Click the Pic N' Mix - past blog posts from Bang2write (click & scroll down for articles)

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Monday, August 30, 2010

140 Film: FURRY VENGEANCE

Your kids'll love it...If u want to see Brendan Fraser fight some fluffy toys & some ridiculously un-PC jokes, this is the film. 2.5/5

Red Planet Prize Special Offer Extended

For anyone who hasn't been checking the RPP website obsessively (yeah right), it seems it will be mid-september before anyone is asked for the rest of their script: http://ping.fm/wgwxw

This means my RPP special offer - development notes for the price of an overview report (£31.50) - will be extended beyond the end of August. So if you need a professional reader's eye cast over your 60 pager*, get in touch NOW to book your place in my queue... Needless to say, I'm pretty busy already! To get in touch, find "Bang2write" on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or leave a msg in the comments here. Alternatively, use good ol' fashioned email: Bang2writeATaolDOTcom.

Looking forward to reading your work!

*Please note, if you have a 60 pg script you want read but DIDN'T enter RPP, you still qualify for the offer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The LSWF Short Script Challenge - NOW OPEN

As all my Bang2writers know, I'm involved in helping organise the upcoming London Screenwriters' Festival this October (29-31st) at Regent's College, London - and I can't wait!!! - so here's an exciting opportunity for all attending AND those unable to:

The London Screenwriters' Festival Short Film Challenge!

What's great about this contest is that, in addition to some real benefits like CASH and lunch with an AGENT, you actually get your film MADE.

Of course, yours truly will be reading your entries - along with my trusty team of hardcore script reading volunteers.

ALL THE DETAILS:

ANYONE can enter: delegates of the LSWF can do so FREE, whereas for non-delegates there is an entry fee of £15.

CONDITIONS:

Scripts can be ANY genre, but must be ten minutes or under; they must contain no more than 5 characters (max) and up to 3 MUST be young people (teens-20ish playing age). In addition, the script must be SET at Regent's College BUT *can* double as another place - ie. a hospital, library, whatever (as long as it's not too difficult to re-imagine for real when filming it).

PRIZES:

1. LSWF will purchase your script and pay you £500!!
2. Your script will be produced by a professional film making team (during the festival) and premiered as part of the closing ceremony at The London Screenwriters Festival 2010.
3. Lunch with a top writers agent in London.
4. A pass for next years London Screenwriters Festival 2011.

What are you waiting for? GET WRITING. Visit the website.

BTW - for those of you who already have a script you think *might* fit the bill (ie. but with a few extra pages or character on whatever), I have it on good authority from the Bosses that you should submit it anyway. So there's some leeway - and no excuse not to enter! Yay!

Looking forward to reading your work...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sign Up For "Fair & Feminist's" Blog Carnival NOW

There's a great blog over at Fair and Feminist right now, inviting young feminists to stand up and be counted (note: "young" is open to interpretation, check out the bottom of the post).

I too am frustrated by some of my peers - especially those intelligent and well-educated - who appear to feel the "work has been done" by our mothers and grandmothers; whilst I am obviously happy if they have been untouched by misogny or abuse (note: either by men OR other women), I think it's important women work together wherever possible towards the common goal of equality. Simply saying, "I'm fine, so every other girl and woman must be fine" does not cut it, especially when globalisation means we know without a doubt this is NOT the case.

To participate in the blog carnival:

1) Go to the original Fair and Feminist posting.

2) Leave your name and blog URL in the comments section.

3) Download the THIS IS WHAT A YOUNG FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE badge and display it on your blog or website.

The date of the carnival is August 27 - tomorrow - so be sure to get to it right away to get your blog counted and included on the list of young feminists. WE WILL NOT BE ERASED.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

LADIES! Pay Attention...

A script call from FNA Films' producer Zahra Zomorrodian (From Zee's Rants on Posterous - see the full post here: http://ping.fm/xJVm3)

So Ladies What Write:

Write better female roles and not just for Judi Dench or Helen Mirren or Faye Dunaway! I have a challenge for you all.

Write a microbudget plot driven rather than character driven film with a female bias, send it to me and if I like it I'll option it.

GO GO GO
------------------
What are you waiting for? DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 31.12.2010.

Contact Zahra via Twitter (@fnafilms), Facebook or email her on jazadATfnafilmsDOTcoDOTuk.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Guest Blog Alert

With September just round the corner, it seems I *may* be deserting my "Write Here, Write Now" post for that little bit longer... There's lots of exciting things going on here at Bang2write Towers, principally with the upcoming London Screenwriters Festival which I'm helping organise. More info on the site.

I'll still continue with my Pings, especially "140 Film" which a lot of you have got in touch with me about, SO glad you like my micro reviews of various DVD releases! If you can think of any others I *should* watch and give my judgement in 140 characters or less, let me know.

If you would like to write a guest post for Write Here, Write Now however, please do! So far we've had subjects far and wide, from rescuing ducks, to music, playwriting, characterisation; Bang2writers have also written about their experiences placing in various contests, write ups from seminars and courses and given strong opinions on what it takes to *be* a writer and make it in the industry. All of the guest posts so far can be viewed here.

Want to be next in line? Then please send me your idea for your article at Bang2write"at"aol"dot"com. I'm afraid I can't offer any pay (I don't get paid to write this blog myself), but I can tell you the blog has 160 official followers, plus I've got RSS feeds going out to Twitter (1250 followers, not including those on lists), Facebook (658 friends), Scribomatic, Networked Blogs, Tumblr and Linkedin to name but a few - so your post could have far-reaching potential! Get in touch now...

140 Film: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION

Better than u wld think version with some good gore, thrills & spills and some ultimate fighting champion in antagonist's role. 2.5/5

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

GUEST POST: Ben Stephenson Q & A by Jeremy Allen (Part 2)

Carrying on from yesterday, here's the second part of Jeremy Allen's run-down.
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How does the role of commissioner add to the creative process?

Put simply, ‘commissioners are able to provide distance...they are able to stand back and ask questions’. This is because they see the script’s progress at intermittent stages. Ben describes these intermittent stages as ‘milestones’, which roughly break down into ‘commission, pre-production and edit’.

A common flaw Ben sees in the journey of the script is that it can lose its original vision: what the writer wanted to say in the first place, or even what it was about in the first place.

So when it comes to those all important executive decisions, how far does Ben’s power extend?

‘I sign off on who’s going to direct it, I sign off on the cast (apart from existing, established dramas), I sign off on the first cut’. He adds that after Episodes One and Two, he doesn’t get involved because the show should be able to take care of itself. However, he underlines that it is still his overall responsibility. In his words: ’I stand or fall’.

What about recent accusations in the media that the BBC has lost its willingness to take risks?

‘The trouble is people only remember the failures (he throws up archaeological mystery drama Bonekickers as an example). The reality is that every show is a risk and once a show is a success, people forget it was a risk in the first place’.

Life On Mars is obviously a show that could have gone pear-shaped, with its left-field premise, but Ben also cites Coronation Street as an obvious example of a show that at inception was considered a huge risk - it was of course the first of its kind to exclusively portray working class lives, a fact people easily forget now it is so comfortably embedded within the culture.

He offers another example: ‘Casualty was a risk at point of commission because it criticised the NHS’ (indeed my ex-tutor Jim Hill, who once worked on the show, told me afterwards that ‘questions were asked in the House’). It was only later that Casualty lost its radical edge and absorbed itself into the mainstream.

Quite clearly then, the biggest risks can often be the biggest successes. You therefore cannot play it safe as a writer, or censor your own work because you feel it is too much of gamble. You have to be ‘passionate’- compromise will get you nowhere. Producers will often come to Ben with five ideas for a script and he will ask them ‘what is the idea you are most passionate about making? Because they cannot be equally passionate about all five ideas’. Ultimately it is the script that one is most passionate about that will shine through.

Ben is keen to affirm that BBC drama is a risk taker and there is a fundamental reason for this. If it was just about chasing ratings, that would make them a commercial channel. They would invariably produce a glut of cops’n’docs dramas. But being a non-commercially driven channel they do not have to put all their ‘eggs in one basket’. A lot of this comes down to the licence fee, which in a way demands that the corporation ‘produce and deliver ambitious shows and take risks’. Conversely however, the security blanket of the licence fee and lack of commercial imperatives frees up opportunities for that very risk taking: ‘Drama is the most expensive genre on television. If you mess up on ITV you have money taken off you next year. The BBC doesn’t have that pressure’. Ben then delivers what seems to be a cornerstone of the BBC’s philosophy: ‘we have to allow failure in order to create success’. Or, in a nutshell: ‘we can’t just make mainstream successes and not have niche productions’. He is also quick to stipulate that success is measured by ‘reach not volume...how many different social groups of people do you attract?’. In other words: public service.

As an example of ‘reach not volume’, he mentions that the BBC’s biggest audience is 56 year old women, but it would be absurd to exclusively target that demographic. It is about being inclusive, in terms of sex, age and ethnicity. He does admit that men have recently been overlooked in terms of being catered for, particularly the more ‘blue collar’ demographic.

How important is period drama?

Ben reflects this is clearly one of the things the BBC does well and one of the things it is famous for. Despite recent efforts like Little Dorrit under-performing, Ben stresses that it is important to keep producing period simply because ‘we’re the only broadcaster in the world that make English classics’ (Little Dorrit still swept the board at the Emmys, beating Madmen and 30 Rock in the awards for writing and cinematography).

With regard to forthcoming period pieces, Ben mentions the return of Upstairs Downstairs, not so much a remake as a continuation, with Jean Marsh reprising her role as Rose, now head housekeeper in early thirties, pre-war London.

How do you get your work commissioned?

Ben goes back to the four regions. The independent producer works with the writer, then they pitch the idea. He again reiterates the fact that you can go to different development people in case one of them missed the idea. So if Polly Hill from BBC England, for instance, passes on your script, Patrick Spence from BBC Northern Ireland might see something in it. It is important not to give up at the first hurdle.

The commissioning process itself is not black and white. Though technically it is a yes/no/maybe scenario, more often than not it is a conversation (’nothing is commissioned straight away’). Variables include budget and whatever slots are available. Your show may clash with something else on the schedule. You may have to wait 18 months and it can be a long, drawn out process, which inevitably leads to frustration.

What about agents?

Ben confirms that the BBC does not accept unsolicited scripts: ‘every writer at every network has an agent...a writer needs to be protected and guided’.

But of course, protection of the writer is not the only consideration. The sheer volume of scripts submitted necessitates some kind of filtering system. The agents can therefore act as gatekeepers, who help to facilitate the whittling down process and maintain a basic quality control. ‘The majority of scripts aren’t very good, that’s just the reality’, says Ben.

But how do you recognise a good idea?

Ben maintains that ‘ideas aren’t that difficult’. In other words, it’s what you do with that idea. For instance there are an abundance of cop shows, and many of these follow the same, basic premise, so what distinguishes the hits from the misses? Why does The Bill run for 26 years and Holby Blue get axed after two seasons? It’s all in the execution. Again a lot of it is down to your ‘passion to make something special’. Treatments are important in this respect.

Exactly how important are treatments?

‘It’s fair to make sure your idea stands up in treatment’ Ben affirms, although he emphasises that it is not healthy to ‘treatment something to death’.

‘The key questions to ask yourself in the treatment stage are does this tell enough story? Do the characters have enough resonance?’ Treatments are also a great way of identifying ‘big holes’, which can thus be arrested at source.

Ben does concede that ‘you can’t necessarily communicate tone in a treatment’, but offers this invaluable tip: ‘ask yourself what do I want my audience to feel when they watch this? Do I want it to be a joyous experience, do I want people to be wrung out or thrilled?’. Although the mood of the piece doesn’t have to be exclusively governed by that, it can help when trying to create a prevailing tone. Another thing to ask yourself is: ‘who am I writing this for?’

How accurate do you have to be when dramatising the lives of famous people and real events?

Recent examples of this genre are Margaret Thatcher: the Long Walk to Finchley, On Expenses and again the Women We Loved season. It is an interesting question: how do you avoid lawsuits and upsetting living family members?

Ben tells us that they work closely with relatives (such as Enid Blyton’s daughter during the making of Enid) and close sources (Heather Brooke herself during the making of On Expenses). These first hand witnesses are consistently briefed and consulted right the way through the development process and get to view the film before transmission.

There are moments in anybody’s private life that can never truly be known, a private bedroom conversation between Margaret and Denis Thatcher for example. ‘You have to make things up to reflect the truth’, Ben explains. In other words the situation has to be plausible, there has to be a sense of ‘it could have happened’. In short, it has to be true to the essence of the story.

Are you in charge of Acquisitions?

No Sue Deeks, Head of Programme Acquisitions, is in charge of acquisitions .

What about the frequent comparisons between homegrown drama and US imports, the latter often being perceived in our media as vastly superior?

Ben is quick to dispute this accusation. For a start ‘HBO only makes four dramas a year and there’s no way we’re going to do that’. He adds that there is a popular misconception that HBO is a charity that allows complete artistic freedom for writers and show runners. ‘HBO is actually one of the richest networks in the world’, with a huge profit margin. All this, despite the fact that only 5% of the US actually have HBO, on account of it being a premium rate subscription service. Many viewers simply don’t get to see The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm etc. Invariably many of the people that do subscribe to HBO are middle to upper class, live in cities, have a high income and a university education behind them. Many of them in fact work in the media. This, Ben elaborates, leads to certain shows being over-represented in the press, to a degree that is actually disproportionate to their general popularity. A similar thing happens in this country with our ‘London-centric’ media and it is important that ‘we do not presume that everybody likes what we do’. An incredible example he gives is that of Madmen which airs at 10-00pm on a Wednesday night on BBC4 and which only has an audience of 100,000. Even in the US it commands a mere 1.25 million (in a country of 308 million). And yet again this tiny percentage tend to be urbane professionals in high profile jobs, hence the show’s ubiquity in the Sunday supplements. Quite frankly, Ben claims ‘many people would rather watch EastEnders than Madmen’.

Don’t a lot of US drama fans wait until the show comes out on DVD, though?

Again, Ben disputes this. Contrary to popular belief, DVD sales don’t actually affect overall viewing figures that much.
But aren’t the late timeslots partly responsible for these limited viewing figures? For instance Damages airs at 10.45pm on a Wednesday night. What if it were to go out at 9pm?

Ben doesn’t really think it would make much difference. However it would be wrong to assume that he doesn’t have a respect for these US dramas and his own personal taste and box set collection do not necessarily tally with what he himself chooses to put on the network. On the subject of HBO, he reminds us that the BBC have collaborated with the US giant in the past on epic dramas such as Band of Brothers, Rome and House of Saddam. There is another ‘exciting collaboration’ taking place in the near future.

And so the talk concludes and Ben has to catch his train back to London.

All in all, this was a fascinating insight into the world of high level network decision making. What struck me most were the complexities of the BBC’s commitment to range and diversity and the pressure involved in trying to maintain that balance, all within a limited budget. It does seem like quite a tall order being a public service broadcaster, where you are effectively trying to please everyone.

The other revelation for me was the relatively tiny audiences for high end US shows that are obviously critically acclaimed, but which I always presumed were popular hits as well. I admit I’ve always been a big advocate for some of these shows. I came out feeling a little bit ashamed- like I’d turned into one of the Guardian reading snobs I used to despise when I was eighteen!
It will be interesting to see where Ben takes BBC drama in the near future, how it will continue to ‘take risks’ and offer a ‘diversity of choice’ without upsetting that difficult balance between mainstream and cutting edge.

But, as Ben put it, the pressure and responsibility isn’t entirely on him. He is part of a team and there are many inputs in the whole creative process from script to commission to broadcast. I have to say though, I do not envy his task.

POSTSCRIPT: Since this talk took place some months ago, a number of the projects outlined have successfully aired, such as the Eighties season. Also, there have been some significant successes in drama - notably Five Daughters, Five Days and Luther. In addition, BBC Two has announced extra investment for the channel and a range of new drama, including The Shadow Line, The Hour, The Crimson Petal & The White, Christopher and His Kind, Morecambe and Wise and When Harvey Met Bob...See here for further details.

Jeremy Allen
_______________________________________________________

Fantastic stuff there Jeremy, thanks a lot!

If you have an idea for a guest post, please get in touch! In addition to write-ups of talks, courses and seminars, we've had Bang2writers' thoughts on theatre, music, filmmaking and powerful opinions about "making it" and writing in general as well as a story about rescuing a duck! All the guest posts so far.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Red Planet Special: 60 Pagers

Do you have a sixty page script that needs reading before the end of August? If so, I'm your woman!

In celebration of the fab Red Planet Prize* which will be announcing its second round at the end of August/bg of Sept, I am offering Development Notes (5 pages minimum) for the price of an Overview Report (that's just £31.50).

In your notes I will give you feedback on how I think various elements of your script are working (including the good stuff!) as well as concentrate on 2 or 3 areas that need further development. [I will offer suggestions on how you might like to approach these areas, NOT trample all over your script!].

I currently have room for a couple more this week - alternatively I will be booking for reads from next monday, August 23rd 2010. Contact me NOW to reserve your place in my queue!

View my recommendations here:
http://ping.fm/RVGbX

* You do NOT have to have entered the RPP to benefit from this special offer btw. All you need is a sixty page script and to send before the end of August!

GUEST POST: Ben Stephenson's Talk at De Montfort University by Jeremy Allen (Part 1)

Bang2writer Jeremy Allen is back, this time with a fantastic two-part run-down of Ben Stephenson's talk at De Montfort University earlier this year. Jeremy has made sure Ben has approved these articles himself, so you can be sure of their accuracy and depth. Enjoy!
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Ben Stephenson has been controller of BBC drama commissioning since September 2008, with an annual budget of around £200 million at his disposal and ultimate say over what gets aired. Yet he’s still a sprightly 33. So far Ben has presided over the commissioning of several critically acclaimed pieces, from last year’s sweeping adaptation of Andrea Levy’s modern classic Small Island, to the runaway success of BBC3’s supernatural house share drama Being Human. Today he has come to deliver a talk at my old alma mater, De Montfort University in Leicester, enlightening this year’s intake on the MA Television Scriptwriting course on the realities and aspirations of BBC drama.

It is quite apparent from the start that Ben lives, breathes and eats drama. He is enthusiastic, effusive and refreshingly open. You sense you could ask him anything (within the realms of taste and decency) and he would offer a considered and articulate answer. It is this willingness to break open the channels of communication which have led to his monthly Friday open surgeries, in which Ben spends a whole day listening to and discussing the concerns of colleagues (’they can talk about anything, it’s all confidential’). He explains that when he first came to the beeb, it was like a ‘fortress, quite intimidating’ and his surgeries are a partial attempt to counter the closed door culture he once encountered at Television Centre.

Mr Stephenson exhibits an upbeat, youthful disposition and it is this boyishness which he claims has often led to inaccurate preconceptions: ‘Because I’m 33 and look 23 people think I’m a management puppet’. However, he is quick to dispel the myth of himself as corporate stooge and the image of him hunched over a computer, obsessively poring over audience demographics. Though he is not the first executive to be tarred with the ‘yes man’ tag, in his experience most people in management are ‘incredibly passionate and keen to make a difference’.

So to the talk and it quickly becomes clear that Ben’s key mission is to deliver a ‘diversity of voices to a diversity of audiences’. To explain how this is achieved, he outlines in detail the structure and hierarchy of the commissioning process. There are two basic production departments: Independent Commissioning and In-House. Both are divided into four regions: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The four regions are the point of entry for new writers, but Ben is keen to stress that, although it is the responsibility of the regional commissioner to promote local talent, it is important ‘not to be hemmed in by the fact you’re a Welsh voice so therefore you’ve got to set it in Wales’.

Even though Ben ultimately decides whether or not a production gets green lit, there are clearly many voices involved in the development process. Does this lead to dissent? Ben believes difference of opinion is important: ‘Drama is about people. People are different’, adding that ‘disagreements are part of the process. One person developing is not necessarily the best way of developing - everybody has gaps in their knowledge’.

The Four Channels

As you are no doubt aware, BBC television drama is spread across four channels and each has a distinct style. Ultimately Ben’s challenge is to ensure that each channel has a ‘range of drama’. It is not necessarily about producing the best script, it is about balance. For instance, if the best five scripts that land on Ben’s desk are all crime dramas, there’s no way he could screen them all. On one level, it is about choosing the very best drama, but it is also about satisfying different tastes.
So what are the fundamental differences between the four channels?

BBC One

BBC1 is of course the ‘mothership’. It is where big television events take place, five nighters such as Five Days, Criminal Justice and last year’s epic Torchwood. But it is obviously more than that. BBC One’s drama output falls into three main categories:

• High quality mainstream shows that appeal to a broad audience (’intelligent, popular drama’). This covers both soaps and high rating, long running series such as Waking the Dead and Silent Witness.

• ‘New mainstream pieces that stretch and challenge’. Although these can often turn out to be the biggest mainstream successes, there is initially an element of risk. The obvious examples are Dr Who and Life on Mars.

• Dramas that may not cater for broad, mainstream tastes but fall under the channel’s remit because of the sheer quality of the piece. The examples Ben cites are The Street, Occupation, Criminal Justice and Small Island. However he is quick to point out that ultimately only one of these did not draw a sizable audience (Occupation). The point is that these dramas were put out with not too high an expectation placed on them ratings-wise in the first place, unlike say New Tricks, which is aimed at a mass audience. What unites the shows in this category is that they all ‘reflect back the audience- tell stories about them’.

At this point Ben is asked what constitutes a big audience? For mainstream he says ‘about 5/6 million, although New Tricks regularly clocks 7 million’. However, Ben is eager to stress that it is ‘not just about ratings’. There are other factors upon which a show is judged. One is the Audience Appreciation Index (AI), which measures ‘how much the audience actually enjoyed, valued the program. If you get a big AI for Episode One you can be confident you will get a big AI for Episode Two’. The average index is 86 (Being Human received the highest ever AI rating for a first series, between 90-92). Basically, if the AI figure is in the 80s at the start of the series that is acceptable. If, by the end of the second or third episode, the AI is not 86 or above, it is ‘disappointing’.

BBC TWO

BBC Two is receiving more investment this year. It has, Ben admits, not had enough focus of late. Indeed, it seems BBC Two has, in many ways, lost its place. Many dramas that would hitherto have been broadcast on the second channel now get an automatic airing on BBC One. This is where, according to Ben, BBC One has actually ‘dumbed up’, as opposed to the popular conception that it has dumbed down. For instance, Occupation, State of Play, Small Island and The Street would probably have enjoyed a comfortable BBC Two slot back in the day, being the natural heirs apparent to state of the nation pieces such as Edge of Darkness, Our Friends in the North and Boys From The Blackstuff.

Ben describes the kind of drama broadcast on BBC2 as ‘lean forward TV’. It is for people who want to ‘concentrate more’. He stipulates that there is no subject you cannot do on BBC2 as long as you tell it with ‘boldness, audaciousness, angle but not niche, still broad...challenging but entertaining’. One exciting prospect he mentioned was a forthcoming ‘Eighties season’, encompassing three dramas reflecting that most decadent of decades: an adaptation of Money, Martin Amis’ scathing satire on material greed, a piece set against the backdrop of the 1981 Royal Wedding and a biopic of the young Boy George.
Additionally, BBC Two puts out ‘quality singles’, which tend to have a more filmic feel. In this, the channel enjoys a close relationship with BBC Films. Again, within the world of singles there is an emphasis on range, from traditional historical pieces such as last year’s Churchill biopic Into the Storm to more cutting edge stuff like Five Minutes of Heaven, a heavyweight, turbulent drama focussing on the Troubles.

BBC THREE

BBC Three has a younger demographic. The obvious success is Being Human, which Ben claims is ‘entirely down to writer Toby Whithouse writing for a young audience in a smart, intelligent way’. In fact there is an ambition about Being Human which could easily have backfired. The show very much embodies the ethos of BBC Three: ‘it has to have something that immediately grabs you’.

The original premise of Being Human was a straightforward house share drama along the lines of This Life. In development however, it was felt the piece was becoming a bit boring. Toby Whithouse jokingly suggested they could make the housemates a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost. The next day he woke up and thought that’s not a bad idea.

Ben concedes that there is a ‘uniqueness of tone’ with Being Human, that doesn’t necessarily come across on the page. One distinguishing feature is its ability to seamlessly shift genre from ‘stupid humour to gothic horror to supernatural mythology to moving soap opera’. According to Ben there’s a big lesson here: ’you don’t in real life switch between genres. You don’t say now I’m going to be funny, now I’m going to be serious’. Life is more complex, more integrated.

BBC FOUR

BBC Four has both a limited budget and a limited remit. It predominantly provides a platform for quality singles, usually biopics (like last year’s acclaimed Women We Loved season- three one-off films portraying popular British female icons) or modern historical pieces (such as last week’s On Expenses). Although it can produce adaptations of classics such as HG Wells’ First Men in the Moon, Ben is happy to admit there is no place for original fiction on BBC 4. That is not what it is there for.

Thanks Jeremy! Previously by Jeremy on this blog: Panel Discussion Write-Up

NEXT: Ben's answers to some of the most-asked questions by writers - ie. "how important are treatments?", "Does the BBC have an unwillingness to take risks?", "How do you recognise a good idea?", "How do you get your work commissioned?" -- and much more. DON'T MISS OUT!

140 Film: THE CRAZIES

Promising start, but descends into tick-the-box writing & horror cliches: hey, let's split up ONLY so my wife can get attacked! Booo. 1/5

Sunday, August 15, 2010

140 FILM: CLASH OF THE TITANS

Some gd CGI let down by obvious sets, slow moving w/ a side order of misogyny. BBQ'd snakebitch anyone? BTW, get Fiennes a strepsil, STAT! 1/5

Friday, August 13, 2010

Reaction To Some Notes I Gave This Week...

I rarely publish people's in-depth reactions to my development notes cos I take script confidentiality very seriously. However, since Bang2writer Dom Carver's already published his reaction on his blog, I figured I HAD to share it too, LOL:

"The sixty pages were done, but I knew something wasn't sitting right, couldn't put my finger on it, so I sent it out to the lovely Bang2write.....she gave it to me straight like she always does...ooh, err!

'Get rid of the police,' she said. I stared blankly at her...or I would have done if she hadn't have said that in an email. So I stared blankly at the email instead. Get rid of the police? What, all of them? Yep, all of them, not just in this episode but in all the others too. Holy crap! Bangers (as I never call her) is most often than not spot on with her judgement and I trust her above all others. But get rid of the police? In a crime drama? But she's right! Fecking cow!!"

Read the whole post, here: http://twurl.nl/kbyzgr

Cheers Dom! ; )

Thursday, August 12, 2010

140 Film: I LOVE YOU, PHILLIP MORRIS

"Being gay is really expensive, so I became a con man." A fun romp w/ a lot of pathos & gd performances, especially from Jim Carrey. 3/5

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WHOA: nearly 100 downloads for my 1pg Script Format Ref PDF since Jul 23!!! Get yours here: http://ping.fm/ji9Y1

140 Film: PONYO

Find a fish, it turns into a little girl - & her Dad is a sea wizard! But your Mum & Dad don't mind. So blimmin' odd - LOVED it. 4/5

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

140 Character Film Reviews

OK, I've discovered I can send my [spoiler-free!!] 140 Character Film Reviews across the Pinging Universe, really getting into this multi-platform malarkey (doesn't count as blogging Mr C, honest!!). So here are the ones I've sent out so far:

1) FROM PARIS, WITH LOVE. Make-Up-As-U-Go plot, mad reversals & fab stunts. "Mint tea?"/"Why the hell not?!" 3/5

2) Action week at Bang2write Towers continued last nite w/ REPO MEN. Love the idea, v poorly executed. How can ripping hearts out be dull?? 1/5

3) Also watched EXAM. Thought I'd seen &/or read ALL the 1-room-thriller variations, but this was sharp, intriguing & ultimately great fun. 4/5

To watch this week: THE INFIDEL, I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS and PONYO on DVD.

I'll send blogger the odd screenwriting-related tweet too, like this one for all of you scared of Twitter:

For all you montage lovers - Top Ten Movie Montages: http://ping.fm/VzRO0

Don't have Ping.Fm? It's very useful if you're addicted to social networking like me! Check it out: www.ping.fm.