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

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Quick Question: How Do I Find A Paid Writing Gig?

Richard Standen asks on Twitter: 

I'm a writing graduate with 2 shorts I've written screening at festivals. Where should/can I look to find that first paid job?

Getting work AND getting paid for it is the Holy Grail for most writers - it's fair to say most of us dream of giving up our day jobs. In terms of finding your first paid job as a writer, I'd recommend following these steps:

WHAT do I want to do? Think first of your mega dream job. Don't worry if it's working for continuing drama or writing for huge Hollywood action epics, this is YOUR dream. Work on the basis anything is possible - because it is. You can be anything you want to be and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, least of all YOURSELF.

WHERE am I? Okay, now you go for the reality check. Richard has two shorts screening at festivals - this is a good start, but maybe you have only your scripts on paper. Whatever the case, you need to start BUILDING - contacts and experience. Don't let anything slide - but equally, don't stretch yourself so thin you can't do your best. Decide what you WILL and WON'T do, according to where you are on the "writing scale". 

WHEN do I send stuff out? Never send stuff out that's not ready - so ensure you know a) when your script is worth showing to people and b) when the "usual" opportunities come around (ie. agents with open door policies, London Screenwriters' Festival, Red Planet Prize, BBC Writers' Academy, American script contest deadlines etc) and c) make opportunities for yourself (following leads, creating DIY filmmaking opportunities, making contacts with indie prodcos etc). Look to the year ahead and make a STRATEGY, don't rely on a scattergun approach. If you've decided you want to write for television, find out who you should be approaching and when - and with what. Same for the Hollywood approach or anything else you want to do. Find out where the opportunities are. Plan accordingly. Make sure you have a great portfolio. Rinse and repeat.

Also - don't forget that sometimes you will deviate from your original course and this is a GOOD THING. I never knew five years ago I would become a novelist, rather than a scriptwriter and end up concentrating on script editing instead. 

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Quick Question: Novel Writing

Bang2writer Erinmaochu asks via Twitter:

What software are people using to write novels on these days  or other examples, or simple pen and paper?

First up, I use Microsoft Word. It's what I started with, it came with the machine and it's got everything I need (for those wondering, format-wise that's 12point Times New Roman, double spaced. End of).

A straw poll of Bang2writers revealed MS Word to be the most popular choice, with Scrivener and Word Perfect close seconds. Writers' Cafe, CeltX, Write Way Pro and Final Draft also figured. Here is a great list of writing software to trawl through (free and paid for).

Another issue to remember with novels is how you save them, because agents, publishers and uploading to indie publishing sites etc means editing has to be easy. So whatever platform you use to write in, I'd recommend you make sure you can save in .doc or .docx formats to make this transition as problem-free as possible.

As for pen and paper, I hear there are fewer first drafts on paper now - certainly my novel BUT WHAT NEXT? exists solely on the Macbook. Here's an interesting article about why you should write free hand, first. Food for thought. 

Friday, May 04, 2012

Quick Question: Graphic Novels, Contracts & Collaborating

Bang2writer David asks:

"Hi - I've got a short story that could really suit a 'Graphic Novel' type approach. 1. How do i go about approaching an Agent or Publisher to get the ball rolling on that; and 2. As it will be a collaborative project with a graphic artist, is there a Contract thats in existence that they could sign so as not to pinch my idea?"

Scriptwriting is a collaborative medium, so recognising *what* your script is and which audience it would be suited to (ie. graphic novels) from the offset is really advantageous. An agent or publisher is unlikely to take you up on your own, you'd be best off finding an illustrator and getting the graphic novel either written in its entirety (or at least a good portion of it as a sample). I have no experience of writing graphic novels myself, but in terms of finding an artist I would imagine posting on the likes of Talent Circle or Shooting People would be a good start. 

There are contracts available online to download I'm told, but rather than worrying about contracts, I would recommend agreeing who-does-what and what that person gets before starting any work. Basically, start from the same page so everyone knows what they're doing and why. Being upfront about what you can and can't offer (ie. money, exposure, etc) is the key here - be overt, rather than covert.

And finally, never worry about people nicking your idea - REALLY! Here's why.