30 April, 2007

Five Goals


1) I wasn't really a fan of ex-Cardiff striker Cammy Jerome who hasn't really justified the £3 million we paid for him but he's a young player and is improving all the time. However, his winning goal against Wolves in the last minute was one of the greatest goals ever scored. Well, it seemed like that at the time.


2) We were down to ten men against the Owls and I thought all was lost. It was such a lovely day as well. I hate when nice spring days are spoilt by losing football matches. Then Cammy came on as a sub and put us 1-0 ahead. Now I'm not only a fan of his but I want his babies. What's extra funny is that the Cardiff fans took the piss out of him earlier in the season when they were league leaders and they spanked us. Although pleased that Cardiff won't even be in the playoffs this season I am annoyed that the current Cardiff chairman is responsible for the sad demise of Leeds and yet, rather than leave football forever in shame for his shocking antics in Yorkshire, he got involved with another club.

3) I like solid workmanlike players so Seb Larsson's lack of fireworks doesn't bother me as much as my mates but now after his awesome goal to put Blues 2-0 up, I will expect fireworks on a regular basis in the premier league. We go back to the top of the league.


4) My Midlands loyalty has taken a battering this season as I wanted an all Midlands play-offs and promoted but I have had to hope our neighbours lose recently as it has been really close at the top. Now it's Sunday and I'm watching a London club and a Midlands club and cheering the cockneys to win. And they're not even a nice cockney club like QPR or Brentford but Crystal Palace, our bitter enemies since we poached their manager. The pools panel gave Derby an away win and I was expecting the same. But the Derby who exhilarated and terrified me in the middle of the season was still missing from action.


When we were struggling to score goals it seemed like every striker Steve Bruce had sold off was scoring loads of goals. Including Clinton Morrison. So for him to be the one who broke the deadlock against Derby and give us hope was a great feeling. Once a bluenose always a bluenose.

5) Man of the match Mark Kennedy finished off Derby with his goal and that's when the celebrations really started - for the pessimists in the pub. The optimists had foolishly been celebrating since Morrison's goal.

And no, I have never called for Steve Bruce's sacking, that campaign was shameful. Although we should have been safe a long time ago, to be honest for the sake of my heart. But what fun would football be without the rollercoaster of emotions, the ups and downs, the heroes and villains? We want to incite those emotions with our writing. (See, it was on-topic after all)

29 April, 2007

Opening Weekend

Away from Her


Romantic drama. A man finds his institutionalised wife has fallen for someone in the home.

With Julie Christie, Michael Murphy, Gordon Pinsent Olympia Dukakis, Kristen Thomson

Writers: Sarah Polley (based on Alice Monroe short story)
Director: Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley interview 1
Sarah Polley interview 2
Sarah Polley interview 3
Sarah Polley interview 4
Sarah Polley film festival introduction (video)

Official site

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The Breed


Horror. College kids partying on a deserted island find it isn't so deserted after all.

With Michelle Rodriguez, Oliver Hudson, Taryn Manning, Eric Lively

Writers: Robert Conte, Peter Martin Wortmann
Director: Nicholas Mastandrea

Official site

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Next


Sci-fi thriller. A man who can see two minutes in the future is wanted by the feds to help prevent a terrorist attack.

With Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel,Thomas Kretschmann

Writers: Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh and Paul Bernbaum (based on Philip K Dick book)
Director: Lee Tamahori

Gary Goldman interview

Official site

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The Painted Veil


Period romantic drama. A young English couple get married for wrong reasons and drift apart.

Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Toby Jones, Diana Rigg, Juliet Howland, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Maggie Steed

Writers: Ron Nyswaner (based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham)
Director: John Curran

Ron Nyswaner interview

Production interviews

Official site

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The Puffy Chair


Comedy-drama. A son travels cross-country to deliver a birthday pressie for his pa.

With Mark Duplass, Kathryn Aselton, Rhett Wilkins, Julie Fischer

Writers: Mark Duplass
Director: Jay Duplass

Mark Duplass interview 1
Mark Duplass interview 2
Mark Duplass interview 3

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Reno 911!: Miami


Comedy. The officers of the Reno police department visit a national police convention in Miami Beach. When the convention center is bio-attacked, it's up to Reno's "finest" to save the day.

With Carlos Alazraqui, Mary Birdsong, Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon, Wendi McLendon-Covey

Writers: Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon & Kerri Kenney
Director: Ben Garant

Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon interview 1
Thomas Lennon interview 1

Official site

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Straightheads


Thriller. After surviving a gang attack a couple want revenge.

With Gillian Anderson, Danny Dyer

Writers: Dan Reed
Director: Dan Reed

Dan Reed interview 1
Dan Reed interview 2 (video)
Dan Reed interview 3
Dan Reed interview 4 (video)
Dan Reed interview 5

Official site
Official blog

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This Is England


Period drama. A young kid gets befriended by skinheads and joins the gang.

With Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley, Andrew Shim, Vicky McClure

Writers: Shane Meadows
Director: Shane Meadows

Shane Meadows interview 1
Shane Meadows interview 2
Shane Meadows interview 3 (video)
Shane Meadows interview 4
Shane Meadows interview 5
Shane Meadows interview 6
South Bank Show podcast

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Typhoon (Taepung)


Action-drama. A modern-day pirate plans a massive attack on North and South Korea.

With Dong-Kun Jang, Jung-Jae Lee, Mi-yeon Lee, David McInnis

Writers: Kyung-Taek Kwak
Director: Kyung-Taek Kwak

Official site

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26 April, 2007

Psych


I’m a fan of Monk, “the defective detective”, which airs on the cable network USA. The channel introduced a new companion show last summer called Psych which has been called “Monk for morons” which is a little unfair.

While Psych doesn’t require much, if any, brainpower it is still enjoyable enough entertainment. The premise is that Shawn was raised by his strict police officer dad who drilled in him observation skills. However, no-one believes his uncanny powers of observation and so he pretends to get the relevant information by psychic powers instead. OK, that is a slightly shaky premise but don’t dwell on it too much.

The title derives from both ‘psychic’ and also ‘psych’ which the colonials say when they have tricked someone, for instance: “I think George W Bush is a genius who hasn’t messed things up at all. Psych!”

Monk is played for laughs but still has a good mystery story. Psych is the same but does require more goodwill and suspension of disbelief. Although having said that, the show certainly improved as the series went on.


An interesting thing to look at would be the construction of the world. Shawn is like Monk in terms of detecting but he is a completely different character with different motivations. Both characters are at times unlikeable, but Monk is easier to forgive due to his wife being murdered. Shawn can come across as just plain annoying which is partly due to the wacky sub-Carrey psychic act he puts on. Wacky antics are just too broad and obvious in terms of humour for me just as the humour of Monk is too subtle for a lot of people.

Shawn, as a character, needs a straight man to counter the wackiness and to look skywards in depair and to try and reign him in for the comedy to work properly. That was the role of his childhood friend Gus but Gus was underdeveloped and early on he didn’t really have enough to do. As the series progresses Gus’ wide knowledge becomes more integral to solving the cases and progressing the story.

One of the key relationships is the one between Shawn and his cop dad and each episode starts off with a flashback to Shawn’s childhood of something connected to the week’s story. That's simple but effective in terms of story and a fresher structure.

There is also the set-up at the police station to consider as you have to have the right mix of cops who aren’t too familiar or at least too similar to Monk. The obvious thing is to make the boss cop a woman instead of a man but they also make her pregnant. You also need a sceptical cop who objects to the police asking Shawn for help for the conflict.

Psych is recommended, give it a try.

Psych from 27 April, 7:00pm
Hallmark Channel
(and BBC2 later this year)

24 April, 2007

Seven Questions That Will Change Your Life

Alex Shalman:

"Self reflection should be more than a minor consideration if you’re serious about personal growth. I can testify that it’s worked wonders for me, for grounding myself and evaluating my life’s progress. How else am I supposed to make improvements, if I don’t know where I’ve gone wrong in the past? Many people try to ignore past errors, but then history repeats itself, as we all know."

Why so many novels never make it to the big screen

The Independent:

"The cinemas are full of turkeys yet that brilliant novel you read three years ago has never been made into a film. Danuta Kean descends into development hell and finds out why so many authors get trapped there."

All play and no work in today's theatre

The Guardian:

"Dramas about the world of employment are disappearing from the stage, but the daily grind has plenty of dramatic potential."

David Wiener, playwright, interview

OC Register:

"I wanted to write, but I didn't know … that it had to be personal, that it had to come from places I was unresolved about. You have to be relaxed enough so that you're not listening to that voice in your head that says, 'It's not good, it's not funny, my mom won't like it.' Instead, you have to concentrate on the emotional needs of the characters. And at some point in the process you realise you're making something to answer a need within yourself."

Britain in black and white

The Daily Telegraph:

"The country's leading black playwright, Roy Williams, talks to Aleks Sierz about his new stage version of 'Absolute Beginners', which deals with the 1958 race riots on his 'home turf' of Notting Hill"

20 April, 2007

Doctor Who script


The shooting script for the first episode of the new series by RTD is available at the BBC Writersroom script archive or here directly.

I actually really enjoyed that first episode and can't wait to watch it again with the script. The obvious things to think about are the characterisation, especially of new characters we haven't met before, and the pace. What does RTD do to ensure the brisk pace?

Another exercise would be to turn the script into a treatment to look at the structure. Keeping the scene headings, write what actually goes on each scene. I think that's a good way of seeing how he deals with the various story strands.

19 April, 2007

Opening Weekend

Alpha Dog


True life drama. A drug dealer becomes the youngest ever on the FBI wanted list.

With Bruce Willis, Matthew Barry, Emile Hirsch, Fernando Vargas, Vincent Kartheiser, Justin Timberlake

Writers: Nick Cassavetes
Director: Nick Cassavetes

Nick Cassavetes interview 1
Nick Cassavetes interview 2
Nick Cassavetes interview 3

Official site

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Fracture


Thriller. An assistant DA tries to prosecute a man who tried to kill his wife

With Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke

Writers: Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers
Director: Gregory Hoblit

Production interviews (including screenwriters)


Official site

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Half Nelson


Drama. A high school teacher who uses drugs forms a friendship with a student who discovers the secret.

With Ryan Gosling, Jeff Lima, Shareeka Epps, Nathan Corbett

Writers: Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden
Director: Ryan Fleck

Ryan Fleck interview 1
Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden interview 1
Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden interview (video) 2
Anna Boden interview 1
Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden interview 3
Ryan Fleck interview 2

Official site

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Kya Love Story Hai



Romance. A wayward youth falls in love at first sight.

With Tusshar Kapoor, Ayesha Takia, Kareena Kapoor

Writers: Rahul Singh and Niranjan Iyengar
Director: Lovely Singh

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Pathfinder


Action adventure. A viking boy left behind after a battle is raised by Native Americans.

With Karl Urban, Russell Means, Moon Bloodgood, Jay Tavare, Clancy Brown, Nathaniel Arcand

Writers: Laeta Kalogridis (based on Nils Gaup's screenplay)
Director: Marcus Nispel

Production interview (including screenwriter)

Official site

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The Reaping


Supernatural horror. A former Christian missionary, who specializes in debunking religious phenomena, investigates a small town which seems to be suffering from the 10 biblical plagues.

With Hilary Swank, David Morrissey, Idris Elba, AnnaSophia Robb, Stephen Rea

Writers: Carey Hayes & Chad Hayes
Director: Stephen Hopkins

Carey Hayes & Chad Hayes interview

Official site

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Reign Over Me


Drama. A man loses his family to terrorism and runs into an old college roommate. Can the friendship save him?

With Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows, Donald Sutherland .

Writer: Mike Binder
Director: Mike Binder

Mike Binder interview 1
Mike Binder interview 2
Mike Binder interview 3
Mike Binder interview 4

Official site

Comedy pilot contest

New York Television Festival:

Deadine: 29 June 2007

"The “Xbox LIVE Originals” contest will invite a wide range of artists and Xbox users to create a 5 to 15-minute pilot episode introducing an original television series. The pilots may be live-action, animated or both. All entries must be submitted before June 29th, 2007. A selection of standout finalists will be featured exclusively on Xbox LIVE Marketplace starting in July. The winner of the contest will receive a $100,000 deal with Xbox LIVE to create a six-episode series based on the short pilot as well as an exclusive screening event at the 2007 New York Television Festival."

18 April, 2007

Comedy Writers Mailing List

British Sitcom Guide:

"We run a free mailing list for comedy writers which you are more than welcome to join (in fact we'd encourage it!). About once a month we sent out a newsletter to the mailing list letting everyone know about the new features and articles we've added, detail new course listings, fill you in on the latest writing related news and also sometimes mail special features too. Additionally we include any writing jobs & competitions we hear about as well!"

I would very much encourage joining the list as well.

Tony Fiorentino, playwright, interview

Talk Theatre In Chicago: (mp3)

"An interview with Playwright Tony Fiorentino about his new show "Fraternal Instinct"

"Playwright Tony Fiorentino delivers a nicely written drama, Fraternal Instinct, that gives a fresh look at family dynamics.This psychologically complex story demonstrates how revenge can consume one into a drowning struggle that ultimately leads to self destructive behavior."

17 April, 2007

East End Film Festival

"This week sees the launch of the very exciting, East End Film Festival. This is the 6th year of this event and it's programe and status within the film calender has gone from strength to strength.

This year the Festival taking place between 4 East End Venues, the Rich Mix, Bethnal Green, the Rio, Dalston, the Genisis, Mile End and Cineworld, East India Quay we are pleased to announce a very fine programe of events, which we hope will be of great interest and excitement to you, your colleagues, friends and family alike.

The East End Film Festival is overflowing with a fantastic range of films from around the globe, a host of local, national and international shorts, and some very special events and parties. Come on Down.

For full festival listings and events visit http://www.eastendfilmfestival.com
or http://www.myspace.com/theeastendfilmfestival

East End Film Festival: everything you love about the East End... on the big screen"

16 April, 2007

Cleaning Up After the Children

FilmStew.com:

"Five writers are credited for the Oscar nominated screenplay of the new DVD Children of Men. But in reality, it bears the imprint of only director Alfonso Cuarón and writing partner Timothy Sexton."

Francis Veber, "La Cage Aux Folles", interview

The Evening Class:

"I said once that, when I was born, the doctor said to my mother, "It's not a boy or a girl; it's a comic." [Laughs.] I was trapped in that all my life long. It's a way to protect yourself too."

15 April, 2007

Jeff Loeb Talks Heroes…

Use Your Ability To Inform Others…

"WordBalloon.com in association with Newsarama recently sat down with Jeff Loeb to talk Heroes on a podcast and its a good listen, of course Jeph Loeb is a writer on the show so he had some tidbits to reveal those are below along with the link to the podcast…"

Screenwriting guru Robert McKee gives evidence

LA Times;

"In the film "Adaptation," a screenwriting instructor named Robert McKee humiliates a struggling scribe played by actor Nicolas Cage.

Launching into an obscenity-laced tirade, the McKee character screams, "You, my friend, don't know crap about life! And why are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don't have any bloody use for it!"

The real-life McKee turned in an equally dramatic performance last week in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. This time, he berated the work of bestselling author Clive Cussler."

End Hollywood’s gratuitous violence

Chicago Maroon:

"What’s lacking from contemporary cinema is quality screenwriting, and despite his strength in that department, Tarantino has sacrificed his gifted screenwriting instinct for mindless plots and empty one-liners that merely serve as stopgaps until the next brutal death."

13 April, 2007

Opening Weekend

Curse of the Golden Flower (Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia)

Action drama. A prince returns from battle to find trouble in his own family

With Yun-Fat Chow, Li Gong, Jay Chou, Ye Liu

Writer: Yimou Zhang (based on Yu Cao's play)
Director: Yimou Zhang

Yimou Zhang interview 1
Yimou Zhang interview 2
Yimou Zhang interview 3
Yimou Zhang interview 4 (video)

Official site

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The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)


Drama. The Secret Police in the former East Germany listen to people's secrets.

With Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Mühe, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Thomas Thieme

Writer: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck interview 1
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck interview 2
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck interview 3
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck interview 4
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck interview 5
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck interview 6
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck interview 7
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck interview 8

Official site

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Perfect Stranger


Thriller. A journalist goes undercover to find her friend's killer.

With Halle Berry, Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi

Writer: Todd Komarnicki
Director: James Foley

Official site

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Shooter


Thriller. A marksman in exile is coaxed back when he learns of a plot to kill the President.

With Mark Wahlberg, Michael Peña, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra, Ned Beatty, Jonathan Walker

Writer: Jonathan Lemkin (from Stephen Hunter's novel)
Director: Antoine Fuqua

Jonathan Lemkin interview 1 (audio)
Jonathan Lemkin interview 2

Official site

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Unknown

Thriller. Five men wake up in a locked-down warehouse with no memory of who they are. They are forced to figure out who is good and who is bad to stay alive.

With James Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Bridget Moynahan, Joe Pantoliano, Barry Pepper, Jeremy Sisto, Peter Stormare

Writer: Matthew Waynee
Director: Simon Brand

Matthew Waynee interview 1
Matthew Waynee interview 2

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Wild Hogs


Comedy. Surburban bikers look for adventure but find trouble with a biker gang.

With Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, Ray Liotta, Marisa Tomei

Writer: Brad Copeland
Director: Walt Becker

Brad Copeland interview

Official site

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12 April, 2007

Q&A With Steven Russell, Development Coordinator

Dom's World:

"Q: What attracts you to a project?

A hook. Always a hook; every screenplay should be instilled with rewarding arcs and characters that you are interested in, but combining this with a strong hook helps immeasurably."

How to Write a Play

Associated Content:

"Have you always dreamt of writing a magnificent play, one that is so riveting, so strange and delightful, so full of magic that people continue to speak of it with awe for the rest of time? Yet do you have any idea where to start? If not, then before you go off proclaiming that you will be a world-famous playwright sooner or later, get the basics down. These guidelines will get you going on your fledgling wings and who knows, your play could someday be playing on Broadway."

Todd Alcott - The script doctor is in

Todd Alcott - The script doctor is in

"kornleaf asks --

"I have about 100 different little ideas for themes, or characters or scenes, and I will start working on a screenplay and at about the beginning of the third act I get frustrated and what originally seemed to be a well thought out idea ends up seeming as if it falls apart and I will put it aside and start working on the next project. In all i have about 47 unfinished screenplays ranging from 1 page to 60 pages to about 100 and in total, i have finished two in my life; both for classes. Is this common?""

Dmitry Lipkin, "The Riches", interview

This quite good new US TV comedy-drama is currently causing a bidding war between ITV, C4 and Five.

Jewish Exponent:

""The show is so much about identity," says its creator, who concedes that when it comes to social acceptance, Jews and gypsies have a shared history of inhospitable "housewarmings" by those who have pulled the welcome mat out from under them."

11 April, 2007

The (re)making project

the (re)making project:

"Please feel free to take the plays from this website and use them freely as a resource for your own work: that is to say, don't just make some cuts or rewrite a few passages or re-arrange them or put in a few texts that you like better, but pillage the plays as I have pillaged the structures and contents of the plays of Euripides and Brecht and stuff out of Soap Opera Digest and the evening news and the Internet, and build your own, entirely new, piece--and then, please, put your own name to the work that results."

Catherine Filloux, playwright, interview

Wesleyan Argus:

"But in the end, it all comes down to writing a play, working on the re-writing process, which I think is one of the most important parts of the playwriting process."

Adam Rapp, playwright, interview

Gothamist:

"After 9/11 I was living in New York and I was getting lots of calls from the Midwest, where I’m from, and I was finding out that all these people were taking what they were calling “first response workshops” where they were learning how to evacuate people from communities and to civic gymnasiums. And they were learning how to crawl through yards on their elbows and learning how to deal with the terrorists that were going to come to their small town in Illinois. And I just found that to be completely absurd and very strange given the power struggle thousands of miles from them, in some cases. And there’s a kind of absurdity to all of that."

Eric Coble, playwright, interview

CoolCleveland.com

"I approach it as a craft. That I owe to a writing professor. He always said, "A plumber can’t wait for the muse to strike." You have to work. I do try to write something, even when it’s not good."

Lydia Stryk, playwright, interview

Contemporary American Theater:

"I’m someone who sits with an idea for a while and then once I start writing, it comes out pretty quickly. The original draft was a couple weeks in the making. But that was the easy part! The real work is the rewriting and developing—trying to get it right—which has been going on for months."

Christopher Hampton, playwright, interviews

London Theatre Guide:

“The great thing about having a failure is that people leave you alone for a couple of years so you can regroup your forces. And the great disadvantage of being very successful is that... people think of you much more easily and you’re absolutely bombarded with offers.”

The Guardian:

"But why do I continue to write? I can only echo the words of Conrad. He says he tries to give you 'all you demand and perhaps also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask'. For me, that's it. As a writer, you can't hope to change society. All you can do is shift people's perspective on what you see as the truth."

Noah Haidle, playwright, interview

The Boston Globe:

"The idea was, if I ingest enough, if I read enough -- because my access to theater was largely through reading -- sooner or later I'll be able to synthesize something of my own. So the bet has kind of paid off."

How to write a play e-book

From Stage Affair

How to write a play (pdf)

"The aim of this guide is to provide would-be dramatists with some systematic advice and guidance in a plain and practical way. Many existing books are more aimed at guiding the judgment of the critic in writing review columns, rather than stimulating and developing the creative impulse of the playwright."

10 April, 2007

Sanctuary

Between the Pavement and the Stars:

"Sanctuary is the name of a new SF show being premiered on the Internet. It has been designed from the get-go to be experienced through more than one medium, and has some real (read experienced) talent behind and in front of the cameras.

So I got in contact with showrunner Damian Kindler and asked him what was going on."

2007: Dates for your Diary (pt 2)

Light and Shade:

"Here's my round-up of useful dates for script competitions and initiatives, festival submissions and other opportunities for the second quarter of 2007. As before, I'll be adding to this as and when further opportunities arise, so check back regularly for updates."

This resource is linked on the "Essential" panel to your right.

myfilms


TonyB emailed me a few weeks back asking if I knew of a website which offered a sort of 'my films' facility where you could add films you're interested in and get an email when they're released in your area, because often the most interesting films have a limited distribution.

I hadn't heard of such a site but it was such a good idea, I thought of starting one myself and becoming a dot.com millionaire. But, to all those who say there's no virtue in laziness and lack of ambition, it's lucky I didn't progress the idea further as TonyB now informs me that just such a website has started and is, spookily, called myfilms.

I'll let TonyB explain:

"It's a recent start-up funded by The Film Council with lottery money, plus private companies such as Love Film. The site concentrates on art house films rather than blockbusters, although all popular films are covered. It does what I wanted - you can set up a wishlist of upcoming films you want to see, as well as a favourite films section.

If a film comes to your area you get an email alerting you. They are also setting up a mobile add-on so that the whole site will work on your mobile and allow you to receive mobile text alerts too.
The sign up is free - it takes about half an hour to set up a profile but it's worth it because the system then recommends films that suit your taste - it works well.

Films are well detailed - professional and user reviews, trailers and venues. There isn't a huge database of classic films - the site only started recently and seems to focus on current and future films, as opposed to being a definitive film database."

Adele Lim, "One Tree Hill", interview

The Star:

“Television writing is insanely competitive. There are tens of thousands of writers trying to break into the industry.”

Dick Wolf, "Law & Order", interview

The Hollywood Reporter:

"And as a writer at heart -- whether it's ad copy or spare, sharp cop lingo -- Wolf insists that the writers on his shows are the real key to their success. Notes NBC Universal Television executive vp programming Charles Engel, "In his office, there's an English Tudor desk with one thing on it -- a leather sign that reads, 'It's the writing, stupid.'""

"The Queen" screenplay

Available from Miramax (pdf)

09 April, 2007

I Really Shouldn't Be Doing This...

Hi, My Name is Matt and I'm a Screenwriter:

"Now, I’m hardly breaking down all the doors in Hollywood, but I have had a few writer successes in my career. And any bit of success I’ve carved out for myself never came from any “trick” that I could remember.

...Okay, check that –

I really shouldn’t be doing this…

It’ll go against the secret regulations and conventions of all screenwriters who have actually made money performing their craft. I may be banned from the secret screenwriter’s society (so secret, that I can’t even mention the name of the organization).

Here it is -- here’s the “trick”…Oh, man, I’m gonna be in the deep doo-doo now with the others in the group.

The trick is…

Write, write, and WRITE some more. And that does not mean writing one (singular) screenplay over and over again. Write several different spec screenplays. That’s the “trick.” Get the words out of your head, through your fingers, and onto the page. Rinse, wash and repeat -- and repeat again, and again, and again.

And reality check time, people -- Having talent for story telling is a kinda-sorta good thing to possess, too."

Would-be screenwriters can find lots of help

St. Louis Post Despatch:

"If you could hear the explosion of interest in screenwriting, it would be louder than anything you've experienced at the movies.

Scores of books, websites, college classes, seminars and contests are available to those who aspire to be the next Charlie Kaufman ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") or, if they're old school, Robert Towne ("Chinatown"). Indeed, there's never been a better time to go Hollywood."

The screenwriter's forum at the Florida Film Festival

Orlando Sentinel:

"Werb related how he knew whatever he hoped to do with the script for the video game movie, Lara Croft, was out the door the day he met the director, Simon West.

"He came in the room, picked up the script, dropped it on the floor and stepped on it."

"When I saw (the finished film), I was horrified."

Melville Shavelson, screenwriter, interview

The Hollywood Reporter:

"I'm a writer by choice, producer through necessity and director in self-defense."

Film Producer, Michael Meltzer Continues Search For Screenplay for Next Horror Film

Deadline: 13 April 2007

Scripts are rolling in, but Michael Meltzer and Zoobody.com are not finished searching for the next feature horror film. If you have the script, here is the opportunity to have your movie made, but the search ends on Friday the 13th, April 2007.

Hollywood, CA, March 27, 2007 -- Scripts are rolling in, but Michael Meltzer and Zoobody.com are not finished searching for the next feature horror film. If you have the script, here is the opportunity to have your movie made, but the search ends on Friday the 13th, April 2007. By logging onto and signing up for zoobody.com people can submit their script for this contest utilizing the revolutionary website.

We're not focused only on the United States, there are a lot of talented writers across the globe and we want them all to have a chance. We have received many quality and unusual scripts and are excited that the response has been so terrific.

This is a unique web based experience to have your script read, expanded, chosen, filmed from start to finish and is exciting for published and new writers. Zoobody and Meltzer want the public to know this is a worldwide competition.

"We're not focused only on the United States, there are a lot of talented writers across the globe and we want them all to have a chance. We have received many quality and unusual scripts and are excited that the response has been so terrific." says Zoobody.com founder Dan Faiman.

The web is a great way to show off your talents, writing acting and crew. Scripts have been pouring in from all regions, fascinating stories that will all be hand selected for the public to decide on at Zoobody.com. Resumes, headshots and support crew information are being received for this event and others being posted regularly at Zoobody. Uploads are easy from your own computer at Zoobody.com

Not only will the script be chosen from a Zoobody.com user, but the entire cast and crew will also be selected from Zoobody.com, The competition for the script only, comes to a dead end Friday the 13th April 2007.

Your resume will constantly, "Be seen, Be searched, Be hired" by the professionals seeking you at Zoobody.com, sign in and update your profile.

Les
les @ zoobody.com

08 April, 2007

Soundtrack

Because finding the music for your films is more important than writing the films

I love discovering bands for myself just before they become big and then mentioning to everyone how I've had the album for ages or saw them on their first tour. That's fairly sad but what is far far worse is musical snobbery.

Musical snobs need successful good pop artists much more than they realise. It's a way of saying, "I am an individual, I do not follow the herd, I can think for myself". But ironically, being anti-pop is just following the particular herd you belong to. Just as being anti-rock is for some popsters.

I'm not saying people have to listen to music genres they don't like but dismissing all genres as crap and worse than your own favourite seems a bit adolescent. Sure when we're teens and we're trying to forge our own identity we will attach to tribes and gangs and do the whole hating/fighting/killing of other tribes and gangs but for grown-ups to still be doing it, it's a bit sad.

It's the same in television and film, dismissing all soaps as a genre because of Eastenders is silly when there is Coronation Street for instance.

It's maybe growing up listening to the catholic and eclectic mix of the John Peel show but I think good music is good music whatever the genre. There is good cool indie rock and there is utter shite cool indie rock. There is good pop and there is bad pop. The following two artists are good. And this isn't a cynical attempt to increase my movies ' soundtrack sales, I genuinely like these singer-songwriters' debut albums. No guilty pleasure, just pleasure.

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James Blunt



"You're Beautiful", co-written with the quite good in her own right Amanda Ghost, is a classic. If there is a problem with it then it's much too over-exposed to go in my film but that's not Blunt's fault. Is he really meant to say to radio stations "please stop putting my songs on seriously heavy rotation as people will get sick of me and hate me"?

But it's interesting how much of the snobbery is about his background and not his music. He's a posh boy and ex-military and there's issues with him not having "paid his dues" gigging before he broke through. So fucking what?

Official site
Wikipedia


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James Morrison


In the Observer a few weeks back you had Kathryn Flett thinking that James' speech at the Brits was good but having a dig at his music. In the music supplement you had, the increasingly idiotic, Miranda Sawyer slagging him off for beiong too much of wimp. Taken aback and doubting myself, I listened to the album again. And again. And genuinely couldn't see what was wrong with it. A character in one song even threatens violence against a woman, what's wimpy about that?

The Midlander was presented as a more authentic singer-songwriter than James Blunt because he had a troubled past and served his time gigging in pubs and doing menial jobs but again that's irrelevant. His vocals are awesome and the quality of his song-writing is equally impressive. I say 'his' songwriting but he co-wrote with the best pop songwriters in the business.

I admit I did find it difficult to believe he could have written such a wide range of mature quality songs unassisted at such a young age and while I was disappointed on learning he wasn't performing songs honed to perfection on the live circuit, ultimately I love the songs too much to care.

Official site
Myspace
Wikipedia

07 April, 2007

Matt Hanson, Swarm of Angels, interview

Articulate:

"In May last year writer and film-maker Matt Hanson launched A Swarm of Angels, a collaborative film-making project whereby up to 50,000 people pool their creativity and resources to make a movie. As the Swarm edges closer to its first birthday, Articulate caught up with Hanson for a progress report."

To Succeed in This Town, Be Your Own Best Agent

LA Times:

"Trying to get an agent is like trying to get a bank loan; a bank will lend you money only when you can prove you don't need it."

Julie Marie Myatt, playwright, interviews

LA Times:

"Until a few months ago, Julie Marie Myatt was struggling with the loneliness of the long-distance playwriting career — as in a long distance from financial security and an even longer distance from being noted, let alone famous."

Orange County Weekly:

“I think it’s an astonishing play because it’s so mysterious and elusive, it’s very subtle, and while there’s great humor in it, there’s also a huge streak of melancholy and longing. The emotional life of this play is palpable because it’s really all about family and the complicated motivations behind why people do things and how they’re never as straightforward or simple as they seem on the surface.”

Sampling and mixing

From Afrofuturism:

"Since I am a theatre dork, I wanted to make an extra comment on the topic of mixing or sampling. I recently took a class on modern American theatre, and we talked a little bit about some recent playwrights who have started using “sampling” as a way of writing a play. How this works in theatre is that the playwright combines little bits and pieces from several plays or from other sources, like song lyrics, poetry, or excerpts from novels to create the play. These plays also sometimes use other techniques like multimedia and projections. Another thing a playwright could do is mess around with things like location or the chronology of the play."

06 April, 2007

Opening Weekend

Blades of Glory


Comedy. In 2002, two rival Olympic ice skaters were stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from men's single competition. Presently, however, they've found a loophole that will allow them to qualify as a pairs team.

With Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler,Jenna Fischer,William Fichtner, Craig T. Nelson

Writers: Jeff Cox & Craig Cox, John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky
Director: Josh Gordon, Will Speck

Official site

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Caiman (Il Caimano)


Comedy-drama. Film makers attempt to produce a film about the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

With Silvio Orlando, Margherita Buy, Jasmine Trinca, Michele Placido, Giuliano Montaldo

Writer: Francesco Piccolo & Federica Pontremoli
Director: Nanni Moretti

Official site

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Close to Home (Karov La Bayit)


Drama. Two women, undertaking compulsory military service, patrol Jerusalem.

With Neama Shendar, Smadar Sayar, Lana Ettinger, Danny Geva, Sharon Raginiano

Writers: Vardit Bilu, Dalia Hagar
Directors: Vardit Bilu, Dalia Hagar

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Lights in the Dusk (Laitakaupungin valot)


Drama. In Helsinki, a lonely night watchman is caught up in a series of misadventures with a femme fatale and a crooked businessman.

With Janne Hyytiäinen, Maria Heiskanen, Maria Järvenhelmi, Ilkka Koivula

Writer: Aki Kaurismäki
Director: Aki Kaurismäki

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The Messengers


Supernatural horror. An ominous darkness invades a seemingly serene sunflower farm in North Dakota, and the Solomon family is torn apart by suspicion, mayhem and murder.

With Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, John Corbett

Writer: Mark Wheaton
Directors: Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang

Mark Wheaton interview 1
Mark Wheaton interview 2
Mark Wheaton interview 3

Official site


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Provoked


True life drama. A woman murders her husband after years of abuse.

With Aishwarya Rai, Miranda Richardson, Naveen Andrews, Ray Panthaki, Nandita Das, Robbie Coltrane

Writers: Carl Austin, Rahila Gupta
Director: Jag Mundhra

Official site

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Sunshine



Sci-fi thriller. Astronauts try to re-ignite the dying sun.

With Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis, Chris Evans, Troy Garity, Cillian Murphy, Hiroyuki Sanada, Mark Strong, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh

Writer: Alex Garland
Director: Danny Boyle

Official site

05 April, 2007

European Writing Competition of Film Concept


Deadline: 15 May 2007

The Brussels European Film Festival (FFFB) launches its second contest of film concepts! Are you a screenwriter or film director with an excellent film concept? Have you made no more than one feature film? The festival would like to hear from you!

Two winners will be invited for the weekend in Europe’s capital to receive their prizes (the software « Movie Magic Screenwriter » or « J'écris un Film ») at the Festival’s Awards Ceremony held on July 7, 2007. They will have the opportunity to meet producers and other film professionals.


How to participate?
Send the following documents, written in English, French or Dutch:
1. Film concept or story idea (3 pages maximum)
2. Author’s biography and photograph (in jpeg format)
3. Author's intention (1 page maximum): imagine you have to sell your concept to a producer and describe its cinematographic strengths

Entries must be sent before May 15, 2007 to:
FFFB asbl - Concept Competition
Place Flagey, 7 - 1050 Brussels (Belgium)
Or by e-mail to: script *AT* fffb.be

Click here to download the regulations for 2007. (PDF)

Danny Cohen is new BBC3 boss


E4 head Danny Cohen has accepted the job of BBC3 controller, replacing Julian Bellamy.

I'd like to add my personal congratulations. I simply cannot imagine anyone more qualified for the post and why they bothered holding interviews at all is beyond me. I'm sure his tenure at the helm will be an unqualified success.

Bond 22 script crisis

The James Bond Dossier:

"Earlier this month MI6 reported that Roger Michell had spoken a little more about his reason for not pursuing Bond 22.

“We couldn’t find a way of making us all happy with the script. It’s been through various drafts, but I just decided to say no before I got too far into it”, he reportedly said."

Screenwriting Blog-A-Thon!

Mystery Man on Film:

"A favorite screenplay question is more complicated than you might realize. We all have favorite films, and thus, we could conclude that those would be our favorite screenplays, too, right? How many of you, especially all you ambitious new screenwriters out there, have actually read the screenplays of your favorite films? Or how about this - have you ever loved a film and then read the screenplay only to be disappointed? And you walk away from that script marvelling that the film actually turned out well? Let me ask another question: do you love a screenplay simply because you connected with the story on some level or because you admire the crafty writing? Personally, the screenplays that I treasure are the ones composed by true masters of the craft - that fail."

The Comedy Smalls

The Smalls:

Deadline: 31 May 2007

"We want you to let your imagination take over. We want you to entertain your audience. Be funny. Be clever. Be ever so slightly rude if you need to. We are giving you free reign to explore the comic side of life. All we ask is that you make a film of your endeavours and send it to us. Just don’t forget to complete the entry form below.

To level the playing field a bit, we have selected a theme, “RELATIONSHIPS”. It could be a relationship with a friend, a loved one, a colleague, god or any other relationship worth exploring for its comic value.

Your film should be maximum 5 minutes long and the deadline for entering is 31 May 2007. The winner will be announced at The Comedy Smalls Awards in June."

The Story Behind the Story

From Adrian Mead:

I recently came across this story on the web "First time writer's success." It always makes me smile when I see these sort of headlines. How does it make you feel?

For some people it gives a boost to their daydream of becoming a professional screenwriter. For others it is another kick in the guts, "How come they just fall into a job and I can't get anywhere after years of trying."

Well the truth is both reactions are equally ridiculous because the headline is nonsense. The press love to roll out the overnight success story when in fact it is never true.

Now I know there will be the people out there shouting, “But what about so and so? They were a first time, unknown writer and they sold their script for zillions” … Etc, etc.

In regards to overnight successes all I’ll say is this –

There is always a story behind the story.

Trust me, dig deep enough and you discover these individuals have worked incredibly hard to achieve their first time success. The twenty something wunderkind was probably making mini epics on home video at eight years old and editing and writing music scores; like Steven Spielberg making “Fighter Squad” at 14 or Rian Johnson of “Brick” fame who spent 9 years getting the film made. They had built up years of storytelling practice.

Or they have moved to screenwriting from an extensive background in another writing discipline, such as novels or theatre: Tom Stoppard, Lee Hall and the headliner that inspired this piece, Trevor Lloyd. Others will have learned their craft by working for years as a script editor.

Even in my own case when I look back I realise now that I was always reading and that my huge family were always gossiping, arguing and telling stories. I absorbed all that language and drama.

Finally there are the self-publicists. Remember this headline that was in all the papers a few years back?

Cabbie Sells Movie Script for £1 Million<

Read the book that tells the truth behind that story. “The Players; Taking Hollywood For A Ride” by Jo Reynolds. A very funny and illuminating read ... and perhaps a case of the story behind the story behind the story?

Unless you work full time in the film and TV industry you can have no idea how it REALLY works. It amazes me how often the information that circulates is completely inaccurate or a very polished version of the truth. For example, getting paid to write? Most writers seeking their first commission are only doing a fraction of what they need do to achieve this. They HOPE to be discovered. The reality is that all the writers I know who have got their break were massively proactive and had a strategy.

If you've ever attended one of our courses you will be aware of how I bang on about the fact that in order to achieve success you only need to follow a very simple formula, TALENT + EFFORT + STRATEGY = SUCCESS.

It’s that simple. And the harder you work on each of the ingredients you use the bigger the result you achieve.

It's important to ditch the day dreaming or worrying about becoming an overnight sensation. You are only getting a tiny part of the truth. Instead concentrate on improving your craft skills and plan a career strategy based on how the industry REALLY works.

With no over-inflated egos, no 'magic formulas' and emphasis on pure commitment and hard work - I particularly liked the way Adrian cut through the crap and told it like it really is!
Lara Greenway

You need THE FACTS, not the misleading press releases, not the kindly, encouraging words extolled to writers groups but the story behind the story. The best way is to speak directly to a working professional, someone who is already doing the job you want to do. But how do you get to meet these elusive creatures? Well now is your chance to meet four of them.

In an effort to provide exactly the information you need we have organised our latest course, The Long Distance Screenwriter. I have persuaded some of the busiest and nicest screenwriters I know to make themselves available to share their experiences with you. This is your chance to learn how Marc Pye, Rob Fraser and Louise Ironside got their break and a chance to ask for recommendations on how you should build your career.

As with our previous courses this will be a relaxed and fun event that is crammed with practical info that you cannot get anywhere else.


In the morning I will be updating you with the very latest opportunities for writers in the film and TV industry. This will be broken up by the coffee break and light lunch we provide. Many former attendees have commented that this is one of the most valuable elements of the day as it is a great opportunity to meet other writers and industry professionals.

The afternoon will be spent with our panel of writers. I know that you will be inspired and encouraged by the wealth of experience and very down to earth approach of all of them. I am really looking forward to this class and places are rapidly starting to fill up as folk have kindly spread their recommendations far and wide. Here's just a few of the testimonials about our most recent class.

I hugely enjoyed last Saturday, talked to lots of interesting people, and found your comments both useful and practical. Before last week I wasn’t sure what I should do next. I know now!

Sally O'Reilly

I have nothing but praise for the way in which the day was presented and the information imparted. Now I feel like it is only a matter of time until I am writing full time. I will certainly come to another event organised by you as I can honestly say it was worth every penny and that's praise indeed from a student!
Catherine Howard

“I found the class very friendly and informative as well as packed with useful tips. It was also inspirational in that it provided essential tools for selling scripts to the right people.
William Dingli

We have started advertising this class early because we know people like to travel to our events and this give you a chance to seek out early bird travel deals. Edinburgh in June is beautiful so don't miss the chance to have a day of inspiration and career building info that you wont find anywhere else. Thanks to all who've already signed up for our forth coming class in June. Even if you cannot attend the class please spread the word to others who may be interested.

BOOK NOW!

Saturday 9 June

St Columba's By The Castle Church Hall, Johnston Terrace Edinburgh

10.00 am - 4.30pm

COST £55 (inc VAT and light lunch)

CONTACT: info@meadkerr.com or 0131 554 4539

A FREE 15 page Booklet of career building tips for writers is available on request by e-mail.



04 April, 2007

Why Write a Play?

Drama Class:

"While authors and poets may be pleased to see their name in print, there is nothing quite like the thrill of listening to a live audience cheering and clapping in response to a playwright's carefully crafted words."

Lonnie Carter, Playwright, interview

Insight News:

"A conspicuous trait of his writing is that Carter, who is white, regularly populates his scripts with Black characters."

Films in narrow-screen

The Guardian:

"Mobile phone movies are the latest development in the ongoing war against teenage boredom, and the first is coming soon."

03 April, 2007

Bert Coules, Writing for Radio, interview

Pillock's Pad

"I worked for a while as a reader in the BBC's Script Unit, working my way through unsolicited plays (of which hundreds arrived every week). More than anything else, I wanted to open a manuscript and find a gripping, entertaining, well-crafted piece of work. And the people above me, the commissioning editors and the producers, wanted the same thing. The sadness is that it hardly ever happened. Most of what's submitted is *awful*. And scripts that were good often ruled themselves out on the grounds of their content, their subject-matter, their language. I must have read well over a thousand plays in my spell in the Unit. I think *three* of them finally got bought and made."

02 April, 2007

Fin Kennedy, "How to Disappear...", interview

The Guardian:

"How to Disappear won Arts Council England's prestigious John Whiting award for new theatre writing. It was the first time in 38 years it had been given to an unperformed play."

Scott Frank, "The Lookout", interview

Boston Globe:

" "I'm probably the least-bitter screenwriter you'll ever meet," Scott Frank likes to say."

01 April, 2007

Soundtrack

Because compiling music for your films is more important than writing them.

Although I need my pop, I also need my rock. Sticking with Japan, I need to get these two bands in my movies somehow.


the pillows



This band gained attention outside Japan due to their excellent soundtrack to the adult anime series FLCL. They have been going since 1989 and are probably the biggest and best rock band from Japan. They would probably also secure a good placing on the all time world list.

Wikipedia
Myspace
Official site


The Mad Capsule Markets


I bought their album 010 thinking that they were a new band but the album was their tenth (hence the title). It wasn't just that I hadn't heard of them before that led to that assumption but their sound was a fresh fast brilliant techno/punk clash.

Unfortunately they are on a break and are persuing solo projects but that's OK, there's enough tracks to choose from for my films. "Fly High" off 010 for the big car chase, for sure.

Wikipedia
Unofficial site