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Friday, July 14, 2017

Podcast Episode 63: Justin Trefgarne

Justin Trefgarne - Uk Scriptwriters Podcast



This podcast episode is great! That's because I get to sit back and listen to it as a normal punter myself.

Danny went rogue and did it solo. He talked over Skype to writer / director Justin Trefgarne who gives the most amazingly candid and detailed story behind the making of his debut feature - Narcopolis.

Justine talks about how it almost never happened after not getting through the iFeatures scheme, but how the movie was saved by a chance meeting. How it ran out of money. How his lead actor had to leave town due to having a baby - so they swapped location with only 4 days to go. And many many more close shaves.

If you are thinking of writing, directing and producing your first feature then this is a MUST listen for sure. I was totally hooked by the story.

A quick word about the podcast - myself and Danny had a chat about its future. We have decided to keep it going and keep it free. But that may mean some of the older episodes will get deleted from the server to make room. That seems better than charging in our opinion. But please continue to support us by buying the book, if you have one, buy another one for a writer friend!

Some links
Justin's website - http://justintrefgarne.com/
His twitter - https://twitter.com/handheldcamera
Our book (buy it!) - http://amzn.to/2umyLGJ

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Networking Tips - for writers

networking for writers

We did a recent podcast that covered some ideas around networking, you can listen here - https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/ukscriptwriters/episodes/2017-06-20T09_59_31-07_00

This blog post follows up on that - with some more top tips in an easy-to-share format.

Go to events 

Biggest part is turning up. Get there early though, before people get into their own little huddles and you can't break in. Try to introduce yourself to the main person, but be just as nice to (and interested in) everyone else.

Pitch yourself

People want to work with people that they like and know. They have to like you as well as your work. You’d be the same. You’d want to work with people you got on with, too. So pitch yourself, more than a single project - which may not be right for the other person.

Talk slower - to be clearer 

The things you’re talking about are well known to you, so you talk through them fast. This could be coupled with the desire to just get to the bar fast. This is akin to the man who decides to drive home at top speed because his brakes are broken. Slower means you look more confident and you are less likely to trip over your tongue and come across like a gabbling fool.

Get (and use) business cards

In the social media world, business cards can seem old fashioned. BUT, when you go to a networking event, its fun and exciting to meet all the new people. THEN, later, the "fog of networking" descends. Who was who? What did you talk about? You want to look someone up on LinkedIn – but how did they spell their name exactly? Hand out your cards – and use that as an invitation to collect other people’s.

Stay in touch

All of this networking activity counts for nothing unless you do something with the contacts you collect. Follow up.

Maybe you don’t need to meet new people at all

Sometimes you know enough people. They just don’t know enough about you. Approaching new people can be daunting. Talking to people you already know, less so. Use your existing contacts. Do they know fully about all your skills?

Use the phone

Damn emails. It is so easy for written words to be taken the wrong way. Takes ages to craft a good message. And then you have to wait for a reply. If only there was a way to speak to people right now. There is fools. Get on the phone! Not many people use it now, so people will probably take your call (if they have met you before and know you!)

Start your own event

What if there isn’t an event near you, or not quite the one you want? Then start one. Create something small and well targeted, and use helpful free online tools. The benefit of starting your own event is that it puts you at the heart of the networking opportunity. Guests come up to you rather than you having to approach them.

All this good stuff and more is available in our book, The UK Scriptwriter's Survival Handbook, which is available on Amazon as a book or on Kindle - and also on many different formats.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Podcast Episode 62: Networking and Business




In this episode we talk about some nuts and bolts issues. How to gain more work as a writer and how to get your finances in order, so you keep your working life on the straight and narrow.

NETWORKING: Some writers dread the idea of talking to new people. But of course; new people can mean new business. What tips are there to make networking less stressful and to ensure these kind of events work in your favour?

BUSINESS: What do you actually need to do when you start earning money from writing. Do you need to set up a company? How?

BONUS: We also give a shout out to a new festival near us - http://shortsounds.co.uk - a festival dedicated to the hidden art of sound in film.

INFO: This episode's photo is of a group of us from our own local networking event who met up in Cannes to celebrate the release of local short film Faithless -https://www.facebook.com/faithlessmovie/

LINKS:
Find us on iTunes - www.tinyurl.com/ukscriptpodcast 
And on twitter - https://twitter.com/UKscriptwriters
And on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ukscriptwriterspodcast/
Or get our book for more great advice - www.tinyurl.com/UKscripthandbook


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Nelson Nutmeg DVD in ASDA - physically exciting - but what's the future for film?



So as you can, my debut feature film is now on the shelves of Asda. Exciting times. In the cheeky video I popped in with co-director and co-writer Danny Stack to bag us a copy.

This clip was filmed on the day of the DVD release. But by this point in time the movie had already been out on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and Sky Store for a couple of weeks. Here's some thoughts and conclusions from this experience.

One: People are excited about a DVD
People prefer a DVD probably because they can touch it and hold it. Certainly, as far as our experience is concerned, our fans (and cast and crew) were more thrilled about this release than the digital release. Perhaps because it also felt more 'real' and 'day to day'. The DVD is exclusive to Asda. Asda is somewhere they may go on a regular basis. So the film isn't something that is separate to their normal world, happening only in oddball film land. It's at their local store, next to 'proper' DVDs from Disney.

Two: As a film maker, you can build more marketing interest around a DVD.
The funky little video above gained a lot of views on Facebook. I was going to say more views than we got for the equivalent clips we did for the digital release. But actually - we didn't really have any of those. Why? Because there isn't something you can really film for a digital release. A DVD, by being tangible, can be used as a prop for all kinds of marketing effort.

Three: It can sell out
One of the downsides, compared to digital releases, is that a physical item needs shelf space and stock. So it can therefore, also sell out and be unavailable. As our movie has a lot of local support it sold out very quickly in our area and so there were empty shelves with some people not being able to buy it.

Four: The future
Any kind of physical release will become more and more uncommon in the future if trends continue as they are - and I see no reason why trends would change. For most people a DVD is a burden, not a treat. They need a DVD player for starters and to sit at home. With a digital release they can watch on their phone on the beach, at the park, in the car, on the train, in bed etc etc. And on many different devices. A challenge for film makers is therefore what physical items they can create to both sell and build content around. Special editions etc.

Business links
Distribution via Evolutionary Films
DVD via Gilt Edge Media

Monday, May 15, 2017

Podcast Episode 61: TV writer, Martin Day




Is there a career ladder that writers can move up on anymore? It used to be that you would start on regular 'soaps' and then move into ongoing drama and then onto your own shows. Is that even possible anymore? Experienced TV writer and WGGB rep for the South West, Martin Day, talks about his own career. It's had ups and downs of course, but most interestingly, what has changed most has been the actual business of TV writing.

In my classic way, I was a bit controversial and confrontational in my thoughts, in order that we properly explore the issue. My concern is that the BBC, through various schemes, still tries to offer a way in for new writers. But does the BBC actually directly hire enough writers to be able to offer any kind of follow up. Clearly a stamp of approval from getting on a BBC is a great thing to have, something we still aspire to. But do they actually produce enough in house drama content anymore that they can claim to be able to facilitate a career ladder to climb?

It was a very interesting conversation. And it made me more confident that ever that the advice of 'growing yourself as a writer' and 'doing it your way' is sensible and prudent for any writer.

You can see more about Martin at www.martinday.co.uk and find him on twitter - @sirdigbychicken

Monday, March 20, 2017

Podcast Episode 60: Documentaries, with Joe Martin


This episode we talk to Joe Martin about something a bit different - documentaries. Although Joe's latest film (Us and Them) is fiction he has previously created many documentaries, including the doc feature "Keep Quiet" about far right politician Csanád Szeged.

Us and Them was at SXSW recently. Here's a review.

So he is ideally placed to talk about drama-docs and the increase use of story consultants within the doc world. Is it a good development that adds clarity or a bad trend that creates formulaic content.

His IMBD = http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5630563/

Thursday, March 02, 2017

3 act, 9 act? Consider the sequence approach



Sometimes, as writers, we can get a bit obsessed about different structures. But the sequence approach is slightly different. Not all writers know about it however, hence this post. I'm a big fan.

It is different because it comes at the issue of structure from another point of view. It simply states that a story is made up of sequences that are 10-15 minute in length - and that those sequences are like mini pieces of drama in themselves, perhaps with a mini 3-act inside them. So one film may have 8 sequences, while another longer film could have 12.

The sequence approach can be a useful style of structure, especially for ‘road movie’ style narratives or character pieces. But actually you see it a lot in action movies too or thrillers - where each sequence features a different method to overcome the villain for example.

If you focus on ensuring that the sequence you are writing is exciting and fulfilling - and that each sequence is emotionally different to the one before and after it - you can really engage the audience. You can keep them along for the ever-changing emotional journey.

It can also be a useful tool for those with a lot of experience writing shorts or TV episodes who are daunted by a feature. Shorts are usually single sequences. So this approach allows you to see that writing a feature made of 7 sequences is no more scary than writing 7 short scripts.

Some good examples of this structure, for me, are films such as:
“Falling Down” - each stop on Michael Douglas' journey is a sequence
“Fandango” - the stages of our heroes' 1960s road trip