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Friday, July 31, 2009

The Best (Most Delicious?) Spam Email EVER!

I get awesome Spam - and despite this one previously being my best for the last year or so, I think this one's gonna take some beating. Enjoy!
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Hello there,

Can I just say, before we begin - that outfit is very fetching, you look lovely today. Simply lovely.

I know your inbox is clogged with all sorts of unsolicited mail promising you larger this or smaller that or drugs or cheap watches - all of which are just thinly veiled attempts to separate you from your money.

Well this is email is different, this email is a revolutionary new concept - POLITE JUNK MAIL!

It's similar to the normal kind except there are NO BAD CONSEQUENCES FOR ANYONE and no one gets hurt, ripped off or sold things they don't want. It's time to make the nasty business of unwanted emails work for the people for a change. And by 'the people', I of course mean - me.

Let me be very clear about this - this is a chain letter and I am trying to separate you from your money - but only a tiny, tiny fraction of it. You see, I want you to BUY ME AN ASTON MARTIN.

"Ridiculous!" I hear you cry. "How can I, Johnny or Janey Normal, possibly afford to buy you, random Internet stranger, a £110,000 luxury car?"

Well, obviously, you can't. And neither can I, which is how all this came about. You see, I would like nothing more in the world than to own an Aston Martin - yes, I know I should be wishing for world peace or an end to poverty or some such; but I'd really much rather have an Aston Martin. We haven't got much use for world peace round our way and in a sense I am trying to put an end to poverty on a very specific and personal basis.

Rest assured though, there will be no attempt to glean any personal information from you, nowhere will you be asked to fill in any forms and we will have no personal contact. If you fail to follow the instructions in this email NOTHING BAD WILL HAPPEN TO YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONES. Conversely, if you do follow the instructions, nothing good will happen to you or your loved ones either. I, on the other hand, will be one teeny-tiny step closer to owning a brand new Aston Martin; and my loved ones will be able to share in my joy as they watch me drive up and down - I won't be letting them inside because they're a bit on the grubby side and might ruin the leather.

So what am I actually asking for?

Not much, as it happens.

If you would be so kind, please visit www.buymeanastonmartin.com - if you don't want to click on this link (and that's very sensible and prudent of you) then feel free to type it into the search engine of your choice. You should instantly be delivered to a lovely site which gives you more details, including pictures of the car I want, the total raised so far and a list of FAQ's.

If you then feel so inclined, you can help me in any one of three ways:

1) Donate a tiny sum of money. About 50p sounds lovely to me. You probably won't miss it and I'll be 50p closer to owning an Aston Martin. You can donate more, you can donate less - it's totally up to you.
2) Forward this email on to everyone in your address book - spread the word, spread the Aston Martin love ... just don't spread the wealth any further than me.
3) Both of the above.

And that's it. Simple, isn't it?

Once again, let me assure you - this isn't a scam or a joke, there's no gypsy's curse attached to this missive and not a single penny of this money is going to charity. It is exactly what it purports to be, a lone individual (a crazy dreamer some might say) trying to use the modern phenomenon of junk mail to bring a little joy to the world.

My world, true, but it still counts.

Please take care of you and yours, it would be absolutely lovely to hear from you soon, lovelier if you could pass this on and loveliest if you could spare a little loose change.

Yours, in eternal optimism

An Aston Martin fan

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sequel To Cannes, Poole, Dorset, Thurs Jul 30th - BE THERE!

Sequel to Cannes, THE networking party/event in the SW, is running again this Thurday - I'll be there, so will Sir Daniel: will you? You definitely should, if the programme of events is anything to go by - this year even includes a NEW SCRIPTWRITING CONTEST! You'd be MAD to miss it. See you there!!!
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Sequel to Cannes is designed with self promotion in mind, by anyone involved in the film or television industry. Anyone needed to make film happen from Actors, Camera operators, sound, lighting, all crew, costumiers, make-up artists, editors, producers and production companies, screenwriters, composers, sound designers, runners, stuntpersons, interpreters, illustrators/designers, drivers, location security providers, location caterers, local hoteliers sympathetic to the needs of the film industry, film studio facilities, editing facilities, craftspeople wanting to see their products on the big or small screen and happy to loan out in return for film credits, the list is endless. This is about YOU promoting your talents and skills as well as finding out how you can get funding for your projects or films.

Programme of events:

6.30 pm Registration

7 pm Welcome and opening address followed by: Rosie Jones launches the Sequel to Cannes Scriptwriting Prize (Cash prize sponsored by Creative Dorset) and an endorsement by this year's patron, Screenwriter, author and doyen of British Television, Jeremy Paul (Writer of the cult programme 'The Flipside of Dominick Hyde)

7.30 pm Live Demonstration of the new and exciting 'Location Poole', a location website and film talent database.

8 pm - 9.00 pm A high energy Speed Networking session, giving 'YOU' the opportunity to meet with Producers, production companies, actors, writers, film support agencies and artists, funding organisations.

9.15 pm - 9.40 pm Live demonstration of the RNLI Sea Survival Tank (information pack available) this unit is available for hire by film production companies.

9.40 pm Networking at a more leisurely pace in the auditorium or on the terrace watching the sun set.

11.00 pm Close

Throughout the networking sessions, a DVD of local filmmakers work or individual showreels will be running on the small screen in the auditorium

TOP TIP: Bring plenty of Business Cards and enthusiasm.
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If you're going, leave a message in the comments or tweet me: let's network, dah-links! ; )

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Iron Man & Dr Who In Shock Showdown!

SPOILERS: Type Mild - except for THE DARK KNIGHT where I give the entire ending away, don't say I didn't blimmin' warn ya
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So I was watching Iron Man on DVD again the other night with the lad. As anyone knows, super heroes really aren't my thing (as this post & subsequent comments thread illustrates), but even I can't argue with Iron Man: there's some superb violence, a decent soupcon of humour, a fantastic soundtrack (AC/DC! Black Sabbath... Audioslave?! OK, I'll let that one go) , some great CGI and best of all, Robert Downey Jr looks TOTALLY FIT in it. In short, it does exactly what it's supposed to, kinda like Ronseal (okay, Pepper Potts is wet, but this is super hero land, we have to LET IT GO: even when super heroes ARE women, they're still wet (Electra anyone???). Just take a DEEP BREATH grrrrlz, *there's no place like home*).

There's something truly American about super heroes. I'm aware of the various arguments re: "Americanising" the world via super heroes, but I don't mean that. I also don't mean it as a criticism either; the seemingly ceaseless can-do attitude (and lack of whining!) of our cousins has always been something I've admired a great deal. Put it this way: I just can't imagine a British man waking up with an electromagnet in his chest and not only accepting it, but becoming a superhero that FLIES. An American fella though? WHY NOT.

It was with this in mind then, I asked Hub and Boy what the British equivalent of the super hero is. Their answer?

Dr. Who*.

Seriously? To me, Dr. Who is NOT a super hero. A troubleshooter, yes; an academic, an observer, an intellectual, a problem-solver - defo. He's clever, kind AND at times, cruel. Oh - and the real deal-breaker for me: he's also an alien. For me, the super hero *has* to be human. Yes, we've had Superman - but at least he was RAISED human - and Hancock (shudder) . Yes, most of them are genetically modified in some way, usually via radiation - The Hulk, Spiderman, etc - but they're still LIKE US. They still have NORMAL LIVES. Okay, Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are MILLIONAIRES and have riches beyond our wildest dreams, but they still have the types of trauma we can relate to: they're orphans; they can't get close to people; all their women leave them, etc.

But Dr. Who doesn't have a *normal life*: he doesn't even live in a house, he lives in the Tardis. He travels space and time. He doesn't have to have a *day job* and pretend he isn't larger than life, he IS larger than life: everyone knows him, he is THE DOCTOR. He can whisk women off their feet and make them fall in love with him *like that*, he doesn't have to try - and they will travel squillions of light years with him, no questions asked. Nice! And what's more, he ISN'T there every single time the world *nearly* ends - he gets days or even weeks off at a time, thanks to the likes of Torchwood being on standby.

But last, by no means least: he's a Geek. Please note I do NOT mean "geek" in the derogatory way, "being foolish, clumsy and socially inept" but rather as this pic sums it up:

If knowledge is power - and I believe it is - then Geeks have POWER. There's no doubt that NOT being a Geek in this day and age has its definite disadvantages. As a computer-hackery friend of mine puts it: "The Geeks shall inherit the earth." I don't doubt her. Anything she wants - and I mean anything - she can find it seconds. She can fix anything. Even going shopping with her is a revelation, for she has discounts on EVERYTHING YOU COULD POSSIBLY IMAGINE. Her house looks like something out of 2525. When I ask her where she got/heard about/ saw *whatever*, the answer is always the same:

"Online."

How does she do it?? I spend HOURS online - but there's more to it than simply surfing the 'net, using Final Draft and Word. DAMMIT. She has true GEEK POWER.

And I see her Geek spirit in Dr. Who: he can do whatever he wants, how he wants, when he wants and to Hell with everyone else. But that doesn't necessarily make him a super hero, else my friend would be, especially if she was an alien too (and I haven't completely ruled this out). More importantly perhaps in my argument, it's not Tony Stark's own abilities with technology that make him a super hero either.

If you want to be a super hero, it's all about strength and certainty.

Dr. Who never relies on his physical body to save the world. He doesn't fight and he doesn't create ways of making himself stronger. Instead, it's all cerebral with him: he can save the world via his OWN MIND, with a helping hand from others and of course, technology. He can avert crises with his BRAIN - like maybe any one of us could, hence Dr. Who's popularity.

In terms of certainty, super heroes always do the right thing - and unlike the likes of Dr. Who, rarely doubt it, even when *stuff* goes wrong. Tony Stark's proclamation: "My maths is always right!!" as everything explodes around him at one point in Iron Man pretty much sums it up for me. In fact, even when they DO doubt stuff and profess feeling conflicted, they STILL do the right thing, like Batman rescuing Harvey and not Rachel in The Dark Knight. If Batman were Dr. Who, he would have had some sort of extended rage/breakdown over Rachel's death and Harvey's subsequent rampage/demise; he might even have tried rescuing them BOTH, screwed it up, then berated himself and gone off to the moon or Delta Quadrant or whatever for one of his companions to drag back. But not Batman: even conflicted over the death of his childhood sweetheart, he saves the world still further by going on the run and leaving Gary Oldman to do the living eulogy, setting it all up for Part 3 (or 7, depending on how you look at it).

Is there no such thing as the BRITISH super hero? [I have a vague notion Batman is *technically* British, since isn't DC Comics in Scotland? Yet even though Gotham is not a real place, the movies seem to place him squarely in America geography-wise, especially the latter ones.]

Or *is* Dr. Who a super hero, just a different kind?

And of course, most importantly: who'd win in a fight, Dr. Who or Iron Man?

Over to you...
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*Yes, I'm aware his name is not technically Dr. Who - it's the programme's, HE is *The Doctor* - but to me, he will always be Dr. Who, that's what my kids call him and what I think when I see his face in my mind. While we're on the subject, I'm also aware that new guy is now Dr. Who and not the old one. Kthxbye ; )

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Alfred Bradley Bursary Event - Alexandra Denye, Guest Post

Many of you out in www.land enter The Alfred Bradley Bursary every year (I've even read a few of your radio plays for it) - so I was delighted to hear Bang2writer Alexandra Denye had been shortlisted. I've read for Alexandra lots of times as a TV and film writer and it seems she's added a new string to her bow as a radio writer too! Here's how it went for her at the prize evening recently. Enjoy!
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"It was a long time to wait from hearing that I’d been short listed (end of April 2009) for the Alfred Bradley Bursary Award to the Award Event itself. But Wednesday 8th July finally came around and I was VERY excited.

I arrived at BBC Manchester in a rather fetching green chiffon dress (yes I was reminded of Maggie Smith’s comment in Gosford Park, ‘difficult colour, green’) at 5pm ready for the start of the award event at 5.30pm.

Around 5.20pm we are escorted into Studio 7, a large recording studio with tiered seating and were handed brochures with details of all the short-listed writers. The writers got to sit in the ‘reserved’ seats on the front row. I noticed that we were all on the same row so that didn’t give me any clues as to whether I would be receive a prize or not.

As we got settled we were treated to extracts from radio plays and a PowerPoint presentation flashed up comments on each of the short listed plays. I heard an extract from a play called Fifteen about a teenage girl giving birth in a park and instantly thought, damn, mine’s not going to be the winner, as my radio play Faith is about a pregnant teenager abandoning her baby in the park.

Sue Roberts, Executive Producer Drama North welcomed us all to the event and said how excited she was to be hosting the Award once again and how the standard of writing this year had been extremely high.

Jeremy Howe, Commissioning Editor of Radio 4, mentioned that 20% of commissions for the Afternoon play were given to 1st and 2nd time writers and that out of the 2007 Alfred Bradley short listed writers, on top of the winners and runners-up, another 4 writers had received commissions.

We were then treated to a video about the BBC’s move to Salford and how exciting it’ll be to have so many departments moving up there (BBC Children's (including CBBC and CBeebies television and radio); BBC Children's Learning; parts of BBC Future Media & Technology (including BBC Research & Development); BBC Radio Five Live (including Five Live Sports Extra);BBC Sport.

After the video Sue North announced it was time to put the writers out of their misery. My name was the second to be called and I received a Commendation for my radio play Faith.

Here’s the short pitch:
“If you found an abandoned baby you’d hand it in, right? Gloria, a former mid-wife desperate for redemption, decides to keep baby Faith. She doesn’t bank on the teenage Mum tracking her down and confronting her.”

I shook hands with Sue and Jeremy and checked out my nice certificate when I sat back down again. It now has pride of place on my noticeboard as it awaits it’s framing.

Other writers who got out of their seats were:

Driftwood Something Something by Paul Buie – Commended
Maine Road by Sarah McDonald Hughes – Highly Commended
God and That by Tom Wells – Runner up, £1,000
White Horses by Ben Ayrton – Runner up, £1,000
Playing the Game by Chris Wilson – Winner, £3,000

We were treated to extracts (of around 5 minutes each) from the runners-up and the winner, performed by actors with scripts in hand. All the extracts zinged along and were in turn funny and poignant.

As per the rules, if any of the writers who won a bursary secure an afternoon play commission, the monies received will be deducted from the commissioning fee.

The descriptions of the runners-up and winning play from the brochure are as follows:

God and That by Tom Wells
Three teenage boys are accidentally locked in a cupboard at the catholic school they all attend. As the time passes and they plot their escape sex, violence and drugs all feature.

White Horse by Ben Ayrton
An eleven year old boy, traumatised by the death of a childhood friend struggles to come to terms with his mother’s affair with his uncle. His uncle’s death and father’s alcoholism eventually push him over the edge.

Playing the Game by Chris Wilson
A monologue for a teenaged boy, who has to negotiate his Dad’s growing relationship with his aunt after his mother’s death, his ambitions to be a footballer, school bullies and his acne.

Jeremy Howe then explained that Playing the Game hasn’t received a commission for the Afternoon Play because it had too much wanking in it, and in his own words, ‘Radio 4 doesn’t do wanking’. He hopes the play will secure a slot in the next season of The Wire on Radio 3.

After the last extract was performed Sue Roberts invited us upstairs for a drink. We were treated to red and white wine, beer, orange juice and water (fizzy and still) and crisps and peanuts but I was far too excited to eat anything.

Upstairs I spoke to Mrs Bradley, the widow of Alan Bradley, who comes to all of the award events and several radio producers and Jeremy Howe and Sue Roberts. I was encouraged by Sue Roberts who really liked my play and is keen to get it on the radio. Hurray!

I will now receive a six month mentorship with radio producer, Nadia Moralini, who recently directed the play The King of Sootland which aired on radio 4 on Monday 20th (you’ve got 3 days left to listen on the BBC iplayer). Nadia is in Italy for the Summer so my mentorship will start in September. I’m very much hoping it’ll lead to my first radio commission.

It is interesting to see that two writers who were successful in the 2007 Alfred Bradley Bursary Award have secured commissions. There may well be more, these were the ones I could find upon researching the net.

Deborah Wain who wrote Fifteen received a £500 bursary from the Alfred Bradley Bursary Award in 2007, her afternoon play was broadcast on 6th May this year (sadly I didn’t catch it) but Charlotte Riches from BBC Drama North has kindly put a copy in the post for me that I’m eagerly awaiting.

Mark Shand who won in 2007 with his play Abigail Adams which was broadcast on August 23rd 2007, recently had another afternoon play on the radio Bang Went the Sun 9th June 2009 which was a play about synaesthesia - the mixing of senses - and how a father and daughter rediscover each other.

Here’s a link to the BBC blog about ABBA winners.

If you’re keen to write for radio I’d recommend listening to as many afternoon plays as you can, I did this for a few months before embarking on Faith.

Also, the BBC Writersroom has a selection of radio plays available to download in pdf. I have read all of the plays on there and they are excellent examples of how to write short, medium and long plays. The Sound Barrier by Sarah Daniels is superb and I used it as a template to write Faith.

I’ll keep Lucy posted on my progress once the mentoring starts.

Cheers
Alexandra

PS. Start working NOW on your radio script for the next Alfred Bradley Award – it is aimed at writers who haven’t had a radio writing credit, not writers who haven’t had a writing credit at all, so you can still enter if you’ve had plays, TV scripts or film scripts produced. You do have to have been born in the North or lived there for at least five years."
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Thanks Alexandra! Really illuminating stuff there. Particularly interested in the fact you can enter if you were born in The North - I didn't know that (I live in the SW, but was born in Scarborough!). Might give it a try...

Anyone else reading had any luck with The Alfred Bradley Bursary or any other radio scheme/project? Let us know!

GUEST POST CALL: Have you won or placed in a prestigious competition like Alexandra? Maybe you've attended an interesting event like my Scriptmarket peeps or been to course like Nicholas (LOST Workshop, July 09) or conference like Helen (The Story Engine, pts 1, 2 & 3)? Or perhaps you have strong views about writing like Adrian ("Why Choose Miss Newbie?") or Dublin Dave ("Writers Write: A Response to Adrian's Post") and want to share them? I would like to hear from you! Just email me on the usual address Bang2write"at"aol.com.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

HOW TO BE A SCRIPT READER, Sept 09

Doing anything on Saturday, Sept 19th, 09? You're not? Then why not come to sunny Bournemouth and spend the afternoon with me and other like-minded peeps, learning about script reading and giving feedback!

"How to be a script reader" is one of the most searched-for terms on my site meter, plus I've had so many enquiries I thought now was the time to do an "Adrian Mead" and offer a one day course. This course is NOT just for those who want to be actual script readers, but those who want to be able to understand official readers' reports and give better feedback to their peers.

The course is officially recommended by The Scribefather himself (thanks Adrian) and will be run in association with Moviescope magazine. Amongst other things, the course will include what screen agencies might look for; how to give feedback to friends without falling out; what agents might ask their assistant to look for; how to write a reader's report synopsis and dealing with bad feedback. In addition to the day itself, course participants with be reading an UNPRODUCED spec and writing two lots of feedback - one informal, one "official" - which I will then read and give feedback on.

The price is just £65 - but to current subscribers of Moviescope or those coming through my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Talent Circle et al, you of course get 10% off, making it an even cheaper £58.50. The price also includes all refreshments and a light lunch. Please bring your business cards too, let's network!

Check out all the details of the course - there's information about travel and accommodation too. For those wanting to pay via Paypal to secure your place, there's now an official button on the right hand side for your convenience. If you'd rather not use Paypal, that's fine: please email me and we can make the necessary arrangements.

Hope to see you in September!

UPDATE: Already had a few bookings, but don't worry: there's no upper limit on class participants. If you want to save your pennies up for this, you got plenty of time yet...

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Frustrated Novelist

So one day a little girl saw a bookcase and decided to be a writer. Said bookcase was full of novels with titles like SHADOWFIRES, MIDNIGHT, CABAL, WEAVEWORLD, IMAJICA, CARRIE and FIRESTARTER. Later the little girl would discover her mother had got them via one of those book clubs where you get them by post whether you like it or not and can't return them. Mother didn't even like horror *that much*, yet entirely by accident would influence her daughter's genre choice.

But for the little girl, the paperbacks in that big bookcase in the spooky corridor near the bathroom on the second floor were the coolest things in the world; she even had to use the bookcase as a ladder to take the biggest ones at the top. She tried reading some of them but didn't understand them. Besides, a lot of the covers were well scary with pictures of wide-eyed, manic woman and children; foil titles that shone in the light and men on fire. Instead, she would look at the titles in the bookcase and when her teachers asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, the little girl would say, "I'm going to be a novelist."

As a teenager the girl was precocious AND obnoxious with an extended vocabulary which would make Lisa Simpson blush. By now she had discovered the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Clive Barker and could rationally and instinctively explain her feelings towards their stories, which was good in one sense but not in another. In fact, she did this at great length, sometimes over the dinner table and these stories of evisceration, rape, cannibalism, arson, bloodbaths, torture and regression, prompted her siblings' disgust and her parents' request she SHUT THE HELL UP WHILE EVERYONE WAS EATING. In the meantime, the girl had a variety of jobs out of school, where she would smoke illicit cigarettes and read those novels over and over again (particularly Cabal, Weaveworld and Imajica) whilst making donuts and toasties and candy floss and all those shitty things you get stuck making for pin money when you're a kid.

By the age of eighteen a variety of things had gone wrong in the girl's life and though she had written several "novels", (most of which had been consigned to under the mattress where her siblings couldn't find them), most of them were shit. There was also an added problem, in that she was well... pregnant. She became convinced for some reason *mothers didn't write* and suddenly there was an odd turnaround: it was suddenly her OWN MOTHER who came round with various novels and suggestions, insisting that they should watch the latest Stephen King-inspired video (for there were no DVDs yet). Mum would buy notebooks for the girl, even brought various books back from the charity shop, one of which was the The Technique of Screenplay Writing by Eugene Vale. It was a well-old book, the tag on it reading 30p and the girl didn't touch it for about two months. And then she did but she couldn't concentrate because her baby was always crying because he had colic and could probably sense instinctively she didn't know what she was doing and his own father was evil incarnate.

Moving on, a little while later, the girl had begun to realise her boyfriend wasn't really a boyfriend at all if he only came round when he felt like it, shouted at her most times and never gave her any money for the upkeep of the child. She had a computer, but it was barely a computer at all, really: not in comparison to the things we have today. Her grandfather had given it to her when he had decided to go for an upgrade. It was a HUGE old thing, it didn't even have the internet on it because the girl didn't really know what it was and had never sent an email in her entire life, but something about typing, seeing the black words appear on the white page lit a fire under her somehow.

She decided to go to university.

She couldn't find a course about novelists and she didn't fancy English Literature. She'd tried a correspondence course for English Literature and had spent three months talking about Hebrew poetry in the Bible when really she had wanted to at least write about Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and all their mates, in the absence of horror which everyone knows is unlikely on a english course. Boyfriend didn't like the idea of her going to university and told her he was going with her. When she told him she'd rather stick pins in her eyes, they finally split and he started going out with some girl who thought the sun shone out of his arse somehow and still does, because the poor cow is still with him... But that's another story and there's no accounting for taste: there's someone for everyone. Apparently.

Fastforwarding from university, the girl learnt lots about scriptwriting but more surprisingly about script reading too, a job she didn't know existed. She had imagined you just write a script and somehow, as if by magic, it makes it to the screen. Though she ended up on the course by accident, only on the basis there was no similar course at the time on novel writing, she discovered a love of movies she did not know she had. She became obsessed with movie adaptation and how the two media differed and decided movie structure, like a true Geek (and Greek?!), was well-cool.

And the rest you know.

She still hasn't written a published novel though.

I wonder when she will?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Writing For Radio: Don't Miss It

Okay, Okay I'm late to the party - but a lot of my Bang2writers ask about writing for radio and this is one area I just don't have a clue about, since I have never attempted it! Luckily for me however, the mighty Michelle Lipton has written a mammoth, ten step post on how to get a radio series commissioned, because she's ONLY GONE AND DONE IT. Nice one Michelle! And thanks for sharing your insight with us, for I'm going to steal your delicious brains and write the rival series, I will be Cain to your Abel! Corrie to your Eastenders! Cheese to your chocolate! Oh yes. Actually I doubt I'll have the time, what with raising two satanic children amidst a bombsite as the whole of my upstairs is obliterated (don't ask, it seemed like a good idea at the time) , plus the whole script reading/scriptwriting thing, so instead I archived it in The List of Wonder, my e-library of interesting writing posts by various authors you can access on the right hand side bar. In fact, while we're on the subject, you radio types will be interested to hear there's a whole section devoted to radio in The List, so get yourself over there now.

Don't say I never do anything for you...

UPDATE: If you're wondering whether you SHOULD or SHOULDN'T work for free, another Michelle, this time the delightful SoFluid, has collated all the tweets she received on Twitter the other day about this very subject and written a rather interesting blog post about it. This can be found out the "Miscellaneous" section of THE LIST OF WONDER. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Approach To Spec Writing

We all have our different approaches to spec writing: some believe "slow and steady wins the race" and write and rewrite over a large period of time; others "binge" on writing and editing, writing non-stop for a short period of time and then cogitating in-between bursts of activity. I wrote the following for a laugh on my Twitter account yesterday and by popular demand, am reproducing it here. Enjoy!
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1) Tell everyone you're writing a new spec.

2) Don't do anything.

3) Write a pitch doc

4) Send it to friends, some producers, etc

5) Don't do anything

6) Wait 'til someone asks to see the script; say "No problem"

7) Panic

8) Tell said person you're currently on holiday, you'll send it when you get back in two weeks

9) Write new spec by pulling twenty hour days

10) Pull in script reading favours

11) Collate feedback, write and rewrite in second week

12) Send the following Monday

See anything you recognise there?! ; ) Follow me on Twitter

Monday, July 13, 2009

How to Write TV Series Bibles

Just a few short years ago, those who wrote TV series specs were unusual; since the explosion of contest like Red Planet Prize and various Writersroom initiatives like the (just passed) CBBC Children's Writers, there are TV scripts flying all over the place it seems. And a helluva lot of them, perhaps as much as 50%, are good I reckon. This is interesting to me, because I would still venture that only about a maximum of 20% of features in the slush pile are good in contrast. Perhaps it's page count that daunts writers; perhaps it's the necessity to "simply" movie plots (in comparison to TV series, which can be more convoluted?); perhaps it's because people watch more TV than films? But for whatever reason, I would be willing to wager on there being more good TV specs out there than features, if all of them doing the rounds were piled and counted and judged in the same place (yikes!).

Yet how do you "stand out" from the rest of 'em? Well, for me, that's a no-brainer: you write a rocking spec series bible*. I read a lot of these too now for people and I have to say - as good as many of those good TV specs flying about are, a whacking 95% of 'em are let down by their series bible. Why? Here are my thoughts:

They're boring. Well, first off, a lot of them are just really dull. To look at; to read - YAWN. A series bible is another chance to really SELL your script and your story and 9/10 writers forget this. They might spend a lot of time on them, they might skirt around them - the end result is the same.

Length. Most series bibles I see are TOO LONG - ten, fifteen, even twenty pages. They'll start off with a lengthy synopsis usually, maybe a page each for character profiles, a lengthy note on background of the story, why the writer has chosen this story to tell... STOP RIGHT THERE! Readers don't get paid extra for series bibles usually. That means, however good your series bible, there's a very good chance the Reader will simply skim over it. If you can't GRAB them, let them know IMMEDIATELY what a) this is about b) who the characters are and c) why this is a series (and not say, a feature), then you've just missed your chance, big style.

Just two issues - but they're big enough to make soooooo many series bibles fail. Simple as.

But how to give yourself a fighting chance of a decent series bible? Here's what I recommend to my clients, inspired by the marvellous Adrian Mead (I wrote my own series bible for a script called KINGS OF THE CASTLE and gained myself an agent, a trial on a TV show and a second read on the recent CBBC initiative, so I think it works). Here's what I reckon should be in your SPEC series bible:

ESSENTIAL

A one page pitch. As Adrian says, no one is afraid of one page - and even if an overworked reader is having a bad day, then there still should be a good chance of them reading at least THIS page. Make sure your logline is clear and interesting and work through Adrian's ideas for "selling" your series as I outline in this post. FYI, a one page pitch for a series bible should be for the series AS A WHOLE, not the scripted episode you have included with the bible.

Very short character bios. Most character profiles I read are about a page long and usually make little sense, either because they are a stream of consciousness or because the writer references moments "to come" in the series that seem completely disjointed because they haven't happened yet (a classic case of a story being clear in the writer's head, yet it not translating to the reader). I recommend between 2 and four lines for each MAJOR character, with just one line for MINORS. Don't worry too much about what these characters look like (unless it has a direct bearing on the story) and DON'T cast the characters in your head, I hear so much about it being "fine" or a "no-no" that I think it's far better to stay clear of that ol' hornet's nest. Screenwriting God Tony Jordan said in a seminar I once attended years back, he also includes a "secret no one else knows" to his character bio. I used this in a series bible about a year ago to great effect, it got me the meeting and the guys really enthused about it (it's stuck in development hell now, but you never know).

Very short synopses of other episodes. I like to give myself two lines for these - one for "story of the week" and one for the "serial element", though of course it does depend whether you're writing a TV series, serial or sitcom. Whatever the case, keep it as short as possible. I have seen longer synopses - recently I read a series bible with about 200 words per synopsis and this is really the longest I would recommend going and the writer in question got away with it because they managed to make the events REALLY INTERESTING with lots of great action words and questions asked of the reader. If you believe you can do that too, be my guest. A lot of writers write an in-depth reader's report-style synopsis for EACH episode in the series, but I think this is really, really dull and I just don't think they'll get read. Think about it: as a reader, you've got the chance of another cinnamon swirl and a coffee, or you read a load of synopses about a series that isn't made yet that is set out as blow-by-blow "he does this, she does that" account?? No contest really, is there??

UPDATE:

Format.Half a page, definitely no more than one page, detailing how the series works. That is, if it has a story of the week, how the story of the week works, who the returning characters are, how the series ends and how it moves on to series two, intended channel, intended slot, etc etc. This is important when you're submitting to production companies because the development process is long and involves lots of people. If they option your script and you've given them a page with the word Format at the top, in my experience, the "format document" becomes part of the contract. That way you will have ensured you retain the format rights - the "created by" credit. Which is of course extremely important when it comes to getting paid. (Many thanks to the delicious Michelle Lipton for this insight).

So... What do we have?

1 page pitch x 1

Character profiles for ALL character x 1

Short synopses of ALL other episodes x 1

Format x 1

So, four pages plus your episode: those four pages are your CORE material really, what you absolutely can't do without. I think there's no problem going up to five pages (as long as your pitch is ONLY one page) - but I wouldn't recommend eking anything out simply to fill the space. Here are some interesting ideas I've seen or talked about with other writers as "optional" for the series bible.

OPTIONAL

A letter/diary entry/interview with the protagonist and/or antagonist. Everyone knows getting under the skin of characters in pitch material is difficult. Writing something from their POV then is a great way of getting your reader on board - as long as this letter/diary entry/whatever TOTALLY ROCKS. If you skimp on it, it could have the opposite effect.

Photographs and/or concept art. If your series is set during a particular event or is historical or is set in the future, where is the harm in including some photos or pictures in your pitch material to show the arena (or "nail down" lesser known elements - for example, I had a client recently whose TV series took place in a historical location the average reader would not know, a photo then pays dividends)? I've seen both used to good effect. There is not a reason in the world you can't do this. The only caveat I would offer is don't go overboard with this device. We don't want photos and piccies all over the place and I wouldn't reccomend using piccies, even drawn ones, of characters because of that "casting" issue mentioned earlier in this post.

Setting/Tone or Arena. A few short paragraphs of the WORLD OF THE STORY is always a good idea, though not a necessity in my book - after all, the setting and tone should form part of your one page pitch. But if you want to expand on what you mention on that first page, there's no reason you can't - especially in science fiction or historical worlds. [Very often on the same page with "Location", below].

Location. Location may play a big part of your story and even be a character in its own right, like the Hub in Torchwood or if it's regional and outside London, like Hollyoaks. Remember not everyone will know what the hell you're talking about, especially if they've never been to the location your series is set, so a few short paras about these elements and how they play a part in the story may help here.

Maps. Spec precinct dramas can benefit from this: if the "place" is bigger than the characters (ie. characters come and go and are "replaced" at will, but the place remains the same and is perhaps one building, like Holby City) a small map of where the main action takes place can help readers hook into where the events are taking place and why. I wouldn't make the map too ornate or fancy. It can be risky as some readers are critical of visual aids but each time I have seen a map like this (about three times), I have thought they have added to the story in the series bible (I wouldn't recommend putting it in the script!).

Ethos. This is essentially WHY you want to tell this story and HOW audiences can benefit from it. I've read some very plausible, moving arguments *for* particular stories and other times they've left me indifferent or even turned my stomach. Getting this one right is really difficult, as essentially you're appealing to the reader to become as passionate about this series as you are. When it works however, you can't beat it. Again: just a couple of paragraphs maximum should do it.

Of course, as individuals you may come up with something else for your "optional" material - and why not? There are no "rules" on what you SHOULD include in a series bible, bar the rules - don't be boring or too long!

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LINKS

Danny Stack on Series Bibles

eHow Guide: How to Write a TV Series Bible (v short)

Lee's Awesome TV Series & Bibles Page

Series Bibles on Wikipedia

Any more? **
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* A spec series bible is very different from the commissioned series bible. They WILL be much longer documents often. But if you have to get past the reader, I think the shorter, the better is key.

** As you can see, there's very little online about spec series bibles, so if you know of any useful sites that talk about this or have example bibles/ pitch material (particularly one page pitches), email me or leave the link in the comments and I'll add it to this list for everyone.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different...

...As writers, we're all suckers for random acts of kindness and happy endings. My lad and I seem to have a bit of a habit of finding random animals including an actual snake not so long ago - and it seems my friends have the knack for discovering creatures in trouble too! So, without further ado: my mate Jared found a duckling. This is *their story*...! Enjoy.
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Last week I discovered a poor battered little duckling lying in a filthy insect-ridden puddle near work. He could barely move and a couple of hungry crows were moving in. When I stood him up he simply fell over again. His right eye was completely closed over and swollen. When I picked him up his little head just flopped to the side. He was definitely on the way out. Me being me, I stuck him in a little box and took him home, at least so he could die in a warm place rather than be eaten alive by crows.

He was in a bad way by the time I got him home. His right eye was swollen to the size of a pea and he was silent and hardly moving, just occasionally shivering. I washed him and cleaned the eye up as best I could, spent ages drying him out, then gave him a homeopathic treatment for worms, which worked to full effect about half an hour later (yuk!) then I settled down to watch a film holding him in both hands to keep him warm, occasionally making him have sips of water with more mischievous medicine in it. Finally put him to ‘bed’ at 3am and was reassured for the first time when he complained at being left alone – every time I put my hand back in the box he’d hop straight back into it and doze off – then I went to bed.

Got up in the morning, took the cover off the box and suddenly this snoozing little ball of fluff woke up and transformed into manic squeaking little ball of energy and jumped onto my hand, ran up my arm, and immediately settled down on my shoulder, pecking at my ears. His eye had gone right down completely but was still closed up. I ran a bath, plonked him in, and off he went like a wind up toy, guzzling water on the way. Two cats had front row seats for the fun filled swimming event; Fidi (my boy) was in the sink staring down in pure wonderment, and Kala (my girl) was on the toilet looking down with what looked like pure hungerment. I chopped up and sogged up some porridge oats and put them in the bath with him and he hoovered them up, then took him out, dried him, gave him some mashed up egg yolk, then took him for a bike ride down to the local vet. The vet checked him out, said he’s a strong little thing and he’ll try and sort the eye out, check him out properly, and if all goes well send him off the duck sanctuary to hang out with all the other orphans. I gave the vet a donation and cycled to work a happy person.

The vet phoned up later that day. He said he was filling out some standard forms and did I have a name for the duckling? I said, well he was a little star all night, so how about calling him little star? Vet said okay, took a few more details and that was that. Saturday morning I receive a text message from the wetlands waterfowl sanctuary saying, “Just to let you know that Little Star arrived at his new home today, happy and healthy, and is already making friends with the other ducklings.”
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Those cats look STARVING - just as well the duckling didn't end up at my house, my cats would've scoffed him as soon as look at him, lol! Have you ever found anything unusual on the way to work?

Friday, July 10, 2009

LOST Workshop Notes

Here are the notes for last week's LOST workshop at BAFTA, courtesy of my contest winner Nicholas Horwood. Enjoy!
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Day one: With no memory of what strange force brought me here I find myself at BAFTA HQ along with a hundred or so shell-shocked and strangely geeky looking people. Who we were and what brought us here is no longer relevant…we are born again.

We are of course here for the LOST workshop with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse hosted by Eastenders’ producer whose name I didn’t catch.

The workshop begins with a five minute “Best of LOST” clip. This is the first time I have seen LOST on the big screen. I get goose bumps. I mutter to myself “I’m gonna need a bigger telly.”

The clip over, Damon Lindelof to describe how he ended up working on a show like LOST. Lindelof explained how he left film school in New York with very little knowledge of the TV industry and moved to LA 2 weeks later.

He spent 4 years working in the industry including 2 years as an agent’s assistant and writing what he described as “shit”, before he was ready to write professionally. He got a job on a DAWSON CREEK sequel called WASTELAND working as a writer’s assistant. Within 3 weeks of getting the job all the show’s writers had been fired. Lindelof took this opportunity to submit a script of his own. The script was accepted and this lead to him getting an agent. Two months later he got a job on NASH BRIDGES, where he meets Carlton Cuse the show’s producer.

Lindelof described himself as a crazy stalker fan of J J Abrahams the creator of LOST. A huge ALIAS fan Lindelof was desperate to get a job on the show and nagged his agent constantly about getting him a job on ALIAS.

One day his agent phoned him up and announced that he had some good news and some bad news. The good news: he’s got a meeting with JJ Abrahams, the bad news: it’s not about ALIAS but “a crazy show about a plane crash”. JJ and Lindelof hit it off immediately and went on to create a treatment for the show. ABC liked the idea so much that they gave them 3 weeks to write the script for the pilot…which they would start filming in 3 weeks!

Cuse’s journey to LOST started at Harvard where he was originally studying medicine. He described how when he first witnessed an operation taking place he fainted. This he took as a sign that he was not meant to be a doctor. He decided to study law instead.

Cuse’s career plan took another change of direction when the Harvard Lampoon organized a screening of AIRPLANE. He realized immediately that Film and TV was where his future lay.

Cuse made a documentary about rowing and got a job as an assistant to a movie executive, eventually becoming a reader. He read and wrote coverage on over 300 scripts before he realized he had learnt enough to write himself.

One of his first gigs was working with Michael Mann on CRIME STORY, and over time worked on THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES ADVENTURES and MARTIAL LAW.

When Lindelof approached Cuse he was working on CHARLIE’S ANGELS and jumped at the chance to be involved, giving up a lot of more lucrative jobs.

For both men the most commonly asked question regarding LOST was “Are you making it up as you go along?” which was far from the case. Like any US TV show there are a lot of writers involved and planning of the “architecture” of the show was very detailed and thorough. Although both writers advocated writing when you didn’t know where the story was supposed to go. As Lindelof put it “IT can be paralyzing for a writer to have to plan too much and exhilarating for a writer to write and be surprised by what ends up on the page!”

Both Lindelof and Cuse were honest about some aspects of the show. The first 6 episodes of season 3 had the main characters in cages…because at that point they didn’t know when the show was going to end! As soon as the network told them how many episodes they were required to write they could let them out of the cages!

They were also quite frank about Jack’s fake beard, which Cuse described as not one of LOST’s better moments!

Leadoff’s closing remarks regarding writing in general were that all writers suffer from the same insecurities: fear of what people think of their work and fear that they are not communicating properly what they want to say. He also talked about how much becoming a professional writer was about timing, being in the right place at the right time and how you always had to try and sense when and where your own opportunities presented themselves. You have to believe in The Force is what he basically said. Although what part The Force played in crashing flight 815 on a strange island somewhere South of the Twilight Zone he didn’t say.

In wrapping up Lindelof and Cuse suggested what I think could be the next big TV event when season 6 of LOST tragically ends: An EASTENDERS/LOST crossover! The smoke monster moves to Albert Square! Cuse confidently announces the smoke monster would be up for it.

Me too.
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Thanks Nicholas! A great write up there.

Monday, July 06, 2009

BBC Writers Academy: I Didn't Make The Cut

Hi All,

Unfortunately I didn't make it to the next workshop stage of The Writer's Academy... Again. Third year in a row now.

C'est La Vie.

Thanks to everyone for their lovely messages of moral support. Obviously I'm massively disappointed, but there's always next year.

You gotta be in it to win it, etc.

I'll believe that tomorrow.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Adrian Mead, "The Screenwriter's Career Guide", July 04 09

So I went to Adrian Mead's class yesterday - as usual it was a pleasure to see Adrian, who was on great form despite the fact the venue hadn't delivered so much as a flip chart for him; plus the likes of the marvellous David Bishop, Michelle Goode, Laurence Timms and all the fabulous Athena Laydeez were there too - hi girls! For those of you who don't know, Athena is a mentoring scheme run by Initialize Films specifically for women screenwriters. Funded by Skillset, the aim is to get women on the feature "ladder" so to speak and secure deals and agents for these women... It's a fab idea I think. For you laydeez out there who are interested, bookmark Initialize and plan your application for this great scheme NOW.

For those of you who couldn't make it yesterday, here are my notes. Enjoy!

FIRST SESSION: Ian Davies, Initialize Films

- What opportunities are out there? We all know about schemes like Red Planet, etc - but you need to stand out from the deluge. Every other screenwriter in the UK is doing this too! That doesn't mean you shouldn't apply too, but sometimes it helps to "move sideways". DID YOU KNOW: there are some REGIONAL film funds in places like Germany with bigger budgets than the WHOLE OF THE UK FILM COUNCIL???? International producers are crying out for English language material - there is a LACK of scripts in Europe. Go to international film festivals to find these Producers. Screenwriting is in part an odds game: put the odds in YOUR FAVOUR by going to places not everyone else is going (as well as the usual avenues).

- Indirect marketing. Everyone is sending to the likes of Working Title, etc - and the "big" guys get squillions of scripts. What about those people on their way up?? Finding the DoP who wants to be a director or the script editor who wants to be a producer can pay dividends. Find these names on imdb, Brit Films, etc. Do your research, track their progress.

- Project identity. Know the identity of your project: don't be sending Rom Coms to Horror prodcos/producers/directors, etc. Sounds obvious, but it's a common mistake writers make. However good your project is, people make the type of film ideas they are interested in, they have to work a long time on these projects, how can they not?

Festivals. Festivals Ian recommended included Berlin, Galway, Toronto. Apparently producers are "in and out" of Edinburgh, whereas at these other ones, they'll stick around longer and will have less (even no!) meetings scheduled. Make contact with them, but don't appear like a nutter. Americans network really well - they go over to producers, swap cards *just like that* by saying something like: "Hi, I was hoping to talk, could I have your card? Here's mine - thanks so much, I'll be in touch" -- and whoosh, they're outta there. A good tactic for those who find networking difficult/embarrassing -- plus you seem really busy!

Initialize Films website
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SECOND SESSION: Adrian Mead on being positive

Am I going to make it? It's not about talent. Adrian can tell who ISN'T going to make it - those who aren't generous with their information; those who are too critical of others' work; those who moan too much. Those who don't do the basics which is making short films; entering contests; entering initiatives, mentorships; write specs every year; those who do their research on people and the industry. Again sounds obvious, but loads of us don't do these - and it's the VERY LEAST you should be doing!

You need a career strategy. You make your career happen, it doesn't happen TO you. If you believe the latter, writing is your hobby, not your career. How does "hope" play a part in your career strategy? Are you allowing it to take over, "hoping" for the best outcome in your writing? CRUSH IT. We are in charge. Are you actively pursuing your goal of becoming a professional writer - or are you sabotaging/avoiding it somehow? Work it out.

Time is finite. Don't procrastinate. Don't "spend" time - INVEST IT. What is the return on the things you do? You have to up your game, you have to think this consciously to get ahead. Again, seems obvious but lots of writers just meander from one spec to the next. Network!!! You're a "Writer on tour"; maximise your time properly, don't just prop up the bar. Get in quick! DON'T PITCH. Team up with someone if you're really uncomfortable. IF YOU DON'T ASK, YOU WON'T GET!

Agents. How to get one? It's about SELLING YOURSELF and having a PRODUCT THEY CAN SELL. Agents are not a "logical next step" once you've got a portfolio. Who are you? What have you done? No good sending out work and imagining some agent will pick you up and get you lots of work; they don't. How to pick the right agent - do your research. They want to know if you're "ready": can you handle yourself in meetings? Can you take notes well?
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THIRD SESSION: Philip Shelley on Script Editing

What does a script editor do? Philip worked on Waking The Dead (amongst others). When working on a long running series, part of the script editor's job is keeping the format fresh; finding writers, calling agents, reading scripts; being aware of previous storylines, updating the bible. (Philip worked with Adrian on his episode of Waking The Dead "Duty And Honour", repeated this Tuesday, July 7th on BBC1).

How does a writer get noticed? By writing a script that shows off your voice to the best of your ability. DON'T try and second guess the market; don't worry about budgets; be passionate. Believe in the story you're telling. Don't think about "ticking boxes". Accept that scriptwriting (and thus script reading) is highly subjective: some people will love your script, some will be indifferent, others will hate it. It's the way it goes. There are more writers than there are jobs.

What are commissioners looking for? There are no secrets - BBC, ITV and C4 all outline what types of show and stories they are looking for on their websites, so read this information! There are budget cuts, there isn't as much drama being made, but hopefully this will change again. Commissioners are always looking for "cops n' docs" - even when they say they aren't! Comissioners want something they RECOGNISE, but also something ORIGINAL.

Career damaging mistakes. Not being polite or on time for meetings - sounds basic but word soon gets around if you're difficult: takes ages to build up a good reputation, about five seconds for a bad one. Being too adaptable - hold on to the original vision of your script. Follow up on notes you agree in meetings; don't hope the script editor *somehow* won't notice yoy have ignored them!

Philip Shelley's website
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FOURTH SESSION: Adrian on motivation and focus

Knowing isn't doing. Set goals - ones you can personally influence. Be specific. Set a goal of something you can achieve this week; a mid term goal - something within three months [set a date]; set yourself a long term goal which is big, bold and clearly defined for the next year. To make things happen, you need to concentrate everything into it. Set deadlines for yourself, don't rely on fate or other people; check your own progress. Things might not work out, but moving forwards is never failing; only doing nothing is failure.

The best of times, the worst of times. Lots of people begging for work right now: now is the time to make a short film!!! Talented people are out there, waiting and wanting something to do: collaborate with them! Get favours, help EACH OTHER out: there will be people wanting to take a "step up" in their careers, so if you can't pay them, help them to do this.. The script editor who wants to be a producer could produce your short, etc. Take chances.

Dealing with fear. Ask yourself: "What is the worst that can REALISTICALLY happen?" and "What is the best thing that can REALISTICALLY happen?" Deal with facts, don't let your imagination run away with you. Also, ask yourself "How will things be if I DON'T do anything at all?" Weigh it all up logically. DON'T PANIC. Tell yourself, "I can handle this" - even if you think you can't at the time. Just don't go into meltdown. You CAN handle it.

Unique Selling Points. You are a one person business; it's all about selling yourself. Know what you are up against: Hollywood made roughly 300 films last year, less than TEN were from specs. The indies made 2800 movies; over half were written by the director or producer; 800 were released. How can you differentiate yourself? Build your USP, make yourself a product, build on your unique experiences... Examples: Adrian Mead plays on his unusual bouncer/hairdresser background; JK Rowling was a pverty-stricken single mother, etc. How wills your USP help you move forward in your goals? How won't they?

How to get a USP. Get insight into *something* - Adrian has no kids and is getting older, how does he enter the world of kids? He volunteers for Childline: he knows the secrets, worries and issues of children. Perhaps you could volunteer for another charity or organisation; some jobs have a wealth of experience that come with them - telephpne operators; teachers; etc. Medical, law, social - just build on that USP *somehow*.

What types of scripts should I write?

- You should enter all the *usual* schemes like Red Planet, Coming Up, Writersroom initiatives, etc AS STANDARD [but don't leave 'til last minute like everyone else, PLAN IN ADVANCE throughout the year!]
- A low budget script [short OR feature] for collaboration - DIY filmmaking
- A factual-based script with a unique perspective, the kind BBC4 or C4 would like: example - Longford
- Adaptations. 80% of movies and a lot of TV are adaptations. Most of us can't afford rights to books etc, but there's lots in the public domain that are FREE. Fairy tales, Greek Myths, Shakespeare, etc. Contemporise a classic and you're onto a winner.
- Children/Family scripts. Always in demand.
- The big, ambitious calling card feature spec - explosions, car wrecks, aliens, whatever. Show them what you can do!
- Diversify: look into theatre, online, games and radio. Don't stand still. Understand how other media works and how it is all changing.

Ownership. OWN your script through your USP: you are the *only* writer who can tell this story THE BEST. Know the answers to questions the Execs will ask if you get that all-important meeting: Why do we need this script NOW? What does this script say about the world? How can we make it say something about the world?
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A plethora of useful and inspiring info there. Thanks Adrian, Ian and Phillip! And while we're here, check out Danny's blog for notes on Script Reader/Writer William Akers' talk last week.

UPDATE: Check out Darren's report from the recent Showcomotion Conference for Children's Media - very interesting stuff there on the comissioning process and diversifying in particular.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Winner Of The LOST Contest

Well, over brekkie this morning, The Hub and Boy read and argued over the handful of entries we had for the LOST contest and picked Nick H's as *the* way to get off the island:

"Construct jet engine from Dharma brand diet cola and mentos. Attach to island, turn island into cruise ship and party all the way home."

Nice one Nick - we'll look forward to hearing your write up on the session next week!

Commiserations to those who didn't win - thanks for entering though! I dare say there will be other opportunities in the near future to win stuff on here, so keep your eyes peeled. Thanks also to all those on Twitter who RT'd my tweets, making sure the contest got out to all n' sundry... Judging by the amount of DMs and Facebook msgs I got, Fri July 3rd was a bad date for many as well as myself! Let's hope future workshops will be at the weekend. Speaking of which, anyone going to Adrian Mead's class on Saturday (Jul 4), I'll see you there! : )