Monday, July 30, 2007

Get Fresh

There is a danger as a writer in getting stuck on rewrites. This is a topic I've talked about before but one I feel needs covering again.

To keep yourself in producers thoughts, and to be at the top of your game, you need to keep writing and sending out new stuff. After all, the larger your portfolio the more chances there are of someone liking something you've written. So what and how much should you write in a year?

This is obviously down to the individual and how fast you can turn things round. Lucy for instance writes as fast as she talks so she churns out quite a bit of work in a year, and this is despite looking after two kids and a husband. So far this year I've written one feature and two or three shorts for competitions. Not a great deal but I'm moving in the right direction.

I think as a guideline writers should aim to write at least one feature, two 60 minute scripts and as many shorts at possible. It's a reasonable amount and even if you're only writing evenings and weekends it's still an achievable target.

Being a optimist I have decided to attempt another feature very soon and I'm also determined to start my first novel in the near future. So here are a few tips on how to write a new script.

  • spend a decent amount of time on your characters as your script will succeed or fail on how good they are.
  • work out your main plot and a sub plot for each of the main characters. Don't over complicate things.
  • using index cards plan your forty key scenes - less if your script is not a feature. The key scenes must relay crucial points in the plot and/or show character.
  • write; don't go back and edit as you write, you will be tempted every five seconds, but resist and keep putting your ideas on the page. They don't have to be perfect first go, you just need to get them on the page. Quantity not quality is what matters now. The rewrite is when you correct errors and stuff that doesn't work.
There are a million excuses for not writing, don't let them win you over.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wasted Week

So, looks like I'm finally shaking off this pleurisy at last. About bloody time!!!

I hate weeks like this, the sitting around feeling rough, and because of one thing or another not being able to write. Last week I was on holiday and this week I was ill, and no writing was done at all. I feel guilty that I haven't even written a single page of a script in almost a fortnight.

Last year I rewrote most of my work and this year I've worked hard writing two new scripts and entering as many competitions and initiatives as I could. This year was the big push, no excuse for laziness, no procrastination, and a real need to make my career go somewhere.

That's why I feel guilty. I keep thinking of all those hours I could have spent finally getting my agent pack together, or rewriting another script, or sending stuff out. I deserved the holiday so I don't feel so guilty about that, but this week spent ill has left me frustrated. Our first child is due in October and I know that I'll get very little done, if nothing at all, when he arrives and I wanted my career to be at least going somewhere by then.

It just makes you think about the pressure we put ourselves under as new writers, desperate to make it, pushing ourselves for years and still not getting anywhere. We are a special breed, hanging in there when other less resilient people give up and move on.

God, I fucking love being a writer.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I Need A (nother) Vacation

Well I'm back. My week of rest turned into a week of being ill. The first Saturday I got bitten on the eye ball by a bug and had to put up with it swelling up and distorting my vision. It was like looking through a goldfish bowl for a day. Thankfully the Piriton did its job.

Then on the Tuesday I went for a walk with my parents who were visiting, and I collapsed. I had to be rushed to hospital with a suspected heart problem. They kept me in over night and did loads of tests (I have six puncture wounds from needles) and they concluded that my heart was fine but that I have viral pleurisy. Nice! So the rest of the week was spent doing bugger all except for resting. As I've always said, fresh air and exercise are bad for you. I think I've proved my point.

I did have one good bit of news last week and that is a possible commission from a regional TV station. So my week was not a total loss.

What have you lot been up to while I've been away?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Blue Cat Semi Finalists

The Blue Cat Semi Finalists have been announced and are as follows:

Algo Por Mi by Juan Sebastian & Jacome Moreano
Beloved of God by Jim Walkington
Burning Love by Phil Andersen
Cruel World by Lisa O'Donnell
Dear Micah by Danielle Porter
Delivered by Diane Hanks
Every time I go to Staten Island Something Bad Happens by Irin Evers
Howard & Minet by Doyle Esch & Daniel Wilson
Juniper Bass by CB Wilson
Kid Show by Chad Holley
Life with Louis by Justin Flesher
Loved Ones by Vicki Speegle
Play Me by Chaco Daniel
The Banner by Tina Juarez
The Big Gay Float by Andy Phillips
The Floating World by Perry Wade
The Hungry Kitchen by Jennifer Jones
The Life and Times of Randall Southgate by Michael Diliberti and Loren Dunn
The Maker by Ellwyn Kauffman
The Stones by Ana Lily Amirpour
The Water Mark by Joseph Pillitteri
Winter Pork by Kristie M. Fleming

Well done to Andy Phillips and his script The Big Gay Float.

The Finalists will be announced on the 25th July... COME ON ANDY!!!!!!

I'm off this week on a well earned break, so I'll see you all again next week. Bye for now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Original Ideas

I've noticed that lack of original movies this summer, with studios preferring to go with old favourites to guarantee box office return. Let's see, there are the sequels; Die Hard 4.0, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3, Shrek The Third, Hostel Part 2, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Evan Almighty, Ocean's Thirteen, Spider-man 3, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix and 28 Weeks Later.

The remakes; Hairspray (a movie, then a successful stage play, and then a movie again) and Disturbia (a remake of Rear Window).

And the big screen movie adaptations; Transformers.

My movie hungry mind is crying out for some originality, something challenging, something thought provoking. Does anyone have any ideas?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Opportunities Knock

The generous Tony Jordan and Red Planet Pictures have launched a new opportunity for new writers. Send him the first ten pages of your best script and sit back and wait fame and fortune. You can find details for this truly great opportunity here.

Also South West Screen have just announced a competition for all those writers living in the South West. You can check out the details Screenwriter Development Competition here.

Good luck everyone and have a fantastic weekend.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

All Quiet On The Bloggers Front

Everyone's at the Screenwriters' Festival except me....bugger!!!!!!

If you're one of the poor people who couldn't afford it too, then leave a comment and we'll have our own blog festival. Woo Hoo!!!!!!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy 100: Reject and Repeat

This is my one hundredth post. Huzzah!!!

I wanted it to be a special post, full of happiness and joy, an uplifting experience for my readers and fellow scribes. Bluecat stuffed that up.

They have posted a list of the top ten percent of entries to this year's competition and I'm not on the list; in fact nobody I know is. To make matters worse I lost out to such titles as, 'The Cult Of The Severed Head', 'Dogs Always Know' and 'Every Time I Go To Staten Island Something Bad Happens'. I think my title must have sucked in comparison. See the full list here.

Anyway, here are other important dates from Bluecat:

Semi-finalists will be announced July 15th, Finalists on July 22nd and our Winner on August 1st.

All analysis will be sent by August 1st.