Melodie Campbell is Canada’s undisputed Queen of Comedy.” (review of The Goddaughter). In 1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference. She has over 200 publications including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and has won 9 awards for short fiction. Her fifth novel, a mob caper, is entitled The Goddaughter's Revenge (Orca Books). Melodie was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer, and both the 2012 and 2013 Arthur Ellis Awards. By day, she is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Catch Melodie's humour column for The Sage, Canada's magazine of satire and opinion.
I read one of those self-help books the other day, and I’m beginning to realize why I’m not getting very rich. (For one thing, I’m not writing self-help books.) It is patently obvious that nobody is going to get wealthy writing humor for newspapers unless they roll up the paper and whack somebody over the head with it during the course of a bank robbery.
So I’ve decided to switch media here and become a screenwriter. I’m a natural. I can sit in those funny collapsible canvas chairs just as well as the next guy, and besides, I know hundreds of unbelievable plots: I follow Toronto politics.
So here goes: for my first screamplay <sic> I’m going to do something made for TV; specifically one of those romance-suspense-action-thriller-northern-southern-civil war epic-type things, maybe a miniseries. It would have everything – sex, violence, sex, betrayal, sex, revenge, sex - and maybe even some dialogue. It would star a ravishing but thoroughly spoiled female lead, maybe called Sapphire. Here’s a preview:
Sapphire flings herself up the sweeping staircase, catching bottom of skirt on knob of banister.
Sapphire (yanking at fabric): Go away, Rot! Just go away!
Rot: I’m going, I’m going. But one last thing, Sapphire honey, I’ve got to know. How do you manage to go to the bathroom with that bloody hoola- hoop attached to your skirt?
Sapphire (rolling downstairs on her side): Don’t go, Rot! Please don’t go.
Rot (doffing hat): Frankly Sapphire, I don’t give a hoot.
(From outside, several barn owls hoot.)
I predict a blockbuster. But just in case, I have a second one planned. It’s a 1960s historical spy flick, based on the true-to-life adventures of very bad people who might possibly be Russian.
First Spy (possibly named Boris): Gee comrade, do you theenk perhaps we are raising peeples suspicions speeeking English with Russian accent?
Second Spy (also named Boris): Especially seence it is very BAD Russian accent, comrade?
Okay, so it needs a bit of work, and maybe some more sex. I’m thinking of calling it Czech-mate. And if we bring it forward to modern times, the possibilities are endless. What about a ‘Spy of the Month’ reality series? Boris could live in an LA frat house with nine other comrades named Boris, and the survivor…
Or I could go back to writing for newspapers.
You can reach Melodie through her website at www.melodiecampbell.com. Or better still, buy her comedy novels in Chapters, Barnes & Noble, Walmart or Amazon.