Sunday, March 25, 2007

Three Is The Magic Number

I hate rewriting, not because it's a never ending task, but because as writer you can get so involved in a script you become blinded to its faults. Then you're just rewriting for rewritings sake and not actually doing the script any good.

So after listening to Adrian Mead last week talk about his Power Of Three I put out some feelers offering to read other people's work. I received a couple of offers and was pleased with the results.

So now I'm going one step further. I'm going to start my own Power Of Ten group.

How's it going to work? I'm going to look for nine willing volunteers, who are prepared to read other people's work and ask questions about it. Then those nine people, and myself will swap contact details so that we all have nine people to send our work to, to be read. That way we don't have to spend time seeking new people to read our work, they are already there ready, willing and able.

So those of you that are interested please email me on my website email address and let's start helping each other and ourselves. I haven't presumed that those two people who have already swapped scripts with me would automatically want to be included in this. If you do then please email me.

Don't forget, this is as much for your benefit as it is for mine. We're here to help each other.

Look forward to reading your emails.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin


'Adrian Mead's classes are brilliant - exciting, informative and
inspirational. Nobody does it better!'
Alanna Knight Crime Writer

As an aspiring screenwriter you will quickly learn that the vast majority of
PAID work comes from companies and broadcasters based in London. People
will tell you that in order to get that work you need contacts and "Insider"
information. But what if you live hundreds of miles from the media
capital? How can you build your career?

Marc Pye, Rob Fraser, Louise Ironside and Adrian Mead are successful
Scottish based writers who have written for shows such as Eastenders, Waking
The Dead, River City, The Street, Holby City, Where The Heart Is, Taggart,
The Bill, Monarch Of The Glen and numerous other film, TV and radio

Come and discover how they got started and how you too can build a career as
a screenwriter. The details of the day are as follows:-

MORNING - Adrian Mead will teach the highly practical strategy that you
need in order to work as a "long distance writer".

Personal. Bursaries. Building a profile. Networking.


What to write - The most recent briefs from broadcasters, producers and

What to send - Log Lines. One page Pitches. Treatments. Spec and sample

Who to send it to - Current opportunities.

3. MEETINGS - Scheduling meetings. Cheap travel and accommodation deals.
Pitching at meetings. When to ask for expenses.



“Informative, informal, inspiring!”
Peter Hynes


AFTERNOON - The afternoon panel session will give you the opportunity to
ask the writers about their experiences and gain career advice.

The panel will chat about their own approaches to the subjects covered in
the morning and their experiences of working in the industry. Discover how
they deal with script editors, tight deadlines and the challenges and joys
of working as a freelancer. This is also a unique opportunity for you to
learn how professional writers manage the balance between family and career
whilst working in such a highly competitive industry.

During the coffee breaks and a light lunch you will get the chance to
network with the other attendees. This is an great opportunity to make
contacts and gain info.

Attendees at our previous classes will know already that this will be an
extremely busy but fun day, packed with the most up to date and highly
practical information.

if you want to build a career as a professional screenwriter it is essential
that you understand the road ahead and have a strategy for reaching your
goal. That's what this class will give you.

We all do the writing courses. We’ve been taught about Structure, Tone,
Theme, etc etc etc, and now we can write wonderful screenplays, but it’s just
a piece of paper. Adrian tells us how to go about getting it from that
piece of paper and onto a screen.”
James Brannigan Glasgow


Sat 9th June
St Columba's By The Castle Church Hall, Johnston Terrace Edinburgh
10.00 am - 4.30pm
COST £55 (inc VAT and light lunch)
CONTACT: or 0131 554 4539

To see testimonials from previous class participants go to

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Insider's Guide For Writing TV

Saturday 17th March 2007. With three hours sleep (I worked Friday night) I found myself on a train to Waterloo at 6.30am. I was looking forward to it, meeting up with my blogger chums, and listening to what Adrian Mead had to say. I was so eager I arrived an hour early. Damn, I could have had an extra half hour or so in bed.

And there they were, the motley crew of bloggers; Lucy, Lianne, Good Dog, Pillock and Potdoll (hope I haven't missed anyone). Lucy and Lianne I remember from university, and it was good to finally put a face to the other names. I'm not surprised that Potdoll and Lucy get on so well, they're both as mad as March hares and lovely with it. Their enthusiasm for everything was infectious.

I was tired and worried that I would start nodding off during the seminar, and I didn't want to drink coffee because it's not pretty when I'm on coffee. I didn't need to worry about snoring in the seminar because it was so riveting I didn't feel sleepy once.

Adrian was very open, friendly and more than willing to answer people's questions even during the breaks. He even came to the pub afterwards, something that surprised me. Other industry professionals at festivals can't wait to get out of there, so it was refreshing to see that Adrian was happy to help us in any way he could. His enthusiasm during the day washed over us and no one felt embarrassed to ask questions or network during the breaks. My only regret is that I was too tired to take best advantage of this and I'm sure some people thought I was a mentalist when I zoned out and was staring into space while they were talking to me. I was paying attention, or at least trying my hardest to do so.

So what did Adrian have to say? A lot as it turns out and all of it useful, as my seven pages of notes can testify. Here's what Adrian covered.

- Researching the industry is important if you're going to be a part of it.
- Play nice. Be generous with your information. Be polite, helpful and above all open to other people's suggestion even if you don't always agree with them. Maybe you can come up with another way? Being negative is only going to bring you negativity.
- Why do you want to write? Looking at your motivations to take on the world of writing.
- Your voice. Plot or character? Current topics and how interesting is your particular slant on it?
- Your spec script (which will probably never get made but will get you work) should be what you want to write and shouldn't be constrained by budget concerns.
- Lose your fear of having your work stolen. It doesn't happen. Putting the copyright symbol all over your script screams of amateurism.
- Feedback, follow up contacts and meetings. People like it when you thank them for their time.
- The biggest reason for rejection is your script not being ready for sending out. The Power of Three: send you script to three people, get their comments and rewrite. Do this again twice more with three different people each time. Hopefully your script should be ready after this.
- Regional schemes. Get on them, they're there to help you. Don't be worried if you don't live in that region, find a producer who does live in that region and submit it through them.
- Writing discipline. Have some. A writer writes or they die.
- How to get an agent.
- How to handle meetings.
- The one page pitch; an important document so get it right.
- Raising your profile. You are a writer, not a new writer.
- The importance of ringing people to find out who you should send your work to. Don't be shy.
- Selling yourself. Enter competitions, regional schemes, find a sponsor within the industry and blog.
- Are you doing enough? Constantly check that you are doing enough to get yourself noticed. Don't slack off.
- How not to get fired. The main reasons writers get fired from shows.
- Rejection; how to handle it.

There you go, lots to think about but all good advice. I really enjoyed the seminar and would heartily recommend you attend the next one; I know I will be.

And if anyone out there in blogland wants someone to help them with the power of three I am officially making myself available to read your work. Feel free to contact me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mead You There

I'm off on my travels this weekend, down to London Town for Adrian Mead's The Insider's Guide For Writing TV.

This is the first course I've been on since I completed my BA (Hons) degree in Scriptwriting and I have to say I'm really looking forward to it. If the one day course is as good as the handouts Adrian has supplied me then it's going to be fantastic. I will of course provide you all with a full and frank review when I return.

Faith: I've actually started writing and it's really coming together. Usually when I write something I spend months working through the plot and characters before I even type one word of the script. It's a slow process so I've decided to use this opportunity to experiment a little.

Normally my time on a script would be split like this: 80% prep, 5% writing and 15% on rewrites. When I was at university there were people who would start writing in a matter of days with the flimsiest of plots, and let the script develop itself. I could never do that.

With all the other work I've had to do I reckon I've spent at most three weeks working on the plot of Faith. So I decided it was time to start writing. Now I have, new ideas, characters and plot lines are suggesting themselves as I write. I still find this a very strange way of writing, but as I need to speed up my work I am giving it a shot. It appears to be working so far. If by the end of the first draft I find the plot is full of holes then I may never try this again.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Most writers dive head first into their writing with little or no forethought. I'm no exception.

I realised yesterday that it's been nearly a year since I've written something new; nearly a whole year with out a single new idea being put down on paper. That's bad and more importantly dangerous. Why? Because production companies don't want to see the same script several times but in different guises. They've rejected it already, so unless it's a drastic overhaul the likelihood is that it'll be rejected again. If you're not continually producing new work as a writer you'll go stale and have nothing new to offer production companies.

So what have I been doing in the last year? Rewrites, that's what. Rewrites are important but at the moment that is all I seem to be doing, and I'm bored of them. I want to write new stuff.

So I've come up with a plan which is as follows.

Mondays: Work on new stuff, be it outlining, characterization, or writing the first draft.

Tuesdays: The first rewrite day, going over my old scripts and polishing them until they gleam.

Wednesdays: Work on new stuff again.

Thursdays: Rewrite day part two.

Fridays: Post day. Send out polished scripts to production companies and work on my first novel.

I implemented the above timetable for the first time this week and it helped a great deal. Instead of waking up in the morning and spending an hour or two deciding what to work on that day, I already know, which means I can just get on with it. Timetabling your work helps to organise your working week. Give it a try

Friday, March 02, 2007

Nearly There

So I've finished my rewrite of Cross The Rubicon and I find myself with more time to spend on the structure of Faith.

One of the plot points I wanted to introduce meant a great deal of research was needed before I was able to continue. I hate research at the best of times but when one of your characters has brain damage research is needed to make it believable. So now it's done I can continue with the structure.

I'm almost there, only a month behind schedule, but nearly complete which means I can get on with the writing.

Will the first draft be done by the end of March? I hope so.