Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Right I'm off on a well deserved holiday and I won't be back until the 5th June.

I need one I can tell you. I was getting a bit fatigued with all this writing and no break, so I'm looking forward to just relaxing (can you do that with two kids in tow?), reading and emptying my mind of the clutter it's accumulated over the last two and a half years. It's been a roller coaster ride and it's only now that I realise I haven't stopped once in all that time. I am so looking forward to my time away :-)

So I'll leave you with one thought - At the beginning of this week I went out for a drink with two local film makers and while I was eagerly supping the fruits of their generosity they asked me if it was worth going to the London Screenwriters' Festival. I nearly choked on my pint.

Five hundred delegates, producers, directors, writers, great speakers, fantastic opportunities to network, pitching to industry professionals who CAN get your work made, great conversation and of course the script labs. That's just a small taste, as I'm sure I've missed loads out. It's an awesome three days and well worth the money. WHY WOULD YOU NOT WANT TO GO????

Book your ticket and I'll see you there in October.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


When I finished the rough draft of my current feature I posted a picture on Facebook and Twitter of my index cards all crossed off. Some of you asked what they were and what I used them for, and even though I've talked about this subject before, I really think it's worth mentioning again. It basically works like this.

Go buy a pack of index card, doesn't really matter what colour, unless of course you want to use a different colour for a different act. Count out 40 of them and start writing short paragraphs of each scene you would like in your script, one to each card. You probably won't have 40 scenes in your head yet so plenty of those cards will be blank. Not to worry you're about to fill those in next.

The index cards should be split like this: 10 for the 1st act, 20 for the 2nd and 10 for the 3rd. Card 5 should be the inciting incident, card 10 the end of the first act, card 20 the midpoint, card 30 the end of act 2 and card 40 the end of your screenplay.

Now you fill the rest of those cards in and pin them up on a wall somewhere, a nice big wall so you can spread the cards out. Don't worry if you change some of your ideas as you go along, that's why you bought lots of cards, because your plot will change as you discover gaping holes in it and areas that need more work. It really helps to visualise your plot and where its faults lie. When the 40 are full, get writing that screenplay.

Cross off each card as you go and if you get a little stuck move on to another card and come back later to the one that was giving you trouble. When they're all crossed off that's your first draft complete.

Of course these are not hard and fast rules of how you should plot, but this is how I do it. Things change fast as I write and I often find scenes will change, new scenes will be added and some will be removed altogether. The index cards are only a guideline to help me focus on my characters. Of course you could go a little over board and write each characters appearance on those cards in a different colour, so it all looks very pretty, but that's up to you.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


Sometimes life is stranger than fiction and can often provide a writer with a rich source of crazy shit to write about.

Take the news story of the three kidnapped woman in Ohio who finally escaped their captor this week, after one was held captive for ten years. Relocate the story to inner city London and you have a very intense, low budget, psychological horror. Brilliant!

Then what about the singer who hired a cop to kill his wife? Could that work as a low budget UK film?Or what about the story of three people dead after a ship crashes into a port? Could something more sinister be at play that caused the crash? Aliens perhaps? OK, maybe that one's a bit silly, but I think you get my drift.

There was a news story a few weeks ago, I'm not going to tell you which one, that grabbed my imagination by the dangly bits and gave a sharp tug. Now I can't get the idea out of my head even though I'm supposed to be working on other things. And it's constantly growing and developing into a living breathing thing. It's alive I tell you....ALIVVVVVVEEEEEE!!!

So watch the news. Read newspapers. Search the web. Your next script idea is out there waiting for you.