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"