Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Back Home

It's hard to believe that it's now Tuesday morning. Where did the last few days go? I've made it back home safe and sound from That London, and the three-day Seminar I went to. It was intense, to say the least. Approximately 25 hours over three days. Now for someone that's not used to concentrating, taking notes and asking questions, that's a lot of time. It was knackering. I. Was. Knackered.

It was completely unrelated to writing, scripts or anything else scribo-matic. In fact it was Property Related. And how, even in this present climate, to make money at it. Thankfully, there was very little 'hoo-yah!' and hard-sell, and it was thoroughly enlightening and informative. As a result I'll be moving the writing to the back burner for a while and start earning myself some realistic wages.

Who knows, some of my future property experiences may lead to script ideas?

Oh, and if you're looking to sell your place, get in touch, we may be able to do a deal...

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Bush Starts Zombie War!

I've just watched a video that Bill Martell has posted on his blog site, and it's well worth watching.

So scary, it's actually believable.

Watch out for the special guest appearance by Dick Cheney...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

RP Delay

It seems that the guys at Red Planet are still wading through the Stack (no pun intended) of entries, and hope to let anyone who has progressed know by the end of the month.

I started to review the Short that made it through three rounds of the BSSC today. I only wrote it a few months ago, but boy they must have been kind letting it get so far! I wrote it before having any real feedback on scripts I put together, so I class it as part of my B.L. phase. (That's Before Lucy, in case you were wondering...)

I used lots of Narrative 'we see', 'we hear' etc and have some Description blocks covering up to eight or nine lines. It made sense to me at the time and looked fine, but now that I'm A.L. (go on, you can work it out), it looks as if it was written by a Noddy. And, indeed, it was.

So, re-working the structure, dialogue, pace etc began today. As it only runs into 14 pages, the re-working isn't going to be huge, but I'm pretty confident that the end result will be much cleaner and to-the-point.

I'm off to That London tomorrow for a three day seminar, so I'm guessing no writing until next week. I'll be taking my notebook with me, though...

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Kaos Crash!

The semi-finalists for the Kaos/NFTS BSSC comp were announced today...

I didn't get through.

But, it's the first competition that I've entered so I'm pretty happy to have got as far as I had with a script that I wrote in an afternoon and didn't really analyse after the fact or have it PO3'd or reviewed by a knowledgeable third party. It means that I can now re-visit it and iron out the doubtless faults in it.

I've also got solid ideas for two more shorts, which I'm working on.

Congrats to Martin, who has one of his scripts through to the semis, and commiserations to Dom who didn't make the semis either (but his has got a nice new writing room, though).

I'm awaiting Red Planet to ask for full scripts of both my entries...

Friday, 12 October 2007

I laughed so hard I nearly wet myself...

No update reagrding the Short. Haven't been able to contact the director.

As any of you guys (gals) reading this may already know, I'm a Shooter. Recently The Shooting People published a book; Getting Your Short Film Funded, Made and Seen (or Shorts Directory for... well short). I bought it immediately and got it for the big initial discount and it's well worth it's jacket price. I'm reading through it piecemeal and got to a section yesterday where it talks about story development and includes a link address to atomfilms.

I'd not heard of them before so took a look. WOW! How many shorts do they have there? All to view for free (but you do have to sit through a brief advert first; sponsorship, ha!). I watched a few (some were good, some were mediocre), but then came to 'Pissboy'. Dodgy title aside this superb piece of cinema lasts for close to fourteen minutes and is well worth viewing. At least two times for the ending alone. I laughed and laughed. The way the punchline was delivered that the audience knew was coming was genius.

The build up was well-crafted, the style was smooth and the photography really quite impressive. It was written/directed by a Brit(?) called Jim Solan through Notorious Films. If it hasn't happened already, this man's future looks to be pretty good.

Oh, and if you haven't got a copy of Shorts Directory, get one. Right?

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

B*witched

I had two messages from the director yesterday... and I'm not sure which one was sent first.

I don't get a good mobile signal at home, so when I went out to do some shopping I got a text message sent through from him saying "... do you think this could be a full length film? 90 pages" and the other message I got was an e-mail saying that he'd printed the latest draft off and was about to read it.

There's two issues I have with this; the initial script request was to help with an 8-page short (which has already nearly doubled in size), with no financial compensation. Fine. This wouldn't take up too much of my time and it would help my development. But turning it into a 90-page feature..? I've written one feature length piece before and it takes a lot of time and effort. Time which I don't really have to spare right now. Also, I don't mind writing a feature length spec (be that TV or film) for me, to then pass on, enter it into competitions and try to get interest in it, but spending the time on developing the short into a feature effectively for someone else, doesn't really inspire me.

Yes, there may be potential for it down the line, but in my heart of hearts, I not sure that this topic or style will return the time invested in it. I may be wrong, and often am, but there you go.

If the director is set on having this lengthened then I think he'll have to continue with someone else. C'est la vie, as B*witched once wisely said.

See the title does tie up with the content... sort of.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Those that can, do, those that can't...

The director phoned me on Friday and gave me an update about the second draft of the Short script. Good news and bad news, he said. I think the good news was that he was ignoring what his tutor had told him and wasn't canning me as the writer..!

The bad news was that his tutor hated the script and didn't like the genre and pretty much bagged out the rest of it too. Apparently this was after reading only one and a half pages of the script and skim-reading the rest of it. Bearing in mind that this Short isn't going to be made as part of the School program, I'm not sure what this 'tutor's' problem is. Surely the main aspect of a film school is to see how the student (director) makes a film; it shouldn't matter what the genre is, just that the end result is a competant piece. But apparently not.

So, the result of the phone call was to lengthen the script to approx. 15 pages, include more of a back story for the female lead (femme fatale), the bad guy and how he traced the female lead, and how the drug effects her. The director also asked me to include more visual shots, I said OK, but really think that that sort of cinematic nuance is down to the director him/herself.

After making notes and then leaving the thing (telling myself that I'd mull it over and produce another draft within the week), I was drawn to the laptop at about 9pm and stayed there until 5am working on it! Brilliant. Well done Andy for leaving it alone for a while.

The result (I think) wasn't too bad. The female lead's back story confirming her as a bit (quite a lot, actually) of a man-eater worked well, as did the process the bad guy took to trace her down and trap her into what he wanted doing. The surreal drug-induced scene may need work, as I've never been in that state and have no experience to work from. It'll either be seen as suitably strange and wierd or just plain stooooopid.

I suspect that the 'tutor' will hate it.

I don't know who the tutor is, or what his/her credentials are, but their opinion seems to be a little harsh, mainly because he doesn't like the genre the director has decided to use. But that's not really my concern. Even if this Short doesn't get made (or made without my further input), I've already gained experience in working in collaboration with someone I have never met and don't know. As far as I'm concerned I'm in a win-win situation. That's not to say that I wouldn't be very happy if the Short is made (and made well) and that I have something physical to show as part of my starting catalogue of work.

Oh, and by the way, I went to bed early last night and slept a loooong time.

Mmmm. Sleep...

Monday, 1 October 2007

Working for Peanuts?

Well, I am under the Chinese year of the Monkey, after all.

There's a growing and increasingly angry debate on Shooting People at the moment regarding 'Non Pay' and 'Low Pay' work for writers. Most of the people posting seem to be really against the situation where a piece of work, whatever that may be, leaves the writer with no pay, the promise of deferred pay (which usually means nothing), or a pay that amounts to an insult.

One recently advertised 'job' offered a writer £5 per 60 second piece of work - something which has caused a back-lash from SP subscribers.

I know that any work that is done where a writer accepts no money may mean that that attitude is adopted by more and more 'producers', and that the WGGB deems it a cardinal sin, but sometimes what choice does a starting writer have left open to them?

Like hundreds of other unproduced writers I'm in that position now. The normal way of the world is that 'one' has to show an employer that 'one' can do the job for which the wage is being offered. With scripts that normally means getting your work 'out there' and seen by as many people as possible. That means entering as many competitions as you can or initially working for nothing and hoping that you can earn a reputation and get that all precious commission.

I've entered competitions - I'm a third round qualifier in this years BSSC and have two entries in the Red Planet comp. And I'm collaborating with a young Director on a Short for his film school slate. As per the previous Post, my re-draft of his original has been passed on to a possible Producer of the Short, who liked what I had done with it. Fantastic! What chance would I have had to get something in front of this guy without 'working for nothing'? Nada, that's what. But because I've acknowledged the fact that I may have to work for nothing (financially, that is) I've got something in front of a Producer, who has seen my work in a positive light.

Yes, we all want to be taken seriously, and some perceive this as being paid well, but some of us realise that to get taken seriously we have to actually get work 'out there' in the first place.

There, rant over.

Draft Update

Well, it seems that my first stab wasn't too bad after all.

The Director sent my draft off to a possible/probable Producer for his thoughts/opinions, and then sent me a copy of the mail that he received back. On first reading I didn't know who this other guy was (I thought he was another writer the Director had approached) and initially experienced a pang of "if you're going to be sooo picky then I'll walk away from it and let you get on with it", but as I read the mail, the more I understood the angle from which it was being written in. And it made sense.

There were parts of the original script that I had felt were dubious, but I left intact. After all, if it were my original and some writer I'd asked to help ripped it apart and said it was crap, I wouldn't like it at all (not that I'm saying the original elements were crap, but you get the point, right?). So I left them in. These were, in the main, the areas the possible Producer said needed working on or changing completely.

Fine. So today I re-drafted again; changed several elements, built on the 'evil' side of the bad guy and completely changed the nature of the ending. So it's been sent back off, and I await the response.

I don't know the Producer and he doesn't know me, but he sounds like a very intelligent and probably handsome man. He writes "...Who have you got writing this at the moment? Who is Andrew Goodman? He's done well with this, he's a writer alright, it does show."

Like I said, he's obviously a highly intelligent and astute man.

Also, either my new draft or the old one is going to be sent to this guys business partner (a director) and another Producer whose currently working for ITV. Cool! My name's on the draft and if they like it... who knows?