Friday, December 31, 2010
Other great things that have happened in 2010. My work has improved by leaps and bounds, finally getting the recognition it deserves, notably from the BBC Writersroom when I made it into the last eighteen of their South West Voices initiative even against more establish writers than myself. Several production companies have loved my work, especially my feature Faith, and have told me I have an open door to send them any future work. I have yet to find the right projects production companies are looking for, with my current work just missing the mark despite its plaudits. I met many, many lovely people at the LSWF 2010 in October and had a wicked time, learned loads and hopefully have set up the possibility of future work. Most wonderful of all I find myself with the best chance yet to land an agent.
There has also been rejection and frustration, not getting exactly where I wanted and falling at the final hurdle several times during the year, and in one particularly frustrating moment falling at the first hurdle which should never have happened. But I'm still here and I'm still working. This year I aim to work even harder to achieve my goals.
What can I expect from 2011? More finished scripts for certain, hopefully more collaboration, the end of my novel and the start of the next, hopefully a production company picking up the TV drama series novel adaptation, hopefully finding homes for my TV drama serial Wonderland and my crime feature Faith amongst others. I've set the foundations for 2011 this year so I have no doubt that my continued hard work will reap some significant results during the next 365 days.
I hope 2011 is generous to every single one of you.
Happy New Year everyone.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
HONEST POST WARNING - RANT IMMINENT! Those of a nervous disposition please bugger off somewhere else.
Another year gone and another year of not making it to the second round of the Red Planet Prize. I have to admit I'm gutted, more than a little put out and very puzzled as to where I go next as a writer after this year's competition. If I sound bitter and resentful I can assure you it's purely accidental and is not the case, I'm just having trouble trying to figure out where I went wrong. People are bound to say, 'Move on, Dom, there's always next year,' but to tell you the truth I'm really struggling to find any enthusiasm at the moment for the competition, or writing for that matter. Let me invite you into my head so you can see where I'm coming from.
When the competition was announced I already had an idea in place, a very solid idea thoroughly worked out, and I immediately got cracking on my ten pages. I was ecstatic to finish them in plenty of time, so I sent them off to ten trusted people and waited for their opinions to flood into my inbox. I was very happy and quietly confident I had a cracking first ten pages, but just wanted to be sure so I could make any necessary changes before sending them out. Those ten trusted people duly replied and all confirmed I had something special on my hands. Not one of them, and I need to stress this point, not one had anything negative to say about my ten pages. I was extremely confident of my chances...that was probably my mistake.
When the qualifiers were announced I was totally gob smacked; I wasn't on their list. At first I foolishly thought they had made a mistake. Then when I had calmed down a bit I thought maybe my ten trusted people had got it wrong and didn't know what they were talking about. Worst of all I began to think my ten pages were actually a giant pile of shit. So I moaned about it on Twitter. Those who had read my Twitterings and my ten pages, sent me messages of support and outrage on my behalf. A week later I was contacted by a big and respected someone, who will remain nameless, offering to read my ten pages to see where I went wrong. I waited nervously to hear back from them and felt vindicated when I was told they thought I had just been unlucky not to make it through to the second round. Unlucky? That didn't make me feel any better, it just made me madder. To miss out because my ten pages didn't tickle the fancy of the person who read them, when they were given the thumbs up by many others, is a slap in the face for all the hard work I put in. I just couldn't understand it...still can't.
This is how my career as a writer appears to be going. I make tiny advances, but that big opportunity is always just out of reach. People like my work, some even rave about it, but I always fall at the last hurdle while others, those who have been writing many years less than I have, seem to get all the breaks. It's hard, really hard, not to allow feelings of bitterness to grow, because those others have worked hard to get those breaks and deserve them. To be bitter of their achievements would be a huge insult to their hard work and effort, and a terribly self-defeating exercise. But I have to ask myself, am I really that unlucky? I certainly feel so. It's so frustrating sometimes, it really is.
I'm not perfect, I make mistakes, I get angry and unlike some bloggers who like to put on a professional front at all times, I have to have a rant now and again to let off steam. Will I be entering the Red Planet Prize next year? I very much doubt it. If I did enter next year with a shit ten pages and managed to get through, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest, and it would only increase my frustrations with the business. I think I'll just submit my work to them when it's ready and not wait until that one time a year the competition is announced to do so. Other than that I have to crack on and hope my luck changes for the better, that someone, soon, sees I have a talent and gives me the opportunity to prove it. But I can't sit around and feel sorry for myself, if I did that I might as well give up writing for good.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
This has happened to me twice in the last few months and I've had to have a long hard think about whether to drop major structural changes and return to the original idea, or to carry on regardless in the hope it all works out in the end. On both occasions I have chosen to go back to the previous draft and try again, only changing some things and not all of them.
Second Skin, my supernatural pilot drama, was giving me a lot of trouble. I realised on page fifteen of the fourth draft the changes weren't going to work. To me it just felt flat and not a vibrant as the original, and there was far too much exposition in it to allow me to continue. So I've decided to drop the current rewrite, go back to the last version and start again. This time there will only be subtle changes to incorporate the most common elements in the notes, no major rewriting of the first twenty pages as I had planned. It's save me work, but it will also keep the script closer to my original idea.
Sometimes you just have to take a step back and admit what you are doing is wrong. Trust me, your work has a good chance of being a whole lot better for it.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Danny's new film Deviation, a tense psychological thriller written and directed by J.K. Amalou, sees him play an escaped convict FRANKIE who kidnaps a young nurse AMBER in a bid to escape the authorities and skip the country.
"Frankie is a complex guy, he's not just a psycho... he's a tortured soul," says Danny. And don't expect any Hollywood style kidnapper/victim romance, as Danny tells us Frankie, "is evil, but we get to see why he's ended up like this." This film marks a new career path for Danny channelling him away from his recent straight to DVD films, that will once again see him stretch those talented acting muscles.
Twitter: @devmov Facebook: www.facebook.com/deviationmovie
Looking forward to seeing it.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
However, I for one will not be wasting this quiet time. I'll be working on my existing scripts polishing them to the best they can be, so they are ready for dispatch in the New Year. I could sit around on my butt until February, but others will probably be writing and have stuff ready for first thing in the New Year. I don't want to slip behind them in the queue; I want to be up there near the front. For me it's no good having my scripts ready for February if other writers have sent theirs out in January. I'm already a month behind then.
Equally I don't want to start writing again the first week of January and rush through something rubbish to get it out in the second week. It won't do me any favours to have a sloppy script out there. I need to spend that quiet Christmas time working hard so I'm really ready in January.
I can't afford not to.
Monday, November 22, 2010
The advantage of being paid is that I can now focus on the stuff that does bring the money in, working on it hard and getting it out of the way so I can move on to the next paying project. And if I want, on the odd occasion, I can still work for free if I feel strongly enough about the project in question. This means I have freed up quite a lot of my time and I'm no longer wasting any pursuing projects that are going nowhere.
It also helps to focus the mind and provide motivation. No longer can I say, 'I can't be arsed, I'll do that tomorrow instead.' Now I have deadlines and I have to deliver. If I don't then it's my reputation that goes down the loo.
It's also fascinating to work with others and learn how they operate, adjusting what I do to suit what they want. It's a lot of fun, something of which I want more of.
Monday, November 15, 2010
I want to write some more short film scripts and see them get made, but time is precious at the moment so this is what I have decided to do. If you want a script then email me from my website. If you're happy to pay for the work I'll write you your own special edition script for £150 (£75 up front and the further £75 on delivery of the script), giving you as many rewrites or changes as you like up to, and including, the last day of shooting. It's not just a matter of writing the script and taking the money, it's more of a complete package. My aim is whatever you need I will try and deliver. That is my promise.
Simple! This is for two reasons: (1) I am now self employed and need to earn money to feed my children, and (2) the charge is there to prevent time wasters, because you would not believe how many people say they will film a script, hold on to it for months and then drop it. Seriously there are a lot of those kind of people out there, which is a great shame.
So go and look at my website, read my SERVICES page and let me know if I can help you?
Monday, November 08, 2010
I only went to see the Writing For Games session, as I wanted to make the most of my last day networking. Tim Clague did a superb job of chairing this talk and it was both funny and informative. I enjoy gaming but I hadn't ever thought of it as a career option...until now. Writing for games is not straight forward, as writer is not a title they use. You might be asked to put words to all sorts of things like the manual, the marketing, as well as the game, so it's much more a case of cross medium writing. It's also a much bigger job than writing a script as you might be involved in the project for well over a year. But it's good money, damn good money, which is always good to know.
Then I networked again, but found that a lot of people were hungover from the night before. It didn't stop me though and it still went well. I did make quite a few contacts before I went home on the train with Danny Stack and Lucy Hay. Fabos!
Then I had my Euroscript feedback and it was really helpful. I was struggling with the script, especially the opening, which has now been sorted. Fantastic. I'm much more confident about the project now, it just needed an independent eye to get it sorted. I intend to start on the rewrite next week.
I had so much fun over the three days and I met some fantastic friends and possible future work colleagues. Anyone who didn't go, either because they were too busy, or they thought it cost too much, then you missed out big time. The festival is a must for any writer and I for one will be there next year...and I'm also determined to cram more stuff in.
Thank you all for such a wonderful time. See you next year.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Then came Getting An Agent And Beyond. This is something I've been trying to do for the last three years to no avail. I really enjoyed this session a lot, as it was full of very helpful advice. Now I know why I don't have an agent and what I've done wrong in the past when approaching them. I won't be making those mistakes again. Lesson learnt. Researching the agent and agency is very important, you don't want to send a drama to an agent who focuses is comedy. The best advice of the session was not to rush yourself and be polite and professional at all times.
I took the next session off to do some more networking, but after lunch I was back in my seat for Writing Soaps, another truly insightful session. I learned that writing soaps is steady money, if you're good at it, and can be fun when you get into a room of fellow writers to storyline. It is also a very demanding job and can have some very short deadlines, so can be quite pressurised at times. Writing for soaps is different from normal scriptwriting as there are very few jump cuts used, so it's often difficult for a soap writer to get back into working in other areas.
Lastly for me came Writing For Young Audiences, an extremely funny and information packed session (like all of the ones I attended). Again I learnt a lot, including the fact that children are far quicker at getting jokes and plots, and that they are so less forgiving than adults if they watch something bad or boring. I even went to the script chat after to ask further questions of the very lovely Mr Andy Briggs, who was more than happy to give his time so others like myself could learn (as well as Gale Renard and Chris Hill who were equally lovely).
Then it was down to the bar, three pints and a bloody good time chatting to everyone I bumped into. Everyone was having fun networking that night even if there were a few sore heads the next morning. More business cards from valuable contacts and generally lovely people landed in my pocket throughout the night.
The things I learnt on day 2: It's OK to have a few drinks (four at the most) and network, if others are doing the same. Don't approach agents until your writing is ready.
Someone asked me if I will be posting my session notes? I may well do, but you'll just have to wait and see.
Day 3: coming soon.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Wow, just simply WOW!
I had great expectations for this year's festival and what I experienced went way beyond even that. Six months of planning and what we all experienced was nothing short of perfection. I had the time of my life.
For the first session I went to see In Conversation With The Commissioners, then came Becoming A Great Pitcher. Both sessions were full of superb insight and I came away with several pages of notes. I also had my pitching session with producers and directors, three in total, late morning. God was I nervous, but the experience was a learning one especially as I pitched before I went to the Great Pitcher session later in the day. I don't think I did a bad job, after all I came away with two producers and a director asking me to send them my script, but I learnt that this is something I'm going to have to work on, and I will. You need to be able to successfully and confidently sell yourself face to face. I know I need more practice.
What I did for most of the day was to put myself out there and I networked my arse off. To my delight all the networking paid off and I came away with an offer of paid worked. That goes to prove what I said before the festival, networking is the life blood of writers, those who don't, die.
One thing that did get me was the fact that a lot of people didn't do their research. When in the Great Pitcher session we were asked to put our hands up if we had researched the speakers and the delegates before we came. Only five people out of forty put their hand up and I was one of them. I couldn't believe that so many people had come unprepared. But then, as I surmised later, that was their problem and not mine. All the more people for me to network with.
All in all the first day was just awesome and so it was I trundled back to where I was staying, more exhausted than I have been for a long time, but with a huge fat smile on my face.
How was the first day for you?
Day Two to come soon.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Now to practice and practice and practice and practice and practice.
I must be prepared.
Is anyone else pitching at the LSWF? How are you preparing; any unique ways?
Monday, October 25, 2010
To make the best use of my time and money I have decided to concentrate on the latter. Finding producers to buy my work and getting an agent to help me with getting more work is my priority and everything else comes second to that. I need to make a success of my career and myself, and start making a living from writing.
I will attend a few talks, and I won't ignore my friends, but my main focus will be giving my career a damn good boost, after all producers and agents are coming to look for talented writers so I have to mercenary and make the most of the opportunities presented to me.
I will only get out of this weekend what I put into it over the next few days.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Weirdly though, I thought that was it. Like a lot of young actors do, I thought that was it, and once you were in you would just be doing films and TV whenever you wanted. I never really thought about the rejection after rejection, after rejection, after rejection, after rejection, after rejection, after rejection, that you get as an actor. Truth is 90% of actors don’t work. - Noel Clarke 2010
But Metrosexuality was a start even if some of his friends didn't think so. Some of his (so called) friends deserted him because of the sexual aspect of the show and they didn't want to associated with 'that' actor on the 'gay show'. This didn't bother Noel as he knew none of those so called friends who told him not to do the job were going to pay his wages, so he forgot them (my words, not his) and got on with the job. Of course it was a successful show and catapulted him on to other things. If Noel had not done Metrosexuality he would not be where he is now, and he is very aware of this.
Read the post, you'll love it.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
While I was trying to establish myself as a self-employed writer, I was happy to let directors have my scripts for a writing credit and a DVD copy of the finished film, but work has been piling up to such an extent I felt I could no longer afford to do this. I have a pregnant wife, a dog and a three-year-old boy to support, as well as a bad Xbox habit....I can handle it....honest!
I had an email this morning from a director asking if I had any new short scripts, ones that weren't on my website. I didn't so I wrote back to the lady concerned and said I was happy to write one for her on spec, but that I would have to charge her for it. If there was a script on my site she was interested in then I might have been inclined to let her have it for nothing, but as writing a new one would involve some work from me, I decided that now was the time to start charging for my services. I fully expect never to hear from the director again, but it's a chance I have to take if I am to be a success as a freelance writer. I don't want to have to go back to full-time work...it would kill me....seriously!
So right now I'm wondering if I've done the right thing? Should I relent and start doing work again for free? But I know I can't really, it would be a backward step, one I am not prepared to take. Scary times.
Wish me luck.
After not liking the initial episode I can honestly say I have grown to like the show a great deal and I'm loving the characters, especially Paul. I really do hope it gets a second series.
Favourite line this week: "White people are so boring."
Episode 5 review next week.
Monday, September 27, 2010
After the fun I had last week I was glad to learn more about Twitter and how it can be used for the forces of good, so here I am passing that information on to you to help you get the best out of your Twitter experience. Twitter is a great way to collect news and tips about writing, or even opportunities you wouldn't normally come across. That is why it is important you learn to use it properly, as it is a powerful networking tool, and you don't want to become a networking fool.
I very rarely use Twitter on my computer as I mostly use Twitbird on my iPhone. But what I'm going to show you should be cross-platform related. Hold on, here it comes.
- Be aware of hash tags (which is not on the ruddy Mac keyboard) these are your fastest links to topics you will want to read about. You can click on these hash tags to create your own list of topics which most interest you, that way you're not searching through the whole time line to find one post. It's also a great way to drag people into discussions on your favorite topics. Hash tag topics can also be searched for.
- You have found a post you want to remember? Then add it to your favorites, that way you have it for as long as you want.
- Give your feed a personality, preferably your own. Be kind, funny, helpful, considerate and aware of other people's feelings at all times. You want to make friends, make valuable contacts, you don't want to lose them. Don't be nasty and always treat people like you would want to be treated yourself. Being nasty or stupid is the quickest way of getting blocked. If you get a reputation for being a nice person, or even better that you have something interesting to say, then more people will follow you. And try not to slag of the industry, films, TV programs, or even companies, and especially not individuals. They all have Twitter accounts and might just be following you. Watch out!
- Use Twitter to remind people of what is going on in your working life and in the industry in general, even if someone else has already done this two minutes before. You cannot over tweet about what interests you.
- Click on your FOLLOWERS list, see who is on there, follow them, send them a message of thanks, let them know you've noticed.
- FOLLOW FRIDAY important people, your new followers, or someone you want to follow you. People like to be mentioned, it appeals to their vanity. If someone mentions you then thank them for it.
- Retweet relevant tweets from people you follow on a regular basis. Keep active. You can't over retweet.
- If people ask a question, or just comment on something, then send them an answer, write them a little tweet back. If they are well known then don't be a nuisance, just tweet them occasionally. Over tweeting will get you blocked. If you actively respond to people's tweets they'll notice and and may even give you a follow.
- There is a LISTED button, usually on your profile, which when clicked on will tell you which lists people have linked you to. This is a very helpful tool as the owners of the list, and the people on it, will have the same interests as you do. So follow them...all. Check this at least once a week.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
OK ending your career is a bit of an exaggeration, but mistakes could potentially harm it. What do I mean by mistakes? I mean anything that is not professional, like using Twitter when you've had a few too many beers and asking someone you hardly know if they want to meet up for a chat about nothing in particular. Not professional at all especially if that person is an agent.
Agents talk to each other, as does everyone in media, and you don't want to be known as the bloke who Tweets drunk. That's why it's important to keep up a professional front online all the time, one mistake can hang around for quite a while.
So the point is... be mindful of everything you write, or upload, on the Internet. Someone somewhere is always watching.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
REWRITE - Working with Script Editors and Producers. Getting
someone interested in your writing is only the start of the
process. This one day event is your chance to learn from
successful Writers, Script Editors and Producers about what
happens next and offers you a chance to get the insider
knowledge you need to build your career.
For more info please follow this link:
Book up quickly.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The things Russell Tovey's character Steven did, or encountered during the first episode could have been lifted straight from my life. I have a great dislike to crumbs in the bed, they make it uncomfortable. I could go on, but I'd only bore you/embarrass myself. It was too much of a revelation on how difficult it is to live with me sometimes, for me to laugh at Steven/Me in the first episode.
Episode Two: I'm sold, and no, not because Russell Tovey tweeted me and asked me to stick with it. I think he's a great actor, but I do have my own opinion and I'm no suck up. But once I understood I was watching what I, and every other bloke has gone through during their twenties, up there on the screen, I got the humour and laughed my bloody bollocks off. It's very well written, with such superb observational comedy that I had to check my house for hidden cameras.
So yes, Mr. Russell Tovey, you did say it would get under my skin and indeed it is doing its best to do so. Can't wait for the next episode.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Smutty humor was a big hit in the nineties, not now. Smutty humor now is just childish.
Things I didn't find funny:
- Opening discussion about blow jobs.
- The constant mention of sex.
- The word FUCK.
- Toilet paper under the foreskin.
- Sniffing said bit of toilet paper.
- Women doing stinky bowl movements on the toilet.
- Women leaving stinky bowl movements in toilet and not flushing.
- Jumping around like a girl when coming across a spider.
- Eating pubes on toast.
- Eating toast in bed and dropping crumbs.
- Pissing in a hand basin.
The only thing the show had going for it was the uncomfortably annoying neighbour and Russell. I love Russell Tovey, he's brilliant in everything he does, but even he can't save something so unfunny as Him & Her, or can he?
If you want to know how to do smut well, then see Two Pints Of Larger And A Packet Of Crisps. It just goes to show comedy is subjective.
I have erased it off my Sky+ recording schedule (on the recommendation of Russell himself I have now reinstated it).
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
A well know script reader (who shall remain nameless as they know who they are) emailed me and asked to read my Red Planet ten pages, after reading of my disappointment on twitter. They gave a lot of positive feedback and said they thought I was just unlucky not to get through to the next round, which was very encouraging to me.
Then today I got an email from the BBC Writersroom with some feedback on a script I sent them. Even though they thought the characters could have done with a little more work, and the narrative was a little slow, there were plenty of flattering comments about dialogue, characters, comedy and originality. So despite my rejection yesterday my writing is improving by leaps and bounds. All that hard work certainly pays off.
Don't forget, just because you get rejected doesn't mean you're a bad writer. A script that is one person's Oscar, is another person's loo paper. Keep writing, have faith, work hard and you'll get there.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I was twenty-three when I wrote my first screenplay, basically out of sheer boredom. I had been unemployed for something close to six months (which ended up being nearly nine, mind numbing, soul sapping, months) and was running out of things to keep me occupied. I had just finished reading John Wagner's Button Man and decided I would have a go at writing my own screenplay version of it. I had always been in love with TV and the movies ever since I saw the film Dirty Harry when I was thirteen. For some reason I found myself identifying with Harry, bad as he is, which all good film and TV characters should make you do. So I sat down at my computer and started to write.
I didn't plan, didn't work on the characters, didn't have any notes, I just wrote it from the heart. It took me something like six weeks to complete. I had a screenplay, a shit screenplay, but one I had written none the less. I felt a sense of achievement I had never felt before.
Looking back the script was bloody awful, but it did have some promising points. For a start I appeared to have a natural talent for plotting and pace, but on the other hand it was obvious my characters, dialogue and story had to be worked hard on if I was ever going to be any good. It was then I bought my first how to write a screenplay book, can't remember who's it was, as I don't have it anymore....but I think it might have been How To Teach Yourself Scriptwriting.
I sent the script out to a few production companies and got a few nice comments back in return, but I eventually put the script away in a draw as I was employed again. At that time writing was a distraction from being unemployed, it didn't even occur to me it could be more than a hobby.
A few years later I found myself stuck at home still living with the parents and in a dead end job. I wanted out, to find something that was me, to change my life. Recently a friend of mine had moved to Bournemouth so as I had decided to go back into education I looked up Bournemouth in the UCAS book and came across the only scriptwriting degree in the country at the time. Fate was calling me so I signed up for the course, and, as they say, the rest is history.
If I hadn't have found the Scriptwriting for Film & TV BA (Hons) degree in the UCAS book my life would be a whole lot different now. I'd probably have more money for a start, and I certainly wouldn't have this obsession with writing that I do. I'm glad I opened that book when I did.
Friday, August 13, 2010
First of on a personal note, my lovely wife had her twelve week scan today. We were very nervous because earlier in the year she had a miscarriage at seven weeks and although we were very grateful to get to twelve weeks, there was still a chance things might not be right. And what idiot gave us a scan date on Friday the 13th anyway? Someone who thinks they have a sense of humour no doubt. Well done you.
Luckily things were OK. The baby was asleep (like child, like father), but we could see the heart clearly and it was going ten to the dozen. We were relieved. So it's now official I will be a dad for the second time on February the 26th 2011. GET IN!!!
And then came my notes for my Red Planet submission. The sixty pages were done, but I knew something wasn't sitting right, couldn't put my finger on it, so I sent it out to the lovely Bang2Write.....she gave it to me straight like she always does...ooh, err!
'Get rid of the police,' she said. I stared blankly at her...or I would have done if she hadn't have said that in an email. So I stared blankly at the email instead. Get rid of the police? What, all of them? Yep, all of them, not just in this episode but in all the others too. Holy crap! Bangers (as I never call her) is most often than not spot on with her judgement and I trust her above all others. But get rid of the police? In a crime drama? But she's right! Fecking cow!
So I have roughly two weeks to write another draft, with changes of roughly 50%, surgically removing the fuzz, focusing more on the protagonist Mad Frank Hattman. The police will be there, not in the foreground, but in the background, a presence rarely seen, a threat implied not forced into your face like an unwelcome dildo. It's going to be tough...it's actually going to be very tough. Two weeks is pushing it even if it does need to be done.
So today could have been much worse, but all in all I'm satisfied with what I've got.
Best get on.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Last night we were watching a recorded episode of Misfits while shouting out what we thought people's powers were. We were both spot on. Then my wife piped up, "I should be a writer." That somehow led me to offering her the opportunity to help me write one of my scripts.
Normally I would be daunted by the prospect of my wife trying to help me with anything I do, mainly because I'm such a control freak and I like things done just so. On more than one occasion my wife has hoovered up and I've then gone and done it again just because she missed a bit. I'm not saying my wife doesn't do a fantastic job when she hoovers, I'm just saying I'm anal about making sure all the dog hairs, including the ones that congregate in the corners of the room are hoovered up.
But I'm not in the least worried about writing with my wife, as she reads all of my scripts and offers me her insight which is always very helpful. She has even read and advised Bang2Write - Lucy. So I have decided to take the plunge and let my wife have a go. It might just be the step I need to take to get my career up to the next level.
Friday, July 30, 2010
The first ten pages has a man suffering amnesia arrested when he's found with the body of a dead woman. He escapes the police car he was being transported in when it is hit but a van and goes on the run. In an effort to clear his name he has gone to a jewelers to get some information on a necklace, only to find the place being robbed. He is now a hostage and must play the robbers and their victim to get the information he needs and get out alive....
....I've never written a hostage scene before. There is a danger, especially after the action of the first ten pages, the rest of the script will be very static by comparison. How can I avoid this?
Does anyone have any advice?
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I wish to state for the record that I have nothing against the writer Ed Whitmore, after all he's written for Silent Witness and Waking the Dead, so it's not as if he doesn't have a good pedigree. So why has Identity fallen so short?
I've only watched three episodes and I had to force myself to watch the last of those. The series didn't improve, so it's goodbye from me, I'll spend my TV time watching something else on a Monday. Why? Let me enlighten you.
For me Identity only has one workable character, only one character who appears to have had any work done on him, and that's John Bloom. Undercover for fifteen years he's finally back working as a Detective Inspector, and appears to be the only one in the new Identity Unit who has any idea how criminals tick. The rest of the unit couldn't work out a game of Cluedo with out John's uninvited insights. The others sit there waiting for some bright insight from John, when they then jump into one dimensional action. So here are the list of characters and their one characteristic:-
- DSI Martha Lawson - Argues every episode on John's behalf. She is the only one who thinks he's a good copper. WHY?
- Tessa Stein - Computer genius, who constantly reminds everyone else how good she is.
- DS Anthony Wareing - Slopes around not doing much except trying to get John into trouble, just because he doesn't like him. Or is he pissed he's now got work to do thanks to John?
- DC Jose Rodriguez - Young, brash and still wet behind the ears, hasn't learned to be subtle yet.
What do you think? Hate it? Like it? Let me know.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
South West Screen helps local drama writers pitch to BBCCongratulations to the final eight and special congratulations to Bryony, a fellow Bournemouth resident.
South West Screen and BBC Writersroom have teamed up with BBC Independent Drama Commissioning to fast track eight of the region’s most talented writers into television drama.
The eight recently took part in a two-day workshop near Corsham in the latest stage of South West Voices, a professional development scheme run by BBC Writersroom to give both experienced and emerging writers the chance to receive industry and peer group support and help develop their projects. Previous writers found and nurtured by BBC Writersroom have gone on to work on dramas including Eastenders, Doctor Who, and Waking the Dead.
The collaboration has arisen from the Bristol-BBC-Anchor partnership, which was signed last year between the BBC and Bristol City Council, South West Screen, the South West RDA and other key media enablers in the region.
It follows on from a visit to the region from Ben Stephenson, the Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning last year. Ben outlined his vision of the future of BBC drama during the visit and this week saw the latest steps to bring these ideas to fruition.
Writers were originally asked to submit a pitch for an original series, serial or single drama idea for television, along with a full-length sample script. From 120 submissions, 18 shortlisted writers were then invited to a workshop day in Bristol to meet BBC Writersroom, BBC Independent Drama Commissioning and South West Screen, and from those, eight writers were selected for the two-day residential workshop. The eight have each been paired with a mentor from the Commissioning team and now have three months to develop their ideas before formally pitching them to the BBC in September.
The eight writers come from across the South West region, including Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Bristol.
BBC Writersroom previously ran the ‘Breakers’ competition in the South West in 2004 with the support of South West Screen, but this is the first time BBC Independent Drama Commissioning has been involved in such a programme in the region.
The programme demonstrates the BBC’s ongoing commitment to original drama production in the region, following the announcement of loss from the region of popular BBC dramas, Casualty and Being Human, to Cardiff, the BBC’s designated centre for excellence for drama production, last year.
The eight writers who took part in the workshop were:
• Dom Rowe (Bristol)
• Miles Chambers (Bristol)
• Rachel Joyce (Stroud)
• Carol Noble (Exeter)
• Tom Wainwright (Bristol)
• Sean Grundy (Weston-Super Mare)
• Peter Jordi - Wood (Truro)
• Bryony Ive (Bournemouth)
It was great ego boost to be included in the final eighteen who met at BBC Bristol, especially considering the amount of quality, talented writers there, with good solid writing credits. It's nice to know that my writing attracted attention from the people at the BBC Writersroom and BBC Commissioning, despite not having the credits others had. I'm certainly not resting on my laurels having already formed a writing partnership with another writer invited to Bristol, working on a brand new TV drama series we're planning to pitch to the BBC Commissioning team.
If you see another scheme like this then go for it, because you never know what doors it might open up for you.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
And what of the work you have to do before you can write? Outlining your idea, character biographies, series bibles, plot, structure and a million other things that go into making your first draft. That's right...your first draft. Then comes weeks, months and sometimes years of editing and rewriting, bringing everything together to arrive at the point where you have that final polished draft ready to send out.
This is where most beginners fail. They think all they have to do is write a screenplay, change a few bits and it's ready to be shown to the world. Wrong! If other writers are spending months on their script making it as perfect as they can, they are already way ahead of you. The script you spent a month writing is at the bottom of the pile and the more time you spend on it, working through every aspect of your screenplay over and over again, the better chance your screenplay has of getting noticed. The less time and effort you put into your work the more obvious it is you're not really committed to being a writer. For you, it's just a hobby.
Writing is easy....it's the preparation and the constant rewriting that is hard work.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Monday, July 05, 2010
7.30am: Up and out of bed, not necessarily awake.
9.00 - midday: (Mon + Wed) The boy goes to nursery so I write solidly between these time with no interruption. This includes working on the website and my own writing.
9.00 - midday: (Tues, Thurs + Fri) Work on the website (I try and get this out of the way in the mornings) and try and do some of my own writing, while keeping the boy occupied.
Midday - 5pm: It's a case of juggling my son, the housework, and my writing. Some days are easier, but most require compromise, having to play with the boy now and again so he doesn't kick up a fuss when I sit down to write. And the house work has to be done, don't want to live in a stinky house after all.
Evenings: Some evenings if I haven't had a particularly productive day, either because the boy has been playing up or my brain just hasn't been working, then I'll pop upstairs for a couple of hours and do as much on my scripts as I can while the boy is sound asleep in the next room.
So that's my new daily routine. It's changed quite a bit allowing me more time to write, so if I'm not successful now then there is only one person to blame....ME!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
It made me wonder what other writers would consider a GOOD WRITING DAY?
How many pages makes you happy?
Friday, June 25, 2010
Bob (let's call him that to protect the stupid) has been unemployed for nearly eight months, he doesn't have a girlfriend, all his friends have moved away and, even though he never thought he'd admit to this, wanking is losing its allure... basically he's bored... suicide is beginning to look like a realistic option.
But after watching Dirty Harry he has an idea. He decides to write a script, can't be that hard after all, it's just a few words on a page...yeah, piece of piss - fame and fortune await.
So Bob sits at a computer and types like a man possessed, which is partly true because he has been drinking spirits for the best part of the day, and the words pour out. Two weeks later he has a 115 page thriller. He shows his mum, she thinks it's brilliant, so he puts it in a draw and forgets about it for five years...
...to be continued.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Steal? Potential for an instantly large gain, but also a big risk of finding myself at Her Majesty's pleasure at the time of the festival. VERDICT - DON'T BEND DOWN FOR THE SOAP TYPE LOSE
Sell everything I own? I don't own anything of significant value that I can sell, except the wife and child, but I'm sure human trafficking is illegal. VERDICT - LOSE
Beg? I'm old and my knees hurt. If I got down on them I'm not sure I'd get back up again. VERDICT - LOSE & POSSIBLE PERMANENT INJURY
Borrow? My bank manager laughed at me when I asked, and my parents left the country the next day. VERDICT - LOSER!!!
Sell Vital Organs? I'm already in trouble for having three kidneys and two livers on eBay. VERDICT - DEAD
Actually Sell Some Work? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. VERDICT - YEAH RIGHT
Charity? www.FundDomToGoToLondonScreenwritersFestival.com VERDICT - ASKING SCRIPTWRITERS FOR MONEY...NO CHANCE
My only choice seems to be to sneak over the wall on the day.
Who's with me?
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
I find writing usually comes to me in two ways.
Bits & Bobs
I write most days, but only half and hour, to an hour at most. Not much gets done, but what is written is good because I stop writing when I switch off.
I write loads. Pages of the stuff, some good, some bad, but a good high word count. Not every day though, sometimes I write as much as I can for two or three in a row and then I leave it for a few days to give my brain a rest.
But which is best? Are there any other ways of writing? Tell me, how do you write?
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Are there any technologists out there who could whip me up a special header for my blog, with a picture maybe, to make it look pretty? I would be ever so grateful. There may even be a snog in it for you.*
Please get in touch if you can help, or know someone who can.
Cheers my blog buddies.
*I have the right to withdrawn snogs at any time with out notice.
Monday, June 07, 2010
I've been very bold with this year's entry really, delivering a very dark haunting drama of suicide and why sometimes there are no answer to your questions. It's very different from anything I've entered before and we'll see if it makes a mark this time.
Good luck to everyone else who has entered.
On to my Red Planet submission now.
Friday, June 04, 2010
The series started off really well but tried to be too clever towards the end, concentrating too much on how people's flash forwards changed, rather than sticking with the original concept of how people would cope knowing, or not knowing, what they were going to be doing six months down the line.
And the plot suffered from some terrible loop holes. The biggest was why the instigators of the incident wanted to make it World wide? After all if they had been using it for years to see all the possible futures, to make money, to better their own lives, why all of a sudden did they want to share that with the whole World? To me it didn't make sense. What was the point of giving everyone a flash forward?
I also thought the idea of having a flash forward was that it was personal. Then why, and how, could Gabriel see other people's futures, and how did Dyson Frost know Demetri would watch his video tape in the future if he wasn't there to see Demetri find it? It all got more than a little confusing.
And the ending was very underwhelming. The only flash forward we got to see was Charlie's, when she was grown up saying, 'They found him'. We invested time in those characters and what we deserved was a decent pay-off. I personally wanted to see the main characters' new flash forwards so if there had been a second series you would be wondering right from the start how things were going to play out.
Overall I found it very disappointing and I won't be buying it on DVD. Give it a miss.
Friday, May 28, 2010
I have a lovely part-time job writing for a website which will keep the money rolling in to pay the mortgage. But now it means I can devote so much more time to writing my novel, scripts, entering competitions, and getting that all important first British TV credit. Let me in, damn you!
Now all you lovely people have to do is send me your scripts so I can read them and charge you for the privilege. My son needs a new pair of shoes and the wife a new handbag (beg, beg). Me? I'm just happy to be writing full-time. Fantastico!!!
I'm not crapping myself....honest!
Monday, May 24, 2010
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Thursday, May 13, 2010
110 people applied and out of those 18 were invited to a workshop at BBC Bristol. I was one of the lucky ones. So off I set via train to find out what it was all about.
The workshop was hosted by Paul Ashton (Writersroom), Beverley Booker (BBC Commissioning), Chris Moll (South West Screen) and Hannah Rodger (Writersroom). The first thing that Paul made clear to us all was that if we didn't make it through to the final 8 it wasn't the end. We had been invited to the workshop because they wanted to form relationships with South West writers, to have ongoing dialogue with us and to find out what we are passionate about.
I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed when I got to Bristol, because I'd looked up the other writers attending on the Internet and found that I was probably the least experienced one there. But then I thought if I had been chosen to be in the 18 with all those other writers, then the BBC Writersroom and South West Screen obviously saw something in my writing they liked. So I shoved my nerves aside and threw myself in at the deep end.
I really enjoyed myself, meeting other writers, learning more about the BBC commissioning process, making new friends and actually getting the opportunity to practice my face to face pitching. Let's just say I need more practice.
Unfortunately I didn't make it through to the final 8. A bit gutting, but as Paul said it wasn't the end for any of us. The BBC Writersroom have their eye on me and at least one BBC Commissioner knows who I am. Now all I have to do is keep those relationships alive and maybe it'll help me somewhere in the future.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
It seems that every time I do say something before things actually happen, these things eventually come to nothing. But I want to tell everyone, because I'm proud and excited. But if I do say something and then, as it has done before, it all goes tits up, I'll have cursed myself again.
No, this time I'm going to keep my mouth shut until things are sorted, then I will tell...but not before.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I have a few ideas of what I think would make good podcasts, the first being the long awaited "How Not To Be A Writer', post I was going to do. But I was wondering if there were any subjects other writers out there would like to hear about?
I don't know when the first podcast will be because I have to figure out how to do it in the first place and them upload it. I'm not a fantastic techie, but I will get the hang of it eventually. So send those ideas in and I'll get cracking.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
As a result of that conversation I thought I would post part of one of those emails below to show my attitude to script feedback.
"I've seen script notes given in loads of different ways. The reason I give the bad news first and the good last is because I like the writer to go away with a positive thought fresh in their mind, not a negative one.
I also don't like to suggest to the writer how they should improve their script, rather I prefer to raise questions and allow the writer to come up with their own solutions, after all it's their script and they're the author of it, not me. Who am I to tell the writer what they should write?
Everyone has a different opinion on how honest you should be with notes. The Head Of Department on my BA Scriptwriting course upset a lot of students with his direct and honest approach, some very nearly quit the course because of it. But as he said if he told people their script was good, or tried to soften the blow, when the writer had actually fallen well short, they would be in for a real shock when they went out into the real world. Script editors and producers can't afford to be nice. If they're not honest from the start they're not going to get the script how they want it, which will cost them more rewrites, more money and more time.
However, what isn't acceptable in my book is rudeness, a complete slagging off of the writer and their work. A personal attack on the writer and their script isn't professional, and isn't welcome. Politeness doesn't cost a penny.
I know a writer who worked on a well know show just when a new script editor was hired. The editor went as far as telling the writer how to change individual lines of dialogue, rather than relying on the skill of the writer. No wonder he hated that script editor.
If a writer can't take honest, constructive criticism then as harsh as it sounds they are better off choosing a new career. Some of the feedback I receive still gets me down on occasion, even after all these years.
But at the end of the day criticism is subjective and the writer isn't under any obligation to listen to, or indeed act upon, any of it. However, they have to realise it will severely restrict the length of their career if they don't. Script editors and producers don't want to work with opinionated, stubborn writers only ones that do as they are told and can deliver what they want quickly and professionally."
Saturday, April 10, 2010
DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HATE SPOILERS
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, SO IF YOU READ FURTHER THEN IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT.
I think I've sussed what's going on in the final series of Ashes To Ashes. There were certain things I spotted during the second episode that could be carefully laid clues. Then again I might be totally wrong. I'll list my ideas here and we'll see how close I was at the end of the series.
I think Jim Keats is the Devil. The reasons for this:-
(1) His office was in the basement - A metaphor for Hell.
(2) His office was scorching hot - As hot as Hell.
(3) Someone commented his office was fetid, meaning rotten or decaying.
(4) He wears horn-rimmed glasses - the Devil's horns.
Jim is also using his charm to try and get Alex on to his side, telling her he can help her, something the Devil would do. And does he really know where she is from?
If you remember in the first series Gene Hunt saved Alex as a child from the exploding car, so it's a good possibility that he is her guardian angel, which is why he gets up Jim Keats' nose so much. That would mean that the world they inhabit is purgatory, a halfway house between life and death, Heaven and Hell.
Again this is only a theory of mine and I could have got it all horribly wrong, but as I said let's see at the end of the series.
And as for Sam Tyler, I think he's very much alive and Gene Hunt is covering up for his friend (acting the guardian angel), but why? In Life On Mars Sam Tyler discovered his father was a crook and I think the bank robbery that supposedly got Sam killed was carried out by his father and Sam let him escape once again, but this time he followed his father to get to know him better. Well, that idea is a little dodgier than the Devil/guardian angel one above, but again we'll see.
What do you think?
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
"Hi Dom.So now you know.
Yes the prize will be going again this year. We are currently finalizing all
the details and they will be announced on our refurbished website in about 4
weeks or so. So hopefully it will start around early Summer time. Good luck
if you're thinking of entering and we look forward to your entry.
All the best.
Regards, Red Planet."
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I've not succumbed to commercialism, I just came across this site and it made me laugh, so I'm very happy to give it a recommendation.
Check it out and have a guess which one I ordered?
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 08, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
However, I'm learning a valuable lesson; not all things in TV land move quickly. Some projects stall for various reasons, and some stop all together. There's a lot of work that goes into coordinating several writers at the same time, making sure their script ideas match that of the show, and blend seamlessly in with those episodes of the other writers. So I have to sit back and be patient, enjoy the process and not let the occasional lack of movement get to me. The collaborative process is meant to be fun after all.
Hopefully when things get sorted I'll have three episodes, or maybe just two if my idea for the series finale isn't suitable. It's great to be writing again and even greater to be involved with something that will actually be made. I'll keep you all posted.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Sound familiar? This is an all too common problem for those starting out in writing, or those with a full time job and family responsibilities. I'll be blunt... a writer writes, a non writer talks about it. If you're not writing then you're not a writer....end of! Take up knitting or something, just stop wasting everyone's time, especially your own, with this writing talk if you're not going to do any.
Last year I was a non writer, because what I wrote hardly filled five pages. I have the depression to thank for that. Now I'm better this year is already different. Every spare moment I can find I write, mostly in the wee small hours of the morning when I really should be asleep. But I'm committed so I push myself even when I'd rather be on my Xbox, or in bed snuggled up to my wife. To be honest I could push myself more, and that is always my aim. All writers, without question, suffer from procrastination. Your success is entirely dependant on how much effort you put in to your work. A writing career won't come to you, you have to hunt it down, pin it in a head lock and tweak its nipples until you get what you want.
Let's take a look at a typical day for me. Hello Monday, you're a bastard and you know it.
8.30 am: Up to look after the boy while Mummy goes to work. I don't have to do this, but I love it and wouldn't give it up for anything. My boy is important to me and I've so enjoyed watching him grow up. I couldn't be one of those work-all-day dads who only gets to see their children at weekends, that's not me. It's important to me to spend time with him, play with him, teach him things.
1 pm: An after lunch nap for both the boy and me. I could write here, but sleep is needed due to the hours I work, as you will see later on.
4 pm: Dinner time. Mummy is home and we sit down to eat together. Quality family time.
5 pm: Off to work I go to spend eight hours in a physically demanding job.
1 am: Home. Knackered. Brain dead. All I want to do is sleep. Can't though, as writing must be done. I try and work on one thing at a time which doesn't always work out. As my writing time is so precious if it's not working then I move on to another piece of work and come back to original later. I try to write for at least an hour, two if things are flowing well.
2 - 3 am: Bed at last....zzzzzz.
8.30 am: Is it that time again already? Hello Tuesday, you're a bastard too.
So you may think you don't have much, or even any, time to write, but trust me, even an hour a day makes a huge difference. Find that hour, make it yours, make it a quiet time, and write like the wind.
Anyone can find the time if they really want to write. Do you?
Thursday, February 04, 2010
If you didn't already know Total Film has publish a list of 600-movie-blogs-you-might-have-missed on their website, and yours truly is listed on page 8. Thank you so very much you smashing movie magazine type people, I do love you so.
Of course I was totally stunned to find out people actually read my blog!!! Blimey, I'll have to start writing something substantial then and not my usual drivel. And no I haven't forgotten I'd said I'd write some blog episodes on how not to become a writer. It will come, soon, you'll just have to be patient until then.
For now I shall go and bask in my new found celebrity status. "Do you know who I am?"
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
What I want:
The main Writer's credit.
A copy of the finished film on DVD
A written promise that the film will be entered into every short film festival going.
What I can give you:
A free polished ten minute script.
As many rewrites as you require to see the project through.
What I'm looking to gain from collaboration:
More exposure as a writer and a competition, or festival, win to add to my CV.
If you're interested then please contact me via my website.
Hope to hear from many eager film makers.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
I am really looking forward to this year. I know things are going to go my way and I will be writing for TV (Canadian most likely), so I can't wait to get started. I still have my children's novel I'm working on, and it will be finished this year. Oh yes it will :-)
I'm also thinking of writing, 'The Hard Way To Become A Screenwriter', a blog book based on my experiences as a new writer, and the pitfalls I've encountered so you don't have to make the same mistakes. I'm so kind to you, aren't I???
See you soon.
Happy New Year, Folks!!!!
PS. If anyone is thinking of making a short film this year my scripts are available and free. All I ask is that they are entered into every short film competition going and I get a DVD copy of the finished article. Please contact me if you are interested.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Other years I've had the same big push and usually after a few months I've slacked off. Each year has been a progression on the last, but this time I am determined to carry the momentum onwards...all year. This will start with me sending out one page pitches for current, or planned, projects, to see what interest there is in my work. Then there will be the competitions; I'm going to enter everyone I can.
Push on fellow writers.