Tuesday, 26 August 2014

2 Things of Interest (to me, anyway...)

Welcome back!

Thanks!

I’ve been away at Frightfest and at the awesome wedding of Paul and Camille (they had FIREWORKS. It was epic), but I’m now back at my desk and furiously tapping away at my keyboard, working on The Kidnap (A.K.A. Bitchnapped) and planning my web series, alongside finalizing the treatment documents for Sense.

Two things of note happened over the weekend. For me, anyway. For prosperity's sake, I’m mentioning them here!

1.) Don’t Move is playing on the big screen (again)!

Episode 8 of the Bloody Cuts short film anthology, Don’t Move (or ‘the short that killed the series’) is playing at Grimmfest in Manchester on 10th September, ahead of the world premiere of Devil's Tower - a horror featuring Jason Mewes and Roxanne Pallett.

If you’re kicking about up north and want to be scared shitless, then check it out.

Details HERE 

2.) Dearly Beheaded mentioned on The Horror Channel website!

In an interview with The Horror Channel about the world premiere of White Settlers, director Simeon Halligan was asked about his ‘next projects’… and had this to say about Dearly Beheaded:

“…we’re developing a new horror comedy called Dearly Beheaded by a new writer called David Scullion, that I’m very excited about, it all centres on a stag do that goes horrendously wrong with very bloody consequences. It’s early days on this, we are yet to raise the full finance or secure the full cast but I can say it’s a brilliantly funny screenplay.”

And no, I didn’t pay him to say that. Much.

Check out the full interview HERE 

Now, for an idea of the quality of Not a Number Productions’ work and skill, check out White Settlers. It is playing in various cinemas across September & October and is also available on VOD from September 8th and on DVD from October 20th (just in time for Halloween!).


For more information on White Settlers cinema run, check out their website HERE




And finally, for a bit of a laugh, here’s a ‘reaction video’ for Don’t Move – in Portuguese!


Although I don’t understand most of what he’s saying, it’s bloody funny!

Mind you, this isn’t the best way to watch Don’t Move for the first time. Go to the Grimmfest preview instead!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Frightfest 2014 cometh

It's big. It's terrifying. It's here. And it's about to be enjoyed by hundreds of like-minded people in a dark room.

No, it's not my penis.

It's FRIGHTFEST 2014!

Due to the wedding of my awesome friend Paul, I shall only be attending Frightfest on Thursday and Friday this year, but I don't mind - Friends before Frights, as H.P. Lovecraft once said. Maybe.

So... if you're kicking about today / tomorrow, give me a yell - literally SCREAM my name in any direction and I'll come running. Even if you're in Inverness or hiding in a cave in Australia. I'll be there.

I shall be landing in the general area of Frightland at about 4pm, for some pre-Frightfest drinks, japes and much-needed catching ups.

If you're about, I'll see you there. If you're not, I'll still see you. In fact, I can see you now. Put your pants back on.

That's it. Blog over.

Now to prepare my checklist for Frightfest:

1.) Black clothes
2.) Deodorant
3.) Money
4.) Necronomicon
5.) Eyes

Hello Frightfest 2014. I look forward to being inside you.

Let's go.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Is Television the New Film?

Recently there has been some discussion about television becoming the ‘new film’ – the medium in which everyone wants to be involved in, where talent can thrive and studio influence is less all-consumingly negative.

In the past many people have seen cinema & film as the goal-to-end-all-goals, and many have dreamed of the Hollywood dream – from screenwriters to directors to cinematographers to SFX make-uppers – but recently it seems like the glamour of La La Land is fading and television is becoming the more revered (and attractive) medium for artists to ply their trade and deliver their visions inside.

As cinema is becoming more and more diluted with brainless blockbusters, needless sequels, a thousand superhero films and movies based on young adult books, it’s clear that talented, visionary artists are taking their work elsewhere… and the audience are following.

But is television literally becoming the new film? And will it collapse under the weight of the same mistakes made by Hollywood?

It’s perhaps very telling that television is now featuring “Hollywood” stars – such as Kevin Spacey, Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConahghghhagughugy and Halle Berry – each responsible for championing new material, rather than existing product. Film directors such as Robert Rodriquez, Eli Roth, Neil Marshall and various other well-respected filmmakers are also working in television now, delivering their vision to a far wider audience.

Television is even doing what films do ‘best’; remaking literally anything and everything!

Recently we’ve seen television series greenlit for Dracula, Scream, Fargo, 12 Monkeys, The Evil Dead, Hannibal, Bates Motel, Teenwolf and Terminator - and this doesn’t even include the superhero adaptations, which include Gotham, Arrow, Agents of Shield, The Flash and Constantine, alongside the foursome of Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones (all culminating in “The Defenders”) or shows based on books like The Strain, Under the Dome and Games of Thrones.

 
Even M. Night Shyamalan is ‘doing TV’ with a ten-episode adaptation of the supernatural mystery novel Pines, featuring a ridiculously ‘starry’ cast of Matt Dillon, Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard, Carla Gugino, Juliette Lewis, Hope Davis, Toby Jones and Shannyn Sossamon!

It’s worth noting that the above proves that television is also becoming like film through a worrying lack of originality – using known property to pull in audiences – which could spell danger for anyone looking to launch an original television series.

Originality still exists in television – in all genres - but will they go the ‘way of the film’ and become lower budget and poorly marketed, thus perpetuating an idea that mega-bucks should be reserved for ideas already in our consciousness and not for anything even resembling originality?

I am not for a second saying Hollywood – and the film industry in general – is only capable of churning out awful, unlikable crap. Nor am I saying there is no value in films based on already-existing property; I thoroughly enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow, for example, yet when a Christopher Nolan film seems like an ‘indie’ in comparison to the current films hitting cinemas (Interstellar), there is a genuine concern there. I only hope television does not follow this route.


People are also less excited by new releases at the cinema than they used to be, but in comparison people go absolutely freakin’ nuts for the new seasons of shows like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Doctor Who. It’s only really the Star Wars films that generate the kind of online buzz television does nowadays.

Perhaps it’s because these television events are on at a specific time – and everyone gets to experience the same thing at once – like back when the opening night of movie (in the cinema) actually meant something. Although people LOVE Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s not the same kind of hysterical, screaming buzz that’s generated by certain episodes / events in television like – let’s say – the “red wedding” in Game of Thrones.

I don’t feel I have to avoid spoilers for The Inbetweeners 2, but I certainly have to avoid the internet completely when The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones is on! It makes people desperate (literally DESPERATE) to see the new series before spoilers ruin the surprise. Even the newspapers can’t seem to avoid spoilers for television, with the Metro newspaper revealing characters’ DEATHS on page 3 for everyone on their morning commute to hate.

I bought Game of Thrones Season 4 on Blinkbox because I could no longer navigate Facebook (or newspapers!) without having to look away immediately the moment someone posted a picture of _____ dead or _____ fighting with ______.

It feels as though television is much more EXCITING than cinema, even though the experience of being inside the cinema is much more thrilling than sitting at home, curtains closed, pants on, phone distracting. I love the cinema, although on occasion it’s been ruined by some of the general public (see a previous Blog Post for one very ranty, sweary example of this)

Maybe I’m being one of the media-hypochondriacs, constantly bemoaning the ‘state of the industry’ and screaming about how hard it is for talented, visionary artistes to get into this closed-door of a nepotistic business…

…but I’m not. It’s hard for anyone. Hell, it’s even hard for Chris Carter, the fantastically well-respected creator of The X-Files, Millennium, Harsh Realm etc… who recently created a pilot for Amazon, hoping to gain public votes with the promise a series might get made if enough people loved it (thankfully they did, and Amazon have ordered a full series). I think if the creator of The X-Files is having to go on Amazon’s X Factor you know the industry is tough.


It is a tough industry for everyone, but it’s rapidly changing. With the advent of online heavy-weights such as Netflix, Amazon and even YouTube, there’s going to be a lot more opportunity in ‘television’ for people to work,  but there is certainly the danger of it being over-saturated with pre-owned material and less opportunity for ‘new’ risks.

Some may champion the Netflix Originals, but you don’t have to dig far to find out how these doors are not easy to enter:

  • Hemlock Grove was created by much loved horror-dude Eli Roth
  • House of Cards was created by Beau Willimon who wrote and co-produced The Ides of March, as well as being produced by David Fincher and Kevin Spacey (who also stars)!
  • Orange is the New Black is created by Jenji Kohan, the writer / producer of Weeds and producer of Gilmore Girls, Mad About You and lots more.
On face value these series can seem new and fresh and out of nowhere, but there’s a machine spinning in the background and you’ll notice that most of these – with the exception of Orange is the New Black – are backed by writers, producers & stars that are more often associated with Hollywood than the tiny world of the television googlebox.

Despite any possible bemoaning from creatives – including myself – this is all fantastic news for audiences worldwide – including myself – who get to now watch Hollywood-esque television series in the comfort of our home, in our pants.

Perhaps this blurring of the lines between TV and film is why so many cinemagoers nowadays can’t see the difference between their living room and a giant multiplex cinema full of strangers.

Now, on the flipside, although it’s great for coach potatoes worldwide, it could spell disaster for those audiences who still love going to the cinema. With more reasons to stay at home and watch television – i.e. much-loved superheroes on TV (like Daredevil, young Batman etc…) and Brad Pitt in the new season of True Detective – then box office revenues could inadvertently suffer, especially with the likes of Netflix, Blinkbox and LOVEFiLM ensuring films are readily available only a few months after their cinematic release.


None of this suggests the ultimate death of cinema that some people may be predicting, but it’s definitely a curve towards ‘safer’ acquisitions like the YA market and comic book adaptations.

Only thrillers, horror and comedies seem to be the safest bet for original material writing in film – certainly not drama, animation or anything remotely fantasy / sci-fi based.

This Blog Post wasn’t so much as a debate – I have no answer to this – but more an open discussion about the current feeling I have that the television industry is in danger of becoming more and more like the film industry. The recent propensity for snapping up pre-known properties, using Hollywood actors and bringing in film directors to helm episodes and series suggests a metaphorical abandoning of ships in L.A. - and everyone is swimming to television, with their pre-concieved ideas of how things should work; artistically and financially.

At the moment television seems to be the best place for writers to ply their trade (they’re respected, revered by fans, paid well and given a lot of opportunity to develop characters, worlds etc…), but is this the equivalent of Hollywood in the 1980’s, where spec scripts were bought for millions of dollars and ‘nobodies’ became overnight successes in an instant? A bubble that bust violently.

If so, then these green televisual pastures may be hit by the same plague that the last two decades of film has endured. As television becomes more and more buoyed by familiar property rather than original content, and filmmakers are flocking to television to work their magic, this could be a distinct – and unfortunate – reality.

Hopefully in ten years I’ll look back at this Blog post and laugh, my fears utterly unwarranted and my predictions quashed. Or maybe I’ll be writing for some Marvel franchise on Netflix or showrunning the TV adaptation of 28 Days Later.

Only time will tell.



EDIT: please note that the above is in reference to the Hollywood machine, not the UK film industry (or beyond), although it’s a fair reflection considering the UK films that have done decent box office business in the past decade have been the likes of Harry Potter (YA adaptation), The King’s Speech (biopic), The Inbetweeners (based on a TV series) and The Woman in Black (based on a stage play) – to give just a few examples – which are all based on products already known. Oddly, Run For Your Wife isn’t amongst the this box office bonanza bundle.

Seriously, though, can you name any examples of box office smashing UK films (from 2004 to 2014) that AREN’T based on already-recognised property?

I can’t, and that troubles me.

That said, if someone wanted me to write Mrs Brown’s Boys 2: Welcome to Brown Town, I’d do it in a snap. Well, not a snap. A slap, perhaps. And a lot of shame (and whisky). But I’d still do it.

Writers’ gotta write, man.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Don't Be A D**k

Two weeks ago I met up with my agent Ed for a few drinks in the Soho Theatre Bar (I’ve now officially been in more theatre bars this year than I’ve been to the theatre. Go on, judge me. I like it).

We chatted all things work, writing, life and K├Ânig Pilsener, but we came upon a subject that has inspired me to write this Blog Post. I thought I would share my thoughts with you here – for other writers like me who’re looking to break out in this tough industry.

The subject? What makes a writer a “one-hit” wonder and what makes them a professional career writer.

After chatting to Ed, I went away and talked to other industry ‘people’, surfed the web for horror stories of foolhardy writers and drew from a number of my own unfortunately experiences with other writers… and myself.

So, what do you need to ensure you become a professional career writer and not a one-hit wonder who immediately disappears into endless nothingness?

The conclusion I came to was one I’ve always harboured, and mentioned on a few occasions before now.

It’s simple:

DON’T
BE
A
DICK


This is Rule #1 in my guide to being a successful screenwriter!

Incidentally, Rule #2 is similar:

DON’T
BE
CRAZY


Not always intrinsically linked, but these are two personality traits that can combine in the perfect storm on unemployable nonsense. It’s the “not being a dick” I really can’t emphasize the most.

Are you a dick?

Yes?

Well… that’s good of you to admit it. Off to the DA with you to get some help (that’s not the “District Attorney” but “Dicks Anonymous”, where you can be an absolute bell-end with total impunity. People even applaud you for admitting you’re a dick, and you get a shiny badge if you haven’t been an utter nobface for a week. Score!).
 

If you’re thinking “I’m not a dick” then great, maybe you’re not! But to avoid any chance that some of your actions, words or personality traits might be construed as being slightly dickish, there are some tips in regards to “checking yourself before wrecking yourself” in the crazy world of scriptwriting.

This list in no particular order… or is it?

  1. Follow up
  2. Don’t push!
  3. Arrive early
  4. Be professional
  5. Don’t be a hater
  6. Always be writing
  7. Don’t be ‘precious’
  8. You will be rewritten
  9. Nobody owes you anything
Let’s break these lovely points down!


1.) Follow Up

An easy one to forget, especially if you have an agent. It’s your responsibility to follow up on any meetings you’ve had – no matter how small or seemingly pointless.

If you don’t follow up – even if they’ve asked you for nothing and told you your script doesn’t fit within their remit (or whatever) – they could see it as you considering them to be a unworthy of your time. They may perceive you as being aloof or a little rude.

But basically, they’ll think you’re a dick.


2.) Don’t Push!

Welcome to the fine line. I tell you above to ‘follow up’ and now I’m about to tell you to leave the goddamn people alone!

Once you’ve followed up, you might get a response (you might not! Dicks…) that leaves you hanging. Maybe they’ve asked to see something and you’ve sent it, but they don’t respond.

What do you do now?

DO NOT pester them. They hate it. I hate it. You hate it. People are busy, so give them some room. If you repeatedly e-mail them asking why they haven’t responded, you’ll be accidentally ‘reimagining’ Swingers and being – you guessed it – a colossal dick.

So what should you do?

Move on. Do something else. Don’t dwell on it. Wait for a couple of weeks and drop a query – a friendly, non-pushy one – asking them if they’re read what you sent and that you recognize they must be super busy. Ask when is best to contact them if they are busy.

That’s the key – “when is best to contact them”. You ask that, they might say they’re snowed in post production for a month and to contact them in five weeks.

Boom. Sorted. Now you can move on and do something for five weeks. But make sure you put that date in your calendar / diary, otherwise you might forget to contact them and you’ll end up at point 1 again!


3.) Arrive early

The opposite of any great scene in a script, you need to arrive EARLY to any meeting.

Think it’ll take you one hour to get there? Leave the house an hour and a half before the meeting!

Honestly, it’s scary how many people are late to super-important meetings because of a signal failure on the Northern Line or a traffic jam on the M25. And people HATE waiting, especially for writers.
 

Be early, but don’t actually turn up to the meeting early. Turn up to the meeting five minutes early. Hang out in the local Starbucks or park before hand, re-reading your pitching documents and IMDB’ing everyone they’ve ever worked with…

Oh, and for the love everything sacrosanct, if someone pays for your transport in advance – train ticket, plane ticket, ticket to Mars – please ensure you actually use it. Seriously.

If a producer / production company buys you a ticket to travel to set (for example), don’t turn up to the train station late. Is this a ridiculous, fackingly obvious statement? Yes. But some writers overvalue their importance apparently…


4.) Be professional

This is basically ALL the points combined, but needed its own little piece.

  • Dress appropriately – they’ll expect a writer, but still be offended if you rock up in pyjamas and Batman socks. Or a mankini.
  • Don’t be a sweaty, stinking mess – linked with Point 3 above, make sure you’re not rushing to the meeting and turn up looking like a sumo wrestler’s arse-flannel. No one likes shaking a wet hand.
  • Don’t swear or be controversial – even if the person hosting the meeting laughs about 9/11 or makes a joke about necrophilia, try to avoid joining in. You’re the professional there, even if they’re not.
  • Ask about them – easy to forget, but always have an interest in what they’re doing. Even if you don’t actually give a crap.

The key point here is SHOW YOU CARE. If you walk in looking and acting like you don’t care, they’ll think you’re a dick.


5.) Don’t be a hater

Seriously, no one likes a hater. Don’t moan about other writers or producers or directors or shit films you hate or how film-funding in the UK is run by rich, middle-class c*nts with entitlement issues and no taste in decent cinema.

Don’t moan. Don’t hate.

ALWAYS. BE. POSITIVE.

Even when you’re feeling pissed off or if you’ve just received your 87th rejection this week, PRETEND to be happy!

People want to work with happy people. They do. They need it. They want it. They want enthusiasm for stuff you love, not enthusiasm for your hatred of Paul W.S. Anderson. 


Also, the industry is TINY. Absolutely microscopic, especially in the UK. If you tell them you “can’t stand Jimmy Carr”, you might instantly find out they were thinking of casting him in your sitcom… and the deal might implode before you realize how much you actually LOVE Jimmy Carr. Too late. You sunk the ship with your icy hate-berg.

Don’t worry, be happy. Or you might come across as a negative Nancy / pessimistic Paul / depressing Dick.


6.) Always be writing

One point that peeves agents is how some clients (not necessarily their current stock of clients!) rely on one piece of writing – or their old portfolio of work – and don’t write while waiting for the ‘results’ on those.

I find this an alien concept – I’m always writing! – but apparently it’s easy to slip into. Maybe your script is out with ten people and you’re waiting for responses and meetings and cheques containing $800,000, but you should still be writing something else.

Yeah, it can be exhausting and annoying and weird to shift focus, but it’s necessary. Writing isn’t JUST rewriting… it’s also writing.

If you’re a writer who doesn’t write and expects your current canon of work to propel you into the land of career awesomeness where people will constantly ask you to write on spec and spec alone, then I have news for you – you’re probably living in a fantasy world.

A fantasy world where you’re the king or queen.

Of the dicks.


7.) Don’t be ‘precious’

Probably the hardest ‘point’ to reconcile with, “don’t be precious” is also one of the most important and can be the difference between being a career-writer and that one-hit wonder who was impossible to work with.

You’ve spent six years writing a script. Writing. Rewriting. Editing. Pondering over that one scene that represents the entire theme and context of your story, ensuring every nuance and dialogue inflection and action line is PERFECT…

…then you sell the script and the producer asks you to cut the scene. Just remove it. For time. For budget reasons. For a laugh. Whatever the reason, cut it. They don’t want it.

AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGH!

Fuck ‘em, right? That’d be the first thought. Fuck ‘em right in the armpit.

But don’t say it. Don’t even imply any kind of armpit-penetration. Just breathe and think about it.

Don’t. Be. Precious.

There are corners you should fight, definitely, and you certainly shouldn’t bend over and take it in the armpit, but filmmaking is about COLLABORATION (more on this later!).

Character names don’t matter. Dialogue can be rewritten. Scenes can be cut. Scenes can be added. If you’re too precious about it – and are openly unwilling to make changes or obviously pissed off with any attempt to ‘rape your opus’, then people will struggle to recommend you.

Talk things through calmly. Explain reasons. See WHY they want to make changes. Listen, discuss, compromise.

No one wants a writer who’s massively precious about their work, because – in the end – they’ll be a nightmare to work with because (yep) they’ll act like a dick.

I have personal experiences with writers who’ve sent me scripts to read, where I’ve sent back copious notes (like, 16 pages!) and the writer hasn’t even RESPONDED to my feedback. Now that’s being a dick.

There’s probably an entire thesis I could write on this point – dealing with notes – but that can wait until I’ve got more time than I have work (and not the other way around!).


8.) You will be rewritten

A cousin of Point 7, this is even harder to stomach than the threat of copious notes.

You will be rewritten in your career. Maybe more than once.

For whatever reason, the producer / director / exec producer’s tea-lady suddenly doesn’t like your style or dialogue or plot or ‘experience’ and suddenly – out of nowhere – Jimmy McBobbins is rewriting your script.

BASTARDS!

Grab a sword, slap some blue paint over your face and get your arse out. It’s WAR!


But it’s not. If you handle the situation well, you’ll probably find yourself in a reverse position in the future – rewriting someone else’s work.

If you handle having your work rewritten badly and call everyone scumbags, then you probably won’t be in that position ever again.

This is hard to stomach and accept. Someone rewriting your work is like someone painting over your Mona Lisa. It’s heartbreaking…

…but it’s NOT personal. It’s not. So don’t react personally.

If you do, you could come across as obstinate, rude, unprofessional, stubborn, annoying or a dick. Or all of them.


9.) Nobody owes you anything

You know you spent 4000 hours writing your script? You know you missed your Dad’s 60th birthday to go a meeting with the producer? You know you now live in a cardboard box outside the Cambridge Corn Exchange because you wanted to ‘work full time’ as a writer and quit your job to make it happen? You know everyone LOVES your script? You know they’re all super-mad-thrilled to be making it?

Yeah?

Well, they don’t owe you anything.

Financially they might do (duh!) but you need to acknowledge they don’t know how many hours you slaved over, how estranged you are from your father now or how many nights you’ve spent eating woodlice out of a tin can.


The producers / directors / executives all have stories too. All have lives. And you sure as hell don’t think you owe them anything, right?

Don’t act entitled. Don’t expect to be invited along to the set for every single day of the shoot. Don’t expect to be involved in every meeting with the costume department or the caterers. Don’t expect anything except compliments on your awesome writing and some money to plonk into your account at some point (or not, depending on your deal…).


CONCLUSION

The conc is simple – don’t be a dick.

Be respectful, punctual, professional, positive, agreeable and never appear precious.

In the future, when you’re the highest paid, most respected writer on the planet, then you can be shitballs crazy and a total dickburger, but when you’re starting out don’t torpedo your ship before you get on it.

The ship’s your career in this metaphor. The torpedo is you. Being a dick.


Stop! DISCLAIMER TIME!


The list above is not an exhaustive list and there are many other things you shouldn’t do if you want to become a professional, career writer. Don’t bring your pet goat to meetings, don’t stab anyone, don’t turn up drunk and don’t make jokes about rape, AIDS, homosexuality or Madeline McCann. Hopefully you don’t need advice on that, though…

On with the disclaimer!


Despite being inspired by a meeting with Ed Hughes from Linda Seifert Management Ltd, none of the above is his actual opinion and certainly isn’t based on any of his clients (past or present)! He’s like a doctor; the agent-writer confidentiality is a special bond you cannot break or Hippocrates’ ghost will rip your spleen out and eat it (or something equally typical of oath-breaking).

Of course, this all might actually be Ed’s opinion anyway… but I haven’t asked him and I imagine he's too busy to read this Blog. Right Ed? Do you read this Blog?

Ed?

Ed?!





Ed?




Now, all the above IS definitely opinion and not an actual guide, so by all means keep your sense of entitlement, don’t take notes, always turn up late and call the CEO of Universal Pictures a “shitty fuckbollock” – you still might make it as a career writer, but the journey will probably suck for everyone you encounter.

I am an ‘occasionally-paid’ writer, but by no means a professional career writer yet, so feel free to dismiss my thoughts as the bullshit ramblings of a self-important amateur… but hopefully you’ll see some value in them.

I’m sure if I was a keynote speaker at some writing convention, I’d probably make this list into some clever acronym and make it less random, but I’m not. I’m just me, blogging to the world in the hope that one day, someone might find some of this useful.

If you do, then awesome – I’m glad I could help a fellow writer.

If you don’t find this useful, then that’s okay too. I don’t mind!

If you feel the need to e-mail me and tell me my advice if unfailingly useless, utterly obvious and a waste of your goddamn time, then that’s also okay. This blog post is secretly about you.


Friday, 8 August 2014

Scriptapa…loser


Alas, poor Scullion, another day passes and another rejection cometh knocking at your door.

On Wednesday I received an e-mail informing me that the quarter-final results of the Scriptapalooza screenwriting competition had been posted.

I rushed over (to the website) and desperately scanned the page like a kid looking at audition results for the casting of some school play. Was my name on there? Would I get to play Tom Sawyer? No. No I didn’t. I get to whitewash a fence like a total loser. Waaaaaaaaa. Boo hoo etc…

Wait, what?

Yeah, so, the US version of Dearly Beheaded did not “make the cut”. Naturally I did the only sane thing you can do in this situation – I went to South London, had a few beers and watched Blink182 live at the O2 Brixton Academy.

That certainly cheered me up.

Having no chance to feel down about this, I’m not picking myself up, dusting anything down or moving on. No need. I’m ready.

That’s officially rejections from Hopscotch Horror, Red Planet and Scriptapalooza this year - I’m now officially out of competitions to hope for so I need to enter another!

Gotta have hope, people.

Wow, this isn’t a very positive Blog post, is it? Sorry! As I’ve mentioned before, I want to give full disclosure on this Blog – of my journey from amateur writer to something-less-than-amateur – with warts, rejections, advice, success, failure and swearing mad rants ‘n’ all. Sometimes it’s all awesome happy news, sometimes it’s rejection central. This is one of those times.

Right.

That’s it.

Enough of this maudlin bollocks.

Here’s a picture of a hippopotamus:


Awesome, right?

They kill 2,900 people a year.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Another Direction


On a side note, after a recent discussion with my agent I am looking at writing and directing a web series.

Although a great script can propel a writer into a lifelong career of – well – writing, the industry is a rapidly-changing, multi-faceted beast that can ignore even the best talent in favour of someone with more than one skill-set.

It’s not the first time my agent has asked me if I’m planning on directing anything, and I realised that it’s an especially useful facet to have as a writer. Why? Many reasons, but primarily because you’re a ‘package’ already – being both writer and director cuts down on (but certainly doesn’t eliminate) meetings, creative differences, costs, rights and promotion.

I like directing – I’ve only done shorts so far – but when you start off it’s an incredibly time-consuming, all-encompassing experience as you’re often (nearly always) the producer of your work too.

However, I realize the genre I’m passionate about – Horror – is easier to get inside and make a career out of if you’re a writer and director. Look at Neil Marshall, who has gone from writing & directing excellent genre films to directing some fantastic episodes of Games of Thrones and is reportedly working on the Constantine TV show.

So in the latter quarter of 2014 I will be concentrating on producing, writing and directing a web series.

Of course, paid writing work takes precedence over this, so it all depends on workload. I only have so many hours in the day, unfortunately…

I won’t be releasing any details on the web series just yet, although it’s likely to a darkly-comic horror in 6 parts.

Right, I’m off to expand my skill set. And have a muffin.

August?!


Welcome to August, a month of wonder.

It sprung out of nowhere, like a particularly nimble goblin, laughing about how it had taken the entire month of July and shrunk it down to a millisecond.

Seriously, where the hell did July go?!


I only wrote 2 Blog posts in July 2014! Not since April 2012 have I been so inattentive on the Blogging front, only infecting the internet with my words twice in the space of 31 days.

It’s now August! A month of wonder, apparently.


My plan for this month?

Rewrite (and possibly rename) Bitchnapped
Write Sense Episode 1
Start planning a Webseries (TBC)
Go to Frightfest!
Go to a wedding (not my own!)

I also have some Blogging to do, apparently. And work. A life.


Those are the things I can tell you about, anyway. Everything else is top secret, like Batman or something. Except I’m not a billionaire playboy. I mean, I once read a copy of Playboy. It was okay. Too many naked pictures of women and not enough decent short stories.

Right. Blog over. Short and sweet, like a sugar-coated goblin who stole July.

That’s it.

August is here.

Bring it on.