05 December, 2011

The Blaine Brothers Award Nominated Short Films

"0507" was nominated for the British Independent Film Awards last night. It was also nominated for the Christopher Wetzel Award at the Just For Laughs Festival and been selected for festivals such as Austin Film Festival, Roof Top Films (NY), LA Comedy Shorts and Shanghai International.

Also check out “The Maestro”, starring Robert Bathurst as Beethoven, at the BBC Comedy website. It has already picked up a nomination for the Aesthetica Short Film Festival shortlist.

Blaine Brothers YouTube channel

01 December, 2011

Back Up Your Data Day (01/12/2011)

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!

03 October, 2011

Script Reader Gripes

Script Reader Gripes: #1 What does your character want? Apart from a re-write.

"Ask any script reader and if they are being honest they will tell you that the majority of scripts they read are poor (read like first drafts and by page ten the reader wishes they had been good at maths at school), the rest are average (readable, competent but dull) and the small minority are works of genius. Script readers read a lot and they can go months without reading a script that stands out.

Before the writers among you see us script readers as the enemy and a whiny bunch at that, remember this - as a writer you should also be a script reader. If you don't read and analyse other peoples' scripts, (whether you are getting paid or not) you are doing yourself a serious injustice.

You can learn from the good scripts but I always think you can learn much more from the bad - and that is what these 'Script Reader Gripes' posts are going to aim to achieve; an insight into the lessons that can be learnt from years spent reading those bad/average scripts."

Read more

Script Reader Gripes: #2 A little goes a long way.

"Often in scripts the little things get over-looked but when you add them all up those little things become big fat hair-pulling things of super annoyance. This is my own personal list of 'little things' that get in the way when reading scripts. You may have written the best script the world has ever seen, so please don't blight it with the following..."

Read more

Follow the writer on Twitter

17 July, 2011

01 June, 2011

Movie Checklist

Here's a quick Movie Checklist - make sure you know the answers to these questions before you write your treatment.

  • Title:
  • Genre:
  • Goal:
  • Arc:
  • What’s the wound/flaw which has prevented my character from achieving this arc before the beginning of this story?
  • How does my characters appearance/speech/environment change to reflect this character arc?
  • Character’s name:
  • Rough age:
  • Poor/middle/rich:
  • Expertise of the movie:
  • Intriguing relationship in the film:
  • How does this relationship change as my character moves through his/her character arc?
  • What is the hook? Describe the front titles sequence.
  • What am I going to set up in the first ten pages?
  • What’s the inciting incident and how is this going to be shown in a dramatic way on screen?
  • What’s my character’s problem at the end of Act I?
  • What’s my character’s goal at the end the beginning of Act 2?
  • What’s my character’s plan to achieve this goal at the beginning of Act 2?
  • Make a list of things which are going to go wrong.
  • How does my character’s plan change as he/she’s confronted with each obstacle?
  • At the mid-point on page 60, what happens in the scene during which my character realises ‘there’s no turning back’ on his/her character arc.
  • By page 75, what’s the list of things that have gone wrong so that my character is feeling as hopeless, miserable as I can possible make him/her? The death scene, do I need one?
  • At the beginning of Act 3, what final, incredible plan does my character make not only to save himself or herself, but, now, to save the community, the world, in fact the entire universe?
  • What’s the amazing climactic sequence at the end of the film?
  • What’s my character’s reward for achieving his/her character arc?
  • What happens in the ‘breathing space’ end credits sequence?
  • What the point of my film? What’s it say about the world in which we live? What’s the premise?
  • My film described in three short sentences.


25 April, 2011

Talking Funny

Comedy's biggest names — Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ricky Gervais, and Louis CK — sit down for a revealing (and hilarious) chat on this HBO special. The four stand-up legends get serious about comedy, discussing how they first got into the business, the merits of on-stage profanity, and the science behind getting a laugh.

23 April, 2011

John Sullivan - 23/12/1946 - 23/04/2011






John Sullivan: A master of comedy - Telegraph


Only Fools and Horses writer John Sullivan OBE dies - BBC News



John Sullivan - Wikipedia



John Sullivan interviews - BBC



John Sullivan Interview on Rock & Chips - OFAH.net



John Sullivan Green, Green Grass interview - Times



Sullivan's Del Boy doubts - The Sun



The Making of Only Fools and Horses: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8


Just Good Friends YouTube playlist

19 April, 2011

Stuck in the Middle of your Screenplay?

by Fenella Greenfield

Central character emigrated to Zanzibar?

Most exciting plot point collapsed into 'Who wins the Knitting Competition?'

Kitchen floor been washed so much you can see the joists through the threadbare lino?

Here are ten ways to come un-stuck when you've come unstuck:

Abandon the middle and go to the end.

Write the last scene. And then the second-to-last. And so on. In other words, go backwards for a bit. If you're lucky you'll bump into yourself writing forwards and bingo! Finished screenplay!

Stuck for some plot?

Try re-telling your story from the point-of-view of a couple of the secondary characters. What happens when they're the central character? This usually generates new plot.

Stuck on your Character Arc?

In two columns describe what your character LOOKS LIKE at the beginning of the story and, in the second column, by the end. How has their hair-style changed? How do they dress by the end of the film? Visual changes will give you clues to their emotional change. If they look identical you've got a problem - put them in totally different clothes and ask, 'What would have had to have happened for them to change their look to this?'.

Buy some post-its.

Throw out your index cards and buy some post-its. Using different colours, summarise the plot, goal and character arc in short story beats then stick them up on your wall. Your entire screenplay structure will be on display and the faults will be easier to spot. If you suffer from insomnia because you wake, every night, with a brilliant idea for a brand-new screenplay, which is ten times better than the one you're working on at the moment, stick the post-its on your bedroom wall; when your brain sees how much work it is to complete a screenplay it will go straight back to sleep and never wake you in the middle of the night again.

Buy an expensive notebook.

Half way through Act Two you can become disheartened if you feel your writing's getting sloppy. So get sloppy on the computer, but in your brand-new, leather-bound, cost-a-packet notebook, re-craft those sloppy scenes in your best handwriting (enhanced by the brand-new, cost-a-packet fountain pen you just bought for the purpose). Make sure these scenes are the High Art you know you're capable of - to be typed back into your computer when you need some serious displacement activity The computer equals THE VOMIT DRAFT; the brand-new notebook equals RETAIL THERAPY.

Do different writing tasks at different times of the day.

If you find you're rewriting the first 30pp endlessly rather than getting on with Act Two try allocating jobs to different times of the day. Over your lunch-break you're allowed to fiddle with Act One to your heart's content; after supper you've got to fill blank pages.

Write in half-hour chunks.

If you've got a day job, it's hard to find time to write. Instead of saying to yourself, 'I'll write for four hours every evening when I get home from work', or 'I'll take an exotic holiday in the Caribbean and write for eight hours every day while I'm there', say, 'I'll write for half-an-hour when I get up and half-an-hour when the kids are in bed'. That's an hour - and if you're writing a page an hour in three months you've written a draft of a screenplay.

Write in ten-page chunks.

Sometimes when you're on page 30, page 120 can seem like the other side of the universe. So instead of promising yourself an exotic holiday in the Carribean when you've finished your script, promise yourself a luxury gift every time you get to the end of a ten-page chunk. The benefit of doing this? Twelve holidays instead of just one . . .

Keep to a rigorous timetable.

Always, always write at the same time every day - because even if you don't want to write, your brain will kick into gear. This is because Brains are creatures of habit, whereas Human Beings are lazy slobs who'd far rather be surfing YouTube.

Write something! Anything!

If you're stuck, write shopping-lists, write your Oscar-winning speech, but write something, anything. Maths is good: working out how much you spend on breakfast muffins every month soon bores you enough to get you back to work.



Courses and Events

Developing your career

29 March, 2011

Script Frenzy

Script Frenzy is an international writing event in which participants attempt the daring feat of writing 100 pages of scripted material in the month of April. As part of a donation-funded nonprofit, Script Frenzy charges no fee to participate; there are also no valuable prizes awarded or "best" scripts singled out. Every writer who completes the goal of 100 pages is victorious and awe-inspiring and will receive a handsome Script Frenzy Winner's Certificate and web icon proclaiming this fact.

Even those who fall short of the word goal will be applauded for making a heroic attempt. Really, you have nothing to lose—except that nagging feeling that there's a script inside you that may never get out.

The 5 Basic Rules of Script Frenzy

    1) To be crowned an official Script Frenzy winner, you must write a script (or multiple scripts) of at least 100 total pages and verify this tally on ScriptFrenzy.org.
    2) You may write individually or in teams of two. Writer teams will have a 100-page total goal for their co-written script or scripts.
    3) Script writing may begin no earlier than 12:00:01 AM on April 1 and must cease no later than 11:59:59 PM on April 30, local time.
    4) You may write screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, comic book and graphic novel scripts, adaptations of novels, or any other type of script your heart desires.
    5) You must, at some point, have ridiculous amounts of fun.


    Script Frenzy How to Guides

21 March, 2011

09 March, 2011

Free complete university screenwriting course

"Our screenwriting unit is designed to build your knowledge about story telling and focuses on the writing of TV, radio, short film and feature film scripts. Whilst primarily dealing with forms of dramatic fiction, you'll also look at documentary and documentary drama. You'll analyse different forms of script writing and screen writing, the elements they have in common and the specific tools that can help to deliver better scripts in each medium."
University College Falmouth » Courses » MA Professional Writing » Screenwriting Unit

h/t Filmmaker IQ

06 March, 2011

"The Test of Fear - Just a girl in a hotel corridor"

Hidden camera show shows the importance of tropes. The audience is already pre-scared.

17 February, 2011

The UK film industry's leading mentoring programme is open for applications

Guiding Lights, the UK film industry's leading mentoring programme, is now open for applications.

We're delighted to be running the scheme for a fourth time and are looking for twelve writers, directors and producers who would benefit from the support of a high-level industry mentor to help them move to the next level in their careers. Previous mentors include Danny Boyle, Sam Mendes, Barbara Broccoli, Alex Garland, Kenneth Branagh, Alison Owen and Kevin Macdonald.

The deadline for applications is 2pm Friday 11 March.

A call out for applications is attached. We are pro-actively seeking applications from all sections of the community across the UK so it would be fantastic if you could please help disseminate this information to anyone you think might be suitable and would benefit from this type of high-level professional development support.

Further information about Guiding Lights, including previous participant case studies and FAQs can be found at http://www.guiding-lights.org.uk>

Interested candidates already familiar with Guiding Lights should be aware that a number of changes have been made to the scheme. Details of these are contained in the guidelines on the Guiding Lights website.

23 January, 2011

Screenwriting Tips free ebook

"A selection of blog posts by script reader Lucy V Hay on various craft & feedback issues that may affect your draft screenplay"

Screenwriting tips

11 January, 2011

Shine Pictures announces Big Idea winners

(Via Screen Daily)

"Shine Pictures, the joint film venture between the UK’s Kudos Pictures and US producer-distributor New Regency, has announced the two winners of its ‘Big Idea’ screenwriting competition.

Nick Alderton & Sam Callis’ romantic comedy Three Nights In Fiction and Stephen Keyworth’s sci-fi screenplay Youngstown have been chosen from over 700 entries. Both winning projects will receive $39,0000 (£25,000) towards developing their screenplays into features, with the help of the Shine Pictures development team.

The ‘Big Idea’ competition was launched in September. Sci-fi and Fantasy concepts were the most popular submissions accounting for 35% of entries, followed by romantic comedies (28%), action adventure (22%) and family comedies (15%).


According to those stats, there was no drama submitted or such a small amount it wasn't worth adding up.

Lots of people in the industry recommend not writing drama for features. However, while there's no doubt it's a hard genre to sell and unlikely to do bumper blockbuster box office, there is a sizeable audience for it. If the drama is cheap then it can still make a huge profit.

01 January, 2011

Win, Luck and Fail Video Compilations