21 July, 2010

Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind)

Very funny.

18 July, 2010

Reading a script a day keeps the doctor away*

Someone was about to commit blogicide but I reminded them of a post they had which was very good. They offered it to me to put on my blog but then they changed their mind and gave it to Scott at Go Into the Story instead. Though shocked, I couldn't really complain because there is no better screenwriting blog than Scott's.

He updates regularly, which helps, but it's the great mix and variety of those updates which impresses. There is also peer review messageboard, called The GITS Club (Don't confuse it with Chelsea FC)

Starting tomorrow GITS will begin 40 Days of Screenplays. The idea is to read one script a day for 40 days (although no-one is going to tell you off if you can't manage it for all days).

Scott recapped what he said about the 14 day version when suggesting the stretched stint: "Reading scripts is one of the single best ways you can increase your understanding of the craft of screenwriting. And reading 14 scripts in 14 days multiplies the benefit as you begin to intuit things, I guess you could say, on a macro level. You pick up pacing and tone, style and scene transitions, and on and on and on."

As Scott adds here,"(there is) an enormous value in digging into a script, breaking it down, and analysing it. But as noted, there's also a lot to be said for reading the script straight through in a sort of macro way per the story's feel, tone, pace, and themes."

The idea was to change the quote above (beneath the blog title) regularly but it's been the same Stephen King quote for ages now. While laziness accounts for most of that, it's also the perfect quote.

Courses and books can be useful (Scott teaches
here BTW) but reading scripts and writing scripts should be taking up most of our learning time. As Aristotle says, "We learn by doing."

*This is a fact, you have my word

14 July, 2010

"Roman Polanski, Child Rapist"


Johann Hari:

So that's OK then. It's fine to abuse young girls, as long as you're a great film director"

"So now we know. If you are a 44-year-old man, you can drug and anally rape a terrified 13-year-old girl as she sobs, says "No, no, no," and pleads for her asthma medication – all according to the victim's sworn testimony – and face no punishment at all. You just have to meet two criteria – (a) you have to run away and stay away for a few decades; and (b) you need to direct some good films. If you do, not only will you walk free, there will be a huge campaign to protect you from the "witch-hunt" and you will be lauded as a hero.

Roman Polanski admitted his crime before he ran away and, for years afterwards, he boasted from exile that every man wanted to do what he did. He chuckled to one interviewer in 1979: "If I had killed somebody, it wouldn't have had so much appeal to the press, you see?

But... fucking, you see... and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!"


O6 October 2009

Smoking Gun:

"Polanski The Predator"

"Two weeks after Polanski plied her with Champagne and a Quaalude, Samantha Gailey appeared before an L.A. grand jury and recalled Polanski's predatory behavior in a Mulholland Canyon home owned by Jack Nicholson.

The teenager's troubling--and contemporaneous--account of her abuse at Polanski's hands begins with her posing twice for topless photos that the director said were for French Vogue. The girl then told prosecutors how Polanski directed her to, "Take off your underwear" and enter the Jacuzzi, where he photographed her naked. Soon, the director, who was then 43, joined her in the hot tub. He also wasn't wearing any clothes and, according to Gailey's testimony, wrapped his hands around the child's waist"

Article in full


Adrian Reynolds:

"Roman Polanski, Child Rapist"

"What’s happened in response to Polanski’s arrest? 100 notables in the world of film have written a pompous letter to the effect that making some decent films should exempt Roman Polanski from being punished for his crimes. (Remember: he violated a 13 year old girl without her consent, vaginally and anally.)"

Article in full



"Chris Rock On Roman Polanski: "It's Rape! Rape!"

"Last night on Jay Leno's new show, Chris Rock put on blast some of the attitudes surrounding director Roman Polanski, ripping into the rhetorical dances being done around what Polanski actually did - which was rape a thirteen year old."

Article in full


New York Times:

"The Polanski Uproar"

"While it’s clear that the film industry forgave Mr. Polanski long ago, should society separate the work of artists from the artists themselves, despite evidence of reprehensible or even criminal behavior?"

Articles in full


Kate Harding, Salon

"Reminder: Roman Polanski raped a child"

"Also, even if the girl had been old enough to consent, she testified that she did not consent. There's that. Though of course everyone makes a bigger deal of her age than her testimony that she did not consent, because if she'd been 18 and kept saying no while he kissed her, licked her, screwed her and sodomized her, this would almost certainly be a whole different story -- most likely one about her past sexual experiences and drug and alcohol use, about her desire to be famous, about what she was wearing, about how easy it would be for Roman Polanski to get consensual sex, so hey, why would he need to rape anyone? It would quite possibly be a story about a wealthy and famous director who pled not guilty to sexual assault, was acquitted on "she wanted it" grounds, and continued to live and work happily in the U.S. Which is to say that 30 years on, it would not be a story at all. So it's much safer to focus on the victim's age removing any legal question of consent than to get tied up in that thorny "he said, she said" stuff about her begging Polanski to stop and being terrified of him."

Article in full

09 July, 2010

TV Writers' Festival reports

All photos from Jason Arnopp's Twitter


David Bishop:

Alchemy of the First Episode

Low Budgets, Being Human

Jack Thorne, Toby Whithouse & Tony Roche

Face to Face - Kay Mellor

Marchant, Milne & Bowker

EastEnders to Life on Mars

Writer for Hire

Casualty 2010 - The Vision

Gene Hunt film mooted?


William Ivory, Lizzie Mickery, Ben Stephenson, Matthew Graham, Ben Richards


Margit Keerdo:

Notes from TV Drama Writers’ Festival. Part 1:
  • Whose voice is it anyway?

Notes from TV Drama Writers’ Festival. Part 2:
  • Poacher turned gamekeeper

Notes from TV Drama Writers’ Festival. Part 3:
  • Writer for Hire: How do you get original work on screen?
  • ‘They Won’t Like That’: Do we all try to second guess the commissioners?
  • In Conversation: TV Drama


Mina Zaher:

BBC's The Writers' Festival - Day 1

BBC's The Writers' Festival - Day 2


Audrey Gillan:

Notes From The BBC TV Writers' Festival in Leeds


Simon Stratton:

TV Writers' Festival Part I

TV Writers' Festival Part II

TV Writers' Festival Part III

TV Writers' Festival Part IV


Jason Arnopp

Leeds TV Writers' Festival: The Tweetcast (collated by @SirWestyWest)

"John Yorke's John Yorke's series masterclass":

"Story structure fans will enjoy these John Yorke boards":

"John Yorke's summing-up board":

07 July, 2010

New sitcom reading group, London

"A Man Walks into a Bar is a place for new comedy writers to get their work read by professional actors and commented on by an audience of like minded creative types, including reps from leading production companies.

It takes place monthly in an informal setting (a room above a pub just off Great Portland St) conducive to people sharing and talking about their ideas. The audience gets a giggle and the chance to voice their opinion and the writers get some valuable feedback and further inspiration.

The usual form is two half hour sitcom scripts, each followed by half an hour's worth of chat. Script. Chat. Script. Chat.

If you would like to be considered then contact amanwalksintoabarlondon(-AT-)gmail.com"

"Up this month we have Shelf Life, a sitcom set in that Great British institution: the public library. And to coincide nicely with the World Cup, a comedy called Stonewall Penalty, which offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the cut-throat business that is professional football."

Shelf Life is by Griff Phillips & Gary Bainbridge (humourist columnist of the Liverpool Daily Post)

Thursday 8 July 2010, 7:30pm,
upstairs at The Masons Arms, free entry

The Masons Arms, 58 Devonshire Street, London W1W 5EA
(Off Great Portland Street, corner of Devonshire Street and Hallam Street)

03 July, 2010

"Amazing Grace" by Michelle Lipton

"When Grace's Sudanese village is attacked, she scoops up her four young children and they flee, running for their lives.

Safety is within reach, and a truck full of displaced villagers lets her on board. She loads her two daughters on to the truck and turns to lift the boys up - but they aren't there. And the truck must go.

Grace must make any parent's most feared decision. A choice that is no choice - to save the children she has with her or abandon them to look for the two who are left behind.

This is the story of Grace - now living in the UK - and her battle to find and bring back her missing children."

Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 |
Condensed Omnibus


Writing for Radio
Michelle Lipton

Amazing Grace: Writing and Creating Sound Design and SFX
Savvy Productions

Principles of Writing Radio Drama

Notes from BBC Birmingham workshop

How to write a radio drama
BBC World Service

Writing Radio Drama

BBC writersroom

Writing Radio Situation Comedy
BBC writersroom

Radio Drama scripts
BBC writersroom

Radio Comedy scripts
BBC writersroom

How to write Radio Drama Cues

02 July, 2010

Pure - A meditation on violence and visual tropes at the movies

Pure from Jacob Bricca on Vimeo.

A meditation on violence and visual tropes at the movies, "Pure" celebrates the visceral pleasures of cinema. Music by The Jesus Lizard. Please play full screen with headphones at top volume!

01 July, 2010

What the Papers Say: "Reunited" pilot

Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

Like many people I've recently been in touch with some old friends, on a well-known social networking site. We're thinking of meeting up. For a drink, then maybe one more, followed by tequila slammers, and casual sex. That's if it goes like it does in Reunited (BBC1). I suspect it won't.

They're all at in Mike "Cold Feet" Bullen's comedy drama shagathon. Hannah with her Japanese boss; Hannah with Rob; Rob with loads of other people, including Sara's sister; Belinda with the guy from the Spanish evening class. And a part of Hannah and Martin – who were together when they all shared a student house eight years previously (before Hannah copped off with Rob first time round) – would very much like to get together again. I think I know which part too, if you see what I'm saying. Blimey. Well, what are friends for?

Trouble is, Martin's engaged to Sophie, who confusingly is wearing the same dress as Hannah. Only dull-but-nice Danny, who's being cheated on by Belinda, isn't getting any. Oh, and Sarah, but she's got Jesus. I reckon she should dump Jesus and get it on with Danny; it would be more in keeping with the general flavour of Reunited.

It's sharp and well observed, though none of them is either nice or nasty enough to care about very much. This is just a pilot; there may or may not be a series to follow. I'm not convinced there should be. The interesting thing about a reunion is the first bit, seeing who's doing well or not – in terms of money, hair, children, chins, happiness, sanity etc. And who you still fancy, of course. It's a one-off thing: meet-up, catch-up, slammers, wham bammers (or not), hangover, regrets. And then you can forget all about each other for another eight years."


Tom Sutcliffe,
The Independent

"Reunited couldn't more conspicuously have been a pilot if it had been wearing flying goggles and a leather helmet, but for some reason nobody seemed to want to mention the fact. Mike Bullen's script about student housemates meeting up again after eight years was described in the Radio Times as a "comedy drama", which rather suggested that within the hour Mike Bullen would have tied up at least one of the mop-head of loose ends he'd assembled. But as tick followed tock it dawned on you that Hannah's agony over whether Martin still loved her or Belinda's guilty secret about "Spanish lessons" or Rob's odd-couple affair with the judgemental Fran were not going to get any firm resolution before the final credits rolled, and you lost your only remaining motive for watching. It was a bit like being told a shaggy dog story only to have the teller smile enigmatically at the end and say he might deliver the punchline in eight months' time, provided the overnights turned out to be good enough.

I'm not keeping my fingers crossed myself, because this looked like a parody of Cold Feet-style drama, rather than a fresh product by the man who helped create it. In fact, what it really looked like was one of those narrative adverts that take their inspiration from Cold Feet-style drama, a Gold Blend world in which every line is silkily knowing, or involves embarrassment as well rehearsed as a dance routine. It had the same commercial compression in the storytelling, so that when Martin (on the brink of marriage and still nursing a grievance over a now ancient infidelity) spotted his old flame in the pub he froze in the doorway and a little shimmer on the soundtrack did the emotional shorthand for you in about two seconds flat, no characterisation required.

This was an ensemble affair though, so Gold Blend won't quite cover it. Before long, a Magners cider gang turned up, perky in their backchat, up for fun, breaking off for bits of man-hugging and girlish giggling. Hannah was at the centre of it, but there were other storylines circling: needy Sarah, who announced that she'd found Jesus and Belinda and Danny, who were three children into a marriage and – on her side at least – beginning to get twitchy about it. And then there was Rob, a serious miscalculation by the likeable Irish comedian Ed Byrne, who had somehow been persuaded to take on the role of Rob, the feckless, notionally "charming" one. "If you still want to punch me I'd understand," he said perkily, when he met Martin in the loo (it was Rob who slept with Hannah when he shouldn't have). Martin declined, but I'd have been more than happy to do it for him if I'd been on the spot."


Andrew Pettie, Daily Telegraph

"Eery few years a comedy drama comes along that speaks to a generation. In the mid-Nineties, BBC Two’s This Life successfully captured the confused, competitive world of ambitious young professionals via a household of trainee solicitors. Soon after, ITV reeled in millions of slightly older viewers with Cold Feet, which followed the romantic ups and downs of three couples over six hugely popular series.

Last night, Reunited (BBC One), for now just a 60-minute pilot, made a pitch to its target demographic: frustrated thirtysomethings still coming to terms with their failing ambitions, thinning hair and lack (or surfeit) of children. As a frustrated thirtysomething with plenty of failed ambitions, dwindling reserves of hair and no children, I tuned in with interest.

The action started brightly with an attempted shooting in a Tokyo hotel room, in which scantily clad Hannah (Zoë Tapper) was caught mid-affair by her Japanese boss’s enraged wife. This, however, was merely an exotic plot device to get Hannah scrambling back to London to catch up with a group of five friends she’d shared a house with 10 years earlier.

They were: Hannah’s former (and no doubt future) lover Martin (Joseph Millson), still dishy but now engaged; ostensibly content married-couple-with-kids Belinda (Emma Stansfield) and Danny (Navin Chowdhury); and likeable Irish rogue Rob (likeable Irish stand-up comedian Ed Byrne). My favourite, though, was the laughably unhinged Sara (Michelle Terry), who had managed to cram the most into the intervening period by suffering a nervous breakdown and then discovering Jesus.

The writer, Mike Bullen, who also wrote Cold Feet, is clearly an experienced hand at concocting set-ups for prime-time comedy dramas. As Reunited’s title – with its echo of the social networking website Friends Reunited – hints, the story’s dramatic tension springs from an intriguing modern quandary.

Thanks to the internet, it is now virtually impossible to shake off unwanted acquaintances, who in the days before Facebook would have drifted out of your circle of friends never to be heard of again. But what happens when, after a couple of Google searches and a round-robin email, you’re suddenly thrust back together? Will old passions and jealousies reignite? Will long-forgotten secrets be disinterred? If Bullen is given a full series to tell us, I’m pretty confident the answer will be yes on all counts.

But although the various plot strands – involving Martin and Hannah’s poorly disguised feelings for one another, and Belinda’s fling with a man on her Spanish course – were competently threaded together, you never felt swept away by the characters. Rob was the most lifelike. This was his tongue-in-cheek apology to Martin for having slept with Hannah eight years ago: “I’m sorry. I was mixed up. By a combination of rum and coke.” But even Rob’s chucklesome asides only served to remind you that Ed Byrne’s jokes are usually a bit funnier than Mike Bullen’s.

One of the reasons people adored This Life is that they identified with the characters, whose lives felt like theirs, except with more attractive sexual partners and regular cliff-hangers. But beyond that, they also enjoyed their company. By contrast, I imagine that the circle of friends brought back together by Reunited were blander than the majority of viewers’ real-life acquaintances – who also have to get by without the assistance of a script. "


Tom Murphy review


Overnights: 3.33m (15.3%)


"Reunited", BBC Drama

Back Up Your Data Day - 01/07/2010

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 de-fragment our hard drive(s) to keep our machine lean and clean - if you know what I mean?

Windows guide to defragmenting
Mac guide to defragmenting


15 Amazing Apps for File Storage in the Cloud

"In a new age of online solutions, it didn’t take long for a diverse range of internet entrepreneurs to target one of the most common problems for almost every computer user; hard drive failure. Suddenly, someone had the idea of allowing people to backup their files in the cloud and the rest is history.

I’ve brought together the best revolutionary new apps that allow you to store your precious files in the cloud and (in some cases) even share them with others!"

Article in full


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/Preferences.

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

There are also mac apps: Jason Sutton recommended: Time Machine and Sam recommended Genie Timeline.

Thank you Matt, Lee, Jason and Sam!


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