Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Taking A Risk

I went self-employed in May this year and although things have been tight on the money front work opportunities have started to come through the door, to the point where I get at least one email every second day enquiring about the availability of my short film scripts, or my help in some way.

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 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.

Him & Her Part 4

Laughs galore this week on Him & Her and yet again as Steve thrust his groin at his girlfriend in the kitchen my wife uttered the now familiar words, "You are so Steve." My life on screen and I didn't even write it...bum :-(

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

Don't Be A Twit Be A Twitter

So you thought Twitter was just something to procrastinate on while you were thinking of what to write? Wrong! It's a valuable networking tool, but only if you learn to use it properly.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. Click on your FOLLOWERS list, see who is on there, follow them, send them a message of thanks, let them know you've noticed.
  6. 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.
  7. Retweet relevant tweets from people you follow on a regular basis. Keep active. You can't over retweet.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
Remember be polite, helpful and active every day. Get the best out of your Twitter experience, don't let it get the better of you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Making Mistakes

Everyone makes them, but can they stall, or even end, your career?

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

Him & Her Part 3

'I didn't laugh once,' so said the wife.

But it was funny, especially Paul having a mental in his Postman Pat outfit....oh, how I laughed!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rewrite Workshop - Mead Kerr

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

Him & Her Part 2 - I am Steve's tissue covered foreskin.

The wife and I have spent the last week discussing why we didn't like the first episode. No, (didn't like) are the wrong words. (Didn't find funny), that's more like it. Anyway the reason for me was summed up in a few words from my wife, "I live with that 24/7." How very dare she, I thought, how very....then it hit me....I am Steven.

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

Him & Her - Comedy Is Subjective

So the new Russell Tovey comedy Him & Her made is debut on BBC Three on Monday night...but it wasn't funny...or more to the point, the wife and I didn't find it funny.

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

The Ups And Downs Of Writing

So the Red Planet Prize said no to me yesterday. I was disappointed I must admit, as I felt the script was my best work to date. But with every down comes an up to keep you going.

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.