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.


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Logline Competition

A few weeks ago I entered a Logline Competition for the On The Page podcast, which is run by screenwriting guru Pilar Alessandra.

It is run every year and is both massively informative and very funny.

The competition rules are simple; send in a logline for a feature film you’ve written, are writing or are thinking of writing, and Pilar Alessandra and producer / writer Matt Belknap assesses each one and rates them on quality. They whittle them down and choose a winner.


Okay…. so what the hell is a logline?

Well – for those who don’t know - it’s relatively simple:

“A logline is a brief summary of a television program or film – often one sentence long – that provides both a synopsis of the program's plot and a ‘hook’ to stimulate interest”.

Examples below:

A Las Vegas-set comedy centered around three groomsmen who lose their about-to-be-wed buddy during their drunken misadventures, then must retrace their steps in order to find him.

Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.

When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an insane and corrupt prince, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.

Those are from The Hangover, The Artist and Gladiator respectively. A logline is a quick-pitch of your project, letting a producer know the genre, concept, character etc… and can often lead to someone saying “send me the script” or at least “sounds interesting, send me a one-page outline”.

For this competition I entered a logline from my horror feature Canyon Fodder. My logline is below:

When a bus crashes into an isolated canyon in Nevada’s Great Basin Desert, a disgraced cryptozoologist must work with a group of strangers to find a way out… before the canyon’s unique ecosystem kills them all.

Did it win?

You’ll have to listen to the Podcast, which is available on iTunes here:


It is EPISODE 368.








Listened to it yet?

No?!

Shame on you.

Okay, okay… you don’t have to listen to it if you don’t want to.

My logline is mentioned at 31 minutes in (approximately) and also mentioned at 1 hour and 31 minutes.

So… did they like it? Did they enjoy it? Did it win the competition?!

Listen and find out!








Or read this below:

No.

No it didn’t.

No it didn’t win.

My Logline did, however, get an honourable mention from Matt Belknap, which is awesome. Thanks dude!

The reason it didn’t win?

Possibly the word “Cryptozoologist”, which is one of those words / professions I thought most people knew about… but on hindsight I realize not many people do! My years of reading The Fortean Times has clearly warped my perspective on what ‘normal’ folk know…


This is a lesson in Loglines (the entire podcast episode is, in fact, so well worth listening to) and emphasizes a point; a logline is supposed to sell an idea to someone. It should excite, intrigue and make them want to read your script. If you put anything in there that makes the reader feel stupid or uninformed or confuses them… you’ll lose them. My word was “Cryptozoologist”.

I have therefore revised my Logline to the below:

When a bus crashes into an isolated canyon in Nevada’s Great Basin Desert, a disgraced biologist must work with a group of strangers to find a way out… before the canyon’s unique ecosystem kills them all.

One word change makes the world of difference.

For anyone who writes, I thoroughly recommend Pilar’s On The Page podcasts. They’re fun, funny, informative and really bloody useful for any budding – or professional – screenwriter.

Right, now go get those loglines primed.

The next competition is in a year’s time.

Bring it on.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Script Angel Contest – The Final Result

I didn't win. 

Thought I'd get that out of the way early. I did not win the Script Angel / London Screenwriters' Festival Screenwriting Contest 2014.

Am I upset? No! Not in the slightest. A little disappointed, but not the kind of crippling disappointment you get when your favourite teacher looks at your exam results and shakes their head at you forlornly, signifying a sadness at an unexpected failure that shatters half a decade of collaboration, hope and mutual respect.
                    
No. Not that disappointed.

Huge congratulations to Darren Barker, who did win the coveted first prize. Good luck with the script mate!  I'd love to read it (hint hint).
             
I did receive some excellent feedback from the 'angel' herself, including the judges’ thoughts, which was really great (and unexpected!) - thanks o' angelic one! Bloody great competition. I'll definitely be entering next year (you have been warned...).  

More about the win HERE 

On a separate note I also had an ace meeting with a producer this evening, which has led to some writing work, so that's damn good news! I can't mention anything about it of course, so you’ll just have to imagine what I'll be writing instead…

...okay, yes, I admit it - I'm doing a 200 hour dinosaur space adventure film with John Carpenter and Vinnie Jones. You guessed right! It's gonna be epic. And violent. And sexy. And silent.

So... that was my Thursday.

How was yours?!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

One of Those Days


You know when you have one of those days where everything goes hideously wrong?

Yeah… that was today for me.

Having worked two 11 hour days this week I figured I would saunter into work on time today, leaving the house at a comfortable gait and arriving after the milkman and worm-catchers for once...

But it didn’t quite go according to plan.

There were severe delays on the Underground and a broken down tube train... at the very station I had to get to!

It normally takes me 45 minutes to get to work. It took me over 2 hours. In the rain.

Then a bird shat on my knee.

Seriously. It did. On my freakin’ knee.

One of those days, right?

These are the days where you want to go home and bury your head in a bottle of wine and stuff something chocolately into your face. Possibly marathon-binge on some sci-fi TV. Or just go to sleep. Or dive into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and only climb out when you’re 2 stone heavier.


These are the days when you don’t write.

These are the days when you think everything is working against you, telling you in some secret, omnipotent, all-powerful way that you SHOULDN’T be writing today. To throw your pen in the bin and pour some vodka into a glass full of ice.

These are the times when your atheism is thoughtlessly discarded, like a battlefield soldier watching her intestines slide through her fingers. God is punishing me, you might think. “He” doesn’t want me to write today.

I get it. Seriously I do. I mean, come on! A bird SHIT on my knee! While I was walking! How the hell does that even happen?!


So what did I do at the end of today?

Home/wine/chocolate/beer/Walking Dead/pie/vodka/ice cream/bed?

Nope.

I went for a 3.5 mile run and wrote this. And then I’m going to begin writing Episode 1 of my web series. 

This will surprise a lot of people. Especially the running part. Actually, probably only the running part. It wasn't so bad, actually. Only two people yelled something at me tonight. And one of them could only muster the pathetic - but accurate - scream of "FAT!" as I ran by. Observational, perhaps, but not greatly witty. Oh, and no one blew cigarette smoke in my face this time, which was nice. I love Leytonstone.

Life is hard. It sucks. Some days just seem to collapse on you, like you’re climbing a giant mound of angry turd. But keep fighting. Don’t use it as an excuse. Don’t give it. Climb over the turd, and slide down the other side. There’s always a lake on the other side.

Or at least a shop selling handwash.

For those non-atheists out there, I’m hoping today’s absolute cavalcade of crap (metaphorical and literal crap, in this case) is all about getting rid of all the terrible, bad mojo coming my way…

… because tomorrow is an important day. I will find out the results of the Script Angel London Screenwriters’ Festival competition and also have an interesting after-work meeting with a producer, which I’m really looking forward to.

Hopefully tomorrow the trains will be working. It’ll be sunny, but also be nice and cool like Autumn should be. Work won’t be 11 hours long. And all of London’s avian shitters won’t use my knees as target practice.

So if you’re having a terrible day and you’re meant to write – just write. Sod it. Sod ‘em. Sod whatever deity you believe is responsible.

And write.

Because it will make you happy. And once you’re done, take off your clothes and jump into a vat of Ben & Jerry’s. You’ll goddamn deserve it.

Good luck.