Tuesday, 28 October 2014

London Screenwriters’ Festival 2014

On Sunday night I returned from my first ever London Screenwriters’ Festival, exhausted and exhilarated.

What an experience.

The London Screenwriters’ Festival has been running since 2010 and has since become one of the world’s biggest screenwriting festivals – possibly THE biggest in the world now – with over 800 delegates and 150 professional speakers, moderators and guests.

So how was it?

It was exciting, exhilarating, exhausting, surprising, funny, fun, ridiculous, eye-opening and absolutely fucking awesome. Eat my adjectives!

So it was quite a positive experience then?

Yes!


There were some frustrations and the occasional nutcase, but overall it was a really great experience.

Why?

A hundred reasons, but – to name a few – the sessions were informative, inspiring, arse-kicking and insightful. Listening to Ted Tally talk about Silence of the Lambs WHILE WATCHING IT was such an awesome experience. The majority of the greatness came from the guests and delegates themselves.

The guests who inspired me included Joel Schumacher, Ted Tally, Pilar Alessandra, Lee Jessop, Holly Pickering, Chris “Fucking Awesome” Jones and a dozen others.

The delegates I met included my old mates Mac McSharry & Neil Rolland and ‘new mates’ Anthony, Dan, Daniel, Darren, Dave, David, George, Giles, Ivan, Jonny, Karen, Marcus, Nicola, Pat, Paul, Philip, Rebecca, Simon, Stephan, Steve, Terry, Vicky and about fifty other awesome people. And one weird guy who said I looked like a dead guy he once saw on Prime Suspect. I can only presume the episode was called “The Handsome Corpse”…

There are a lot of talented people out there.

I even managed to meet up with Hayley “Script Angel” McKenzie and Philip “4Screenwriting” Shelley and ran into actor / filmmaker Ali Zaidi (who was on the 4screenwriting course with me). All great people and really inspiring / encouraging.

Wow, this is reading like a really shit Oscar speech. I’d also like to thank my Mother for giving birth to me a bit…

Yeah. So it was ace.


There were the usual misfires you’d associate with a festival such as this; some technical difficulties, some sessions veered off course, the occasional mad person ‘got all up in your personal space’ and one absolute twatburger asked Joel Schumacher whose decision it was to put nipples on the batsuit in Batman and Robin… after a script-to-screen of The Lost Boys. What an uber-douche. Thankfully Mister Schumacher is a LOVELY bloke and answered the question respectfully, rather than throw a chair at the moron’s face.

Anyway…

I wish I had joined in with the pitching sessions, which seemed like something I’d ‘enjoy’ and a way of getting your work / brand / name into the right hands. Next year, baby!

On a totally separate note, rather distractingly many of the posters read “LONDONSWF”, which (in my mind) read as London "South Woodham Ferrers”, which is my home town! 

The reminder of my roots, however, actually helped to spur me on. Everyone needs a kick up the arse and that constant reminder of my home town – and all its infinite lack of opportunities – was actually surprisingly helpful.


All in all, it was an awesome experience full of awesome people. The London Screenwriters' Festival is an amazing place run by amazing people. I freakin' loved it.

The theme of the festival seemed to be "BE FUCKING AWESOME" and "BE A SUPERHERO". We even had to choose superhero names. Why not?!

My superhero name?

“Mister Fucking Perseverance”.

He’s probably more like a supervillain, mind you…

Now, enough of this silliness. I need to do some writing. Bring it on.

Halloween: Don’t Move

'tis the season to be scary!

Halloween fast-approaches and for many Horror fans it’s a season of mixed feelings; time to slap on our most-loved films, carve pumpkins and don costumes that would normally get us arrested… but it’s also a time where premature Christmas decorations spoil the mood, effort-free “sexy devils” dominate the high streets and the cinema and DVD markets are flooded with rush-released utter dross.

BUT… it’s also a time where short film clubs, independent cinemas and Horror-enthusiasts put on special events full of charm, passion and awesomeness, because they LOVE IT.

I’m proud to say that my short film DON’T MOVE (produced by Ben Franklin and directed / produced by Anthony Melton) has been chosen to be screened at a few events this year.

It’s fantastic this little short keeps finding audiences, and an honour Horror fans and event organisers deem it good enough to screen for Halloween.

Don’t Move is playing in the following locations this Halloween season –

  • Rising Tides Halloween Special (London)
  • Shorts on Tap (London)
  • Roughcut (Cornwall)
  • Leuven Short Film Festival (Belgium)
  • Molins De Rei Horror Festival (Spain)
  • iShorts (Czech Republic & Slovakia)
  • Dirt Poor Filmmakers Festival (USA)

- and undoubtedly it’s playing at other awesome short film events over the Halloween period (if you know of any others, please tell me!).

If you can get yourself to one of these events, that’d be awesome. I know some of the filmmakers behind Bloody Cuts will be attending the Rising Tides Halloween Special TONIGHT – as Don’t Move and Suckablood are both playing – so head along there and join ‘em!

Needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled to have Don’t Move play at so many great events during my favourite time of the year. I hope it scares the crap out of everyone!

Now… if you’re unable to attend the event, then why not have your own little ‘event’ at home? Open up Youtube or Vimeo, whack in your headphones, crank up the volume and watch Don’t Move.


Happy Halloween!

Friday, 24 October 2014

London Screenwriters’ Festival 2014

Good morning!

I am literally just about to leave for the London Screenwriters’ Festival 2014. I’m a noob / LSF virgin etc… and really looking forward to it.

A chance to chat to fellow screenwriters, listen to some amazing talent give sage advice and watch in awe during a Script-to-Screen session of The Lost Boys with Joel friggin’ Schumacher!

Good times.

If you’re there, please let me know and we’ll meet up for a drink and chat writery stuff.

Right, I better go… don’t want to be late!

London Screenwriters’ Festival 2014?

Let’s go!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Don't Move - The Feature

In 2013 my short film script DON’T MOVE was made into an awesome horror-short by the fantastic team at Bloody Cuts (R.I.P.), produced by Ben Franklin and directed by Anthony Melton.

Well… guess what?

A full FEATURE version has been written. In America. By up-and-coming horror writer Zak Olkewicz.

Who?!

Zak Olkewicz, duh!

He topped the coveted Blood List in 2013 with his excellent horror-house script INK AND BONE and is selling scripts like Shane Black in the 90’s.

He also has a really cool name. Zak Olkewicz. Yeah. Love it.

More official information here:


Now, some of you might be wondering “Why the hell didn’t you write it, Scullion? Why?!!”

Well… for various reasons, most of them boring. Buy me a drink and I might tell you about it. Or I might just down it and run away, laughing like a bonkers hyena.

What do I get out of it, though? I can’t remember off hand. I signed a contract in blood and gave them something called an ‘everlastingsoul’, but otherwise I imagine I’ll be showered in gold and virgins if it’s made.

Whatever the case or reasons or background to it… I’m VERY excited that it’s got to this stage. The script is great (no, you can’t read it) and it’s currently being slapped onto the desk of super-important people in Hollywood and beyond.

Fingers crossed it’ll get picked up and made. That would be some evolution for a 15 page script I wrote years ago that featured an invisible demon and no twist ending!

What’s more, if it does get picked up then Anthony Melton and Ben Franklin will direct it… in America. Which would be awesome!*

*Because I’d be invited to the set, where I can sit and eat doughnuts, watching them making a feature film with literally ZERO responsibility. Oh, and it’d be a fantastic opportunity for us all and those lovely chaps deserve huge success and happiness and condos and stuff. Mmm… doughnuts and no responsibility.

Right. That’s it. Newsflash over.

As always, I’ll keep you updated…

Exciting times!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Second Place Scullion


I have been sick.

No, not Ebola. Worse. I’ve had man flu. You know ‘man flu’, right? It’s that deeply sexist flu that only attacks men and which women sarcastically claim is a more-aggressive form of normal flu.

Cough cough, pass me the Strepsils, la boo hoo…

Yeah, weep for me.

I’m over it now because I have the immune system of a Great White Shark. And their cold dead eyes, unfortunately.

Anyway, this is why I haven’t mentioned the results of the London Screenwriters’ Festival Script Labs (posted Thursday).

RESULT: I did not get onto Script Lab 5.

Or 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 or 7… but mainly because I didn’t apply to them!

However, I did get a special commendation, which is ace:

Special commendations in this lab go to LIARS END by Dave Scullion and SPECIAL UNIT by Rebecca Handley, both previous high scorers/placers in Hayley McKenzie’s Script Angel / LondonSWF initiative and it wasn’t hard for us to see why:

“Love the central concept, some exceptional visuals” (LIARS END)

“Good set up, with a great [spooky] arena” (SPECIAL UNIT)

Cool, huh? A great work Rebecca too!

Now, I’m naturally disappointed but I’m also pleased I made it as far as the second round. In fact, this year I’ve made it to the second round of The Red Planet Prize, the Script Angel Competition*, the On The Page Logline Contest and now the second round of the Script Labs.

Call me “Second Round Scullion!”

* okay, so technically I got through to the third round / top 5 of the Script Angel competition… whatever. That doesn’t fit with the Second Round Scullion theory. And I don’t want to change the Blog Title. Jeez, like mega-effort and stuff.


Now, I’m certainly not disappointed by this. Not by a long chalk (or a short chalk. Or coloured chalk. What the hell does that phrase even mean?).

As a screenwriter you cannot win everything – far from it – and as long as you keep writing, you will improve. In previous years I didn’t place in any competitions (and boy did I enter them). I won a place on the 4screenwriting competition 2013, which has served me incredibly well since, but otherwise my competition placements have been… lacking. 2014 has been a vast improvement on that.

Placing in a competition is great. It genuinely means something. Your script / script sample / concept etc… might not be perfect or what the judges and readers are looking for, but you PLACED – it means your writing is good enough to be considered worthy of winning.

I’d like to congratulate the 6 screenwriters who got onto Script Lab 5, so HUGE congratulations to Alexandru Ruchelaru, Amy Amani, Cera-Rose Pickering, David Young, Keith Storrier and Rachel Howard – six names to watch out for in the future.

Full list of the results are here:


Congratulations to all the writers on all the labs and commiserations to all those who didn’t make it that far. Keep going. Keep writing. Keep on keeping on.

Anyway, I’ve lost two days of writing – stupid cold – so I’m ploughing into my next script. So should you. Winner, placer, loser, writer. Doesn’t matter what happens, just keep writing.

Pick up a quill. Grab some parchment. And get writing. Those future competitions aren’t going to win themselves.

Let’s go.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

White Settlers

Watch White Settlers.

Now.

Go on, I dare you.

It’s available on VOD right now. Literally now. For rent or purchase.

Or you can wait until Monday the 20th October and buy it on physical disc, for your awesome film collection. Just in time for Halloween!



Okay, what is this? Why am I suddenly advertising Horror films on my Blog. Am I being sponsored or bribed? Or blackmailed?

Nope. None of the above.

White Settlers is produced by Not a Number Productions and directed by Simeon Halligan. Recognize those names? No? For shame!

Not a Number Productions are producing my script Dearly Beheaded, which is set to be directed by Simeon Halligan. White Settlers should give you a flavour of what they’re capable of, which - to say the least – is a lot of good stuff.

 
White Settlers is superbly directed, produced and acted, and having watched it I am fully confident that whatever they do with Dearly Beheaded will result in awesomeness.

So, to get a ‘flavour’ of the quality Not a Number Productions are capable of, check out White Settlers as soon as you can.

Dearly Beheaded will hopefully be shooting early 2015.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Competition Fail & Entry


Another day, another competition I didn’t win…

Unfortunately I did not get shortlisted in the Shore Scripts Quarter Finals. The results were posted yesterday, but – alas – I did not make the cut.

Check out the Quarter Finalists here:


Congratulations to all those who made it. Good luck for the Semis!

Now, what should I do about this hideous loss?!

Turn to drink? Have a big cry? Kill a tramp? Kick a hippo? Lick a duck?


All of the above, plus some frog-punching?

Nope!

I thought I’d enter another competition…!!

Recently I have entered:

The Blue Cat Competition with THE KIDNAP

London Screenwriters’ Festival Script Lab with LIARS END

I will also be entering…

The Industry Insider Competition

Agile – Incubate Competition

 
I will continue to fill the ‘Hope Jar’ with competition entries, so there’s ALWAYS that tiny grain of hopefulness kicking about (however subconscious). Honestly, it’s quite addictive.

Right, I’m off to write my entry for The Industry Insider Competition. I have to pen the opening 15 pages of a script based on the following Logline:

“A desperate single mother, on the verge of losing everything, aces an interview for a mysterious corporation, accepting the position in hopes of fixing her life… only she’s not sure what the job entails and if she’s up to the task.”

Okay. Let’s go.