Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Don't aspire...BE!

Never say you don't have time...MAKE TIME!

Write everyday.

Do or do not, there is no try.

Phone somebody and ask them what they're working on.

Don't forget to order printer ink BEFORE you run out.

And the same with printer paper.

Wear clean underwear everyday, your mum will be proud.

Read lots.

Watch lots.

Write lots.

Create lots.

Brush your teeth morning and night.

Work hard on your characters or they will be rubbish.

Always be kind to your children and tell them you love them everyday. There are thousands of children all over the world who never hear those words.

Be proactive.

Don't procrastinate.

Always cut the blue wire.

Share knowledge.

Help where you can.

Give generously to charity.

Do something that scares you every so often.

Get out of the house once a day.


Don't forget to shower.

Write lists.

Tick those items off your lists.

Sleep well.

Proof read everything.


Go make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy the rest of your Wednesday. It is what you make of it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


One of the first lessons I learnt when I started out as a screenwriter was to take constructive criticism from feedback notes, to analyse what others had to say about my work, identify the weak areas of my screenplay and correct them. I've known people who can't do that and have to argue against every criticism, or give long explanations for something that isn't clearly evident in their screenplay.

Criticism doesn't hurt! In fact criticism is a must for writers who want to improve. The first draft of anything is always shit. The second draft too. And the third. But by the fourth the screenplay might actually start to resemble something half reasonable. My optioned screenplay FAITH has had at least twenty full, start to finish rewrites, and that's not including the little tweaks to dialogue or action. So here's my advice for taking criticism in feedback notes well.

  1. If the criticism hurts and makes you angry, put the notes down and walk away for a few days. When you come back to them you'll find the criticism wasn't actually that bad and some of the notes were actually quite insightful.
  2. Always get notes form more than one source so you can compare and identify where the common issues crop up. It's these issues you definitely need to work on and can't afford to ignore. The other suggested changes are for you to decide on. Some you'll implement and some you won't.
  3. Read the feedback notes again and again and ask yourself why the reader has highlighted those particular issues. They may have noticed something you missed.
  4. Don't be afraid to throw away your script and start again.
  5. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite...
  6. Your final draft will barley resemble your first. The story and characters will change and it will almost be like they are two entirely different screenplays.
  7. Always thank the people who have given you feedback, even if you think they are idiots.
Criticism isn't personal and is something you're going to have to get used to if you want to improve and have a long and successful career.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I discard 90% of the ideas I come up with almost immediately, mainly because they're not fully formed, or simply because they're too loony to put on paper. But I never waste an idea. OK, I know that's an oxymoron so let me explain.

All ideas are valuable even if they can't be used straight away. It's very rare for an idea to pop into my head fully formed, when they do it's an awe inspiring moment. Mostly those ideas are just bits and pieces, a line of dialogue, a character, a funny situation, a visual, but every single one of them is valuable and should always be written down.

Occasionally I go through these ideas and if I'm lucky they will connect with others and grow into something special. My optioned thriller feature FAITH started out life as just an idea for one character. From there it grew. Other ideas, old and new, attached themselves and the project morphed into something real and substantial. I can't remember where all of the ideas came from, in fact I can only remember the original one, but the point is all those little forgotten ideas came together to make something special.

That's why you should never waste an idea. Make sure you always write it down, no matter how small it might be, or how insignificant. I always have a notebook and pen within reach and any idea, no matter how small or silly gets written down. I never know when one might spark further inspiration. I have created more ideas than I will ever get around to using, but if I need a little inspiration I am able to go back through my notes and look for that one nugget that will spark my imagination. I even have one character I created years ago, whom I love and adore, yet I still haven't used him. I'm waiting for the right situation to place him in. I haven't found it yet but it doesn't mean I won't someday in the future. I don't want to waste him as he's special. Of course he may never actually get used, but I hope he will one day.

Where do ideas come from? Anywhere! It's that simple. They can come from newspaper articles, an overheard conversation, a situation I find myself in, something that has happened to people I know, the odd characters I meet along the way through my rather odd little life, but mostly my ideas spring from that half sleep state, that edge of consciousness that lets my brain tell me stories just before I drop off into proper REM sleep. It's difficult to remember them all and I've always wondered if I've dreamt an Oscar winning screenplay and forgotten it.

How do you get your ideas and where is the strangest place you've come up with one?