A bit of blag...
Delighted that Kindred Spirits is in post-production! Click here for more info
It astounds me that so few people know about the white, Irish slave trade.
"From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade."
200 years of humans harvested for the British Empire, and the inspiration for my story, White Gold. They should be remembered.
Some ifs and buts, but the filming has started on a (micro-budget) film I co-wrote - location? My house! And they left it tidier than when they got here!
The Impact 50!
The Impact 50 Round 1 finalists are in, and 2 of my scripts made it.
I did three - a poignant, family drama (facing the end together type-thing) didn't make the cut. But 2 did - Psycho Killer, about a psychopath out-psycho-ed, and Elaine about a woman who kills her philandering shite of a husband. I must admit, I mad much more fun writing these 2 darker pieces than something saccharine, but the subject matter (the end of the world and how we cope in our last minutes) is a bit grim for my optimistic tastes...
The @Create50 series are fantastic initiatives - cheap to enter (£5.00), for up to 3 drafts, review and feedback from peers, and as importantly, the ability to read and input and learn from other writers uploading to the site... capped off by the very real opportunity to get something made!
Even if my odd little murderers don't make it any further, it's been fantastic to be involved this far.
A good few months since I spewed anything here.
Things progress - competition results about standard for Special Unit (quarter finals in a couple, awaiting other results), finishing off my new series, Crusaders. I've garnered a few Prod Co's, so the treatment is flying towards their inbox.
I've not got a ticket to London Screenwriter's Festi this year (too skint!), but I've a dialogue with 6 production company contacts from the last few years of pitching there, which is worth the ticket price alone I'd suggest.
A couple of useful resources for writing treatments:
BUT, if you can possibly find the money, a 6 month starter or mentoring session (or work on a single project), ANYTHING with Hayley McKenzie will jet-propel your writing! http://www.scriptangel.com/
How's it all going?
It's been an interesting couple of weeks with submissions.
White Gold is, via family favours, it's on its way to a producer of period drama & whoever else my fabulous 2nd cousin (twice removed) can think of. A fantastic writing buddy, Jane Eden (http://theagency.co.uk/the-clients/jane-eden/) has passed on Special Unit to a producer, Hayley McKenzie has sent SU to 2 prod co's, White Gold to another. Another Prod Co also has SU, while a contact from London Screenwriter Festival's #Pitchfest has read Special Unit and, though it's not for them, invited more tv ideas.
So... Traction! A small but growing database of production companies and producers who have opened the door on my scripts. The years of bashing my head on a brick wall has created a chink!
This year I've taken a punt on the Beeb's writersroom, which I've 'nearly' won previously (apparently!), and I think I'll go for C4's scheme too later this month... plus the usual competitions for a bit of excitement, rather than expectation of work..
Re Agents... Interesting article here on the 'sellingyourscreenplay' website about getting an agent - yes, to try, but actually not to stress too much as they mightn't be a huge help! They certainly aren't able (or willing) to help until you're ready, which means of a standard where you can create and recreate solid work - and take criticisms.
Still, I'm mining firstwriter.com presently, building up my database of contacts. I note the advice that even companies with a no-contact policy are worth a punt, so I'm in the process of refining my query letter/emails and sending out requests. Generally a weekend job for me, in the wee small hours when I should be fast asleep.
Also, Jane has also got me an intro with an agent so who knows!
So I'm not there, but my steps to date:
Ultimately, I'm truly blessed to be a natural optimist. The vast majority of the time, I genuinely believe that if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything. Still, there are slumps when I think "I'll never succeed, I'm rubbish" - which is where Hayley comes in. I've just finished a 6 month program with Hayley, but I restart in Jan to get my next tv series buff.
Hayley is a wonderful combination of gentle support, kick-arse critique and an adrenalin shot of positivity that I can fall back on to keep me going.
Keep at it!
It's that time of year again. I ordered my ticket pretty much straight after the last LSF so I've had a year to prepare.
I've submitted to the Actor's Table Read... I don't fancy any of the script labs this year though... perhaps Euroscript when it opens, but mainly the speaker's session.
This will be my 3rd year... I'm open minded about a 4th because I feel a bit like there's only so many times you can hear about writer's 'breaks'. Will I learn anything new this year? My mentor, the utterly fabulous Hayley McKenzie has a slot this year, which will be great.
I'll get to see some buddies and meet new people, because it's 'All About Networking, Darling'. The organisers are lovely too, it remains really good value for money and it's been fantastic the last 2 years.
I dunno, we'll see - watch this space!
Meanwhile, I've finished another tv series (see Special Unit) and have a treatment for a 3rd so I'll have plenty to pitch at the Pitch Fest AND, in fairness, last year's Pitch attendees have responded to contacts and left the door open to submissions, which is true gold dust.
It’s been a long time since I blagged but (bizarrely) I’ve had lots of contacts from new writers, maybe recognising a kindred spirit. I keep writing the same mails back to them so maybe I’ll post it here as well:
“It's a long road, writing, and I wish y’all the very best of luck.
I plod away at it pretty much every day and the best advice is to just keep doing it ...
... and get feedback.
I'm a member of a writer's group that tries to meet 2 to 3 times a year who I met through doing courses at Raindance , which are great and affordable. Training is good and I’d also recommend the fabulous 2-Phils course, whatever your level. Plus they're really nice guys and I still chat with the people I met on the course 3+ years ago (there's also a closed fb page for attendees).
And then there’s the London Screenwriter's Festival. It's pricey but you take LOADS away from it, plus meet loads of other writers and you START the slow process of meeting 'people in the industry'.
I also work with a writing buddy - we don't (yet) co-write, but try to meet up regularly to read/review/critique each other's work. It's amazing what having another writer around can do - when you're stuck or even having them ask why a scene is there... with edits, I sometimes cut so much that I leave orphan scenes, or get so bogged down that I forget my point! An objective eye really brings out these things much quicker than doing it alone.
I've also started investing in an editor as I plan and write, for the last coupla years. Hayley offers a mentoring service through Script Angel - she's really positive in her critique, manages to tell me bits are shit without demoralising me. I've used other editors at the end of a script (I recommend this before you send out/submit to competitions) and they've destroyed me! I've felt utter crap after reading their feedback.
That’s it really: write, write, write… cut, cut, cut and get feedback all the way. When you feel like a fraud who’s complete rubbish, write some more. I’m told everyone feels like this…"
Sermon over. Hell, what do I know anyway!
London Screenwriter's Festival is nearly here and cyberspace (in some circles) is full of NETWORKING - how do you do it, what is the etiquette, how do you not do it, what you are aiming for.... HOW DO I MAKE FRIENDS WITH SOMEONE WHO'LL GIVE ME A JOB!!!????????????
Maybe I have an unhealthy disrespect for the world of film/tv? Maybe it is totally different from everything else people have ever encountered in their 'real' lives? In my day job - I get IT contract work word of mouth. How? I have a track record and I've made lots of friends over the years. I do the job, very few complaints, and I work to keep these friendships, usually in a pub.
They recommended me and the pool grows.
That is networking - so why is everyone so stressy about Media (darling)?
Fair enough, if you're not a spring chicken, you can't start as a runner and make contacts to give you work in future.
As an old outsider? Using rules from the abnormal world (none of which apparently count), to switch careers:
The only problem I can see for old gits changing career is that it takes a hell of a long time to get good enough to be worth employing. It's possible that by you time you (we... one - whoever) is decent and consistent, we'll be too fossilized to leverage that. That's our fault for starting late.
Settle everyone and…3.2.1 – Action.
Talking with the cast, the scope of their input ranges from creation of a character, to play it like I tell you, but they each bring a different outcome based on their individuality… and that’s before the cutting and editing.
Stunning experience to see a 2-D piece of writing take on substance and appear before me, I could really get addicted to that. Even more impressive though is seeing the huge amount of effort from everyone involved. It’s like unpacking a bit bouncy castle, inflating it and slowly seeing turrets and moats and flying banners all coming to life – that I didn’t even know were there!
I understand that novelists get to create everything themselves, and to own that entire process must be intoxicating, but it’s so exciting to set this up and set it free, and see it evolve. A bit like having a baby!
What a fantastic experience – I can’t wait for the next one!
for samples of my work