Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 What Will It Hold?

2010 started out as a good year and then went a bit crappy pretty quickly, but ended up being a year of firsts. In April I took the plunge and went self employed, and the work I've found since has been sourced by sheer bloody mindedness and hard work. I've been paid for my writing, found a great writing partner I wish to collaborate more with in the future, had a novelist contact me and ask to adapt his novel into a TV drama series, and I did my first face to face pitch at the LSWF.

Other great things that have happened in 2010. My work has improved by leaps and bounds, finally getting the recognition it deserves, notably from the BBC Writersroom when I made it into the last eighteen of their South West Voices initiative even against more establish writers than myself. Several production companies have loved my work, especially my feature Faith, and have told me I have an open door to send them any future work. I have yet to find the right projects production companies are looking for, with my current work just missing the mark despite its plaudits. I met many, many lovely people at the LSWF 2010 in October and had a wicked time, learned loads and hopefully have set up the possibility of future work. Most wonderful of all I find myself with the best chance yet to land an agent.

There has also been rejection and frustration, not getting exactly where I wanted and falling at the final hurdle several times during the year, and in one particularly frustrating moment falling at the first hurdle which should never have happened. But I'm still here and I'm still working. This year I aim to work even harder to achieve my goals.

What can I expect from 2011? More finished scripts for certain, hopefully more collaboration, the end of my novel and the start of the next, hopefully a production company picking up the TV drama series novel adaptation, hopefully finding homes for my TV drama serial Wonderland and my crime feature Faith amongst others. I've set the foundations for 2011 this year so I have no doubt that my continued hard work will reap some significant results during the next 365 days.

I hope 2011 is generous to every single one of you.

Happy New Year everyone.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Red Planet Rant

Red Planet have informed those who made it through to the workshops; well done to all of you (and I do mean that...really I do).

HONEST POST WARNING - RANT IMMINENT! Those of a nervous disposition please bugger off somewhere else.

Another year gone and another year of not making it to the second round of the Red Planet Prize. I have to admit I'm gutted, more than a little put out and very puzzled as to where I go next as a writer after this year's competition. If I sound bitter and resentful I can assure you it's purely accidental and is not the case, I'm just having trouble trying to figure out where I went wrong. People are bound to say, 'Move on, Dom, there's always next year,' but to tell you the truth I'm really struggling to find any enthusiasm at the moment for the competition, or writing for that matter. Let me invite you into my head so you can see where I'm coming from.

When the competition was announced I already had an idea in place, a very solid idea thoroughly worked out, and I immediately got cracking on my ten pages. I was ecstatic to finish them in plenty of time, so I sent them off to ten trusted people and waited for their opinions to flood into my inbox. I was very happy and quietly confident I had a cracking first ten pages, but just wanted to be sure so I could make any necessary changes before sending them out. Those ten trusted people duly replied and all confirmed I had something special on my hands. Not one of them, and I need to stress this point, not one had anything negative to say about my ten pages. I was extremely confident of my chances...that was probably my mistake.

When the qualifiers were announced I was totally gob smacked; I wasn't on their list. At first I foolishly thought they had made a mistake. Then when I had calmed down a bit I thought maybe my ten trusted people had got it wrong and didn't know what they were talking about. Worst of all I began to think my ten pages were actually a giant pile of shit. So I moaned about it on Twitter. Those who had read my Twitterings and my ten pages, sent me messages of support and outrage on my behalf. A week later I was contacted by a big and respected someone, who will remain nameless, offering to read my ten pages to see where I went wrong. I waited nervously to hear back from them and felt vindicated when I was told they thought I had just been unlucky not to make it through to the second round. Unlucky? That didn't make me feel any better, it just made me madder. To miss out because my ten pages didn't tickle the fancy of the person who read them, when they were given the thumbs up by many others, is a slap in the face for all the hard work I put in. I just couldn't understand it...still can't.

This is how my career as a writer appears to be going. I make tiny advances, but that big opportunity is always just out of reach. People like my work, some even rave about it, but I always fall at the last hurdle while others, those who have been writing many years less than I have, seem to get all the breaks. It's hard, really hard, not to allow feelings of bitterness to grow, because those others have worked hard to get those breaks and deserve them. To be bitter of their achievements would be a huge insult to their hard work and effort, and a terribly self-defeating exercise. But I have to ask myself, am I really that unlucky? I certainly feel so. It's so frustrating sometimes, it really is.

I'm not perfect, I make mistakes, I get angry and unlike some bloggers who like to put on a professional front at all times, I have to have a rant now and again to let off steam. Will I be entering the Red Planet Prize next year? I very much doubt it. If I did enter next year with a shit ten pages and managed to get through, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest, and it would only increase my frustrations with the business. I think I'll just submit my work to them when it's ready and not wait until that one time a year the competition is announced to do so. Other than that I have to crack on and hope my luck changes for the better, that someone, soon, sees I have a talent and gives me the opportunity to prove it. But I can't sit around and feel sorry for myself, if I did that I might as well give up writing for good.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Taking A Step Back

You ask friends and colleagues for feedback on your script, they give it and you have to admit that they have a point. So you make some notes and finalise what needs to be changed. You start the rewrite and fifteen pages into it you find to your horror it isn't working, no matter how many times you go back and try to rejig things in an attempt to make it do so. It's a horrible feeling realising that the work you have just done hasn't actually made your script better, but is actually making it worse.

This has happened to me twice in the last few months and I've had to have a long hard think about whether to drop major structural changes and return to the original idea, or to carry on regardless in the hope it all works out in the end. On both occasions I have chosen to go back to the previous draft and try again, only changing some things and not all of them.

Second Skin, my supernatural pilot drama, was giving me a lot of trouble. I realised on page fifteen of the fourth draft the changes weren't going to work. To me it just felt flat and not a vibrant as the original, and there was far too much exposition in it to allow me to continue. So I've decided to drop the current rewrite, go back to the last version and start again. This time there will only be subtle changes to incorporate the most common elements in the notes, no major rewriting of the first twenty pages as I had planned. It's save me work, but it will also keep the script closer to my original idea.

Sometimes you just have to take a step back and admit what you are doing is wrong. Trust me, your work has a good chance of being a whole lot better for it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Danny Dyer - Deviation

OK, so we know Danny Dyer can play the cheeky Cockney gangster/wideboy with his eyes closed, and his hands tied behind his back, but did you know that Danny is now set on a change in direction in an attempt to shake off that image?

Danny's new film Deviation, a tense psychological thriller written and directed by J.K. Amalou, sees him play an escaped convict FRANKIE who kidnaps a young nurse AMBER in a bid to escape the authorities and skip the country.

"Frankie is a complex guy, he's not just a psycho... he's a tortured soul," says Danny. And don't expect any Hollywood style kidnapper/victim romance, as Danny tells us Frankie, "is evil, but we get to see why he's ended up like this." This film marks a new career path for Danny channelling him away from his recent straight to DVD films, that will once again see him stretch those talented acting muscles.

Twitter: @devmov Facebook:

Looking forward to seeing it.