m.G! What an awkward moment he went thru, she fucked him up while he was trying to impress her.

  3. Funny, I have had much the same experience and have also documented my journey in a blog, as opposed to a diary. Unfortunately, my success can only be measured by the rainbow of medication prescribed by my doctor: