Getting Back On The Horse

I've been away from the keyboard for a while due to family things. I was lacking in inspiration and I had no idea where to start. So when an e-mail popped up asking me to meet with a producer to discuss feature film ideas, I thought this might be a good water-testing exercise. Get the creative juices flowing again. He gave me a location brief and I threw together a handful of ideas, condensed them into loglines and character sketches, and set off to London Waterloo for coffee. I come out of that meeting feeling positive. One of the ideas was adapted from an old story that had been brewing for a while but I hadn't found a way to make it work. It had been set aside for a number of months, occasionally pulled out for inspection, and then returned to the virtual drawer. Said producer was also enthusiastic about my percolated idea and, before I knew what was happening, I had...
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#scriptchat Multi-Platform transcript

Thank you to everyone who joined us for #scriptchat last night - it was frantic and exhausting, but I really enjoyed blagging my answers to your questions! You can find the Storify transcript of the chat here (because Wordpress won't play nice with Storify code)....
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#scriptchat 30th June – Multi-Platform Writing

I am honoured and delighted to be guesting on #scriptchat this Sunday @ 8pm to talk about Multi-Platform Writing - specifically, my work with Realm Pictures on The Underwater Realm universe. For those unfamiliar with the concept, show up at Twitter on Sunday 30th June @ 20:00 BST and search for #scriptchat. Writerly folks will then appear as if summoned by ancient incantations and bombard me with questions. *gulp* Look forward to seeing you there!...
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On Talking: Novels vs Screenplays vs Plays

I love dialogue. Great dialogue can make your heart sing, from the Crispin's Day speech in Henry V to President Bartlet's rant against God in Two Cathedrals. And I've always fancied I'm not half-bad at it. There are fundamental differences between novels, plays and screenplays that I'm not going to delve into here, but the thing that grabbed me tonight is dialogue. I've started attending Kites and Violence in Waterloo, a writers group run by the funny and devastatingly handsome Sandy Nicholson. This evening's readings were from a feature film and a play. Both were very enjoyable, actually (though I had to duck out early because of trains) but wow, they sound so different! I've turned my hand to novels and the thing I hate about them is all the damn describing you have to do. There is a basic expectation of description that is actively avoided in screenplays. I personally feel this can go too far - JRR Tolkien may have been...
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Darling Goals of May

Having returned from a relaxing break away from my day job and my tech, it's time to knuckle down and return to work. Script Frenzy and Realm Production Meeting are over. The screnzy script is in a drawer and I've knocked together some audition sides for the Underwater shorts. So, what now? These days away have been great for percolating ideas and five brand new plots sprung fully-formed from my thigh...I mean, brain. But, like fine wine and decent cheese, these ideas need some time to mature. Therefore, my goals for this month are: - Final draft of The Greenwich Project, ready for sending to a comedy prodco - First draft of new children's tv project Origami Stories - Penultimate/final draft of horror short And now I've declared them, so I'm trusting the internet to hold me accountable. Finally, one more May resolution: do not attend production meetings before drying hair. Especially around sneaky DOPs. Evidence in video below: [Also, there are some awesome people talking about a breath-taking...
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Along the byway

Of course, it's the time of year for summaries and conclusions, personal achievement counting and reflection. I have finished Steampunk Assassins. By which I mean it's with my beloved director and editor friends and I suppose there might be One Final Draft to complete. I have made a start on The Greenwich Problem for Laughing Stack 2011. I ran the logline past my director, extrapolated the plot of the pilot and shaded in the main characters' traits and tics. He was very enthusiastic - and, as I trust his tastes, this pleases me greatly. I'm also going to try my hand at a Rom Com feature spec - we'll term it Baking Lawyer. That has a beat sheet but nothing else at the moment. Military Monster needs a complete overhaul before it can have anything going for it. I need to take a step back on Asylum and write a beat sheet for the pilot before I sink further into the intricacies of plotting...
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Not crazy – just a little unwell

I am on a sick day (night?), so I'm catching up with my blogomarble. Not writing, alas, because I feel like I've been used as a punching bag, but reading about other people writing. Things that have intrigued me: Firstly, Amazon launch a film-making forum - could be very good, could be a vehicle for Warner Bros to screw some people over. If some pros sign on, it might be worth an early look. John August tells us to scratch our own itch - write the films we want to see. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that if I heard about a steampunk assassins movie, I would be there like a shot. Some other projects - well...maybe not so much. While I love my Military Monster project with a passion, there was some part of it that came from "there is a gap in the market that I would like to fill". Except that it appears Jason Arnopp beat me to...
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Square One

After all the pressure of competition deadlines over the past few months, I've gone back to the specs. Having finally transferred all my work to Celtx (even if I haven't resolved all my formatting issues quite yet), I've set Steampunk Assassins and Military Monster down to rest for another week. I've also actually written an outline for the Asylum pilot, because stumbling around Military Monster led to some bad creative decisions and a lot of words I had to unwrite and I like to dance to some kind of beat. I have another long train journey tomorrow, so hopefully I'll drum something out and flesh out my characters. Then, for the journey back, I'm going to pick up Steampunk Assassins and tear that thing to pieces. I really need to learn to love editing - writing is rewriting, after all. ...
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Competition short shorts

I was a hyperactive child. This should surprise absolute no one who's seen the list of projects I've been "working on" this year. When it comes right down to it, I don't have a single finished, polished script. This is a Very Bad Thing. However, I am determined that Steampunk Assassins looks good by Christmas. Preferably, the Military Monster pilot should also be screen-ready. But...these little short-short competitions keep distracting me! First, there was London Screenwriters Festival Short. That one is a day away from readiness and the deadline is Friday. Then, Kulvinder Gill's post about October Opportunities drew my attention to Crash Pad - take a news story, write five pages with two characters, submit by Monday 18th October. And now Kid In The Front Row Screenwriting Competition 2010. Which, on the surface, looks amazing but the limitations on the thing are crazy! There are named characters, named locations and a line of dialogue to include. And the deadline is Thursday 21st October. Meanwhile, my other...
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