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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Who likes short shorts?

I've just back from the Brief Encounters short film event in Bristol. 10 Seconds was showing there as well as my good old friend Joe Tunmers latest Mockingbird.

We also saw some great shorts. But this was a bitter sweet feeling for me. Joe's film is fantastic, but it took over 5 years to get to the screen. And there was a similar story behind most of the films. Is there a future for these kind of shorts? To compete in this arena at this level you need such high production values and budget and help from funding etc that you could have shot a feature! And then at least you've got a better chance of getting some money back in.

I know it seems a strange question - but I wonder if short films have got too good? Too good for these small outlets at least. Either they need to get cheaper or we need a way to get them more mainstream.

Still from "The Adventures of the Tattooed Man" by Tim Clague and Adrian Ward for Britannia Building Society

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Instant films

An interesting article from the NY Times on how movies live or die in such a short time. This is becoming such a problem surely someone needs to do something radical or something's going to snap!

Just checked the link. It used to be open and now is locked down. Its still free but you have to log in with your email etc. So you may do so if you wish. But, lets be honest, its not the best way to spread your opinion is it?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Draft 1

Just emailed in my first draft of the rewrite. Its too long - but full of character. Let's see what the final balance will be.

The only podcast I listen to really is Sam and Jim go to Hollywood. They defined an interesting vision of a writer - or rather a successful writer. They say if you find rewriting an exciting challenge then writing is a career for you. If you find it scary or daunting, then probably not!

Writing is less like the careful construction of a building, and more like running down a Spanish street being chased by bulls. Can you dodge them all?

Still from This Time Last Tuesday

Thursday, November 24, 2005


With this script rewrite I've been trying to recapture the flavour of a classic family film. Will this appeal to an audience? We have seen, by the ease with which people got excited about an old game show (see comments on last post) that people love harking back. But they don't like it too much. I think it would be hard to sit through the actual show. So the balance has to be a bit of the old, with an injection of the new.

Let's just be clear - I'm talking about the style here, not the content. Apply the same thinking to that and you end up with Starsky and Hutch, Dukes of Hazzard etc. And they've had more than enough space wasted on them by me already.

Still from Everyday Man

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Head down

Apologies for the infrequent blogging. I've got my head down in the 1940's script rewrite. Although, as I've said - its not so much of a rewrite as a complete reworking. Some great new scenes but I have managed to use quite a few lines and ideas from the original. As its a period piece anyway, this works.

As I graft on it I'm left to ponder mostly on the genre. Its a family film. This is often a forgetten genre. Herbie Rides Again did very well at the box office I think even films like the Pacifier do good business. But none of these films are ever considered 'interesting' or 'worthy'. The only exception I can think of is the animations like The Incredibles. So is there such a thing as a great modern family film?

We can all name classic family films - the Disney live actions, or back to Its A Wonderful Life. My angle is to use the period to create a feeling of those older films, even a touch of the Marx Brothers.

A period family film - can it work???

Its nearly time to hand it in so I best get back to it.

Still from Clint Wise Writes Back

Saturday, November 19, 2005

More bits and bobs on writing

Continuing the writing theme here is a short extract from RobSog's Blog. You can read the whole article here.

'The word character (greek kharakter) originally meant an engraving tool, and by extension the impression or mark made by that tool, and by further extension the features and qualities associated with that mark.'

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Quartz Shorts update

Quartz Shorts is going well. Its hard to know how to measure such things - as their is no direct competition. But we are now well past 1000 visitors and have had over 4 gigabytes of downloads. But how do we get more of a two way conversation going?

Monday, November 14, 2005

What is all this crazy blog - TV 2.0 talk?

Yeah - what is it all about? Isn't it a bit late 90's to do the whole dot number thing anyway?

Check out this article from Dave Wilson and DavidCoe about what they call 4G. The web is entering its fourth strategy. You what? Read it!

Still from Consecration.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Recap of lessons learnt - part 2


I think it wise to recap where we are since the last recap.

So far we have concluded:

Coming up:

  • Is Hollywood on a bounce back?
  • Has someone woken up? Maybe Disney?
  • More from Quartz Shorts
  • Can this grow into a full 365films launch?

See you in the future

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Writing and your normal work

Check out this advice from Tim Grahl. Its not specifically about writing but it struck a chord with me.

Hope and Fear

You ever notice the unending hope that worker bees have?

“Things are gonna get better.”

“This year I’ll get the raise I deserve.”

“I think my boss will change, just give him time…”

“This time things are gonna be different.”

“I’ll get this promotion and then I’ll actually enjoy my job.”

Is it fear or just stupidity?

It’s not gonna change.

It’s not gonna get better.

And more money isn’t gonna solve that problem.

The problem’s in your gut.

You know this isn’t the life you should be living.

There’s a better way.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Writer quotes

The Constipated Writer aka Jason D'Amico has a nice bunch of quotes at the bottom of his email. I like them so much I though I'd share them - in the spirit of the blog!

"As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It's a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly." - Paul Rudnick

"Every writer, without exception, is a masochist, a sadist, a peeping Tom, an exhibitionist, a narcissist, an 'injustice collector' and a depressed person constantly haunted by fears of unproductivity". - Edmund Bergler, M.D.

"When I'm writing, the darkness is always there. I go where the pain is." - Anne Rice

"The solitude of writing is also quite frightening. It's quite close to madness, one just disappears for a day and loses touch." - Nadine Gordimer

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." - Red Smith

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Warner Bros - they don't get it!

Short and sweet this one!

Cinema Tech have posted a blog entry on how Warner Brothers don't get the low marketing idea. They want to make fewer films and market them more! And they don't like new distribution. No Quartz Shorts and TV 2.0 t-shirt for them!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Remember the 5th November

Today is the day that the tables turned. We now work for the machines. Look at Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

The amazon computer is farming out work to humans that it finds too difficult.

On related news:
Its Guy Fawkes Day
T3 on tv today
V for Vendetta is out

Friday, November 04, 2005

The new cool

Remember when TV shows were cool. Okay, and a little camp. But generally cool. It didn't matter that it took someone 5 minutes of screen time to get in their car, drive round the corner and go up in a lift. Because it looks cool. We want to see it. Surely you'd cut that scene because nothing is happening? Wrong! Something is happening and that thing is coolness.

Nowadays we'd cut it. Is that a shame? No. We'd be right to cut it today. We'd be right to leave it on the cutting room floor cos it ain't cool. Nothing happening - no cool.

Bring back the cool.

So - here is my 'cool' proposal. Its an action TV series

Now I know that I've been spending ages going on about TV 2.0 being great and TV 1.0 being dead. (see here.) I say that this is okay in this case as it is a retro project and most suited to the old school TV 1.0 mentality.

So its an action TV series featuring a guy who each week gets into scrapes and tries to keep order and peace and solve a few issues. He's a gangsta rapper type of a guy and spends a lot of time each week driving around looking cool in his pimped up ride.

Okay - so its ill thought out and a bit off the top of my head. But shit man - it could be cool couldn't it. And don't we need that badly on TV right now?

Thursday, November 03, 2005


A quick catch up on other projects:

  • The rewrite on the 1940s script is going well, at 75 pages, but is going to run over length. I'm going to carry on and deal with cutting it down later.
  • 'This Time Last Tuesday' didn't win the Nokia Award
  • The 'Hope' animation is almost finished and will be at Landcrab
  • Quartz Shorts website is up and running. TV 2.0 is official
  • The Kiss of Judas, the medieval western, has been optioned by Covent Garden films

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

TV 2.0

You've heard of Web 2.0 maybe. Is Quartz Shorts TV 2.0?

A new idea

Seth Godin talks about how you need to innovate - not just try to go 'one more'. Does Quartz Shorts do that? Can it grow into an indentity and find its feet. Lets find out!