Monday, December 29, 2008
Finish Paper, Scissors, Stone. (Now called Faith once again. Starting another draft in 2009. It's good, but it can be better. Is this the spec I'll make my break though with?)
Write a pilot for Second Skin, my TV comedy drama series idea. (Done, and damn good it turned out too)
To sell something...anything...this year...for definite!!!! (Failed....BUM!!!)
To get into TV. (Failed. Didn't really expect that call from RTD asking me to write for Doctor Who. I would have pissed my pants and turned into a gibbering wreck if he had.)
To write, write and write some more... and send it all out. (Done. Wrote loads this year and quite pleased with myself.)
To meet more people in the industry and make more contacts. (Done. I am a networking pimp.)
2008 was a year of ups and downs for me. There were some good points and some bad, but the end result is I've made a few more valuable contacts in the industry even if I did fail to get into TV or sell any of my work.
Finally got a copy of AGN and saw it transmitted on Norwegian TV.
My Mr. Vista episodes were filmed. I went along to watch the filming for an afternoon. It was strange seeing my words come to life.
Going to the Screenwriters' Festival and making several good contacts.
Getting a producer interested in my Wonderland Idea.
Wrote some good stuff.
I have been commissioned to write a short sci-fi script for a director.
Didn't get anywhere with competitions this year. I was most upset not getting through to the second round of The Red Planet Prize as I though I had a strong premise and a very strong script.
Couldn't give away any of my ten minute shorts.
Failed to start my novel again!!!!!!
Interested producer dropped his interest in Wonderland, because of too many similar projects in production. Disappointed in this as my idea was different enough to make it stand out.
Got really depressed with writing and stopped for two months keeping a it a secret from everybody, even my fellow bloggers. I very nearly decided to give up writing for good, but the lure of creativity has proved too strong and I'll be back stronger in 2009.
Very disappointed with myself for not getting into TV.
Aims For 2009
To send off sample scripts to producers of existing drama and get myself a TV writing gig.
To sell a short script.
To finish that novel.
To polish my back catalogue of writing.
To avoid getting depressed about my lack of progress and to channel all of my efforts into making myself a successful writer.
Best 2008 Christmas Present
This was close one. The Dark Knight DVD nearly won it, but in the end Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale became an addiction. So far I've read two chapters and it's compelling stuff. It's hard to believe that someone as prolific and successful as RTD could ever have the same doubts as a writer as I do. Utterly mad, but even if you only have a passing interesting writing you have to buy this book.
See you in 2009 people.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
For a three month option I'm charging £100 with a further 3 months extension for £50. My scripts are listed below.
Richard and Ruth are getting married, but Richard is having second thoughts. A short comedy script about how women get their way....always!
Stuck on a train with an old one night stand the journey quickly becomes a nightmare for Brenda. A short comedy about regretful drunken nights.
Stanton's going to end it all and jump, but he didn't reckon on Jean being on his roof. So who is going to jump? A short comedy about taking the plunge.
Rhubarb has lost his owner and on his journey to find her he falls in love with a fairy called Tulip. A short comedy about our little garden friends. (No dialogue)
The Dead Side Of Life
John wants to commit suicide, but can't find the right way. He need not worry Death always finds a way of collecting. A short comedy about suicide, friendship and Death in black sequined spandex.
Max and Craig work one last job with their friend before he leaves the business to marry. But when he doesn't turn up the two complete the job together reminiscing about old times, only to make a startling discovery that will change their working lives forever. A short comedy about friendship and loyalty.
So if you might be interested, or know someone who might be, please get in contact and lets get me to the church on time :-)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It's not that I don't get any replies, in fact on my latest pitch I got five in the first day. It's not that people don't agree to film my scripts, it's that they always pull out at the last minute. Four times now a director has loved one of my scripts, agreed to film it, got near to the shooting day and then pulled out. It's so frustrating!
I even had one director who dropped the script because I wouldn't drop my fee from £150 to £100. For the sake of £50 he wouldn't go ahead with the shoot!!! He really pissed me off.
All I want is someone to come along who likes my script and actually films it when they say they will. Not too much to ask, is it?
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2009
Completely revised and updated every year so you know that the information isn't stale or out of date.
A simply must have book jam packed with useful advice, addresses of agents, production companies and many other useful articles covering such subjects as; societies, prizes, festivals, resources for writers, copyright and libel and finance for writers.
The Writer's Handbook 2009
A publication similar to the one above. I always buy both, because what one misses the other usually picks up.
I find the layout of this book a little easier to deal with and the information in it a little more comprehensive than the W&A Yearbook.
Another interesting feature of both books is the introduction of a website for each, with searchable directories and FAQ's.
Writing For Television by William Smethurst
A useful guide to modern television writing and how to get yourself noticed by the right people. What to write, who to send it to, approaching agents, TV companies and independent producers.
I have found this an incredibly useful tool and by following William's suggestions I've started to go places with my writing.
Writing The Character-Centred Screenplay (second edition) by Andrew Horton
It does exactly what it says on the cover. It's all about character and less about plot like most other books. Explore how to make your characters three dimensional, real, and above all learn to create characters that will drive your plot, not who will be driven by your plot.
How To Be A Writer by Stewart Ferris
A small but handy book with all sorts of clever tips from the inside. One of a series that also includes; How To Be Sitcom Writer and How To Be Comedy Writer. Well worth the investment.
Aristotle's Poetics For Screenwriters by Michael Tierno
Using examples of Oscar winning films this book explores storytelling, structure and the common mistakes to avoid. A little hard going in some places, but a damn good read. Aristotle knew his stuff.
How To Make Money Scriptwriting by Julian Friedmann
A clever and insightful book from one of the country's leading agents. This book covers contracts, pitching, negotiating, agents, meetings, script reports, etc. Basically this book looks at things from the business prospective. As far as I'm concerned a must have.
The Pitch by Eileen Quinn and Judy Counihan
The thought of standing in front of the money men to pitch your screenplay scare you? Know it's good but not sure you can convey that to the people in front of you? Then this book is for you. An often funny look at how to pitch, preparing yourself and knowing what the money men are looking to see from you. Another must buy.
Don't forget the prices quoted here are just recommended retail prices and you can often find the books cheaper on online sites.
Any questions feel free to ask.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I've been trying to get an agent for a while now, picking and choosing, and using recommendations to improve my chances. I get close to landing a big fish and what happens? A recent email from that well known agent highlights how the credit crunch is affecting the writing industry, and is making securing the services of a good agent almost impossible at the moment.
The agent liked my script, "I like it... but, I'm having to say no to rather good material." The reason? It seems this agent (can't speak for any others, but I get the feeling it's the same all around) is cutting back on his screenwriting clients because it appears there is more money to be made with novelists than screenwriters at the moment.
Good job I have a children's novel on the go. Yes, the same one that's been on the go for the last two years, but it's more on the go now than it was on the go back then. I'm actually nearly ready to type the first words of chapter one. Can you feel the excitement?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
“List the top five ways you distract yourself when you should be writing and then procrastinate some more by sending it to all those other writers who should really procrastinate more often.”
1) Blog - coz it's there.
2) Facebook - coz it's there and it's cool.
3) Check email - coz I can't bear having an empty inbox.
4) Write long lists of what I really should be doing - coz lists are fun and it looks like you've been working hard when you cross items off.
5) MSN with Lucy - coz we like to moan about all types of shit and she likes to take the piss out of my poor spelling ability.
Now who to pass it on to????
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Battlestar Galactica season 4 (10 episodes), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles season 1 (9 episodes) and Heroes season 2 (11 episodes) are three examples of what I'm talking about. Battlestar Galactica season 3 had 20 episodes and season 4 only half that, but yet the RRP for season 3 was £49.99 and season 4 £34.99.
Now I know my maths is worse than my English, but even I know £34.99 isn't half of £44.99.
Heroes is the same. Season 1 £59.99 and season 2 £34.99.
The American studios lost out last year, so now they're making us pay for it.
I think I'll wait until they go down in price before I dip my hand in my pocket.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Over the 4th and 5th of October the second series of Mr. Vista was shot in various locations around Bournemouth. As a writer of six episodes (only three were used) I decided to take time off from my manly house cleaning duties on Saturday afternoon and join the lads filming. My wife was not too impressed, but I think she understood.
As I didn't turn up until nearly 2pm I unfortunately missed the filming of my first episode in the kitchen, but I did get to hold the boom mic for the recording of a voice over. The excitement! From the time I turned up everyone kept asking me what the weather was like? "Big black clouds," I replied. They didn't look happy, especially Mr. Vista.
Most of the filming was ad libbed which I found, as a writer, a little strange. I felt a little guilty for submitting scripts, making the process a little more ridged, especially when Tim said there weren't any scripts for the last series.
Then I found out why they were asking about the weather. Mr. Vista was going into the sea...fully clothed. Better him than me!!!!
Friday, October 03, 2008
One of my readers came up with the phrase, "keep on, keeping on". That's what it's like to be considered a new writer in the UK. I've been writing for seven years now, honing my craft, learning, absorbing, and most of all polishing. I don't consider myself a new writer. Unfortunately the industry does. So I keep on, because that's all I can do.
It's like being a door to door salesman. Your spec script is immediately treated with suspicion, especially if it hasn't come via an agent. The quality of the product doesn't seem to matter, neither do the years you've put in to your trade, when you approach people you are automatically lumped into the category of, 'enthusiastic nutter' and I imagine they slip your script to the bottom of the pile.
It helps to understand that producers, agents and production companies receive thousands of unsolicited scripts a year. Out of those thousands only one or two might actually show any promise. But to find those two scripts some poor reader has to plough through all of of those scripts, some terrible, some horrific, and most simply no where near the standard required. It's no wonder it's tough to break in.
But hope is what drives us on, what feeds our addiction to writing. Yes it is an addiction. Those long hours spent staring at a script rewriting it until your eyes feel like they are filled with sand takes writing to a level beyond hobby. Writing is something you live and breath every moment of your existence.
Hope is knowing that someday soon all that hard work will pay off and your break will come.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The song that most reminds me of writing is Oasis's The Importance Of Being Idle.
I sold my soul for the second time
Cos the man don't pay me
I begged my landlord for some more time
He said "Son, the bills are waiting"
My best friend called me the other night
He say "man - you crazy"
My girlfriend told me to get a life
She say 'Boy - you lazy"
But I don't mind
As long as there's a bed beneath the stars that shine
I'll be fine, if you give me a minute
A man's got a limit
I can't get a life if my heart's not in it
I've lost my faith in the summer time
Cos it don't stop raining
The sky all day is as black as night
But I'm not complaining
I begged my doctor for one more line
He say "son - words fail me
It's aint' your place to be killing time"
I guess I'm just lazy
I tag: Mr. Arnopp of the funny beard, Mr. Moran of the Who, Barron Von Phillip, Mr. Another pint anyone Beckley and lastly Mr. Timothy Clackers.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
As I say on my blog, "It's not the rejection. I can handle the rejection. It's the hope I can't stand." And so, like so many others I wait nervously day by day for any news...I just want to know.
When I first used to send my scripts out I used to get my wife to kiss the envelope. Then I thought it was a bit silly, so I stopped. Kissing the envelope myself was also mad, so I stopped that too. I had to strongly fight the urge in the Post Office to do that today. In the end I decided to let my eleven month old son chew one of the corners of the envelope instead. Just a couple of quick chews with a minimum amount of dribble.
It got me thinking, what do you do, for luck or superstition, before you send off a script?
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
My ten pages have gone through a big transformation since their original conception, mainly thanks to Lucy, who has been kind enough to to take time out of her busy schedule and give me some valuable feedback. I have done at the least four complete rewrites and several polishes, and now I think it's ready.
I'll post it tomorrow, or maybe the next day after going over it another couple of times. NO!!! It's fine as it is. Well OK, maybe one little look then.
Good luck everyone.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
No it's not my willy, silly, it's my new Apple Mac Mini. It is by far the best purchase I have ever made (did I actually pay my brother for it, or do I still owe him? Oh well, if he doesn't remind me then it's his own fault).
The PC is dead, long live the Mac!!!!!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Got A Teenager
And no, it's not a porn site, you dirty minded fool....yes I'm talking to you Arnopp, you special fried lust badger (I just made that up instead of using the word 'pervert').
So kotch, bruv, and check it out coz it's nang.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Click on her name and away you go my friends :-)
Friday, September 05, 2008
When a character clicks it's a wonderful thing. I've been struggling for a while with one of my characters, Alan, who just wasn't quite real enough; there was something missing. So I had an afternoon nap yesterday thinking about Alan and low and behold I dreamt about him... and he spoke to me. He was missing an emotional core, something that would explain why he is why he is, dishevelled, lonely and headless of others. And he sat down beside me in my dream and told me all about how he had caught his wife, the love of his life, shagging the postman on the hall carpet, and how his wife, now ex, had emigrated to Australia with their daughter. He missed his daughter and it had turned him in on himself. He'd withdrawn from society and relationships with others, cutting off his daughter to spare himself the pain of separation, only living for himself. That way he figured he couldn't be hurt again.
But the road I have put him on in his story will force him to think of others, feel their emotions, and deal with their problems, ultimately bringing him back into contact with his daughter. Nice.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
"He’s a very lucky man. Three broken ribs, broken nose,
dislocated shoulder, a number of cuts and bruises, but miraculously despite how many foot prints we found on his head he doesn’t have a single skull fracture."
So if any of you know of anyone in the medical profession please shove this blog under their nose and get them to translate it for me. I will be now and forever grateful.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
This was never a truer statement, more so today than ever. I found out one of my old scriptwriting course buddies made it on to the BBC Sharpes course with his first script since leaving university seven years ago. I'm not jealous, I'm really happy for him, I'm just feeling a bit exhausted with this writing lark. Seven hard years I've been writing for with little success, so Rob's message was very welcome.
I never thought of my blog as an inspiration for others, as a guide on how to keep going in the face of rejection. But looking back maybe it is, and maybe I meant this subconsciously. So what better way to explore the "keep on keeping on" theory than taking a step back in time and looking at my journey from shop assistant to writer, and all the hard work and effort I've had to put in to get where I am today.
Oxford 1996: I was working for a shit wage of less than £10,000 a year in Radio Rentals fending off the annual swam of students in September and the obvious hatred of my female assistant manager. She really hated me and made my life a living hell. I decided I had had enough and was going to go back into full time education at the age of 27.
But what to do? I thought about Information Technology as a career, but decided I wasn't really cut out for it. So I opened up a copy of the UCAS book and looked at the Bournemouth page, as I had a friend who lived there. I opened the page right on the Screenwriting for Film and Television BA (Hons) degree. It was fate.
I'd always loved writing and a few years before when I had been unemployed for eight months I wrote a feature script. It was shit, but it gave me a taste for writing more. So Bournemouth was were I decided I was headed.
So what did I have to do? A university access course at the local collage was the obvious choice, but as I felt it was a bit basic I decided to do an English Literature A level too. A year later I passed the course and got a grade D in the A level. But would Bournemouth university let me in, would they heck as like. They wanted me to do some GCSE's to prove I was academic enough for the course. So back to collage I went. A year later I came away with an A in English, a B in Maths and a grade C in the resit of my English A Level resit. Then I got an interview with the university. A few weeks nervous waiting and I got the yes I had been hoping for.
Three years of university followed and I came away with a 2:2, only just missing out on a 2:1 by 0.6 marks. Bugger!
When I left I started writing a comedy feature script (still hasn't been finished) which was a mistake. Even though I could write reasonably well I had no idea about the industry. So I wandered for two years not really writing much and not getting anywhere. Then I decided I needed to learn more about the industry so I set about researching it as much as possible, reading books, web pages, etc. Then I got back to writing, a sitcom this time.
I was finding it hard to write in the evenings after working all day, my brain was dead when I came home. So three years ago I decided to do something about it and took the plunge. I moved from working days to working evenings, starting at 6pm and finishing at 2am the following morning. This was great and allowed me to get up at about 11am and write for most of the day in peace and quiet with a fresh head. It started to pay dividends and I got a production company interested in a feature I wrote in those first six months of working evenings. They eventually dropped the script, but it was a signal to me that my writing was getting better and I was making progress.
Last year I wrote a short for a Norwegian production company which has since been transmitted on Norwegian TV and is also due to be show in Norwegian cinemas later this year. Nice!
So here I am now still plodding away, trying to write while looking after my ten month old son fighting against all the odds and keeping the dream alive. I will make it one day, it's just a matter of right script, right person, right time. Easier said than done.
Monday, August 11, 2008
A lot of people are too busy in their lives to just stop for a week and do nothing, to recharge their batteries and forget about deadlines, money and other worrying stuff for a whole week. It needs to be done every now and again.
Back to work then.
Three emails in my inbox requesting a copy of JUMP. Two replies already; they like my writing but not JUMP, so can I send them anything else? Of course I can. Another three shorts go off to those two.
GNOME makes the first round of the BSSC 2008. I don't think it's as good as THE DEAD SIDE OF LIFE so I'm not expecting it to progress beyond the next round. But you never know, I could surprise myself and do well again this year.
I'm still working hard on the series bible for WONDERLAND, beefing it up for the producer that is interested in it.
SECOND SKIN is also coming along very well and I'm hopeful this script will give me the break I'm looking for.
PAPER, SCISSORS, STONED has now gone back to its original title FAITH. This is after Lucy very kindly look at the script for me and pointed me in the right direction. The script now has a new purpose and direction.
My second Red Planet script, the one I'm working on with Brendan, doesn't seem to be progressing as fast as I would like. I feel it needs more attention than it's being given at the moment.
Must crack on.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Woke up early and ate a full English in the food tent as usual.
First up was Terry Pratchett and who they adapted The Hogfather and The Colour Of Magic for Sky One. It was interesting to see which bits they left out and why, and which bits they moved around to make it work more visually. The most interesting thing for me was how much power and control over the decision making Terry had. They referred to him on almost every decision. If he didn't like something it wouldn't go in.
Next up was Kay Mellor. I was particularly looking forward to this one as I was a big fan of her TV series Playing The Field. She talked about the struggle she had to get Band Of Gold made and it was interesting to know that it was turned down several times before it was eventually snapped up. It just goes to show that even someone as bankable as Kay has difficulties selling their work to networks.
Last was Jane Tranter. She was bright, bubbly and very open on what she looks for and how writers can get there work commissioned by the BBC. She was very supportive of the BBC Writersroom, but when asked how many people have had their series commissioned through the Writersroom, she said she couldn't remember a single one. That's not to say that won't happen in the future though, so I still feel it's a very reliable source for getting into TV. After all writers who have sent in their work have gone on to write for some of the long running drama series produced by the BBC.
When Jane was finished I was out that door like a shot and in my car, as I had to be home for work at 6pm. The bloody stupid sat-nav sent me up a narrow country lane swearing to me that I could join the main road, but just ended up taking me round in circles for twenty minutes when I discovered the road it wanted me to go down had been fenced off. If I hadn't disobeyed that female voice and turned left when it wanted me to go right I'd still be somewhere outside of Cheltenham, sleeping rough in my car and living off people's pets.
Eventually I did get home or I wouldn't be here writing this. I will definitely be going next year. Can't wait.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Monday, July 07, 2008
Mike always focuses on one project at a time, giving his all to that project until it is complete. He doesn't allow anything else to get in the way of that creative process.
Film making for Mike is a very "organic" process. You're making films not making scripts. The end product, the film, is the artifact, not the screenplay, which is why Mike only ever starts with an outline and not a fully written script.
It's in the rehearsals where the script takes shape, and the scenes are defined and created, through the improvisation of the actors. In Vera Drake during the rehearsals none of the actors playing Vera's family knew that her character had been performing illegal abortions, it was only when Mike introduced the character of the police detective that the actors became aware of the situation.
Mike also stressed that film is as much about place as it is character. Place can be a character on it's own.
See, I told you I didn't make many notes, but inspiring stuff none the less.
More to follow soon.
Friday, July 04, 2008
The writing for comics session was really interesting and gave me the chance to finally meet the pointy shoe wearing David Bishop, author and ex editor of 2000AD.
Back to Mike. The man in question was Mike Leigh, multi award winning director. A fantastic talker. His beliefs and obvious love of film shone through, but what was most impressive was his strength, his absolute belief that his way was the only way. A true inspiration.
Day two to follow soon.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I shall awake from an awful hangover and attempt to find my way around SWF with out vomiting and making a tit of myself.
Clean shirt and underpants for this day, as the legend that is Mr. James Moran will be gracing us with his presence. Oh dear Lordy yes!!!!! Must remember to take my copy of Severance to get him to sign. My favorite day by far :-)
Monday, June 23, 2008
I'll be setting off sometime in the afternoon to arrive at about five or six at the Cheltenham Travelodge. I'll be meeting Jason Arnopp and Piers Beckley for a few beers in the Travelodge's Harvester restaurant. I will be trying to not to get too drunk, as I want to enjoy the Tuesday.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Thank you for email, Lee, it reminded me I have a passion for writing just when I was having a bit of a dark moment in my life. Writing is an escape and a joy, and of course bloody hard work most of the time, but it's the sense of achievement you get when you write something good that makes all that hard work worth while.
Have a nice day, people, and I hope it's one full of joy and sun.
Friday, June 13, 2008
1) ACDC - Back To Black
Classic rock. You can't get better than this.
2) Eminem & 50 Cent - You Don't Know
By far the best thing Eminem & 50 Cent have ever done.
3) Eminem - Ass Like That
The only song both my wife and I love. It makes us laugh.
4) Eminem - Cleaning Out My Closet
We all have skeletons in our closets, and I love the way Eminem loves to get things off his chest.
5) Duran Duran - Wild Boys
The song I left school to, and the basis for my first ever script idea. It was typical Eighties shit, but spawned three sequels, none written down, but all in my head. One day I might write them.
6) Bryan Adams - Summer Of 69
The year I was born and my best friend Arne Reidar Mortensen's karaoke master piece.
7) Queen - Fat Bottomed Girls
I wanted this to be the song for our first dance at the wedding reception. Susie said if it was she would divorce me. It's such a cool, fun song, you've gotta love it.
And I'm spent.....!
I'm not meming anyone else, coz I think that's cruel.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
My broadband went down again this week, just when I was about to kick American butt on Call Of Duty 4 on the Xbox. So the CFU didn't work and now I'm really pissed off.
Another round of calls, and more tests from my end, and this was the result....just like a thousand times before.
BT STAFF: "Well the tests are showing a major fault at our end."
PISSED OFF CUSTOMER: "Really? You do surprise me?"
BT STAFF: "The engineers have swapped you card over at the exchange, so hopefully that'll fix the problem."
PISSED OFF CUSTOMER: "Well that was kind of them to interrupt their tea-break to help little old me, but I won't be crossing my fingers."
BT STAFF: "Please call us back if you have any further trouble."
PISSED OFF CUSTOMER: "Oh, you can count on that. What's your direct number?"
BT STAFF: "Bbbbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!"
PISSED OFF CUSTOMER: "Hello? Hello? You fuckers!!!!!"
On the writing side of things, I've just completed another short film script and sent it off to someone I know who might be interested.
Rejection Watch: Not one this week so far, huzzah!!!!!!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Nope, still here!
The engineer has been out to look over my stuff, and all the connections in my house. "There's no problem this end".....no fucking shit, Sherlock, I've been telling you that for months. So now I've been passed on to their top team of investigators, who I imagine are the CFU (Counter Fault Unit) of the phone world. I imagine a Jack Bower type figure stalking the corridors of the exchange armed with a screwdriver, hunting down that elusive fault, tweaking its nipples and giving it what for. Apparently they are going to be my best friend until the fault is found and fixed. Such dedication, if only they could do something about the rising fuel costs.
Rejection Watch: Twice this week....bastards!!!!!!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
As you know I hate rewriting. There is always a danger of doing too much, losing your focus and turning your script into a mindless pile of drivel, if it wasn't one already. What is needed is a bit of structure to those rewrites. Split them down, concentrating on different aspects of the script one at a time, so you don't get bogged down and confused as to what you're actually trying to do. Focusing on smaller tasks makes the over all job a lot easier. So here is my rewrite routine, invented by myself and not stolen from the ideas of other people.....honest!!!
Draft One: The 'get it done' draft.
You've done your outline, your treatment, polished your characters, so now it's time to write. So write. Resist the temptation to go back and edit. If you need to make notes then make them, but what is more important at this stage is that the script is on the page. It doesn't have to be brilliant, it just needs to be done. Now leave the script alone for a couple of weeks.
Draft Two: Structure.
When you come back to it and reread what you've written it's going to look pretty bad. Don't worry, draft two is designed to iron out any inconsistencies, any gaping holes in the plot, and to make sure that anything important you have introduced in the script later is set up earlier in the script. Don't be tempted to work on anything else at this stage, that'll come later.
Draft Three: Characters.
Do you know your characters? Are they believable? Do they have flaws the audience can identify with? Do they act true to their character, or do they do things simply because the plot requires them to do so? Characters need to be believable and to engage the audience. If they don't then you need to take a serious look at them. Don't forget, even the greatest hero has his own motivations driven by his own selfish desires. No one is all good, nor all bad. People are a mixture, with their own likes, hates, fears, and desires.
Draft Four: Dialogue.
Could you identify your characters by their speech alone? Everyone speaks differently. Go to a public place and listen to people having conversations, what they say, how they interact with others. This will help you individualise each characters' speech. Avoid writing regional accents phonetically, it makes them hard to read and will put readers off. Don't forget people are not always nice to each other, including friends and family.
Draft Five: Imagery.
Look for repeated words in your action description and find new ones to replace them. Look at your description. Could it be shorter, more direct? Is it flat and dull? Could it be punchier? This is the draft that could make a lot of difference to your script, so take your time with this one, even if you have to spend several days searching for just the right word to describe something. Remember screenwriting is all about imagery; TV and film are a visual medium. Make you scenes stand out in the mind of the reader.
Draft Six: Restructure.
Would your script benefit from telling it in a different way, or order. Take Memento for instance, an excellent film told backwards. The film could work both ways, but it adds an extra level of poignancy to it by being told backwards. Look at you script and decide if a liner plot is the best for your story. To be honest I'm always certain about the way I want to write a script when I start, but it never hurts to take a second look.
Draft Seven: Conflict.
Conflict is the essential part of a story. If you have no conflict then all you have is a script to go to sleep by. Look at each scene, is there conflict, even if it's between friends. Don't forget there are different levels of conflict, you don't need two people beating the crap out of each other in every scene.
Fuck you more!
Sorry I’m late.
Ogling Angela Cooper again?
No! I would have been on time if I hadn’t knocked over
some silly old fart and spilt his shopping all over the pavement.
He made me carry it home for him.
You let people push you around too much, Barn.
Yeah, well no more.
Barnaby sighs and takes the mug from Enamel before exiting to the back. Enamel smiles.
Draft Eight: The Opening Pages.
The first five to ten pages are very important. These are the pages a reader will look at. If they don't like what they see they won't read any further. So make sure your opening pages contain a great hook and are the best they can be. It's worth spending a bit of time on these pages to get them right.
Draft Nine: Back To Your Characters.
Yep, more character work. Make sure each of your characters' arcs are believable and satisfying to the reader. They can have either an upbeat, or a downbeat arc, or a bittersweet one. Remember, they have to be satisfying to the reader.
Draft Ten: Proof Read.
As I always say to my wife, "I'm a writer, I never professed to be able to spell, that's why they invented spell checkers." I'm a crap speller so I give all my work to my wife to check over. If you're spelling and grammar is as crap as mine hand your work over to someone you trust and give them a big red pen. Red is such a lovely colour.
That's it....or is it? Well no, now's the time to send you script out to others for their opinions. Once you've got that feedback you can start the process again. Remember, writing is all about rewriting.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I've been in this property since October 2007 and the first weekend of every month, without fail, the broadband goes down for three days. The first time was irritating, the second frustrating and the third time I blew my top. I phone them straight away and they guide me through tests for about half an hour to check it's not my router that's causing the problem (I know these tests off by heart now). It's only then they grudgingly admit the fault may be at their end....no fucking kidding, Sherlock!!!!! Cue a weekend with out Internet or Xbox, punctuated by several phone calls back and forth, only for the broadband to come back on miraculously at 9am Monday morning, presumably when the engineers come back from their relaxing weekend.
Yet I keep taking the punishment, I keep letting them convince me everything will work correctly after every call I make. But it doesn't and I don't change my broadband supplier. I'm a mug.
But this month I've finally had enough. The broadband went down as clockwork the first weekend of the month, and again I was with out it for three days. Then it went down again yesterday. I found myself doing something I very rarely do, screaming and swearing down the phone at some poor sod who wasn't responsible for my problem, but I'd reached the end of my patience.
If any of you out there are dissatisfied with the service you're receiving from BT BROADBAND then walk. Don't put up with their sloppy service and false promises. There is a large choice of providers out there, so shop around, don't let people walk all over you. You don't have to suffer crap broadband.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
TVVest, the local TV station were there and this is what they had to SAY. I wish I could read Norwegian coz I have no idea if they liked it or not.
Translation follows: Our employees are not satisfied to edit and film during working hours.
- We wanted to produce something that we did not do on a working day basis, which is commercial- and news, explains director Ørjan Hennes, who together with producer Tore Lofnes has done most of the post-production. Lofnes is also the cinematographer.
We see a man (Jakob Bentsen) who's jogging around Mosvannet. He's not in shape, but when an attractive woman (Merete Hammersland) smiles at him several times, he gains more energy and it adds more hope to his ego. But things change rapidly to something scary when he finally makes contact with her.
- I think it was either me or Tommy who came up with the idea that we wanted to make a film about a jogger around Mosvannet. our original thought was that we wanted to "pull the plug" so that all the water around would disappear. But that would take too much time in after effects, smiles Hennes.
Torfinn Ingeborgrud who's a teacher at Stavanger University and lightman Lars Børke plays an important part as co-actors. Arne Reidar Mortensen, production manager and primus-motor, Steffen Rogne did the sound, Henriette Framnes Time did credits, Rune Hagerup, catering and props, Ivan Bråten Stills, Andreas and Tommy did their planning and a
A certain Gunnar Gran came up with the title.
Enjoy this five minute long feelgood-horrorfilm premiere, Saturday and Sunday or watch it online.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
If any of you want proof that blogs work then let me tell you that I was contacted yesterday by a production company looking for scriptwriters. Who they are doesn't matter; what does matter is that this blog and my website are getting noticed. All the hard work I've put into both is paying off, which is now leading to paid work, or at the least the possibility of it. So if anyone reading this is thinking of writing a blog, but isn't sure the effort is worth it, I have only one thing to say; what are you hanging around for, you doult, start blogging!!!! Don't worry I can handle the competition.
Buddha Of Birmingham has gone out to several production companies so I shall wait with baited breath. The waiting is the hardest part for a writer. We can deal with rejection, we get very excited, almost to the point of wetting ourselves, when we get work, but the waiting gnaws at your soul. Every time the letter box goes it's a mad dash to the doormat, flying through the air, sliding down the stairs on your stomach, only to find Pizza Express have a sale on. Post delivery time sucks!
Gnome is now finished and is my second attempt at a dialogue free script. I'm very pleased with the result.
Jump needs some more work on it, but is coming along very nicely.
I am yet to hear back on how two of my scripts have fared during filming, or even if the productions have gone ahead. I better make some calls.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I am very excited!!!
The DVD will arrive on my doormat a few days after, so rest assured it will be posted on my website within seconds. It might be a good idea to start brushing up on your Norwegian now ;-)
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The competition is designed to seek out the most promising new drama writing talent in the UK. Entrants are tasked with scripting four scenes based on an old storyline and from these a winner will be selected. They will be given exclusive access to future Hollyoaks storylines, get commissioned to write a full show and work with the production team to get their script on air.
Full details are available in the press release, and on the site below:
Log on and have a go.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
Static Films were due to film my ten minute short The Dead Side Of Life, but because of unforeseen circumstances this is, for now, not possible. I had high hopes for this short film. The director had a track record in music videos, he was enthusiastic about the script and above all he understood what I was trying to do.
But sometimes even with the best of intentions, and despite the amount of preparation, things can still fall through. You have two choices; take it personally and curse your luck, or put it down to experience and move on to your next project. If you choose the first option you're never going to get anywhere as a writer.
I chose the second option. One door closes, another opens.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
On the one hand you get to add to what you've created and change things that don't work. When you finish a script and you spend some time away from it you can view things differently when you come back to it. You see things in a fresh light, generate new, more exciting, entertaining ideas that really lift your work to another level. I really love this part. When something clicks it's a real adrenaline rush.
On the other hand, how much rewriting is too much? You face the danger of reworking your script so much you remove everything that made it good in the first place. Draft after draft can blind you to mistakes and you're so blinkered on the project mistakes and errors can start to creep in. This I hate. When is enough, enough and why can you never step away from your work?
I'd like to know your thoughts.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I have requested a room far enough from Mr. Arnopp so I can't hear him snoring, but close enough to pilfer from his mini bar.
Cheltenham here I come!!!!!!!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The Festival takes place in Cheltenham from Tuesday 1st to Thursday 3rd July 2008.
After a disappointing experience the first year I decided not attend in 2007. I now regret this, as whatever failings the festival had in 2006 everyone I've spoken to has said 2007 was much improved. They've done away with the beginners days this year and provided all writers, of all levels, with three days of networking and seminars.
Am I going? I've got to. I can't afford to let another year slip by, I have to be there to pimp myself and my work. So I intend to go fully ladened to the festival, with copies of my CV, outlines, series bibles and scripts; not to mention a bucket load of business cards. I'm gonna chat my arse off for three days, just plonk myself down uninvited next to people and charm my way into their thoughts.
Any networking tips will be gratefully received.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I'm still struggling to like this show and sometimes I'm not that bothered if I catch it or not, evidenced by the fact I missed two and a half episodes this season. I want to like it because it has so much going for it; Douglas Henshall is a fantastic actor, Ben Miller adds the aloof comic touch, Connor and Abby's will they/won't they relationship, a good sci-fi premise, and bucket loads of creatures. Where the series fails are the gaping holes in logic and the formulaic episodes.
- Why are all the anomalies located within an easy car journey from the hub?
- Why are there never any recorded instances of past anomalies appearing and letting creatures out, say for instance in Victorian times?
- Why are only creatures stumbling through the anomalies? Surely if there are ones in the future people from that time period should be able to visit?
- Anomaly appears.
- Monster enters through it and starts killing people.
- The team wade in with out any preparation.
- One or of the team find themselves in danger and in need of rescue.
- Team member is rescued.
- Creature captured.
- The team realise there is another creature on the loose.
- Other team members put in danger.
- Team members rescued yet again.
- Second creature captured.
- Anomaly closes.
- Rinse and repeat.
The other thing that gets me is that Prof. Cutter never carries a weapon...never, ever!!! Now I'm sorry, I don't care how high it is you don't go after monsters armed only with your I.Q. If I was chasing monsters, deadly ones known for their killing abilities, I'd be armed with as many big fuck off guns as I could carry. You just wouldn't walk into a situation and hope you will find a matchstick with which to fight off a Sabertooth Tiger.
The early episodes of Smallville were formulaic, centering around the 'freak-of-the-week'. The producers soon realised that this format wasn't going to work if they were to retain their viewers. So the formula changed and the series became a hit. I can't help feeling that if the producers of Primeval don't up the ante, move away from the formulaic, and start taking some risks with the story, then there won't be a fourth series.
So what do you think of Primeval?
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Although I was promised it would be done by the end of February this has now been put back until the end of March, due to the fact that it is being worked on at weekends when the director and editor have the time. Hopefully it won't be too long and I'll be able to upload it to my website.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Finally I made it to the meet twenty minutes late, after dodging past the numerous buskers on the underground, with my head down and hands in my pockets protecting my cash supply. I met Dan the director in Cafe Nero and bought him a coffee. What a lovely chap, very professional, organised and imaginative. His keeness and ideas for the project were an inspiration. The script is in good hands.
I still have to pinch myself when I think The Dead Side Of Life is going to be made. Don't get me wrong I've had stuff of mine made before, but this is different. This is not a student production it's a professional shoot, with professional actors, purpose built sets, and there's even someone writing the music. Fantastic! You guys are in for a real treat.
Then I went on to meet Jason Arnopp and James Moran. Unfortunately James couldn't make it. I suspect the BBC have him in one of those Torchwood alien cryogenic chambers, with a note saying, "Only defrost in a ratings emergency." Shame he couldn't be there, but Jason and I had fun. Such larks! I have to say that Jason is one of the nicest people I've ever met. No I'm not sucking up, I mean it. He didn't try and get my pants off like Mr. Moran suggested and Jason even offered to buy me a drink...I think I love him. We had a very chatty lunch and agreed to meet up again soon.
So despite the awful start it was a worthwhile trip and I can't wait to see the finished product and put it on-line to show you guys. I shall keep you all informed of its progress.
Friday, February 08, 2008
- Have a shower (very important unless I want to smell).
- Brush my teeth (bad breath is not appealing).
- Brush my hair (so it doesn't look like I haven't bothered with it in weeks, maybe even months, I can't actually remember to tell you the truth, and it does need a cut quite urgently).
- Clean clothes (baby puke stained tops are not going to make the right impression).
- Polo Mints (for the eliminating of bad breath when my mouth goes dry).
- Copy of the script (so I can make notes and stuff ready for the inevitable rewrite).
- A nice shiny leather bag to hold said script in, with pens and business cards safely tucked away in the bag's many inner pockets (my wife bought the bag. I like my bag. It's my man bag).
- Money for the train fare, buying coffee (I need to be alert for the early morning meeting), sandwiches and paying tramps to bugger off and stop annoying me with their foul alcohol breath. I'm not sharing my Polo Mints with anyone, you fuckers!
- Maps (lots of maps so I know exactly where I'm going and what time I have to be there by. Punctuality is a good skill to have and I'm very anal about it too. If I could take my sat-nav with me, I would).
Oh, I will also be meeting up with Mr. Jason Arnopp and possibly Mr. James Moran if he can tear himself away from the BBC for a minute or two. If James doesn't turn up he has warned me to watch out for Mr. Arnopp's wandering hands. Advice noted!
Friday, February 01, 2008
The first is a director showing an interest in my 10 minute comedy short The Dead Side Of Life. He wants to make it, and make it unaltered. Fantastico!!!!!!
The second, a probable collaboration with another writer who has connections with a famous director.
This networking lark's a doddle.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
If you have a script and you're not sure about the characters and dialogue, and would like someone to have a look over your script and offer suggestions on how to improve these areas, then email your scripts ASAP. The first five that land in my inbox will get the Carver treatment.
Why should you seek advice from me about characters and dialogue? These testimonies from industry professionals say it all:
Nadine Mellor - September Films: "I thought the characterisation was strong..."
Karen Clarke - Open Mike Productions: "The characters are well thought out..."
BBC Writersroom: "A good study of a family...A good grasp of male rivalries...The writer has potential for character driven TV drama..."
Dom Philpot - World Productions: I believe that dialogue is one of your strengths...Richard: I found his later transformation to be believable and touching..."
Johanna Devereaux - Festival Film & Television Ltd: "The brothers are well contrasted..."
So as I said, the first five scripts in my inbox will receive at least one A4 page of advice free of charge. Hurry while you can.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
Writing part-time is hard, and it's even harder to make contacts in the industry when you don't have any to begin with. I'm not the most social of people and I do find it very difficult to keep conversations going. So why should the industry be run on who you know rather than what you know? Surely the quality of television would greatly increase if talent was all it took? But no, you have to sell your self too. I've learnt this the hard way. You have to put yourself out there, make contacts and make sure people are reading your work, and most importantly make sure that work is good.
I know what I shall be concentrating on this year.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
My writing seat has been a bastard for a while now. It has a mind of its own, and decides to change height at the most inappropriate moments, whether I want it to or not. It's frustrating when my fingers are on fire and the words are flying to suddenly find my nose on the keyboard. God forbid I decide to lean back and the chair decides my head might have need of being burnt by the room's light bulb. I swear I've heard my chair cackling evilly at night. The chair had to die.
So at 8am this morning I was woken by Parcel Force delivering my brand new, shiny, leather reclining heaven, writing chair (pictured above). It took me ten minutes to fix together and now sits proudly in front of my desk. This chair is not evil; it purrs, I've heard it. It supports me with it's leathery, luxurious comfort.
What happened to the old chair you ask? It's down the local council dump, hiding behind a skip, ready to jump out and savage its unsuspecting new owner. Beware!!!!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Back in January 2007 I made the following promises to myself:
- To sell a script. FAILED
- To get a script made. SUCCEEDED
- To write a children's novel. FAILED
- To rewrite all of my back catalogue. THREE QUARTERS COMPLETE
- To write a lot more than I did last year. FAILED
- To send out at least ten scripts a month. FAILED
AGN, the first of my scripts to be filmed, was shot in October in Norway and was due to be released in Norwegian cinemas in 2008, as an appetiser to the main feature. AGN's future is now in doubt as TVVest, the TV station my friend works at, are making him redundant in March. I'm sure AGN will get finished and shown sometime in the future but it's more important that my friend gets another job first. I'm sure he will as he's a talented individual.
The first draft of my feature, Paper, Scissors, Stone was completed early in the year. I'm not entirely happy with the draft, but there is a good foundation and some excellent scenes.
The Dead Side Of Life made the quarter finals of the BSSC, in only my second year of entering.
The BBC Writersroom declaring me a 'writer of interest' and inviting me to submit more of my work.
Becoming a dad for the first time. My son is an absolute diamond and I love him loads.
Owning my own house for the first time.
LOWS OF 2007
I didn't send out anywhere near enough work, something I'm really annoyed about.
Cross The Rubicon still sits on the production company's shelf gathering dust. They might be interested in it but films take so long to get off the ground it's almost worth forgetting about. I've done three free rewrites for them and I'm now of the mind that if they want another one done they'll have to either option the script or pay me for the rewrite.
Being ill with a virus (a medical term for, "we don't know what's wrong with you") since July has pretty much stopped me doing any writing since then. I have done bits and bobs, but it's kind of hard to sit in front of a computer for more than a half an hour at a time when your chest feels like an elephant is sat on it. The last six months have been a complete write off writing wise.
Having to go through the house buying process.
Losing a friend who died of heart faliure aged 30 years.
THINGS I LEARNT IN 2007
Success has to be worked at. Being ill might be hard but it's no excuse. If you want to write, or you need to write, then you HAVE to write. I've said this several times over the last few years, but it needs repeating. A writer writes. If you don't write you're not a writer.
A second point needs to be made. If you've written stuff then send it out. It's not going to get sold sitting on your computer hard drive.
Networking is important and something I'm rubbish at. My networking skills need a lot of work.
Solicitors are from hell and will fuck you over every chance they get. They speak only lies and deliver disappointment at every turn. They should all be hung, drawn and quartered...then burnt...then stamped on...then hung, drawn and quartered just to make sure.
To believe in myself and not to listen to the idiot warblings of small minded people with nothing better to do.
HOPES FOR 2008
Finish Paper, Scissors, Stone.
Write a pilot for Second Skin, my TV comedy drama series idea.
To sell something...anything...this year...for definite!!!!
To get into TV.
To write, write and write some more... and send it all out.
To meet more people in the industry and make more contacts.
Happy New Year, people. I hope you everything you want in 2008.