Thursday, 17 December 2009


Euroscript Screen Story Competition 2010

Deadline: midnight 31st March 2010

Now in its 16th year, the Euroscript Screen Story Competition 2010 is an opportunity for screenwriters to develop their scripts to a high, marketable standard through an intensive, creative and focused script development programme.
1st PrizeThe winning writer will receive one-on-one professional guidance to develop his/her screen story from treatment or first draft.

DEADLINE: 31st March 2010

FEE TO ENTER: £35 per treatment.
Submissions for next year's Digital Shorts now open!

Digital Shorts is the South West region’s key development and production initiative for new and emerging filmmakers.This year, we’re looking to commission 4 films, with running times of no more than 10 minutes, at budgets of between £10,000 - £15,000. All themes, styles and subjects will be considered including animation and documentary.

The commissioned films will be drawn from a ‘development pool’ of 8 projects/ filmmaking teams who’ll be supported through an intense 8-week development phase. Working with a professional development executive, producers and other collaborators, you’ll advance your chosen project to the point at which it can be ‘greenlit’ into production through the programme.The 4 greenlit films will go into production over Summer 2010, for delivery in August 2010.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

SWF 09 - Techrec

Only three weeks to go until SWF 09. Excited? I went to the Technical Recce at The Cheltenham Ladies College yesterday, and it’s a fantastic venue.

One thing - It’s a bigger, more sprawling site than the Manor by the Lake. Wandering round the college yesterday was a bit like the first day at big school. Not in the head-flushed-down-the-loo*-by-the-bigger-boys-sense, but in the sense that the campus seems huge. There will of course be maps, and highly trained runners to ask directions from, but be prepared to take a while to get acclimatised. The programme has been designed to give plenty of time between sessions, so hopefully that won’t be a problem.

IT**was a problem last time, but the college has its own state of the art IT (and isn’t located near a secret government communication centre,) so that should be better this year.

Transport might be more of a problem (Pity the poor sucker who has to coordinate that!) There will be no direct trains to or from London that week, so anyone travelling from London will have to change at Bristol - the current advise can be found at but obviously check well before you travel.

There is also NO PARKING ON SITE, and you will be very, very lucky to find a road without parking restrictions to park on. Most of the central hotels are within walking distance of the college, and the Travelodge is about 10 minutes by bus, so we’re*** recommending delegates leave their cars at their hotels and walk/bus/taxi it.
btw, The Queens Hotel will be the venue for the Post-Festival drinks Monday till Wednesday. Thursday drinks venue TBC.

Might be an idea to check with your hotel/ landlady how far where you’re staying is from the college, if there’s a bus connection etc. Any questions about Cheltenham, or the festival itself, then post them here and I’ll try to answer them, or find someone who can.
The provisional schedule is available now. Hopefully more names TBC, including (hopefully) one household name (who‘s not a writer.)

Oh and one more thing - Hypnotism is expressly forbidden by the terms of the Festival‘s contract with the college. You have been warned.
* Speaking of which, it‘s also one of the few places in the country where there shouldn’t be a queue for the ladies - there are only 2 gents on the whole site!
**That’s I.T. obviously, not the eponymous Big Bad from the 19?? Steven King novel ‘It’.
***Feels strange to say ‘we’ - it’s not like I’ve had that much to do with setting up the festival so far!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Writing Full Time In Your Spare Time - pt 3

Last time I ended with a question: How? How do you find the motivation to write when you‘re working full time?

It’s taken me a while to get back to that one, because frankly I have absolutely no idea.

This week, I did 4 hours writing Sunday and 3½ hours Monday. Sounds admirably consistent, except for 2 things: 1)I was day off Sunday, and worked all day Monday; 2) I actually did 3½ hours writing Monday, as opposed to 4 hours staring at the laptop and occasionally sighing.

I wish the fired-up motivated Monday me could tell the shiftless, struggling Sunday me how he does it. The truth is, some days you’re in the mood, and it all flows, and some days you‘re not and it doesn‘t.

But I do write when I don’t want to, and that counts for a lot - if you only write when you‘re in the mood then you have a hobby. It’s all very well saying you shouldn’t force you muse (man,) but you have to put the hours in. Ok, there are times when you need a break, when you need to get away from it. But I always try to err on the side of carrying on, however hard it is.

The key word here is professionalism. In the day job, I sometimes feel tired, de-motivated, frustrated, bored. Sometimes, you’ll be stunned to hear, I don’t want to be there. If you have job that doesn’t at least sometime makes you feel this way, then you are very, very lucky. Please e-mail me your address so I can kill you, ear your skin to your job and take over your life.

The point is, I never, ever say “fuck it, I can‘t be bothered with this,” and go home and watch a DVD instead. I’d have to check the company’s disciplinary procedures, but I’d probably be sacked if I did. But when I’m writing, I do sometime say “fuck it, etc…” Why? Because when I‘m writing I’m my own boss and frankly I’m a bit of a soft touch.

So that brings us back to the original question - How do you find the motivation to write?

You just have to decide to do it. Then do it. It’s as simple and as hard as that. Apply bum to seat. Write. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes.

Some people are more naturally driven. Anyone who’s ever met Adrian Mead wouldn’t be surprised that he managed to write while doing two jobs 6 days a week - the man’s a positive mountain of energy! But the idea that some people can do it, and more specifically, the idea that you’re not one of them, is dangerous. If you think you don’t have the motivation, then you won’t - it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

A wise man once said, “Do, or do not. There is no try*” Now objectively, this is not true. You can of course, try and fail. But subjectively if you believe that you will succeed, then you’re more likely to.

I’ve had a bit of competition success lately, and I’ve also started writing more - I’ve got back to doing 20 hours a week consistently. These facts are probably not unrelated. But of course I had to find the motivation to write the script that did well in the first place.

Which brings us back to sitting down to write - once you get into the habit of writing, you get better at it. Then you get some good feedback, it motivates you, and you build up a bit of momentum. The more you practise, the luckier you get.

So you have to find that initial motivation from somewhere - passion, ambition, revenge, competition. Believe that you have the choice. Believe that it is in your power. And if you don’t believe it, do it anyway!

* alright, a wise muppet.

Friday, 24 July 2009

...but no cigar.

Didn't make the finals of Bluecat, which is a shame, as this is the stage where cash prizes are involved, and I need a new laptop! I'm happy with the run I had though, and there's still Page.

Congratulations to the finalists!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Writing Full Time In your Spare Time Pt 2

So last time we left out intrepid hero (me) at a turning point - having to give up writing full time and get a proper job. That was late 2007, and disappointingly no one has given me any large sums of money not to work since then (the selfish swine.) So I write part time.

I work from 545am till 3pm,* which in theory gives me extra time to write. In practice, getting up at 5 every morning (and sometimes only getting a ¼ hour break!) is surprisingly tiring, so more often than not I tend to flop and/or sleep in the afternoons.

I aim to write 20 hours a week. I don’t succeed very often. When I was really fired up, after last years Screenwriter’s Festival, I blogged every week how many hours I did. It was kind of motivating to think I‘d have to report failiure to the blogosphere if I didn‘t get it done, and to get all the “wow, well done” comments when I did.

Of course it didn’t last. Last week was the first time in ages that I managed to get 20 done in a non bank holiday week. It’s hard enough dragging my sorry arse up every morning to work for T***o. If you factor in the writing then that’s a 60 Hour week. Every week. It doesn’t leave much time, or energy, to have a life, a relationship, or mooch around watching cricket/ DVD‘s.

I don’t say this looking for sympathy. I know there are people who work even longer or more unsociable hours, who have long commutes and family commitments who manage to write. Adrian Mead’s story is an inspiration - he managed to write while working two jobs (hairdresser by day, bouncer by night) six days a week. If that’s possible, anything is.

Quitting the day job and writing full time really isn’t practical for most people unless they have a private fortune, or a rich and very understanding partner they can sponge off, or they go live under a bridge and write. The latter option is the only one open to me, and then I’d have nowhere to plug in this battered old laptop so that wouldn‘t work so that wouldn't work.

Bottom line is if you want to write, you’ve gotta write. I remember someone at the first Screenwriter’s Festival asking what if you had a really good idea, but you didn’t have time to write it? I can’t remember the exact answer, but I’m sure it wasn’t ‘get a note from you mum and we’ll give you some money to write it. No actually we‘ll give you money and write it for you.”

We’re all grown ups here. I’m sure we all know the world doesn’t owe us a living. Screenwriter Dan Reed, also at SWF 07, said he remembered getting up to write at some ungodly hour when had the flu, thinking if he didn’t do it, then there was someone else out there who would. That really stuck with me.

It’s a competitive business out there. There’s a lot of talent around. Last time I checked the BBC writersroom get 10,000 scripts a year. I’m sure not every un-produced writer sends a script in every year. I’ve sent scripts in 2 out of the last 4 years, so using this ever so slightly unscientific sample lets say there’s 20,000 of us out there. And then there’s the season pros you’re competing against…

Now you could rely on being better than them, or luckier than them. Trouble is, you can’t control how talented or how lucky you are. What you can control is how hard you work.

You might say that this is easier said than done, and you‘d be right. Next time (Sorry I didn’t intend for this post to turn into an epic 3 part trilogy!) I’ll answer the $6 million question - How?

In the meantime, how do you do it? What motivates you? Do you set yourself targets? If so, in pages, word, hours? Is there anything you’ve changed that’s increased your productivity?

Now, all that talk of working hard is tiring, I’m going for a little lay down. ;)
* I’m a Space, Range and Merchandising team leader for Tesco. “Working at Tesco” seems to have reached the culture as a kind of nadir. There was an article in the Mirror a while about those teenage suicides in Bridgend. They asked a lad what it was like being young in that town, why so many kids thought the only way out was to top themselves. He told them that it was crap, there was nothing to do, no future, and the topper was that the best he had to look forward to was working at Tesco. The Observer had an article about the credit crunch where some posh bint who’d lost her job said “I’d even work in Tesco!” as if it was like going on the game. (Actually if you go on the game the pay’s better, and you get to lie down while you’re being fucked ;)

Monday, 13 July 2009

Writing Full Time in Your Spare Time Pt 1

Before I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to be a fighter pilot.* Which is a round about way of saying it’s been a long time (baby) - I’ve probably wanted to be a writer since I was 11, 12, so over fifteen years (Alright, no sniggering at the back, well over 15 years.) I don’t remember when I decided this, or even why. All I remember is that, like a lot of people, I wanted to write for Doctor Who. Probably wouldn’t say no now if the Moff called.

For a long time, there was one slight flaw in this masterplan: I didn’t actually do any actual writing. Then in my last year at uni I slipped a disc, and I was on the sick for a year after I left. I was bored, poor and immobile, so I started to write. I had an op, the DSS said I was fit for work (bastards!) so I got a summer job as a live in pot scrubber in an activity centre.

That was, er, an experience, ** so I wrote a script about it. It was my first vaguely - and I mean vaguely - coherent script. Then the DSS said I had to get a job (fascists!) So for the next 10 years I worked full time (In Littlewoods, then Index.)

I sort of vaguely planned to start writing in my holidays. I even occasionally dug out some of the scripts I’d written and thought hey, these are pretty good. (I was wrong.) I thought about writing, about being a writer, I even imagined I was a writer, but I never got round to any actual serious writing.

Then in 2005, I got made redundant. I was Management by then, I ’d been there ages, and I’d just got a raise, so I got a pretty decent redundancy settlement. Bottom line was, if I was careful with the money, I could get away with not working for 2 years. Good times, as the young people say.

This was my big opportunity. If I didn’t write now, then I was never going to. So I started to write. I built it up until I was regularly writing 45-50 hours a week. More if I had a deadline. People were impressed when I told them this, but I figured if I was capable of working silly hours for a company that would, frankly, sell me off for body parts if they could get away with, it then I could do it for myself.

Eventually, the bank decided that I didn’t have any money left (of course, we all know about there accounting practices now.) So I had to *shockhorror* get a job in the real world. I’d have to write, like most of us spec monkeys in my spare time.

So how’s that working out? Well I’ve already gone on too long, and as I worked till 4 AM last night I’m gonna do a little bit of proper writing then go for a nap. Part 2 to follow soon. Soon-ish.

*I also wanted to design the planes - I used to do elaborate drawings of made up planes with cool names like the Phantom and Lightning. These may be the names of actual planes, I’m a bit out of touch with the whole fighter plane scene. I used to have loads of model aeroplanes suspended from the ceiling (I know you‘re not supposed to, but I was a kid, sue me.) I used to spend hours making them with my Dad.
Then one day, I decided I was too old for model aeroplanes. So, rather than pack them up and put them in the loft, I chucked them out the window, one by one, to see them smash. For some reason, the memory of this really upsets me. It almost feels like my teenage self was smashing up little me’s toys, and makes me want to go back and give the skinny (!) little bastard a clip round the ear. (And while I’m at it, tell him to stop sulking and learn how to talk to girls.) Sorry, wandered a bit off topic there.
** don’t ask okay? Just don’t

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Yet more competition news!

I've reached the Quarter Finals of the Page International Screenplay awards, which is the top 10% (or so they claim - it's actually one of 553 scripts remaining out 4394 submitted, which is 12.6% if you want to be pedantic.)

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

2009 Screenwriters' Festival - Preliminary schedule

Scratching your head, wondering roughly what will be going on at SWF'09? Well wonder no more: The Preliminary schedule is here!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

More competition news

Second Round! Page International Screenplay Competition! (Top 25%!!) Too tired proper sentences to write!

Night Night.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Why don't you...?

I’ve been watching Mad Men Season 1 on DVD, and it inspired me to post. Not about the intelligence and subtly of the scripts*; nor the depth and perception of the characterisation, or the sheer quality of the acting; not even the breathtaking beauty of the design and photography. No, what I wanted, need to say was about… the blurb on the sleeve.

Specifically this quote, from Metro: “AS NEAR TO GENIUS AS TV GETS”

As near to genius as TV gets. As near to genius as the dumb, humble, upstart medium that has given us The Wire, The Sopranos, Shameless, I Claudius, Buffy, The Singing Detective, Fawlty Towers, Cracker, Dexter, Doctor Who, Band of Brothers, Edge of Darkness, Boys from The Blackstuff, Blackadder, The Simpsons, Hustle, The West Wing, Twin Peaks, The Twlight Zone, Generation Kill and The Clangers gets?**
Paxman recently called the public a "bunch of barbarians" because watching TV is our favourite leisure activity, which David Mitchell brilliantly dealt with here evoking the memory of Why Don’t You (Just Switch Off Your TV And Do Something Less Boring Instead?) There’s an ad that crop up occasionally on the BBC encouraging people to read that perfectly sums up this snobbery. It shows celebs reading aloud - not just poetry and literature, but trashy romances and and celeb gossip magazines. The message from Auntie to the proles is clear: TV bad. Reading good. In other words, you’re better off reading Mills and Boon than watching, say, The Wire or the Beeb’s searing Iraq drama Occupation

Of course there’s a lot of crap on the telly. But guess what? 90% of everything is crap (It’s called Sturgeon's law) You could even argue that TV is the most exciting medium at the moment, certainly in America.*** Can you name a body of work in any medium as entertaining, as exciting, as innovative, as insightful as the output of subscription cable TV networks like HBO and Showtime? (The Sopranos, The Wire, Dexter, Mad Men etc.) Because if you can, I’d love to read/watch/listen to it.****

*although if I was I’d certainly include this key line from the Pilot “So we’re supposed to believe that people are all living one way but secretly thinking the exact opposite? That’s ridiculous,” spoken by repressed homosexual Salvatore Romano that prefectly captures the tension between appearence and reality that is arguably the shows dominant theme. But I'm not going to.
**and of course Blake’s 7
***British TV struggles to match it despite the occasionally Red Riding, The Devil’s Whore, the aforementioned Occupation, but doesn’t have the budgets to (and/or the will??) to do it as consistently.
****Film Animation is the only example I can think of - the mighty works of Pixar and Dreamworks.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


Just found out I've got to the quarter finals of the Bluecat screenplay competition (along with over 600 others. It's the top 20% of 3200, but it's a start.)


Saturday, 6 June 2009

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

True Blood

HBO's True Blood is set to air on the FX Channel over here July. Check out the trailer here. It looks great - sex, religion, naked women and dead animals. Sounds like a normal Saturday Night down here!

"Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.

Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. "Cursed" with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires — particularly when it comes to Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But as Sookie is drawn into a series of mysteries surrounding Bill's arrival in Bon Temps, that tolerance will be put to the test.

A sexy, scary new drama from 'Six Feet Under' creator Alan Ball, 'True Blood' delves into the meticulously-crafted world of novelist Charlaine Harris. Described by the Emmy®-winning Ball as "popcorn for smart people" and featuring a colorful cast of local misfits, 'True Blood' promises an intense ride."

It's set to air on the FX Channel over here July-ish.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Dollhouse - UK Premiere.

"The SCI FI channel brings you the brilliant, Dollhouse by the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon. Premieres at 9pm on Tuesday 19th May. The lives of an elite, underground group of beautiful and seductive operatives known as the "Dolls" are revealed in Dollhouse, starring Eliza Dushku as Echo, who is part of a highly illegal and underground group known as the "Actives," or "Dolls." Echo is imprinted with any number of new personas that fit her assignments. Afterwards her thoughts, feelings and experiences are erased. She enters each new assignment with no memory of before. Or does she? As the series progresses, Echo becomes increasingly self-aware and hungers to discover her true identity."

word is not as good as Buffy, but worth sticking with as the arc really pays off in the second half of the season.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Two Imposters

After an early year flurry of competition entering, the first results are in -

Didn't make the final cut in the Euroscript competition, but got some great feedback.

However, I'm a finalist in the script_1 competition run by something called SWF. Hoorah!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

BAFTA and The Script Factory present Serious Screenwriting

"If you are serious about a writing career in the British film industry then join our two-day networking and training event.

Fri 5 & Sat 6 June 2009BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London W1

If you are serious about a writing career in the British film industry, this two-day networking and training event is meant for you. Our aim is to help you ensure that your talent, passion, energy and time are invested in projects that are genuinely screen-worthy and that, after two days with us, you are clued up about the opportunities which exist for getting your films made.

It works like this: mornings are dedicated to Script Factory training sessions (we assume that all attendees have a working knowledge of screenwriting theory so sessions are focussed on areas that cause difficulties for many of the writers that TSF work with); then, afternoons are devoted to sessions with a fantastic array of established industry guests who will offer lessons learnt from the frontline of filmmaking.

Serious Screenwriting costs £185 + VAT (total £212.75).

To make your booking please call The Script Factory on weekdays between 10am-6pm on 020 7851 4890 with your credit or debit card details, or email with any queries"

More info here.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Obscure and Underrated British Films # 2 - Yield to the Night

Yield to The Night isn’t quiet what I expected. All I’d seen of it was a clip of the sensational (in both senses of the word) opening sequence, where a cold, beautiful busty blonde shoots down a woman in a fur coat. It more than lives up to the rather wonderful US title - Blonde Sinner. It’s fast, flashy, amoral, all strange angles and sharp cuts, like something from a Sam Fuller film. But as the film develops, it becomes something deeper and richer, and the last scene is complete contrast - sombre, intelligent, moving and deeply moral.

This is perhaps writer Joan Henry and director J Lee Thompson ‘s greatest trick - wrapping a political message and a sensitive character study in such an appealing package. The film is an anti hanging polemic, but the filmmakers doesn’t make it easy for themselves. Thompson said “For capital punishment you must take somebody who deserves to die, and then feel sorry for them and say this is wrong. We…made it a ruthless, premeditated murder."

They succeed brilliantly - not only does Mary Hilton kill in cold blood, she doesn’t repent. She’s moody, temperamental, but ultimately utterly sympathetic. A lot of this is down to Diana Dors, who is incredible. She was more known at the time - and since - for her figure and her private life - her to delivering this kind of performance is like Kelly Brooke or Abi Titmus suddenly turning into Kate Winslett.

And it’s her performance, her presence, that ultimately make the film iconic (Morrissey used an image of Dors from the film on The Singles cover.) In the prison scenes, without make up, she’s even more beautiful than in the more glammed up flashback scene - this is a real old fashioned, light-up-the-screen star performance. Apparently not many of her films stretched her as much as this, but if this is her one great role, then it‘s enough.

I met Diana Dors once, when I was young (she died in 1984, so I must have been under 12.) She was opening a Fun Run that my Dad was taking part in. I remember being told to go up to get her autograph. Of course, I had no idea who she was. All I remember is a a big lady in a fur coat with a huge white Rolls Royce. I wish I remembered more. She seemed like someone who enjoyed life and had a sense of humour about herself - she once described herself as “rather like Britain's naughty seaside postcards”

I’ll try to do this more often. Later.

Monday, 6 April 2009


Three things struck me about Watchmen, from a screenwriting point of view. The first was how the plot moves, or rather how it doesn’t move. The second was how little this matters.

The story’s about the hunt for whoever’s killing costumed heroes, and why. At one point Rorschach finds a lead linking the conspiracy to a company called Pyramid Holdings. So, naturally, he investigates Pyramid holding. The only trouble is, there’s about an hours screen time between the two scenes.

Without the constant backstory, you could easily fit the plot into an hour long TV episode. McKee wouldn’t approve. If a story doesn’t constantly move forward, shark like, towards a third act climax then the audience will switch off, right?.

Well no. Watchmen is a brilliant, utterly gripping film that totally held my attention for 3 hours. This despite the fact that I knew exactly what would happen in every single scene, so faithful is the adaptation.

Which brings me to the third thing - how completely irrelevant the “What’s going to happen next?” factor is. This is supposed to be why we watch stories - to find out the ending.

This is something that’s been on my mind for a while. I happened to see two similar films in the same week a while ago - Control and Downfall. Both great films. Both are about charismatic right wing figures who kill themselves in the end.

Those spoilers alerts are a joke, of course. The vast majority of the audience would have known the endings of both films before they start. Furthermore, There’s a scene in Control where Ian Curtis gets married, then they cut to his wife hoisting up the dryer in the kitchen. In Downfall, the blonde folk singing Goebels children pop surreally throughout. If you know how Ian Curtis killed himself, or what happened to the Goebels children, then it adds to rather than detracts from the film.

There seems to be a trend towards adaptations and true stories recently. In other words, towards stories that are already familiar. When I finally caught up with the second series of Rome recently, I remember coming back from work excited I’d have the last episode to watch. But why? I mean, the outcome was hardly in doubt : Anthony and Cleopatra were never going win the day and live happily ever after. Similarly, I watched series 2 of Dexter and then read the (excellent) novel before I saw the 1st series.

Add to this genre films, where the good guys win, the mismatched couple get together, the tragic hero gets their comeuppance and you have the question in how many film is the outcome in doubt. How often are we surprised by the ending? Very few films do a Se7en or an Empire Strikes Back. Even these films we rewatch - I‘ve seen Se7en about 3 times, and The Empire Strikes Back god knows how many times.

I’ve got Ice Cold in Alex next on my to see list. Marvellous film, but I’ve seen it at least twice before. I know exactly how it‘s going to turn out - The DVD even has a still from the famous last scene on the cover! Which raises the question : Why bother watching films, consuming stories if we know the outcome?

Maybe it‘s because it’s the ride, not the destination, that‘s important. We watch films to be entertained. To learn about the world. To feel something. To laugh and cry. To be comforted or challenged, to escape from or engage with our world.

The story is just the delivery method for whatever emotion or sensation or idea the film is trying to convey or invoke or inspire. In focusing on just on the technical aspects of story, then we’re in danger of forgetting that it’s the content that the audience pays to see, not the craft.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

The Devil's Whore 2 (Hopefully)

From Broadcast

"The creators of Channel 4's English Civil War drama The Devil's Whore have begun working on a follow-up set during the Restoration period.

C4 head of film and drama Tessa Ross has given creator Peter Flannery and co-writer and executive producer Martine Brant seed money to develop a new series.

Brant said they were fleshing out storylines that would tackle the immediate aftermath of the four-part series, using Charles II's restoration of the English, Scottish and Irish monarchy in 1660 as a starting point.

The follow-up has yet to be formally commissioned as C4"

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Unimportant things

Memed by Lianne.

1) Put the link of the person who tagged you on your blog
2) Write the rules.
3) Mention 6 things or habits of no real importance about you. Please see below.
4) Tag 6 persons adding their links directly.
5) Alert the persons that you tagged them.

I’m tempted to say that everything about me is important, but these things are relative, so here goes -

1. When I was 17, I spent a night in the police cells. I was fitted up - it wasn’t me Guv. Honest.

2. My Grandad (pictured above) was an extra in the 1944 drama documentary Western Approaches, directed by Jack Cardiff.

3. My favourite song (right now) is I’ve Been Loving You Too Long by Otis Redding, especially the fade out at the end (Cryin with my heart and soul that I love ya, I love ya, I love YA, GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY, I LOVE YA.)

4. I think I’m quiet good at impressions. Especially Michael Caine. I may, however, be deluded in this belief.

5. Someone once said I look like Kiefer Sutherland. Admittedly, she was a) drunk and b) not wearing her glasses, so it's possible she may have been deluded in that belief.

6. My job title is Space Range Merchandising Team Leader. I don’t know what it means either.
In return, I meme The Dali Llama, Salvador Dali, Ozzy Osbourne, Ossie Ardilles, The Wizard of Oz and Osama Bin Laden*,

*and Binners, don’t forget to leave a forwarding address. Not seen you since ‘01. Where you been hiding, you mad bastard? Hope u been keeping out of trouble.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Raiders of The Lost Ark - Story Conference

Hello. I always knew some day you'd come walking back through my door. The Mystery Man has an epic transcript of a Raiders Story Conference between Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan available for download here.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Red Riding

I was expecting big things of Red Riding after a week of laudatory reviews, and Part one was certainly a strange and grim fever dream of a film. It was technically brilliant in every department, not least the art design and cinematography, which gave it a wonderfully beige quality that eerily evoked old photos of the ‘70‘s. Unfortunately, it was shot with a strange detachment that made it hard to really engage with any of the characters. For all the fantastic actors featured, none of them seemed to have much to do.

The story was basically Chinatown set in West Yorkshire, with the ending of Taxi Driver tagged on, and this was the biggest problem - I just didn’t believe it. Bent coppers and dodgy property developers are a staple of 70’s drama, but these were just so damn evil it stretched credibility. Sean Bean was great as the smug, corrupt, racist, and (it’s very strongly implied) child murdering Property Developer. He‘s certainly a contender for villain of the year: He gets the police to torture and murder journalists, and to gleefully cover up his killing of women and children. Police violence and corruption was undeniably terrible and endemic in the seventies, but this sort of conspiracy is more at home in James Ellroy’s 1940’s LA than Yorkshire in the year of our Lord 1974.

The central case was very obviously inspired in part by the murder of Lesley Molseed and the false conviction Stephan Kisko, whose substitute is here presented as so obviously incapable of murder that only a conspiracy could explain everyone else believing his guilt. The truth was probably more prosaic - the police were under pressure to close the case, and willing to convince themselves and everyone else that the nearest available weirdo did it. It was about conviction rates, not conspiracy.

It’s the sort of institutional dysfunction that The Wire deals with brilliantly, and it‘s a tale that’s worth telling. Unfortunately, this story is told from the journalist’s point of view, so the investigation is seen here only from the outside.

David Fincher’s superb Zodiac is similar in many respects - telling the story of a famous crime from the 1970’s mainly from the point of view of a journalist, but Fincher sticks obsessively to the facts. In real life, Lesley Molseed wasn’t killed by an evil capitalist protected up by a corrupt establishment. She was murdered by a taxi driver, Ronald Castree, who was convicted based on DNA evidence in 2007.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Local short story competitions*

Two short story competitions you might want to know about:

The inaugaral Bournemouth Short Story Competition (yup, another BSSC) is open for entries. Stories under 3000 words. Closing Date 31st March. £5 entry fee, top prize of £100.

The more established Bridport Prize advertises itself as the richest open writing competition in the English language, with a top prize of £5000! Yes FIVE GRAND! Stories under 5000 words. Entry fee £7, closing date 30th June.

I've just been honing an old short story that was 3,462 words down to fit the BSSC2 criteria. It's new length - 2,999 words. :)

*not just for local people

Thursday, 26 February 2009


Get it Noticed - Get a Meeting - Get it Made

FREE script report

FREE market workshop

FREE script meeting at SWF 2009

SCRIPTMARKET 2009 will open at 9.00am on Friday 27th February and will run until 5.00pm Thursday 30th April..

Even if you have written or optioned a great spec script, getting it noticed, getting feedback and getting meetings to progress it can be an uphill battle.

Script reports can be expensive and while you may resent some of the advice they give, feedback and script meetings are essential to the development of spec scripts in their journey to the screen.

Famous and successful Spec Scripts (a script speculatively written without a commission) include Joe Eszterhas' Basic Instinct, Shane Black's Lethal Weapon, M.Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense, Gregory Widen's Highlander, Stev Pavlou's The 51st State, Zach Helm's Stranger than Fiction and recently Nick Schnek’s Oscar nominated Gran Torino, which was more or less ignored by Hollywood until Clint E. got his mitts on it.

Great films like these can and do come from unknown or emerging writers and producers, but how do you get anyone to pay attention? Scriptmarket can help kick start the process. One meeting won't get your script into production but it can start the journey of getting your writing on screen. For some people the script report is their first exposure to industry feedback and criticism.

Monday, 16 February 2009

BSSC 2009

I completely missed this announcement, from the British Short Screenplay Competition. Seems earlier this year :

"Friday, January 30th, 2009

We are delighted to announce the launch of the British Short Screenplay Competition 2009!
The early postmark deadline will be March 20th 2009, and the final deadline May 8th.

For more information and an entry form see the BSSC rules page.

Good luck!"

Click here for more details, and Let The Contest Begin.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Listen to Christian Bale go American Psycho!

This is scary - listen to the mother of all diva strops, as the Batman star goes f##king ballistic with the DP on the set of Terminator for 'walking' while he is trying to act.

Click here for the full story, and click on the links to hear the rant in full!

Monday, 26 January 2009


some young people yesterday.

I didn’t expect to like Skins. What I saw of the first series left me cold, so I skipped Series 2. That got better notices, but a quick skim through the on-line reviews suggests that this series hasn’t gone down as well - they all say it’s trashy, superficial and exploitative - as if that’s a bad thing!

I thought it was reminiscent of two great British film genres. Well, alright, one great one not so great. The former is my favourite unrecognised genre - The British Youth Movie. Films like Trainspotting. Quadropenia, Hard Day’s Night, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Tom Jones - Cool, irreverent, amoral, bawdy, a bit Rock and roll.

(It’s a peculiarly British genre, I think. The nearest Hollywood equivalent is the gangster movie - which is a telling difference. America’s cinematic rebels want to escape poverty by using violence to get rich. Ours want to escape the class system by having sex and getting wasted.)
Of course, Skins has no such sociological or political content. It’s not great art. The characterisation is as broad as the humour. In this way it resembles the Not-So-Great Genre - The British Sex Comedy. Films like the Confession series (The Carry On films were the PG version,) which Matthew Sweet points out in the best book ever written about British Film, Shepperton Babylon, had the distinction of being neither sexy or funny.
But Skin is genuinely funny and sexy. And that counts for a lot - too much TV is dull and/or worthy. Skins is fun. It may be a slightly guilty pleasure. But it’s a pleasure nevertheless.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

TH. 2058

Hello! You’re looking well. Is that a new hat? Proper update blog coming soon, but meanwhile I’ve got a short story up here. Ta to Lianne for the link.

The story's called ‘The Critic,’ and it begins -

I’m downloading these last thoughts direct from the gallows in The VirginJustice Trafalgar Square, so I will endeavour to be brief.

To read more, click here and the magic of the internet will transport to London, 2058. See you there.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Being Human.

Okay, still planning on that proper update blog. But meanwhile, Being Human! Missed the pilot of the supernatual flat share drama (Well, it's a bit of an overdone genre, isn't it?), but absolutely everyone who saw it raved about it.

Well thanks mainly to the online response, it's back (with a new cast) for a full series later this month. Auntie are trailing it here.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Welcome to the Dollhouse

"In Dollhouse, Eliza Dushku plays a young woman named Echo, a member of a group of people known as "Actives" or "Dolls." The Dolls have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas, including memory, muscle memory, skills, and language, for different assignments. They're then hired out for particular jobs, crimes, fantasies, and occasional good deeds."

from the shows wikipedia entry

Massive, massive Buffy fan, but for some reason the trailer doesn't blow me away. But Whedon can do little wrong in my eyes, so can't wait.

Dollhouse airs in The States in Feburary. No UK broadcaster has picked up the series at the moment, but it's from Fox and Sky are promoting on thier website, so do the math.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Lesbian Vampire Killers

I really should get round to blogging more. In the meantime, here's a link to the first trailer for Lesbian Vampire Killers - either this years Shaun of The Dead, or this years Alien Autopsy.

Time will tell.