Thursday, November 30, 2006

Gangsters Galore

I wrote Sins Of The Father five years ago. Production companies loved it, but no one would take it on as most people felt that the genre had been played out in the British cinema, what with Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch. It didn't matter that my script had a dark emotional core, a teenager reunited with the father he hadn't seen for eight years struggling to accept the world his father inhabited, it was still a gangster flick and therefore old news. One production company even went as far as saying, "gangster films just aren't being made anymore."

In those five years the following have been made: Dead Man's Shoes, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Layer Cake and now Dead Man's Cards, to name a few. And yet I still can't get anyone to commit to making Sins Of The Father. I've even sent it to directors/producers on Shooting People who are looking to make a low budget feature film. Again the same answer, nobody will take it on as the genre is played out.

But is it? If first time directors are still making films like Dead Man's Cards then isn't the gangster flick still alive, and more importantly being used as a springboard to launch careers?

I guess I just need to find someone with BALLS to go and make this "well written" script with "great potential." Easier said than done.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Why are there so few scriptwriting competitions in the UK?

America is the mother land of screenwriting competitions and rarely a week goes by when I don't receive an email asking me if I want to submit to one. Besides the BSSC the only other notable UK competition has been the Oscar Moore Screenwriting Prize, but since this year's controversy when they decided not to announce a winner the competition has disappeared. Will it return? It doesn't look like it. So now the only option for UK scriptwriters is to enter American competitions, which I think is very sad indeed.

'We're always looking out for new talent,' is something we hear quite often from the UK film and television industry so shouldn't there be more opportunities for us writers. There are other competitions now and again, but most are specific (i.e. only people from a remote valley in deepest darkest Wales can enter, and only if they own more than three sheep) and very rarely are these competitions annual.

I've even toyed with the idea of starting my own annual screenwriting competition, but I realised I would come up against two rather large obstacles; (1) what would I be able to offer the winner as a prize? (2) do I really want to plough through a mountain of scripts on my own? That idea is a no go then.

I guess all we can do as UK scriptwriters is to continue to enter American competitions and hope the UK situation gets better.

If anyone knows of any UK competitions, however small and exclusive, could you add a comment about it here and hopefully we can create a small list of hope.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Name's Carver, Dom Carver.

I am soooooooo excited. I'm off to see Casino Royal this weekend and I can't jolly well wait. I can't remember the last time I've been this excited about seeing a film at the cinema (I think it might have been Batman Begins).

Like my brother I've always been a big fan of Bond, but I've liked the darker Bonds better. My favourite Bond film is On Her Majesty's Secret Service with George Lazenby. I know a lot of people hated him as an actor, but I love the film because it was more about the character than the actor that was playing him. That's why I like Timothy Dalton too.

With Dalton they tried to make the character darker, but studio interference meant they couldn't steer too far from the original formula. This was a shame because it basically put an end to the tougher, more true to the books, Bond that I love.

Bond had to move with the times even if the hardcore fans didn't want this. He also had to be based in reality, especially after that fiasco with the invisible car in the last movie. So goodbye cheap one liners, campness, unrealistic villains and impossible gadgets, and hello to a darker, grittier, more realistic Bond.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cashing In

You shed blood sweat and tears writing a damn good script. It sells. It gets filmed. The film is released. You humbly acknowledge the praise heaped on you. You enjoy your new found celebrity. Things die down a bit as you eagerly await the DVD release and then what happens??? Some ungrateful swine tries to make money off your fame....well sort of.

Check out the link.

Will James be bidding for this bit of movie history? We shall have to wait and see.

Update 10/11/2006: It didn't sell so it has been relisted and someone has bid. A bargain at 99p.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bouncing Back

Rejection is an unavoidable part of being a writer. I know that more than most after being constantly rejected for five years. I have an A4 folder full of No-Thank-Yous. What's most annoying is when people actually like your work but still reject you. I'm at that stage. The work is good but it's not landing on the desk of the right person at the right time. It's very frustrating.

If you want to sell your work you have to send it out and that means that people are going to reject you. Reading other blogs tells me it doesn't get any better when you're an established writer. Rejection is a way of life. Time spent sulking about what might have been is time lost putting yourself in a position to be accepted. Read it. Take on board what you need to. Accept it. Forget about it. It's the only way to go.

So how did I bounce back from the disappointment of last week?

Easy, I got back in the game as quick as I could. I sent a script off to Production Company C when they requested to read it, after reading the treatment. It's not a script I'm particularly happy with, but I've sent it out anyway because the more work I have out there the more chance I have of something being picked up. I can't afford to be afraid of sending stuff out, convinced it will be rejected even before it's been read. Just because I'm not happy with it doesn't mean someone else won't be.

I have also sent the same script to a reader for some page by page notes. It's always good to brush up on your skills now and then. It stops you going rusty and keeps you at the top of your game. Even top athletes need to go back to the basics sometimes.

Write it. Rewrite it. Rewrite it again. Proof it. Send it out. It's the only way to go.