Wednesday, 12 December 2007


Finished my splurge draft of Technicolor. Hoorah!

Turned out to be 75 pages in the end, so could have been worse (It was looking like I was going to struggle to reach 60 a one point!) The protagonist receives a lot of information in the first scene, so if I can make him work for that more, then I should be able to expand it without just padding it out too much. Gonna have some time off* for the rest of the week, then rewrite the 1st act and polish to get it ready for January 8th deadline.

I cheated and went back and (gasp) polished it as I was going a bit, which actually helped give me some momentum - I suppose the trick is to not overdo it and get bogged down with the polishing. I’m quiet happy with it at the mo. It’s rough, but I think all the work I did beforehand on story has paid off. Falling down on character a bit, as usual, but the thrill and shocks and sex are there - It’s definitely an 18! (John wanted it to be an 18 for commercial reasons - and it is being edited by Lucy!!)

* time off from writing that is, gonna be lugging several tons of beer in that time!!

Monday, 10 December 2007


Plodding away at my metlab script, Technicolor. Making slow but steady progress in my spare time (it’s hard work this work business isn’t it? I‘d forgotten how much fun xmas in retail is!) It’s way too short at the moment - I‘m 55 pages in, and the first draft is going to end up about 70 pages long! I’ve already got ideas for expanding the first act a bit tho, so I’m sure it’ll work out in the end. I’m just trying to keep the momentum and keep going forward to get it finished at the moment.

I’m pretty happy with it other than that, and the deadline is 4 weeks today, so there’s plenty of time to sort it out.

It’s partly about cinema and nostalgia, and the way we relate to film, so this lovely film made by my fellow Cheltenham driver Izzy TC seems appropriate. Enjoy.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

I'm Beowulf, and I'm ’ere to kill your mons-tah!

This is a fantastic film: intelligent, beautiful, visceral, sexy, funny. It’s great to see a film that delivers on the blockbuster thrills, but also makes you think. The plot twist screenwriters Giaman and Avary have added is inspired - I won’t spoil it, but it relates to the second battle (pictured - and no she wasn‘t all naked and gold and curvy in the poem, and yes there is a good reason for it)

It’s a great example of the saying that if life is one thing after another, drama is one thing because of another, and…well I won’t spoil it, but the twist also relates to the central theme of storytelling, and …look, just go see, ok?

If there’s any justice, then it'll win an screenplay oscar. There isn't, and it won't (Something dull and worthy like Atonement will) But hopefullyRay Winstone's delivery of the line “I am Beowulf, and I am ’ere to kill your mons-tah!” will do down in history with “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off” and “You talking to me?” as one of those lines that everyone quotes. Fantastic!

Phillip Palmer has more here. Official site here.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Wednesday, 21 November 2007


Hello! Long time no blog, how the devil are you all?

I've been busy working on my metlab script. Almost finished the outline, so I'm going to start writing it next week. Met my script editor yesterday*, and she had this sage advice: "get writing, bitch!"

Had to get one of those job things - my redundancy money's nearly run out, so I've got an xmas job working on Wines and Spirits at Tesco. It's hard work this work lark, isn't it? Still gonna try to do 25 hours a week writing.

And finally, for those of you not on thier mailing list, The Screenwriters Festival have announced (drumroll) THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL SCREENWRITERS' FESTIVAL - TUESDAY 1st TO THURSDAY 3rd JULY 2008 They want your suggestions - so "whether it is a guest speaker you would like us to try and get or a session suggestion you feel should be covered or explored, please e-mail us at ."

If you didn't go and you want to know what you missed, or you did and want to wallow in nostalgia for the summer of '07, there's a review of this years festival here, (where they claim to know where I live!) and you can still watch the offical video blogs here, and blagging Andy's here - where you can play spot the Arnopp!

*actually went for a coffee with Lucy, Danny and Dom, but "met my script editor" sounds like I was working rather than skiving and listening to Lucy slagging off every film ever made ;)

Saturday, 10 November 2007


I got onto the metlab scheme! Hoorah!

For those that don’t know, the scheme is being run by John Sweeney of the London Metropolitan University. He’s looking to develop a slate low budget but interesting and commercial films, based on the theories in his book - Successful Business Models for Filmmakers.

They’ve selected 4 spec monkeys (including me! Sorry did I mention that already?) We’ve got to meet with John and his script editor - our very own Lucy - every 6 weeks for 9 months, and at the end of it they‘ve got some big companies willing to look at the slate. Should be fun, and I’ve got a deadline to deliver a first draft by 8th January. So big up to Lucy for the heads up on that.

In other news, I didn’t get to the Finals of the BSSC, the shortlist for Digital Shorts, or the Red Planet shortlist (but props to Andy C, who did) Worked out I’ve entered about 31 competitions/scheme in the last two years, so one success, and two and a bit* near misses ain’t bad at all.

I’ve also won a 3 month free trial for, thanks to those nice people at Euroscript. I got my first DVDs this AM, including the first part of Doctor Who Key to Time Box Set. Been looking forward to watching Episode One all day - Tom Baker. The Time Tunnel Titles. On a Dark Autumn Saturday Evening. After the football results. Mmm. Marvellous. Enduring image, isn’t it? Hmm?

If you need me, I’ll be behind the sofa : )

* I got to the ¼ finals of one competition, but so did about 2000 others, so I‘m not counting that.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Memed again!

From Lianne this time - pick a song that inspires you to write something, post the lyrics here and then post the video if you can.

I was going to talk about the sublime Hickory Wind by Gram Parsons. When I was at Uni, long ago and far away, I used to listen to a tape of GP/Grievous Angel when I couldn’t get to sleep. Hickory Wind was near the end of the second side, so if I was still awake when I got to it, then I knew I probably wouldn’t get to sleep. One of the lines in the song goes: “It's hard way to find out that trouble is real, In a far away city, with a far away feel” Hence the blog title.

However, there isn’t a decent version of that song on You tube, so instead, in Solidarity with our American colleagues, heeeeere’s Billy

Saturday, 3 November 2007


Memed by Lucy. Okay Five things I’m proud of but others would consider lame. Lucky the question wasn’t Five things I’m NOT proud of but others would (rightly) consider lame!

1) I am a Doctor Who fan. A Sci fi geek. Trouble is, that’s no longer something to be ashamed of. The geeks have inherited the Earth! I remember buying DWM in WHSmiths just after the first new series had aired, and the young lady on the till saying “Dr Who?” in a voice that I took to mean *sad!* before continuing: “When‘s it coming back then?” Wasn’t it better when these things were secret guilty pleasures? Well, no. As The Smiths said, them were rotten days.*

2) I stayed in and watched Music and Lyrics with The Girlfriend last weekend. Now I could say I tolerated it for her sake, but the truth is: I liked it. I even cried a little bit at the end. Oh yes. And I was sober. I don’t mind Rom Coms anyway. Why are lame films about lurve considered, well… lame, but lame films about killing people are cool? Don’t get me wrong, I like both, but who decides these things? And why do we listen to them??

3) I prefer staying in with The Girlfriend watching lame Hugh Grant movies** to going out these days. Yes, I am old and boring, and (nearly) old enough not to care.

4) I am happier working than “chilling” - Arnopp blogged about this somewhere
here and he’s right. Me get bored when have nothing to do. Me like to work. Me trying to convince myself of this as will have to get paid work soon.

5) I will kill again. Only joking. or am I?? Wha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Right, I meme
Stuart , Jon, Oli, Pillock and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Or Robin if any of the above are too busy appeasing any human rights abusing tyrannical Oligarchs.

* being a Smiths fan - also no longer lame.

** Not exclusively Hugh Grant films, I mean I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m some huge Hugh Grant fetishist, I mean I‘ve only dabbled a few times, ok? I can control it, it’s not a big thing. Why are you all looking at me like that??

Monday, 29 October 2007

Slightly Obscure and Underrated Film List #1 - Old British Films (PART ONE)

Snappy title, eh? I was inspired by Andy’s list here to do something similar. I didn’t want to repeat any of Andy’s choices, so no The Innocents, Dead of Night, or Went the Day Well? Bah!

##SPOILER ALERT! - spoilers for SABOTAGE and WITCHFINDER GENERAL ############

1. Seven Days to Noon - Tense 1950 thriller about an unhinged scientist who threatens to blow up London with a stolen nuclear bomb as protest against the arms race. Similar in it’s matter-of-fact, almost documentary tone and style to the later The Day The Earth Caught Fire. Filmmakers The Boulting Brothers, (who are best known for their comedies and the superb 1947 adaptation of Brighton Rock ) seem to have a lot of time for the motives, if not the methods, of the mad scientist, sympathetically played by Barry Jones.

I first saw it years ago as an afternoon schedule filler, and I’ve never seen it written about anywhere before or since. It certainly deserves to be far better known than it is, so if you ever see it hanging round the afternoon schedules, then spare it a few hours of your time. You won’t regret it.

2. Quatermass Xperiment - The late, great Nigel Kneale disliked Val Guest’s adaptation of his classic BBC SF series about an astronaut who comes back infected by an alien parasite (and he hated Brian Donlevy as Quatermass) The big, bruising American heavy Donlevy may be miscast as the eponymous scientist, but Guest does a great job. Again similar to Seven Days’ almost documentary style, he makes great use of the still bomb damaged London, and there‘s a chilling performance from Richard Wordsworth as the doomed astronaut.

For my money, (controversy alert!) it’s Hammer’s best film. See also their versions of Quatermass II and Quatermass and the Pit; and it’s also worth checking out what remains of the hugely influential BBC series. Incidentally, an old ex library copy of the TV script of Quatermass and The Pit was the first script I ever read.

3. The Small Back Room - A minor Powell and Pressburger classic - Conway’s got Blimp, the swine and I was tempted to go for A Matter of Life and Death, or Black Narssisissis,* but they‘re not obscure or underrated. This is yet another b&w thriller, this time about an alcoholic bomb disposal officer battling with his demons, and features one of the greatest ticking bomb climaxes.
For more obsure Powell and Pressburger fum, see also
One of Our Aircraft is Missing or the lovely and strange A Canterbury Tale.

* not actual spelling.

4. Sabotage - Talking of ticking bombs, Sabotage is a Hitchcock thriller based on Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent. Hitch has a lot of self referential fun with the dastardly foreign terrorist and his innocent English wife living in a cinema, with the audience laughing at comedy violence on screen while “real” violence occurs behind it. It’s famous for the scene where a small boy unwittingly carrying a bomb on a bus, and the bomb actually goes off. (This was 1936 when the idea of people blowing up London buses was strictly fantasy.)

(The 39 Steps is not obscure or underrated at all, but it virtually invented modern action cinema, and stands up brilliantly.)

5. Witchfinder General
Hammeresque in it’s portrayal of ye olden times, but far more morally complex than Hammer’s films, and far more modern in its concerns. And it‘s also a lot gorier! Witchfinder General is a truly horrific horror film, partly because the monster, Matthew Hopkins, played by an unusually restrained Vincent Price, is all too human (and a real historical figure) It‘s mans inhumanity to man (and woman) that is the big bad here, not some fictional creature of the night.

The ending, where the hero brutally hacks Hopkins to pieces kills and ends up as twisted as he is, is still uncomfortable viewing, even if the “violence begets violence” moral has entered the mainstream now.

Okay that got a little out of hand, for a simple list! (*coughs* displacement activity.) I’ve done most of Part Two too, but I really should do some writing, so I’ll spare you that for a few days!

In other news I’ve got onto the shortlist for Metlab, got an interview a week Monday, so big up to Lucy for spreading the word on that. Still not heard from South West Screen - the Digital Shorts interviews are Wednesday and Thursday - so not looking hopeful for that…

Monday, 22 October 2007

Tuesday, 16 October 2007


Just found out I've got through to the semi finals of the British Short Screenplay Competition, matching last years achievement. :) Only one of the two scripts made it though!

Still waiting for the SWSSDC...

Saturday, 13 October 2007


Sent my Digital Shorts Proposals and Metlab submission out this week. Waiting for the results of them and Red Planet, Southwest Screen Screenwriter Development Competition (why do schemes from public bodies have such unwieldy titles?), and (most of all) BSSC.

Meanwhile I’ve decided to concentrate on feature specs for the rest of the year. No more amoeba-ing! Looking at the UKFC First Feature Film Develpment Programme (see what I mean?) reinforced that I need a good sample script, so I’m gonna spend the winter working on my low budget RomCom Buddy Movie Once Again, and Mega budget Fantasy Epic Dragons. They’re both several drafts in - I first wrote Once Again about ten years ago - Both need radical rewrites, but I‘ve got a plan, so I’m confident that I’ll nail ‘em with theses drafts.

James L Brooks in the latest Creative Screenwriting Magazine says “Does anyone do the first draft without hoping that it‘s the last draft?” and he’s been doing since the 1960’s! But isn’t that true of every draft? If a draft is a mountain you have to climb, you don’t want to think that at the top you’ll find… a dim, distant view of the next mountain. (Which I suppose is why it’s so tempting to pitch your tent and insist you reached the highest peak you can?)

I could go on (readers giving you feedback = sherpas, Outline = a map, etc) but the mountain metaphor started over at t’other faraway’s place here, and she tells a far more interesting tale.


Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Throwing Rocks

There’s a saying that’s obligatory in all screenwriting books - put your hero up a tree and throw rocks at them. Fair enough, as far as it goes, but does this hold true for all genres?

Well, it’s funny you should ask…

In horror films a thing of unspeakable horror throws rocks at scantily clad women, who are tied to the tree. (in psychological horror, the rocks are implied.)

In action movies the hero throws a never ending stream of rocks and quips at the baddies, then the tree explodes in a fireball as he jumps to another, bigger tree.

In crime movies the protagonist stands at the bottom of the tree wondering who’s been throwing the rocks (In sophisticated crime movies, the protagonist stands at the bottom of the tree wondering why they’ve been throwing the rocks)

In serial killer movies the audience get off on the protagonist throwing rocks at people in trees.

In gangster movies the protagonist climbs the tree, throwing rocks at anyone who get in his way until he gets to the top. Then he falls off.

In blockbusters huge CGI rocks are thrown at a protagonists in huge CGI trees.

In man on the run thrillers the baddies throw rocks at the hero until he can’t take it anymore, and throws them back.

In conspiracy thrillers in turns out that the Sinister Government Agency/Evil Corporation was behind the whole rock throwing thing all along.

In film noir a dame seduces the protagonist into throwing rocks at her husband. Then she throws a rock at him.

In dramas the protagonist tries to climb the tree whilst throwing rock at himself, until he realises this is a stupid thing to do. (In tragedy the protagonist doesn’t realises this is a stupid thing to do, and falls out the tree.)

In family drama the protagonist tries to climb the tree while her family throw rocks at her.

In comedy… see drama, except the rocks hit the protagonist in an amusing way.

In romantic comedy the protagonist throw rocks at each other until they realise that they’re made for one another. Then they get their rocks off.

In kids movies the protagonist learns that friendship is more important than throwing rocks.

In westerns a man tries to put his rock throwing days behind him.

In Sci fi the rocks are the silicon based lifeforms.

In Fantasy the rocks throw themselves at the hero as he seeks the magic tree.

In quirky art house movies the protagonist falls in love with a rock. (In non quirky art house films, they sit in a strangly shaped tree talking about rocks (and occasionally taking thier clothes off) for 3 hours. Then they fall out the tree. )

Over to you - any alternatives/additions?

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Monday, 24 September 2007

The Purbeck Film Festival

The Purbeck Film Festival runs between 12-27th October, showing over 70 films including: Billy Liar, Hot Fuzz, Odd Man Out, London to Brighton, Five Easy Pieces, The Decent, Withnail and I, Hiroshima Mon Amour, Oh! Mr Porter, The Last Picture Show, The Lives of Others and Wallace and Gromit - Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Venues range from local cinemas (like the Lighthouse Poole, Wareham’s The Rex and The Mowlem in Swanage) to lecture theatres at Bournemouth University, to various schools and villages halls - even a pub! (The Square and Compass in Worth Maltravers is showing The Man Who Knew Too Much on Monday 15th October - a pub that shows Hitchcock films! Does it get any better than that??)

Check out for more details.

Sunday, 23 September 2007


Sorry, been neglecting the old blog recently.

Monday I’m going job hunting. For those of you that haven’t been here from the start, I was made redundant 2 years ago, and I‘ve been writing full time ever since and living off the pay off. But now that’s starting to run out, and I‘ve got to look for a proper job. Scary.

Hopefully longer term I can get some work script reading. I’m back in The Smoke on Tuesday for the final part of the Script Factory Script Reading course. The first part was excellent, and I’ll blog a bit about what I’ve learned later in the week. I’m actually quite enjoying reading and analysing at the moment (I know, I know it won’t last!) - Still keeping up the strict script a day regime - I’ve joined Trigger St, done a few reviews for them, as well as power of threes, my SF homework (I‘m paying people to give me homework!), and reading produced screenplays (Including a couple of Dennis Potter plays, a couple of Frasier’s, Chinatown, Dirty Pretty Things, Sense and Sensibility, and Natural Born Killers.)

Still toiling away at the Digital Shorts proposals. Quite happy with the scripts at the moment, so working at the proposals - I’ve even got the very wonderful and talented Paul C Watts to do some visual materials to support it. I’m stuck on what to do next though. I’ve decided to go for Metalab, thanks to The Dragon L… sorry Lucy ;) but I’m a bit stuck on what to send them.

Thing is, I’ve got quite a few Specs at various stages of development, and dozens of ideas, but none of them are THE ONE - the killer spec that‘ll get me noticed. I’ve written a couple of half decent short scripts, but the only feature script that’s any good (and more importantly, that I‘ve managed to keep the passion for) is a blockbuster comic fantasy epic about Dragons and Magic and True Love and other wildly improbable things. It needs (at least) another rewrite, so I’m going to keep working on that.

As I blogged before, I’m looking now for an idea that’s at bit more realisable - something low budget but commercial - a 28 Days Later, a Reservoir Dogs, a London to Brighton, a Scenes of a Sexual Nature, or a Hard Candy, exactly what Metalab are looking for. So just 3 weeks to think of that then!

And I really need to focus on writing that Spec - I’ve been a bit of what Adrian Mead calls an amoeba. Focusing on particular deadlines for Make your Mark, or The BSSC, or Digital Shorts - which is all good, but I need to spend the winter writing a proper feature Spec. And working for a living!

Friday, 14 September 2007

WGGB BBC writersroom event

For those of you that don’t know, BBC writersroom is the department that deals with new writers. They explain it better themselves here.

Here’s a few bullet points from the event -

Kate Rowland - Creative Director of New Writing

-The BBC get about 10,000 unsolicited scripts a year, they “sift” by reading the first 10 pages of every script. About 90-95% of scripts are classified “standard return,” (i.e rejected) The rest get a full read and notes. Of these, about 100 writers per year get invited in for a meeting.

- It takes about 3 or 4 months for a script to go through the system, Kate claimed.

- writersroom have 8-10 readers. The readers come in every two weeks to sift and take away the scripts that they think warrant a full read. Kate said that they take the reading process very seriously - The readers are all experienced, and many have professional credits. If a reader isn’t sure about the 10 pages, they pass it on to another reader. Kate also says she gives everyone the same script about once a year to check up on them.

- increasingly, they are rolling out “Toolbox sessions” - masterclasses for the 5-10% who get notes.

- once a writer is on their radar, writersroom keeps an eye on their progress. Once a month they have a “writer audit” where they talk names. They also have regular meetings with other BBC departments where they act as a kind of “internal agent” for new writers.

- they also run schemes such as the Writers Academy and the Writers in Residence scheme, which are kind of apprenticeships within the BBC. The Writers Academy picked 8 people to work with the continuing drama department for a year. They prefer people who “understand and care about" their 4 key shows - Eastenders, Casualty, Holby City and Doctors.

- Shows like Eastenders and Doctors also run have mini academies

- they also run competitions to write, for example, a 5 minute radio monologue for the world cup. Kate said it’s important not to neglect these opportunities. Many writers focus is too narrow - there are thousands of “points of entry” - theatre, radio, shorts - that provide opportunities to writers.

- the website also promotes other opportunities (as long as they don’t ask the writer to pay too much - this is the BBC!)

- Kate advised writers go to the BBC commissioning sites, to see what the BBC want.

- Family audience, entertainment, high concept are the buzz words.

- Auntie is interested in connecting with the yoof audience, bless her. Kate quoted Jane Tranter as saying “we need to drop 2 generations.” (Apparently the average viewer is 55.)

- they are also interested in new platforms, and projects that exploit new technologies. Interactivity is the buzzword here. Kate said, however, that it is still about story and character.

- You can, of course, send your script to other people while submitting to the beeb. Kate said the bigger indies like Kudos are increasingly looking to put something back and develop new writers, and people like Tony Jordan, Kay Mellor and Paul Abbot like to do things with new writers (!)

- don’t send in treatments, or pitch ideas without a script - it’s all about the writing.

- don’t send in scripts for existing shows - it’s you voice they want.

- don’t revise and send in the same script (mentioning no names here!) Unless they ask you to.

- People who keep resubmitting and getting rejected do progress to getting notes, so don’t give up.

- send a brief cover letter that sells you and says you’re interested in doing. But ultimately, it’s the script that counts.

Finally, Kate said scripts are getting better!

Darren Rapier - writer for Doctors

- Doctors is a show for new writers. You get commissioned (once you are in with a script editor!) by pitching ideas for the “story of the day”

- there are about 200 writers who write for Doctors - so even if you are in, you might not get any commissions in a year.

- it is important to be proactive, even if you have “made it.”

- if you are commissioned, you are given the “serial content.” Then you do 2 or 3 drafts of a treatment, and 3 or 4 drafts of the script.

Okay, that was slightly more than a few bullet points! The event was worth seeing, but at an hour and a half perhaps not worth going to see if you live in Dorset and don’t get back home till 3 in the morning! Good value at a fiver though, and free wine, which is the main thing!


Tuesday, 11 September 2007


I’ve got second drafts of 2 scripts of 7 and 8 pages for Digital Shorts, so anyone willing to read one or both? Pretty please ;)

I‘m looking to do a few script reports as practise next week, so if anyone has got anything they need feedback on, then e-mail me with a bit about it (make sure you say how long it is!) and I’ll see what I can do.

I’m trying to read a script a day (I’ve read Girl interrupted, Dangerous Liaisons, Lost in Translation, Storytelling, Fargo, The Full Monty, The Talons of Weng Chiang, and two episodes of Frasier, as well as two scripts for my Script Factory homework since last Tuesday)

Off to the smoke tomorrow for the WGGB writers room event. Anyone else except Stuart and Lianne going? And anyone know any second hand book shops in central(ish) London that are good for scripts or screenwriting books? Or any bookshops at all that are good for film/screenwriting books?

If Star Wars had been a British film...

Found the above on the web somewhere and I've lost the link, but made me :)

Friday, 7 September 2007

Digital Shorts

News just in...

Digital Shorts 2007/08 – call for applications

Deadline: 12noon, 12 October 2007

South West Screen and the UK Film Council in association with Aardman Animations, the Engine Room and PVA MediaLab are seeking to commission up to nine innovative short film ideas from individuals based in the South West who are interested in exploring new approaches to digital format.

We are seeking to support a mix of shorts of no more than 10 minutes from individuals based in the South West with budgets of no more than £10,000. Any genre can be considered although we are looking for ideas which are suitable for a range of distribution platforms.

click here for details if you're local. If not, click here for details of your local film agency.

Saturday, 1 September 2007


"How many times have I told you that a film is not is thoughts, and feelings, surprises, suspense, accident"

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

State of Play

Down from the cave, and back to work. I’ve been working at this writing lark for about two years now, so I had a little anniversary think about where I need to improve, my goals, and what to write next

The provisional results are just in, so…

Where I need to Improve…

I need to work on premise more, to make sure my ideas are fully developed, and as original as possible.

I need to plan more.

I need to pay more attention to story, and work on credibility and flow.

I need to focus on character more.

I need to work on making my characters more vivid and rounded (and keep an eye on how the audience see them.)

I need to visualise not verbalise.

I need to make sure my dialogue is not too on the nose.

I need to rewrite, not just polish.

Basically, I need to improve in just about every area! But at least I know that I do…


Getting a short film made is still my short term goal, so I’m working on my Digital Shorts proposals at the moment.

I’ve decided to try to get into fun-packed world of script reading in the medium term, as a way of making money within the industry. So I’m going on The Script Factory reading course, and I'm going to (try to) read a script a day to develop my reading muscles before looking for gainful reading employment.

I also need to think about getting into TV long term. I probably prefer TV to film at the moment, and there’s more money in it"! But despite this, and despite having been on Adrian Mead’s course, I’ve been too film focused so far. I’m going to the WGGB BBC writersroom event on Sept 13th, which is a start - anyone else going?

What to write next

I’m working on shorts at the moment, but still not too sure what to do after that.

I need to look at writing something for TV, and I need to write a feature spec that producible (ie low budget) , but commercial. And it (obviously) needs to fire me up. Got a few ideas knocking around - one of which is a new take on the 1st script I ever seriously wrote, which may or may not be a good idea!

So that’s where I’m at. How y'all you doing?

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Okay, here goes - you have to imagine you're in a particular kind of movie, and what your soundtrack will be.

The deal is, you have to come up with five types of film (or use these ones below if you can't think of any) and tag five other other people. Here's mine:

Rom Com - Don’t like rom com much, unless we’re talking Sturges, Capra, Hawks - those guys knew how to add a bit of snap and sass to make the soppiness bearable. But I fucking love Let’s Take a Chance by Lisa Richards, it‘s the only song I know that can bring a tear to my eye just about every time I here it. It’s on Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures Vol 2 and if you ever get the, er , chance to hear it, then it’ll blow you away.

Contemporary Action Thriller - Elephant Stone by The Stone Roses - always saw this soundtracking a chase sequence, probably involving people running through back alleys. A track that‘d make Neighbours seem sexy and exciting. The Peter Hook produced version, obviously, not the lame John Leckie re-mix.

Rites of Passage - The Saturday Boy by Billy Bragg. The story of my teenage years. Of course, I’m fine now. (see also Freak Scene by Dinosaur Jnr. Or Catch by the Cure. Or Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by the Smiths. Or Temptation by New Order. Talking of whom…)

Sci Fi/ Space Opera - Ceremony by New Order. A song too big and too sad for this world alone.

Western - Like a Soldier by Johnny Cash - ‘cos I like it, and I could see it playing over the end of say, The Searchers or Shane. Come back Shane!!

I tag Stuart, Dan, Oli, Piers, and Will.

Monday, 20 August 2007

time out

I’m having a week off to catch up on a bit of reading, and to have a bit of a think about this writing lark.

So I’ll be sitting in the mouth of a cave, high above the far away city, thinking about where I’m at, and where I want to go from here. I need to work out what areas I need to improve on as a writer, and how I’m going to do so. I need a proper career strategy, and finally I need to decide what to write next.

Or I could just spend the week watching DVD's ;)


Wednesday, 15 August 2007


I need someone who is willing to read FOUR scripts!!! Ok, they’re only about 6-9 pages long each at the moment, so it’s only about 30 pages in total.

They’re for the Digital Shorts scheme - I‘m probably going to submit 2, so I need feedback on them and a recommendation as to which are the best.

I’m polishing at the moment, so I’ll be looking to send them out Friday evening.

Any takers?


I got the following e-mail from the nice people at the BSSC

Dear Martin,

Thank you for your interest in the British Short Screenplay Competition and your inquiry. First of all apologies for the delay in replying to you, your email was filtered out by our spam filter.

And now - many congratulations for qualifying to the first round! Well done!

We hope to publish the second round qualifiers by end of August and further rounds there after. Usually there are four qualifying rounds and then the semi-finalists. We will be sending out a newsletter to inform everyone when each round is published on the website.

I hope that helps and good luck in the next round.


Friday, 10 August 2007


Had all my PO3 feedback from OLI, JASON and PIERS. Big up to them. It was my first time, but they weren’t gentle with me! And I deserved it too - let’s just say amongst the lesser of many Spec Sins was the unforgivable use of the “well I thought that went well” clam. Oh yes, it was that bad. So slap on the wrist, and must do better.

I've done 2 PO3 reports myself, and it made me realise how much hard work Script Reading is. Or more accurately, how much hard work writing a report is, cos I actually enjoyed the scripts, so god knows what it‘s like wading through dull or badly written scripts day after day. And I didn’t even have to do the synopsis, which according to Mr Stacks is the hardest part!

Anyway, that script has been put back on the cyber shelf for now, I’m going to plan b for red planet. Someone said that first drafts are often “stupid drafts,” and I know I can improve it, but it’s a question as to whether I want to develop that idea, or work on something else?

Meanwhile, I’m working on my Digital Shorts proposals. I’ve got 2 (very) rough drafts so far and a few ideas at various stages, so big week of that next week if I‘m to get to my goal of 4 first drafts by the end of next week.


Saturday, 4 August 2007

Two Imposters

Through to the first round of the BSSC! Hooray!!!

Makes up for failing in the Nicholl, Bluecat, and being a scriptapa-loser, I supose.

After blowing my blog wad with a couple of long and rambling blogs, been a bit blogged out. I'm re-writing and polishing for SWS and Red Planet, and trying desperatly to cobble something together for the Digital Shorts program, as well as power of threeing and trying to do a draft for a graphic novel collaberation - there just arent enough hours in the day! And I dont even have a job!!

How does everyone else do it? When do you find the time to write? And how many hours do y'all do a week? I do 45-50 - but like I said, no job, so that's about the equivelant of doing a full time job (if you count commuting!)

Still, we love it don't we?

Tuesday, 31 July 2007


There is a perception that writers tend to be, for want of a better word, sad. Hard to credit, I know, but I think that I developed an imagination as a kid to escape reality - My home life was happy and stable, but I really, really fucking hated school. What did I do wrong in a previous life to deserve 11 years of that? 11 years! You get less than that if you fucking kill someone!

And breathe…

Orwell wrote that he “Created a private world in which I could get my own back for my failure in everyday life” So maybe us writers are moved to imagine different worlds (or inspired to write about what’s wrong with this one) because we’re unhappy or discontented or angry with the world we live in?

And maybe we’re motivated to want to become writers in order to prove something to the world? I have a clear memory of being on an activity holiday with the school in France, getting a hard time from some tossers, and thinking I’ll show them, I’ll be a writer for Dr Who! (Which is which is what I wanted to do back then - wouldn’t say no now.)

So that’s my earliest memory of wanting to be a writer. My teenage self wanted the fame and glory of being a screenwriter. The twat. One of the many, many reasons I’ll go back in time one day, and give the little gimp a good slapping!

Later on, in my teens and twenties, my imagination evolved to think about girls, and thinking’s all I tended to do. I know it‘s hard to believe, but I was a bit of a sad bastard back then. No, really…

Of course, I’m fine now, but what I write tends to be fantasy based, escapist. And it tends to be boy meets girl, with a bias towards unrequited love. For example, I once wrote a short story about people who work 9 to 5 fighting the apocalypse, and it ended with the hero standing in a darken underpass (I thought oh god my chance has come at last…) after not getting the girl. And covered in the blood and entrails of a Hell Beast, obviously.

I say escapist, but the above story, for example, does deal with scary real things like work and relationships and feelings, but via the fantastical. I also tend towards the comedic, which is perhaps another form of defence/escape?

But to (finally!) answer the bloody question, I write what I write because of who I am. And I am who I am because of where I’ve been. As Orwell said, “if (a writer) escapes from his influences altogether, he will have killed his impulse to write. ”

I was going to answer the question why I write - not why I first wanted to write, but why I write now? What do I get out of it? What do I want out of it? But a more pressing question is: Why do I blog?

I’m coming to the inescapable conclusion that it’s mainly to escape the harsh, brutal reality of rewriting!


Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Why do you Write What you Write?

Lucy e-mailed me (and everyone else she knows!) wanting to know what it is us aspiring writers write Spec scripts about, and why, and that got me thinking…

looks upwards thoughtfully, swirly flashback effect…

The 1st full length script I wrote, way back when, was a semi-autobiographical tale about unrequited love and repeated mistakes. I wrote it because I had too (don’t ask!) Ok, it wasn’t very good - it was too close to real life for one thing (i.e. loosely structured, unresolved, and fucking depressing!) but at least it was good therapy, and I learned a lot writing it.

The main Spec I worked on when I got made redundant and started to write full time was an Epic Fantasy Blockbuster about Dragons and Wizards and Heroes and Princesses - not something a first time writer has much chance of selling, especially to the British film industry! But in this case it was something I really wanted to write - it was (and still is!) a film I wanted to see, which is perhaps the best reason to write anything. Again, I learned a lot from it, and I loved writing it, so I’m kind of glad I wasn’t clued up enough to try to write something more producible!

Ed Blum (Producer/ Director of Scenes of a Sexual Nature) told me that Scenes was written specifically as something that could get made on a low budget with big name actors (by only using them for 2 days) after he couldn’t get a more ambitious project off the ground. So maybe that’s the way to go. Perhaps I should try to write something that is sexy, fun, exciting and generic (and cheap!) for my next spec?

The first draft of my fantasy epic - DRAGONS - did get a full read from BBC writersroom. The report, amongst the many constructive and helpful comments, said that “the writer should consider a less generic story, and one that reveals more of his own voice and concerns” and that annoyed me a bit, ‘cos I thought I had! I grew up on Dr Who and Star Wars and Douglas Adams, and I suppose they’re still my main influences - as the late, great Douglas Adams once said, reality is for people who can’t handle Science fiction!

Hemmingway said “Write hard and true about what hurts,” but that seems to contradict the usual advise to write to an audience, and to write in a specific, marketable Genre. On the other hand, as someone at SWF ‘06 said (Justin Trefgarne? Simon Van Der Borgh? I can hardly rem SWF '07!) the trick is to “Make your personal the audience’s personal,” and London to Brighton (or Dirty Pretty Things) are great recent examples of (low budget) generic films that actually say something.

Not that there’s anything wrong in just entertaining, of course - I love Blockbusters (Read BLOCKBUSTER by Tom Shone if you agree! Or even if you don‘t) I love films like Airplane, that just want to make you laugh, or something like Psycho or Blair Witch that just want scare you, or something like The first Pirates of the Caribbean (or it’s great granddaddy The Adventures of Robin Hood) that just want to take you for a ride.

In Preston Sturges’ unutterably wonderful Sullivan’s Travels, John L. Sullivan, a big shot Hollywood director, wants to make a serious film that speaks to “the common man,” but discovers on his eponymous travels that said common man just wants to be entertained.

(I know not everyone would agree that this is as a good thing! Audience comments from the notorious preview screening of Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons, included “People like to laff, not be bored to death,” and “Make pictures to make us forget, not to make us remember;” and the dissenting minority views “It is unfortunate that the American public, as represented at this theatre, are unable to appreciate fine art” and “It seemed too deep for the average stupid person”!)

I mean, I like serious films, I like Citizen Kane and Wild Strawberries and Vertigo for example - the world would be an infinitely duller place if there was only room for one type of film. Perhaps we should be aiming for the a massive grey area between Ingmar Bergman and The Zucker Brothers? To balance art and entertainment, and to balance what we want to write with what the audience wants to see, and with what the film industry wants to (and can) make?

I think your own concerns, your values, your personality, and your influences inevitably come through anyway, whatever you write...

And I could go on (!) but I also think that writing stuff like this is a distraction from the actual scriptwriting!!

So no-one email me any questions that make me think about anything for at least a week!

PS An even more interesting question is Why do you Write?


I’ll leave This old blooger to answer that one.

Sunday, 22 July 2007


Screenwriting competitions, don’t ya just love ’em?

The BSSC is my main hope, I‘ve got two scripts entered, and I‘d be really, really disappointed if they both did nothing after getting to the semis last year (did I mention that?) My fantasy epic DRAGONS is entered in NICHOL, PAGE INTERNATIONAL, and SCRIPTAPALOOZA, more in hope than expectation, and I’ve got Short Stories entered for the SFX PULP IDOL comp, the BRIDPORT PRIZE, and the WRITERS BUREAU COMPETITION (Also entered some bloody awful poetry in the latter two!)

I’ve already failed miserably in the EUROSCRIPT, MAKE YOUR MARK IN FILM and BLUECAT comps this year, but I’m focusing now on polishing for the snappily titled SOUTH WEST SCREEN SCREENWRITER DEVELOPMENT COMPETITION, and the inevitable RED PLANET.

Also a new entry - the DIGITAL SHORTS scheme, thanks to LUCY - the trouble is they want scripts for films under 10 minutes (and ideally 5 or under) and all my shorts/ideas for shorts seem to run longer, so gonna have to write something from scratch.

So anyone else entered in/entering any of the above? Or got any leads on upcoming comps they want to share? (Check out Light and Shade for all the leads) Anyone out there had any successes in comps they want to share? And did anything come of it?


Thursday, 19 July 2007


I’m gonna be doing a power of three at the end of next week on my sci-fi actioner The Fearless, with a particular emphasis on the first 10 pages, for obvious reasons. It’s my first time, so be gentle with me! I will of course, reciprocate.

Scribosocial - who’s going? ;)And anyone got a spare bed I could kip on? Would also accept sofa or floor… I’d really be most awfully grateful.

In other news, failed to get in the top 10% of Bluecat. (congrats to semi finalist Mr Jackson Pillock) But got to the Quarter finals of the Page Screenplay (I avoided doing the maths like fellow quater finalist Mr David Bishop, that the top 25% is about 800 scripts!)

Grovelling to The Girlfriend has been pretty high on the agenda, after missing our 2nd anniversary for the SWF (while she’s confined to a wheelchair with her leg in plaster too!) Sold loads of old Dr Who stuff on e-bay, to put off the inevitable getting of a proper job. And spent the week trying to really get back into the actual writing, cos as the very wise Mr Piers said - it is all about the writing in the end.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Diving Diaries part 5 (!!) The Professional Days


I was due to do the afternoon shift, but it didn’t quiet work out like that. I was meant to cover for Izzy TC(the other volenteer driver -keep up!) for an hour while she caught Michael ‘Harry Potter’ Goldenberg, but it all went a bit tits up. A Speaker (mentioning no names) got lost in town, so while Richard the Chaffeur searched for her, both me and Izzy ended up out driving for most of the hour!

Most of my jobs tended to be groups, and tended to be people being taken back, so I didn’t get to research who they were, or to have much of a chat. At various points I had Ed Rubin, Rachel Holdyrod, Sam Lavender, The UK Film Council, and TV’s Dr Raj Persuad in the back of my van.

Jake West was one of the few solo jobs, and he was really passionate and enthusiastic. There was a bit of a kerfuffle about getting him a ticket (which wasn’t his fault - and which Kenny kept trying to give me money for, even though I‘d been given the cash in advance!) Jake said loads of people come up to him and say they want to be filmmakers, but they can’t get the funding - as long as you can find someone with a decent DV camera then anyone can be a filmmaker - his advice was do it yourself and learn by doing it, the Robert Rodriguez route.

The evening was dead - I had two jobs in 3 hours, so I just sat and nattered to Richard and the Jedi. Drove Brian Ward, and he was interesting - he’s a former Pop video director, so had a lot of stories about divas (Art Garfunkel was the worst he worked with apparently!)

Went to the Travelodge again in the evening and left 5 minutes before they kicked us out - an early night at last!

I did the afternoon again, after a well needed lay in (though I did show up before midday unlike a few lightweights I could mention!)

Again it was mostly groups so I didn’t get to have much of a chat with many of them - I was a bit networked out by this point anyway! I had Allison Owen, Katherine Butler, Sarah Gavron, Abi Morgan, Jurgen Wolff, Peter Carlton amongst others.

Also Menhaj Huda - who’s got a series in development with Kudos. The Slovos liked my choice of in car music (The Clash) - they said the music in Catch a Fire cost a fortune. They also thought there‘d been some sort of accident cos the traffic wasn’t moving - had to explain this is normal for this country! I also took Euroscript’s Charles Harris back, which was good as I’d been on one of his excellent courses, so it was great to catch up with him.

I took Anthony Horowitz Rachel Holydroyd and Nick Cunningham back to the station then took Elizabeth Morgan Hemlock (who’s hobbies include avoiding Stuart Perry, and who can blame her?) and a Plasma TV into town, then I was done.

I handed the keys over with a great sigh of relief - I’d got through the whole week without crashing or killing anyone! I did ask if I could keep the van, but Lizzie said no -she did buy us drinks all night, so I’ll forgive her! After a week of (virtually) no drinking, I was on the beer. Then the wine. Then the beer again. And then the wine again. Then the whiskey.

It was fantastic to really get to spend some time with t’other runners and a great time was had by all, lots of laughing and hugging and crying and tears goodbye. We were kicked out the Travelodge at midnight. And then everyone went to beddie-byes and were tucked up safe and sound and drifted off to the land of nod…

Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it...


I couldn’t afford to attend, so I though volunteering would be the next best thing. Turns out it was far, far better. What amazed me that the 22 of us that volunteered where the only ones who seriously volunteered (apparently there were a few who wanted to, say, do one day and get in free for the rest of it - worth asking I suppose!) I would have thought that more of the people who couldn’t afford it would have volunteered.

But their loss! As I said in the first post (many, many words ago!) it was a fantastic experience with a really great bunch of people.

Now I’ve just gotta find something else to blog about…


Saturday, 14 July 2007

Driving diaries pt 4 - I had that Bill Nicholson in the back of my cab...

I had to pick up Ed Blum (producer/director of the very wonderful Scenes of a Sexual Nature) from the station at 806, take him to the hotel and then the festival, so I had a good old chat with him. Again, a really nice guy - He admitted the title of Scenes was a mistake (he said it should have been called Love in the Park or something that more accurately reflected the content), and he regretted self distributing, but even though it didn’t set the box office on fire the film opened a lot of doors for him.

He’d made a BAFTA nominated short, so I was interested in that as I want to get a short made. He said it’d cost £2000 - catering was the main expense (as it was on Scenes), and was made with friends and contacts (the writer of Scenes was also a friend of his - so it‘s who you know), and was a really good calling card.

Kate Leys - top script Editor and hero of the very understated and confident Potdoll - was next. She was impressed that someone was a) there to meet her, even though she had decided to get a earlier train (the benefit of our occasionally random list of pick up times!), and b) recognised her (the benefit of research!) She told Kirsten later that I’d given her “the best service she’d ever had” Which was nice.

It was interesting to find out that she isn’t a writer - I thought all script editors were also/aspiring/failed* (*delete as applicable) writers, but Kate said she has a rule - she never suggests story ideas. Those of you who have actually worked with script editors in the real will probably be sighing with envy here!

I wish I’d taken notes about everyone - not while I was actually driving, obviously - that would have been silly, but just jotted something down when I got the chance, but there always seemed to be something to do, and it‘s all a bit of a blur now!

William (Gladiator) Nicholson was supposed to be next, but he was on a later train, so Ashley Pharoah was the next job - had a bit of a chat about Ashes to Ashes - which he’d just delivered a draft on. Apparently Kelley Hawes (grrr!) is the new Sam, and it starts filming at the end of the month - which was news to me. The traffic was good, so didn’t get much time with him - however tempting it was, I didn’t string anyone out by taking the scenic route!

I eventually got to pick up William Nicholson, and he was worth the wait - he was probably the highlight of the festival for me - I got to spend quiet a bit of time because some random blagger had phoned asking to be picked up from the same train - and then never showed! (I won’t mention their name - but I’m grateful to her cos I got to spend more time with Bill, as I call him now.)

Some random recollections (note to self - use notebook more!) - He said it had taken him 15 years to start to earn a living at writing, though he started young - he was 35 when he first started earning (a good age!) He said it was good to get some experience of the wider world, cos what do they know of writing, who only writing know? (I‘m paraphrasing here - he works in Hollywood, so he‘s used to being rewritten!) Also he thought there’s a lot of writers who keep getting hired on the back of a great credit even when they’re no longer doing good stuff, and a lot of people who’ve written good stuff don’t get hired cos they haven’t got the credits.

He also said he’s working on adaptations of his Wind on Fire Trilogy of fantasy novels - obviously with Potter, Narnia and Pullman, that’s what Hollywood is looking for, but he’s not optimistic about them getting made - he said only about 50% of the scripts he’d written have got made. (Mind you, I wouldn’t complain about that sort of ratio!)

Great guy though, and I was really impressed that he remembered my name when I handed him over to the green room - I had trouble remembering the names of all the people I met. By the end of it I was having trouble remembering my own name!

South West Screen also launched a competition, with less fanfare than Tony Jordan, but the prize includes being mentored by Mr Nicholson himself, so all you fellow yokels check it out.

I got to see Mia Bays, and Bill - who’s well worth downloading when the podcasts come out - and I‘m not just saying that cos he‘s a mate ;) - then went for a rest before Pitch Factor - which was fascinating, even though none of whom were half as good as last years winner! Gotta admire their guts though!

I was going to have a early night, but after trying to get Sabrina and Izzy to do some networking with Ed Blum, I quickly popped into travelodge to see if Stuart Perry had turned up, and ended up there till midnight again with the usual suspects (and Helen and Danny) Then I sat up at the bnb for an hour or so with Valeria, Alistair and Anna - so much for an early night!

On Monday a 2for1 (‘cos I‘m planning to get back into the actual writing next week!) Thursday and Friday- the professional days.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Driving diaries pt 3 - showtime

When I got in Tuesday morning I was told the chauffeur was getting Tony Jordan, cos we had 3 people to be picked up from the station, although only one of them (agent Rob Kraitt) actually showed up! Not the first time this happened! I ended up with about 4 other blaggers in the van anyway, including Andy Conway of shooters - sorry did I say blagger? I meant highly important representative of the sponsors, of course!

I had Menha Huda (kidulthood) and Rahila Ghupta (provoked) next. When I had 2 or more people then they tended to speak amongst themselves, which is fair enough.

I‘m sure there was someone else - I‘ve lost my notes for Monday, but I was running late and only had 10 mins to get to Kadinskies for David M Thompson - this is where the knowledge pays off, cos i made it in time! David was the first passenger I got to properly chat to, and he was a really nice guy. Mainly we talked about me! I know the first rule of networking is listen don’t talk, but David must have read this too, cos the first thing he did was ask what I do when I’m not driving! When I was done telling him, he had to take a phone call before I could interrogate him, but that was interesting (“Have we got Scarlett for the re-shoots?”) and he wished me luck with the writing. Which was nice.

Had no pick ups for a while, so I did a short stint on the entrance tent - this was before I worked out to have a coffee before I asked if there was anything else I can do! From my brief experiences doing thier job, the other runners had a far more difficult job than me!

I was supposed to be picking up Kate Rowland and Paul Ashton of BBC writersroom next. Paul was a no show, but Kate was interesting. I didn’t know till I spoke to her that only the top 5% of scripts submitted to writersroom that get the full read (mine did, since you ask.) They get 10,000 scripts a year, so I‘ll forgive them for taking 6 months to read mine!

After Introducing Kate to the green room runner as Kate Ashton (!), I was finished for the day. Izzy took over at 2 - I was tempted to stay on and pick up Christopher Smith, who would have been interesting, but food and Tony Jordan took priority.

I got to see Tony Jordan, who launched a competition - wasn’t very exciting, I wouldn’t bother checking it out ;)

I also saw Euroscript and Chris Smith, met Sabrina, the legendary Danny Stack and Helen Smith.

Tomorrow - Bill Nicholson, Ed Blum and just for the blogosphere's star of tomorrow, Potdoll - Kate Leys

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Driving diaries pt 2 - No sleep till Cheltenham


I had to get up 430 Monday morning to drive up from Dorset and get there for 930- I‘d forgotten there were two 430’s in the day! We had about 22 volunteers - at least half were returning from last year, mostly film students from Cheltenham, though we had people from Bristol, Brum, London - even Italy!

It was good meeting everyone, even if it did make me feel old! - I got the driving gig cos I was the only one old enough to drive! ;) (or old enough to drive a hire car anyway) My one real regret about the week is I didn’t spend as much time with the other runners while I was out driving around.

In the PM we started setting up, then me and Izzy TC got the hire cars, and she very kindly took me round Cheltenham, so at least I had some idea where I was going. After I dropped Izzy home I went for another drive with the AtoZ, doing the knowledge (Preparation for you there!), and I got back to the Bnb about 10, knackered and ready for bed.

...Then I got a txt from Mr Arnopp saying he‘d arrived, so I headed out for the Travelodge for a serious debate with Sir Jason, Will, Chrissie and Piers about the paradigmatic relevance of the classical story in the current socio-economic… oh alright, we talked crap about Dr Who! But no booze for me, as I was driving in the morning.

I didn’t sleep much Monday night, partly nerves, partly excitement (partly lack of alcohol!) I think I got about 2 hours sleep in the end. I woke up about 5, so I got up, and did another trial run to Kadinskies where I was due to collect Tony Jordan at 9OO for my first pick up…

In the next post, on Friday, the first Rising Talent Day, and David M. Thompson and Kate Rowland amongst others. But no Tony Jordan!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Drivng Diaries pt 1

I was a bit nervous about driving a tank round a far away spa town with a one way system designed by evil driver-hating trolls (otherwise known as town planners)

When the volunteer coordinator - the legendary Ricky Kane phoned and asked if I’d mind being a driver, I though “No! not really.” But, of course, it came out as “Yeah, no problem! Fine.” Then when he then said I’d be driving a 9 Seater mini van I thought “Oh fuck, no!” but again, it came out as: “Yeah, fine, no problem.”

I had visions of seeing the headline “TOP SCREENWRITER KILLED BY BUFFOON IN MINIVAN” But I managed to avoid killing anyone, or even crashing the van. Which was nice.

I got used to the beast fairly quickly in the end, and I got used to Cheltenham… eventually. Mainly thank to the wonderful Isobel TC, who took me round Cheltenham on the Monday - but more of all that in the next post.

It turns out driving was the best job in the world for an aspiring writer. Getting to spend some time alone with top industry pros, like say Bill Nicholson or David M Thompson, in a situation where they thought I was doing then a favour, that’s something that money can’t buy.

I also had that Ashley Pharoah, Ed Blum, Jake West, Peter Carlton, The Slovos, Anthony Horowitz, Kate Leys, Kate Rowland, Brian Ward, Rachel Holroyd, Rob Kraitt, Alison Owen, Kate Butler, and many, many more in the back of my van.

So I’ll post (what I can remember) about them over the next week or so, as it begins to come back to me!! (Ok I know I said in shooters I'll try to post everyday, but that was just a lie!)

I won’t blog about any of the actual sessions, I’m sure they will be well covered in the blogosphere -I know Danny Stack has already posted about it - but if you went and blogged about it email me a link and I‘ll put it up.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

I've had the time of my life...

Back from Cheltenham now, absolutely shattered, but what a fantastic few days, one of the best weeks of my life.

So big up to everyone I met, especially my fellow drivers, Izzy TC and Richard the Chauffer; the runners - Sabrina , Rosie, Chris, Isabel K, Adam, Kreena, Jack, Charlie, Joe, Tom, The Sams, James, Claire, Stephen, Sara, Jenny, Francesca, Verbon, Carolyn, Sue, Alan - you were all legends. Many Apologies to anyone I missed out - at this point I’m having trouble remembering my own name!

Then there’s the guv’nors - David and Lizzie; Kenny, Kirsten, Rachel and Oli and of course, the legendary Ricky Kane. Thanks for the opp guys.

Great to see Jason and Stuart Perry and Charles Harris again, and to meet Danny, Piers, Will, Helen, Chrissy, Andy Conway from shooters, and loads, loads more including my roomies Valeria, Alistair and Anna, and last but not least, Dorothy and Tim my landlord and landlady.

Sorry this is starting to sound like a bad Oscar speech! I’ll blog about it all over the next week. Now I’m going to try doing that sleep thing. Hear it’s good for tiredness.

Monday, 2 July 2007


Off to Cheltenham now, and suprisingly relaxed about it. At the moment.

I'm not sure if I'll have internet access, or time to post, so I'll say later and look forward to meeting anyone else who's going.

If you're going and you're nervous about meeting people, dont worry - they dont bite, and they're probably feeling the same!


Saturday, 30 June 2007

Any Questions?

I'm working as a runner at the Cheltenham Screenwriters Festival this year, and I was thinking of questions I could ask the delegates if I get the chance, so I thought I'd throw it open to the blogosphere.

If you're not going, and you have any questions you want to ask any of the delagates, (the likes of Ashley Pharoah, Stephen Frears, Tony Jordan, Chris Smith - see the festival website for a full list.) or any questions you'd like to ask of Industry pros in general, then post below (preferably by Sunday evening) and I'll see what I can do.

Can't promise anything, but I'll try to get you some answers!

Thursday, 28 June 2007


Here's my pitch for the online "Lucypalooza" pitching contest over at

Any feedback would be gratefully received...




SYNOPSIS - In the time of the 1st Great Human Empire, Sam Mellor is a Shift Supervisor(2nd Class) on the flagship of the Earth fleet - The Fearless.

When the viscous human-hating Musani take over the ship - intending to turn it on Earth - only Sam and a motley collection of cooks, cleaners, and quacks are left alive.

Apart they’re a mess…

But together they’re The Earth’s only hope.

Can Sam and his colleagues prove their worth, and stop the Musani from exterminating every last human in the galaxy?

And even if they do, will any of them survive to get back to Earth themselves?

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Please allow me to introduce myself...

Hello everybody peeps! Welcome to my blog.

I'm an aspiring screenwriter, as if the blogosphere needed another one of us! I used to work in retail management (which isn't as exciting as it sounds) until I was made redundant, so I'm a full time layabout... I mean full time writer now, at least until the redundancy runs out!

I'm just starting out, so no credits as yet, tho I did get to the semis of the BSSC last year. I'm working at the Cheltenham Screenwriters Festival next week, so come and say hi if you're going. I'll try to put a piccie up, not promising anything - I've deleted this post twice!! (The machines are not my friends)

I'll post again before then (if I can manage to get back here!) but feel free to say hi in the comments section.