Scriptses, precious

In preparation for the London Comedy Writers Festival, I have put a selection of my spec scripts online. Hit me up for the password by e-mail or Twitter and you may peruse here or by clicking "Scripts" at the top of the page. These quality gems of screenwriting triumph (*snort") kick some stereotypes to the curb, indulge in others for the sake of comedy (with a twist) and feature some kickass women. Which is why Lucy's blog on stereotypes and Sarah Milne's ponderings on feminism for 2011 (with a touch of yours truly) are particularly timely for me and my writing....
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The Expendables: Inexplicable

Also, I watched The Expendables last night. I was persuaded by the all-star cast and the promise of exploding things. Yes, things certainly exploded. Apart from that, it was a sexist, racist piece of crap. Cringe-worthy dialogue, plot desolation, and acting that made me cry. In the bad way. There were maybe two good fight scenes. Seriously. Jet Li was hideously underused and, really, don't get me started on the use of female characters, who seem to exist so that men can hit them. IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! Contrast: the trailer for 'Red'. Dude, that's Helen Mirren with a machine gun! And Mary Lou Parker, who I've loved from The West Wing and Angels in America, finally getting her dues. Not to mention the rest of that crazy star-studded cast - with the guns and the explosions and the hand-to-hand (poor smashed Karl Urban). That's totally DOING IT RIGHT. Take note, Stallone. ...
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Mistaking busyness for productivity

Last week, I experienced the hardest week of work in my life. The day job, now, not the airy-fairy little writing hobby. My life consisted of eat, sleep and work. And has cemented my feelings that there is no way I am doing said day job for the rest of my life. Unsurprisingly, there wasn't a lot of writing done during that time. And what tidbits managed to escape were for fun not profit, an exercise in blowing off steam that could never be commercial. This week, however, I have a deadline. It's now my turn in Bitter Script Reader's Collaborative Writing Project. I just read through the draft so far and I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with it. There are asthmatic nerds and sexy lesbians (and damnit, I went and bought a new pair of glasses yesterday and I finally look like the geek I am). Also, it's American. Very American. So American that my tiny...
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Equal opportunity writing

I'm a fan of the BBC. I enjoy the principle that you pay up front and receive a rich bounty of content delivered to your door. For less than 40p per day. PER HOUSEHOLD. That's insane. For that, you get an international news website, with full sporting and political coverage. Also, food and drink, hobbycraft, children's entertainment, and, oh, commercial-quality video games. And that's just the website. Today, Michelle Lipton posted BBC drama stats (garnered from the WGGB/BBC podcasts). They provide a fascinating look at the scale of the BBC, and how much we creators bombard them with submissions! But this line in particular caught my eye: "At the moment there are 194 men and 136 women writing across CDS, series and serials" That would be 59% men and 41% women. I think it only fair, at this point, to give a comparison. According to UK Labour Force Survey (2009), employed women make up: 36% managers; 43% professionals; 79% administrative and secretarial staff; 8% skilled tradespeople, and: 84% personal service staff (including...
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Space Exploitation

My love affair with Space Precinct is already cooling - at episode three. This episode features what appears to be a twelve-year-old girl in a short skirt and what amounts to a bikini top. This child is being used by the villain to kill people. Oh yes. The other point of major irritation is the species ridicule. The team of Brogan and Haldane spend all their time mocking any different species they encounter, while this is all played for laughs and oh-aren't-their-ways-and-appearances-so-different-and-comical! They even had an East Asian man who started every sentence with his name and terrible "engrish". Nineties sci fi - I am so done with you....
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Gender-blind casting

I've been collecting screenwriting blogs for my Google Reader, and came across John August's blog post about The Bechdel Test.. I already had some familiarity with the test (and its various criticisms), but for those still in the dark: Anyway, I then made the mistake of reading the blog comments. I should know by now that reading comments on the internet is bad for my health and I end up wanting to smack someone. The usual arguments came through: "more women should write then", "but all women do is talk about men", "women want to have discussions instead of fight", "maybe men AND women just don't want to see women talk", etc. etc. ad nauseam. I then read a persuasive argument from Overthinking It that Hollywood clearly had no idea what Strong Female Character meant, and that we could articulate it more clearly: Strong Character, Female. Which led me to consider one of my favourite things: colourblind casting. For those unfamiliar, it is the casting...
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