Thursday, 24 January 2008


In honour of Lianne’s adaptation group, here’s a few quotes on the subject.

HITCHCOCK: “Crime and Punishment is someone else’s achievment…Even if I did (adapt it,) it probably wouldn’t be any good. In Dostoyevsky‘s book there are many, many words and all of them have a function.”

“What I do is read a story only once, and if I like the basic idea, I just forget all about the book and start to create cinema. Today I would be unable to tell you the story of Daphne Du Maurier’s The Birds”

Ethan Coen on how they adapted No Country For Old Men “One of us types into the computer, while the other holds the spine of the book open flat.”

Which brings to mind the old story* that John Huston got his secretary to type out The Maltese Falcon in screenplay format before going on holiday. Jack Warner then got hold of the transcript thinking it was the final script, said he loved it and not to change a thing! Huston subsequently won an Oscar for script of Maltese Falcon. So it’s an easy job this adaptation lark!

* to be taken with a pinch of salt, like all old Hollywood tales.

Monday, 14 January 2008


I’ve just finishing reading Hitchcock/Truffaut, and it’s an excellent film school. Here’s a couple of sample quotes about Premise:

“I always feel comfortable with a project when I can tell the story in a very simple way, from beginning to end, in a fairly abbreviated version. I like to imagine a young woman who has been to see the movie and goes home very satisfied with what she’s seen…
Her mother asks her, “What was it about?”
And the girl replies, “Well it was about a young woman who so and so…”
Well I feel that before undertaking to shoot a movie one should be able to do just that, to satisfy oneself that it can be narrated just as clearly, the whole cycle”

“It‘s as if you‘re going to put up a building. You have to have the steel structure first. I‘m not talking about the story structure, but the concept of the film itself. If the basic concept is solid, then things will work out”

And you thought that all that pitching and 25-words-or-less malarkey was a new thing! BTW, Euroscript are running their Pitch and Premise workshop Saturday. More details here if you’re interested. I went last year, and I cant recommend it highly enough.

I’ll post a few more quotes when I feel like it. Meanwhile, here‘s a link to Amazon page for Hitchcock/Truffaut, and a bonus quote:

“charge the screen with emotion.”

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Fred Ginger - Night And Day Fantastico!

From David Thompson's "Biographical Dictionary of film"

"There is a good for arguing that, in the event of a visit from creatures from another universe ignorant of cinema, one would do best to show them some steps of Astaire as the clinching evidence of the medium's potential
"Astaire is the the most refined expression of the the musicla, which in turn is the extreme manifestation of pure cinema" Discuss.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

New Year? What do you mean there's been a new year? What was wrong with the old one??

Belated New Year wishes from the faraway city!

I had some time off from writing over Christmas (and felt really bad about it!) and I’ve been busy rewriting my Metlab script TECHNICOLOR since then, so not much time for blogging.

The script is still rough and raw, and there are things I know need working on, but overall I‘m happy with it. I managed to solve my, er length problem - The exploratory draft was 75 pages long, but I‘ve managed to get it up (behave!) to 90 without padding it out (much.) Originally, there was a huge info dump in the first scene, so I’ve cut that and made the protagonist work for the information more. I sent it off Monday, so I’m waiting for the feedback from my lovely script editor. I’m sure she’ll be gentle with me! ;)

So since everyone else did it last week, here’s my brief review of the year!

I had quite a good year, writing wise. I got onto the metlab scheme, and got to the semis of the BSSC again. Which is nice. I think I’ve improved as a writer - THE GIBBET, my BSSC script, is easily the best thing I’ve ever written; I’ve become better at story; I'm getting more visual in my writing; and I’m started to rewrite more instead of just polishing. Character is a development issue, and I am worried that I‘ve improved at story and structure at the expense of voice, but generally I‘m heading in the right direction.

One issue was that I didn’t do enough feature spec writing, so I need to focus on that more this year. Spent too much time ameboing on BSSC, Digital Shorts, SFX Pulp Idol, Make your Mark on Film, The Bridport Prize, Euroscript etc, etc. (I worked out that metlab was the 31st competition I entered in the last 2 years!)

I only wrote one new feature, THE FEARLESS, a sci fi thriller, which didn’t turn out very well, but I’ll come back to it one day, cos it’s a good idea, and the structure is reasonably sound.

I spent quiet a lot of time rewriting DRAGONS, my fantasy epic. Entered it into a loads more competitions, where it did absolutely nothing, although last year’s draft got a full read from BBC writersroom, and script reader Jo Rose thought it was good enough to submit. It is an absolutely ridiculous thing for a spec monkey to try to write, but I love it to bits, so I‘ll probably to give it another crack.

So many ideas, so little time! I was planning on writing a rom com called ONCE AGAIN this winter - I submitted it to metlab along with Technicolor, so I‘ll definitely write at least one draft of that this year. Of course, the main focus is metlab and Technicolor, but I’m also thinking about what to do for the BSSC this year (3 scripts ?!?) and I'd like to get a short made at some point.

But the best thing that happened this year was getting out and meeting people. Before this year, I didn’t know any other writers, and I’d put off the whole networking thing. I attended Euroscript’s Pitch and Premise Course. Adrian Mead’s Insiders Guide to TV, 2 WGGB events, The Script Factory’s Script Reading course this year, but best of all was driving for the Screenwriters Festival (BTW, I found out this week that Steven Soderbergh worked as a volunteer driver at the Sundance Festival the year before he got his big break!)

I blogged about meeting people like Bill Nicholson and Ashley Pharoah here, and here. And here. And here. Here too. Also here. Okay, got a bit carried away there!! But the highlight of the SWF, and of all the other courses and events, was meeting so many fellow spec monkeys, and of course, keeping in touch with y'all via this blog, not to mention ‘meeting’ the rest of you out there in the scribosphere.

So here’s wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New (-ish) year!

All the best



Wednesday, 2 January 2008

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