Just a few days ago, Jeffrey introduced me to the cover artist assigned to Red Sands Investigations and we've been discussing ideas ever since. I have to say, I am extremely happy he volunteered for this show. Not only is his art simply awesome, he's also a delight to work with.
His first question was asking about how far Red Sands was based in gritty noir, and how much was modern - at which point I realised we were on the same wavelength.
The answer is the town itself is very much based on that kind of background, noir being a favourite genre of mine. But, as I would never begin to attempt to tackle that kind of use of language that writers like Chandler or Hammett do, it had to be I guess 'post-noir', plus it's set in England, which also changes things culturally.
The existential detective is already dead. Carla is an outsider to the genre, with a clear sense of right and wrong, trying to work with the more morally ambiguous characters around her. A lot of the time she fails, but whether it has a traditionally bleak ending or not would be spoilering.
In fact, the British/American English language aspect was even more challenging than I'd thought. Several characters in the show are American, most notably Carla herself.
Being a huge fan of American film and tv shows, I tried to 'Americanise' her speech, but missed the mark on lots of occasions. Luckily, Marleigh was absolutely invaluable as a script editor. I learnt a lot of new phrases and structure - and words that just simply don't exist like roundabout (the driving kind), seafront, tatty, to name just a few. Seafront was a particularly tough one to lose, as 'beach' just doesn't mean the same thing in British English.
I was fully expecting it to be hard to write with any hope of authenticity, but even going in expecting that, I was amazed by how different the two Englishes are - and that's just standard dialects. If I do any more writing in future, I think I'll stick to British or non-specific dialects and encourage the actors to improvise around their own dialect.
But back to the artwork - the artist's name is Daniel Chon - and he's simply fantastic. The designs he has come up with so far are really stylish, professional and... well, I'm really, really excited about having him on the team.
At least, whatever I do with the mixing, this show is one that'll look good...