31 May, 2009

"Last Day Dream" by Chris Milk

Last Day Dream [HD] from Chris Milk on Vimeo.

(Run it past-your-eyes! Don't skim it! Sorry, I've milked that gag enough...)

"Lemonade from Lemons"

Lisa Klink:

"I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating that one of the most important skills for a TV writer is flexibility. Which isn’t the same as spinelessness. You have to be willing to fight for the key elements which make your script work. You also have to be willing to change or even throw out elements you love if they’re not really crucial. Or affordable. Want to make yourself indispensable to a showrunner? Be the writer who can take any mess of an idea, stupid studio notes or ridiculous budget restrictions and still crank out a gem of a script."

Article in full

via Terry Cafolla on Twitter

29 May, 2009

"13 Tips For Actually Getting Some Writing Done"

By Gretchen Rubin:

"One of the challenges of writing is...
writing. Here are some tips that I've found most useful for myself, for actually getting words onto the page:

1. Write something every work-day, and preferably, every day; don't wait for inspiration to strike. Staying inside a project keeps you engaged, keeps your mind working, and keeps ideas flowing. Also, perhaps surprisingly, it's often easier to do something almost every day than to do it three times a week. (This may be related to the abstainer/moderator split.)

2. Remember that if you have even just fifteen minutes, you can get something done. Don't mislead yourself, as I did for several years, with thoughts like, "If I don't have three or four hours clear, there's no point in starting."

3. Don't binge on writing. Staying up all night, not leaving your house for days, abandoning all other priorities in your life -- these habits lead to burn-out.

4. If you have trouble re-entering a project, stop working in mid-thought -- even mid-sentence -- so it's easy to dive back in later.

5. Don't get distracted by how much you are or aren't getting done. I put myself in jail.

6. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that creativity descends on you at random. Creative thinking comes most easily when you're writing regularly and frequently, when you're constantly thinking about your project.

7. Remember that lots of good ideas and great writing come during the revision stage. I've found, for myself, that I need to get a beginning, middle, and an end in place, and then the more creative and complex ideas begin to form. So I try not to be discouraged by first drafts.

8. Develop a method of keeping track of thoughts, ideas, articles, or anything that catches your attention. That keeps you from forgetting ideas that might turn out to be important, and also, combing through these materials helps stimulate your creativity. My catch-all document, where I store everything related to happiness that I don't have another place for, is more than five hundred pages long. Some people use inspiration boards; others keep scrapbooks. Whatever works for you.

9. Pay attention to your physical comfort. Do you have a decent desk and chair? Are you cramped? Is the light too dim or too bright? Make a salute--if you feel relief when your hand is shading your eyes, your desk is too brightly lit. Check your body, too: lower your shoulders, make sure your tongue isn't pressed against the top of your mouth, don't sit in a contorted way. Being physically uncomfortable tires you out and makes work seem harder.

10. Try to eliminate interruptions -- by other people, email, your phone, or poking around the Internet -- but don't tell yourself that you can only work with complete peace and quiet.

11. Over his writing desk, Franz Kafka had one word: "Wait." My brilliantly creative friend Tad Low, however, keeps a different word on his desk: "Now." Both pieces of advice are good.

12. If you're stuck, try going for a walk and reading a really good book. Virginia Woolf noted to herself: "The way to rock oneself back into writing is this. First gentle exercise in the air. Second the reading of good literature. It is a mistake to think that literature can be produced from the raw."

13. At least in my experience, the most important tip for getting writing done? Have something to say! This sounds obvious, but it's a lot easier to write when you're trying to tell a story, explain an idea, convey an impression, give a review, or whatever. If you're having trouble writing, forget about the writing and focus on what you want to communicate. For example, I remember flailing desperately as I tried to write my college and law-school application essays. It was horrible -- until in both cases I realized I had something I really wanted to say. Then the writing came easily, and those two essays are among my favorites of things I've ever written.

The Happiness Project book is due out in January. In the book, I describe my experience writing a novel in a month, inspired by Chris Baty's No Plot? No Problem! Yes, you can write a real novel in one month. It was a lot of fun.

* I always find something great on Dumb Little Man.

* If you're starting your own happiness project, please join the Page on Facebook to swap ideas. It's easy; it's free. "

___________________________________________________________

via HuffPo and TwitWriters


28 May, 2009

5 Scene Tips for Screenwriters

Flickgym:

Here's today's 5 tips for screenwriters on scene structure. When rewriting your scenes, ask yourself the following questions...

1. What is this scene about?


2. What do the characters want?


3. What is the "turn"?


4. What does this scene contrast?


5. Is it a duplicate?


Article in full

site heads up via
Shell via Twitter

27 May, 2009

Serious Screenwriting 2009

Friday 5 & Saturday 6 June 2009
BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London W1

Please Note: the concept is the same, but all sessions are new this year, so if you enjoyed this event in 2008, we’d love to see you again this year.

Serious Screenwriting is back and even better! We’ve teamed up with BAFTA for this year's programme to give you unparalleled access to the most influential decision-makers and most inspiring filmmakers working in the UK today. If you'd like to hear how the world's current Number 1 screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy, worked his magic on Slumdog Millionaire; watch Justine Wright, the UK's hottest editor unravelling her approach to storytelling on the blockbuster State Of Play; hear international stars like Jenny Agutter and David Morrissey explain what makes a script stand out for them; find out what ideas Working Titles's Debra Hayward and some of her fellow top UK execs are looking for; or bag a meeting with super producers David Parfitt or Duncan Kenworthy, then Serious Screenwriting is the place to start.

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

Full details

BOOKING INFORMATION

Serious Screenwriting costs £185 + VAT (total £212.75).
There is a special discounted rate for Script Factory Members of £155 + VAT (total £178.25). Click here for details on Script Factory Membership.

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via Shell on Twitter

Daniel Kunka, "12 Rounds", interview

Ramblings and Musings of an L.A. Writer:

" JB: How long did it take you to write 12 Rounds?

DK: It was a long process. I came up with the idea around August or September of ’05. It took me two or three months (and about eight tries) to get a solid outline. I then wrote the initial draft rather quickly, maybe over the course of three or four weeks, sticking relatively close to the outline. After we had the first draft I showed it to Josh McLaughlin (the producer of the movie) who then had a bunch of notes – basically, as with most first drafts, we were nowhere. I then took the better part of 2006 sitting around doing nothing, thinking about the script, not thinking about the script, until I had a couple of breakthroughs and got motivated. Rewriting is ALWAYS the toughest part of writing. "

Article in full

26 May, 2009

Shane Black action masterclass

The Guardian:

"A man, a mission, a fiendishly clever bad guy, some guns and a few explosions. It's the classic recipe for a good action movie. Back in the 1980s, Shane Black became Hollywood's go-to screenwriter for that sort of stuff. He wrote Lethal Weapon when he was just 23 and went on to write scripts for Last Action Hero, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight. This is his masterclass of moves no action movie should be without."

1. An action-driven plot

2. Highs and lows

3. Sudden impact

4. Throwaway gags

5. Subjective action

6. Awkwardness

7. Conventions stood on their head

8. Set-ups and pay-offs

9. Reversals

10. Quality of edge "

Article in full

25 May, 2009

TV Tropes



" Welcome To TV Tropes!

What is this about?
This wiki is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction. We dip into the cauldron of story, whistle up a hearty spoonful and splosh it in front of you to devour to your heart's content.

Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means "stereotyped and trite". In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them.

The wiki is called "TV Tropes" because that is where we started. Over the course of a few years, our scope has crept out to include other media. Tropes transcend television. They exist in life, as we will be quick to tell you. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, does its best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere. "

24 May, 2009

"Rules for Time Travelers"

Discover:

"With the new Star Trek out, it’s long past time (as it were) that we laid out the rules for would-be fictional time-travellers. (Spoiler: Spock travels to the past and gets a sex change and becomes Kirk’s grandfather lover.*) Not that we expect these rules to be obeyed; the dramatic demands of a work of fiction will always trump the desire to get things scientifically accurate, and Star Trek all by itself has foisted half a dozen mutually-inconsistent theories of time travel on us. But time travel isn’t magic; it may or may not be allowed by the laws of physics — we don’t know them well enough to be sure — but we do know enough to say that if time travel were possible, certain rules would have to be obeyed. And sometimes it’s more interesting to play by the rules. So if you wanted to create a fictional world involving travel through time, here are 10+1 rules by which you should try to play.

0. There are no paradoxes.

1. Travelling into the future is easy.

2. Travelling into the past is hard — but maybe not impossible.

3. Travelling through time is like travelling through space.

4. Things that travel together, age together.

5. Black holes are not time machines.

6. If something happened, it happened.

7. There is no meta-time.

8. You can’t travel back to before the time machine was built.

9. Unless you go to a parallel universe.

10. And even then, your old universe is still there. "

Article in full

22 May, 2009

"Abi Morgan: How I put the Taliban on stage"

The Guardian:

"The urge to write kicked in. Here was a chance to illuminate a world where school is a luxury, and where the decision to become a teacher in Afghanistan - particularly a female teacher - could mean courting death. I wrote quickly, fuelled by this urgency - a half-marathon rather than the full 26 miles, but still. After years of writing for television and films (including the screenplay for Brick Lane and Channel 4's Sex Traffic), it felt good to finish."

Article in full.

Morgan also wrote the BAFTA winning White Girl.

Read it here. (via the BBC Writersroom)

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FMF Announces New Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls

21 May, 2009

Neil Simon, playwright, interview

The Oregonian:

"I'd say all of the people I write about -- and this goes for playwriting altogether -- had better be in trouble. Otherwise, what's the play about?

I don't try to push them to an extreme, because the extreme is there already. It's them. I'm never looking for humour, either. The humour just comes from the problems they're going through and how they deal with them.

For me, the humour just sort of slides in. It either comes out of my head or it doesn't. I know that sounds strange, but there's no other explanation for it. It's like if you were talking to a painter and you said, "Where do you get the red from?" What's he going to say to you? "It's the right colour to put there."

Article in full

20 May, 2009

Ashley Pharoah, screenwriter, interview

Western Daily Press:

"Last year, Ashley and Matthew unveiled Bonekickers, which followed archaeologists in Bath, and which proved to be an uncharacteristic failure with critics and audiences.

"It's a shame, because I was rather fond of Bonekickers," Ashley says.

"We worked incredibly hard on it and I think it could have worked if things had been a little different.

"It was always meant to be a family show, and we'd imagined it would be aired at teatime. But for some reason the BBC decided to show it at 9pm, which meant we lost children from our audience. It looked out of place that late in the schedule.

"It was also meant to be a comedy, but for some reason, everyone seemed to take it seriously. The idea was to create something epic and ironic, like Indiana Jones, but everyone thought we were being serious, so it came across as ridiculous.

"But, the Americans loved it, and there's an American version in the pipeline, which is set in New England. I think it will go down well over there, and we'll get the chance to fix the things that went wrong on the British version."

The BBC wanted a second UK series, but Ashley and Matthew declined the offer."

Article in full

19 May, 2009

Charlie Kaufman, "Synecdoche, New York" interviews


Little White Lies:

"It really was turning 30. I had, sort of… I felt like the writing was on the wall in a way and I had to do something because this was gonna be my life, you know? And it was a very difficult life. I mean, I couldn’t really support myself and it wasn’t fulfilling in any way, so, you know, I got the idea to be very tenacious and actually get a job, and I kind of looked pragmatically at how I would do that and I realised that there was, kind of, a route to getting work in television in the United States – at least, there was at the time.

It was very simple, you know, in that you had to write sample scripts and if you could attract the attention of an agent then the agent could send them out to producers and then, you know, if they liked your script… It wasn’t like you needed a certain degree or you needed some experience even, really. You could just get a job as a writer if you could get in.

And so I pursued that doggedly, you know, wrote the sample scripts and sent them out, got an agent, which was also difficult but I did it – I pursued it until I got one – I came out here to LA to do job interviews and I ended up getting a job. So I started writing on a TV show when I was 32."

Article in full

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The Onion AV Club:

"But I also think perspective is overrated and not what I’m going for. When I’m writing, I’m trying to immerse myself in the chaos of an emotional experience, rather than separate myself from it and look back at it from a distance with clarity and tell it as a story. Because that’s how life is lived, you know? Life is not lived 10 years ahead of itself—there’s a lie to that.

The conventional wisdom is—people say this all the time—you should only write something when you’re far enough away from it that you can have a perspective. But that’s not true. That’s a story that you’re telling. The truth of it is here, right now. It’s the only truth that we ever know. And I’m interested in that truth and the confusion being part of the experience and sorting it your way through and figuring it out. So if my movies don’t have perspective and they’re created in that “now,” then I’m kind of okay with that. It’s desirable."

Article in full

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/film:

"Well, I think it makes it more interesting for an audience to have some complexity in the material, and also, I’ve got this sort of thing where I’m trying to make it feel like it’s a living piece of theatre, as opposed to a set, sort of a pre-recorded thing. And it’s sort of a tricky thing to try to make film feel alive because it isn’t. So this way, it can change when you watch it again at a different point in your life, or just seeing it for the second time, you’re going to see things you couldn’t possibly see the first time because you didn’t know something until the end. But, also, you get to look at details. You can watch things that are happening in the background of scenes that are informative that you probably don’t see the first time through when you’re just trying to get the thing. So that’s why."

Article in full

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Wired:

"“I’m not going to pander,” Kaufman says. “I’m going to anti-pander. But then the question I raise about myself is, Is that pandering?” Pause. “You can’t win.”

Article in full
Unedited audio interview

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Twitch:

"The basis is always the emotions. I try to always keep sight of that. The ideas are in service of that. So, yeah, it is an intuitive process. In this case I thought of images or events that felt emotionally moving to me and I trusted that. It took a very long time to write, longer than two years. So it’s had a lot of time to brew. I don’t start out with an outline. I don’t know where it’s going to end. I start out with things I’m interested in exploring and then I allow them to be explored. If I find something 50 pages in that excites me, the story is free to go in that direction. That makes it an expansive experience for me that, hopefully, is reflected in the movie at the end. That’s probably an unconventional way to write a screenplay because I think people tend to think of these things as products—“This would be a cool place to go. This would be a cool ending. This is going to sell the movie.”—whereas, I trust that I’m going to come to something over time that’s going to be interesting."

Article in full

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The Daily Media Blog:

"Well, obviously I have a lot of time to read crap online [laughs], ya know? It’s one of the dangers of working at a computer and having a lot of problems coming up with ideas. I always have time to kind of ‘oh, let’s see what they said about me now’. That happens several times a day."

Article in full

18 May, 2009

Red Planet Prize 2009

Mark Wilkinson has been announced as the winner of last year's competition and Sir Daniel has done an inspirational interview with him over at The Red Planet Prize Blog.

"I spent about 10 months on research, character biographies and thinking about the structure of the series. Once I had an idea of where it was going, I worked my way backwards to find out where it should start. The writing of the actual script took about 3 to 4 months."

However quickly we can write quality first drafts, I think it's probably a good idea to start thinking of good ideas for the next competition now so we are ready to choose the most appropriate when the competition is announced.

Sir Daniel will be giving a review of last year's competition in due course and keep on eye on Sir Jason's and Sir Oliver's blogs, in case they are able to feedback on the finalists workshop.

09 May, 2009

"Screenwriting career tips"

From Adrian Mead:

"Like many people I’m fascinated by research into success and regularly attend seminars presented by experts ranging from psychologists to Olympians. I’ve been inspired by the survivors of disasters and awed by the accomplishments of human rights workers. But what did I learn? Is there a formula for success, and if so how can writers use it?

One definition of success listed in the Oxford dictionary is - ”accomplishment of what was aimed at”. Yet with all the change and uncertainty circulating about the film and TV industry many of you will be thinking. “In order to aim I need a target. What am I supposed to be aiming at?”

Well it’s no wonder you are confused. Long running TV shows, often the first break and nursery pool for new writers are being “rested” left right and centre. Budgets are being squeezed and broadcasters and film investors have never seemed so risk averse. So, where should you be spending time and effort trying to get noticed? Who should you be lining up in your sights as a source of funding and work? How hard should you be working?

You are dead right to believe that pursuing the strategies that worked in the past are now redundant. The once standard approach you used even three months ago is pointless. Everything has changed. You need to do the same or get left behind. However fear not, I have been having fun figuring out the answers for you.

Take for example the age old question of which makes the greatest difference to your likelihood of succeeding - talent or effort? Scientific research has concluded that it takes eight-to-twelve years of training and practice for a talented individual to reach elite levels. This is called the ten-year or 10,000 hour rule, which translates to slightly more than three hours of practice daily for ten years (Ericsson, et al., 1993; Ericsson and Charness, 1994, Bloom, 1985; Salmela et al., 1998

"It takes 10 years of extensive training to excel in anything"
Herbert Simon - Nobel Laureate

Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Outliers: The Story of Success does a fun job of examining this theory. Gladwell cites numerous examples ranging from The Beatles and their mammoth 8 hour stage sessions in Hamburg to Bill Gates and his obsessive childhood programming as proof of the 10,000 hour rule. Talent and effort are inextricably linked in the pursuit of success. It breaks down into a simple formula -

TALENT + EFFORT + STRATEGY = SUCCESS

So, how much effort are you willing to put in to building your career?

If you’ve had an email from me in the past or attended any of the classes I occasionally teach you will know how I bang on about how so many people try and achieve – yet are unwilling to put in the effort required to get to the top of one of the world’s most competitive industries. Make certain that you are passionately committed to becoming a screenwriter...anything less and you will fall short. If you’d like to know exactly what it takes to get your break and what you should be doing to maximize your chances of success join me at THE SCREENWRITER'S CAREER GUIDE on Sat 4th July.

Best wishes,
Adrian





THE SCREENWRITER'S CAREER GUIDE will be presented by Adrian Mead. If you have attended one of Adrian’s classes before you know to expect the most up to date information from a working professional. This event is sure to sell out early so don't miss out. Here’s what participants of Adrian’s previous classes have said -

"I found the course absolutely invaluable. Adrian avoided the well trodden ground of screenwriting theory and instead concentrated on how to actually get finished manuscripts into the hands of producers and agents." - Stuart

"Adrian delivered the lab in a charismatic and professional manner. Giving clarity and focus to the sometime daunting task of making it as a writer." - Monica

"The course was amazing. I gained a real insight into the industry and now feel enthused to pursue my goals with vigour and boldness!" - Megan

When and Where
The next course will be held on 4 July 2009 at a central London location.

The course fee is £70 + VAT (EARLY BIRD UNTIL 2nd June). The fee includes all materials and light refreshments.

To book go to www.initialize-films.co.uk.

Testimonials

You can view testimonials for Adrian's sell out classes and acclaimed e-book MAKING IT AS A SCREENWRITER at www.meadkerr.com


08 May, 2009

"Cliché Watch: Dead Relatives Onstage"

The New Colony Blog:

"Now a lot of these plays are very good: In the past year at Stage Left, we’ve looked at two separate, wonderful scripts which feature the central character talking to his dead brother. But far more frequently, it’s just a lazy way for playwrights to drop gigantic chunks of family exposition onstage. Did the central character have some sort of terrible unresolved conflict with her mother? Put the mother onstage still criticizing and undermining. Does a father feel guilty about how he treated his daughter? Why not give her a song?"

Article in full

05 May, 2009

Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, "Star Trek", interviews


"You can't separate (the drama and the action sequences) because if the action sequences aren't somehow imbued with the investment with your characters, it's just... basic action sequences. You've got to care what happens to these people" Alex Kurtzman

TrekMovie.com

Ain't It Cool News

Crave Online

FirstShowing.net:




The Hollywood Reporter:



SciFi Wire:

What familiar Star Trek bits will you see in the new movie?

How Star Trek deals with Kirk, Spock and McCoy

Why they don't call Star Trek a reboot

04 May, 2009

Keep Right On


"As you go through life,
It’s a long long road,
There’ll be joys and sorrows too,
As we journey on,
We will sing this song,
For the boys in royal blue,
We’re often partisan,
We will journey on,
Keep right on to the end of the road,
Keep right on to the end,
Though the way be long,
Let your heart beat strong,
Keep right on to the end,
Though you’re tired and weary,
Still journey on, ’til you come to your happy abode,
Where all the love, you’ve been dreaming of will be there.
WHERE? At the end of the road, Birmingham! Birmingham!"

Take away the specific references to the greatest football club on the planet, who have just been promoted to the Premiership, and the song applies to writers as well. We may be tired and weary but we have to journey on 'til we reach whatever our happy abode might be, whether it's a TV soap or a Hollywood movie or the West End or a Radio 4 series.

03 May, 2009

What the Papers Say: "Boy Meets Girl"


Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

"I hate it when that happens. You know, when you're standing in the rain under an electricity pylon, there's a big lightning strike, and suddenly you've turned into a woman.

Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that at the start of Boy Meets Girl. There are two people standing in the rain under a pylon when lightning strikes, and their two personalities swap bodies. So Danny the person jumps into Veronica's body and vice versa.

I just had a chat with our science writers, and they say it almost certainly wouldn't happen in real life. So the premise of Boy Meets Girl is a fairly big ask of the viewer.

Once you're there though, it's mildly amusing. Genders are boiled down to the very basics. So being a woman is about gossiping with friends, makeup, white wine and shoes. And being a man means being messy, smelly, a bit hopeless and liking beer. Fair enough, I guess.

The first thing that Danny does, inside Veronica, is to have a fumble of his own boobs. And then he gives himself an orgasm with the aid of vibrator. Well, you probably would, wouldn't you? But I wasn't entirely surprised to see that this is written by a man, David Allison, as this seems to be a fairly male perspective on what being a woman is all about. Wey hey, I've got my own puppies to play with, and a Rampant Rabbit!

The two leads are good though - Martin Freeman as Danny and Rachael Stirling as Veronica, or is it the other way round; it's hard to know who's playing who really.

I'm not sure the gender-swap thing itself is going to be enough to keep it going for four episodes. So there's going to have to be some additional plotlines to keep up the interest. I guess it's going to be all about them trying to get back to where, or who, they were before, with plenty more help-I'm-a-man/woman jokes along the way.

It's sort of Life On Mars I suppose, but they're trapped not in the wrong era but in the wrong body, and one of the wrong sex. Life in Mars then, and Life in Venus. Kinda ..."

*********************************************************************

Caitlin Moran, The Times

"As a TV critic it feels a bit weird — almost inappropriate — to be writing something positive about ITV1. Last month, when I was joyful about the ITV1 documentary series Holloway, I felt a little bit . . . patronising, to be honest. I mean, ITV1 is dying on its arse — it’s posted a £2.7 billion loss, had to slash The Bill back to one day a week, despite six million viewers and a Bafta for best soap, and now Michael Grade’s jumped ship. In that kind of climate, being nice about one documentary, once, is a bit like when you’re introduced to someone’s charmless, hyperactive and borderline violent ten-year-old child, and weakly say, “Oh, what a lovely cardigan she has on!”

Imagine, then, the maelstrom of conflicted feelings I am experiencing on discovering that ITV1 has managed to make another more-than-watchable show — barely four weeks later. I can’t help but feel that, should I start championing it, that I will be a little bit like Peter Andre, who ran the London Marathon with “JADE” written on his arm in felt-tip. Can I come in, this late in the day, and pretend to be ITV1’s friend? I’m clearly around only for the good times, such as they may be. Indeed, with my “forthright” reviews of Lewis, Primeval and Wild at Heart, I have, in some small way, constituted quite a lot of ITV1’s bad times.

But there we go and here we are, and there’s no two ways about it: ITV1’s new comedy-drama, Boy Meets Girl, is really good. ITV1 has, almost unprecedentedly, given a total newcomer — the writer David Allison — three hour-long episodes. Furthermore, for a channel predominantly reliant on Wayne Sleep eating wallaby gonad sacs in the jungle, they’ve let Allison go pretty high-concept: a man and a woman swap souls, and subsequently re-evaluate the world from the shoes of the opposite sex.

Or, to make it low-concept again, Boy Meets Girl is basically Freaky Friday crossed with Uptown Girl by Billy Joel: posh bird jumps into the body of chippy slob, and vice versa.

Kevin Turvey-alike Danny (Martin “Tim from The Office” Freeman) and the Carrie Bradshaw-esque fashion journalist Veronica (Rachael Tipping the Velvet Stirling) meet during a storm and get struck by Mankind’s favourite narrative enabler of time travel and/or body-swapping: a huge bolt of lightning. When they wake, what looks like the bloke from The Office is, inside, a very scared, panicking middle-class woman with total amnesia — reduced to begging on the streets for enough money for an all-butter croissant from Pret. Meanwhile, the body of that gorgeous chick from Tipping the Velvet holds within a conspiracy theorist pig, who is revolted by “her” metrosexual boyfriend (Paterson Joseph), but loves “her” swishy warehouse apartment and Bang & Olufsen entertainment cockpit.

Brightly, Allison has made Boy Meets Girl not about gender confusion but character confusion. In the first episode, centred all on “Danny”, “his” main problem is not suddenly handling knickers and heels, but Veronica’s high-maintenance, wineswilling, chattering-class, infidelity-racked life. This allowed us a pleasurable hour of watching Stirling sniffing, slumping, slurping and burping around her formerly chi-chi life; lying on the sofa with her hood up, watching TV with a fag, and having slow, selfish Danny-thoughts pass across her beautiful, malleable face. Indeed, so far, Stirling has been extraordinary — she is not so much playing a man as playing a man who is still a boy inside, and therefore who was also playing a man. Who is Tim Freeman anyway? It’s all a little bit mind-meldy. I’m sure the Bafta committee is already taking notes.

Next week’s episode is all about Veronica in the body of Freeman — giving him an equal opportunity to really get in there with some top-quality face-acting and well-observed woman-style walking. The premise of the show does hold the threat that it could, ultimately, sputter out in an orgy of man/woman huggin’n’learnin’ — but so far, the prospects are good for a satisfyingly bumpy ending.

And it is definitely on ITV1. I’ve just checked again. "

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John Preston, The Daily Telegraph

"Many theories have been put forward as to why Michael Grade is stepping down as Executive Chairman of ITV. But I’m beginning to suspect I know the real answer. Someone hovering above him in the hierarchy must have seen Boy Meets Girl (Friday, ITV1) and decided that this couldn’t be allowed to go on.

Boy Meets Girl is a new comedy/drama which began with that traditional harbinger of trouble: a flash of lightning. Warehouseman Danny (Martin Freeman) meets beauty editor Veronica (Rachael Stirling) under an electricity pylon on a stormy night.

The pylon promptly falls over, sending a pleasingly large portion of the national grid through the pair of them. We then go back to ‘earlier that day’ where we learn that Danny is a tedious conspiracy theorist who’s always banging on about how the CIA bombed the Twin Towers. Just in case you thought he had any redeeming features, he also believes in flying saucers. There was a certain comfort to be gained from the knowledge that he was shortly to be electrocuted – but not much.

When Danny wakes up in hospital, he realises that his brain has somehow lodged itself in Veronica’s body – and vice versa. This set-up might have had some possibilities, I suppose, but as presented here both protagonists are eerily unlikeable. As for charm… the needle never quivered, let alone stirred.

‘You’re not yourself,’ Danny’s boyfriend, Jay (Paterson Joseph) tells her. Various unfunny observations on the difference between men and women followed, along with two I-can’t-get-the-hang-of-this-walking-in-high-heels-business jokes – put very close together, presumably to keep the wave of merriment cresting breezily along. Stirling was rather good with her gruff voice and surly boyish mannerisms. However, David Allison’s script gave them both pitifully little to work with, and Alrick Riley’s direction did nothing to conceal its deficiencies."

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David Allison Interview

Sally Brockway asks David about

  • How, when the press have been calling him a new writer, he got access to the right people to pitch his show. (You might find the - remarkably candid - answer amusing!)
  • The balance of skill and compromise that's needed to write for long running series
  • How, once again, starting writing in the theatre can give you the flying start you need
  • Interesting figures on his own personal development to commission ratio
  • How to deal with rejection and depression of being a writer - and even how it can be instructive
  • The real truth about how to network (And no, it's not about giving out business cards at parties
  • Whether developing shows that you believe people is a good or a bad idea
  • How he plugs the Danny character into his worst, most fearful situation as a means of driving the story on
  • How to pitch - in particular, how all you might need, with the right relationships in place, is a single page
  • How to avoid that terrible feeling of running out of story halfway through a script
  • David builds detailed character sheets - but it's a specific sort of detail he looks for when he builds them. He explains this in some detail

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Catch up with ITV Player

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Official Site

Press Pack


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01 May, 2009

"Screenplay Structure"

Tom has put up some workshop notes at his place. While splitting the second act into two might be a familiar trick to some of you as a way of avoiding the common problems, it's the next stage that's less familiar and pretty important.

"Next, you divide each of those segments in two, to create eight parts of the story.



While they won't all be exactly equal in length, they'll probably each run to 10-15 minutes for a feature-length script.

Knowing roughly the story you want to tell, you should now apply an 'emotional colour' to each of these chunks. It can be as little as one word; ambition, setback, disappointment etc. " (Article in full)

And here's Bill Martell to explain, better than I can, why it is so important:

"My friend John Hill (QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER) calls movies EMOTION pictures because people go to the movies to have emotional experiences. They want to feel. In our every day lives we usually have to hold in our emotions - films give us a chance to let all of those emotions out.

Our job as writers is to give the audience an emotional experience, whether it's fear from a horror movie, sadness from a tragedy, romance from a love story, joy and laughter from a comedy, excitement from an action movie. Our job is to create those emotions in the audience through our scripts."

Back up Your Data Day

It's the first of the month which means it's Back Up Your Data Day (although it should be done day-to-day!).

We can also use this day to delete stuff we no longer need and defragment our hard drive(s) to keep our machine lean and clean, do you know what I mean?

Windows guide to defragmenting
Mac users don't have to defragment, apparently.

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AVG LinkScanner

AVG LinkScanner AVG LinkScanner looks for threats on every link you click in real time, before you get there. If a link or bookmark is dangerous, LinkScanner alerts you of malicious activity.

License: Free
OS: Windows

(You do have to register with ZDNet first to download)

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A reminder about Matt's simple and effective back-up:

"I have never been able to get the hang of proper backup software and procedures. I always end up getting into a complete pickle about the various full backups, interim backups and how the bloody hell I'd back everything up if my hard-drive became shot with the backup software on it. So these days I just have a complete clone of My Documents on a portable drive and use Microsoft's Synctoy to keep the files up to date."

However I would suggest backing up your entire Documents and Settings folder and not just the My Documents part of it as it which would include emails and favourites/bookmarks. This link has more details.

I asked Lee about the Mac equivalent:

"Things like emails, bookmarks, fonts, templates, RSS feeds, Applescripts - anything used by an application, but not created by it when you hit Save - are kept in your Home folder, in the Library. In Mac speak, that's ~/Library. Apple apps such as Mail, Safari, and iTunes may have their own folders. Non-Apple apps like NetNewsWire, Montage, Final Draft, Scrivener etc, will keep all their stuff in ~/Library/Application Support. The truly paranoid might want to back up their preference files as well. I know I do. These are in ~/Library/Prefences.

For safety's sake, back up the entire Library folder, it's probably only a few hundred megs."

Thank you Matt and Lee!

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Don't delay, do it today. It's Back Up Your Data Day, hooray!