Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Holidays Are Coming

The holidays are coming and it's a quiet time around production companies this time of year. They're too busy getting ready for the round of Christmas parties to read what you have sent them in December. So as a writer you can just switch off now and enjoy the holiday season... right? You can if you want, that's up to you, I'm not going to tell you otherwise.

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

Short Film Success

I have to admit I am a little surprised. I thought when I declared to the writing world I was going to stop working for free and start charging for my short film scripts that it would be the last I ever heard from anyone. I honestly though the electronic world would abandon me. But thankfully this has not been the case. I've been offered some work, not a great deal, but enough to justify the decision and also enough to make Christmas that much more comfortable. The boy can actually have wheels on his bike now, and if he's lucky some handle bars for his next birthday.

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

Short Film Scripts Part 2

So the last shout out about my short films scripts pretty much emptied me out and now there are several of my short film scripts, at various stages of production, all over the world. It's good to know that my work is interesting to other people and not just myself.

What now?

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.

Why £150?

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

London Screenwriters' Festival 2010 - Day 3

Buzzing, that was the only word that could describe me on the last day. I'd had a ball and yet there was one day left to come. Could I contain myself, or would I explode?

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

London Screenwriters' Festival 2010 - Day 2

I woke up, or at least I got up, the next day and dragged myself onto the tube to arrive in time for the first session of the day - The Hour Of Power. It was a strange session which involved a lot of audience participation, jumping up and down, saying hello to people you hadn't yet met, writing down your goals for the festival and life, but it did wake me up and more importantly fire me up for the rest of the day.

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

London Screenwriters' Festival 2010 - Day One

The London Screenwriters Festival 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.