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Friday, December 30, 2005

Circumference


I'm heading into the New Year by getting back into a script that I had to put to one side. Circumference is a post-modern romance. Its a love story. Scream took apart the horror movie and turned it inside ou. This film does the same for the classic story of a pair of star-crossed lovers.

Our 'boy' in the boy the meets girl story is a salesman. He knows all the tricks and angles for human behaviour. But he often steps out of the story to provide his own commentary on how he is doing. All with the aid of his trusty flipchart stand.

The girl is a free spirit and someone who doesn't always follow the rules.

So will opposites attract?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Now someone else has said it...

I've been banging on about if for months. But now someone else (someone with cash) has said it - some changes look likely to happen...

J.P. Morgan analysts last month issued a report suggesting studios would actually make more money overall if they released films simultaneously in theaters and on DVD. While collapsing the window would reduce box office receipts by 49%, the bankers said they would expect a 76% increase in DVD revenues would lead to an overall 36% increase in studio revenues, from $14.9 billion to $20.2 billion per year.

Now then. I've also said that cinemas need to get a little showmanship going. Who'll be first to jump on the bandwagon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Not just the flicks


Oh dear. The disease spreads. Now 'the new hollywood' of the computer games industry sees a slump. I feel that in myself. I used to play a lot of games and buy a lot of games. But like most of TV I've now given it up. Why? There's nought new. Get some new ideas, get some crazy ideas, inject them with life and push them out.

All the things I've been talking about with regard to cinema are now showing up in games - sequels, over marketing, safe decisions. The result - the same down turn.

The answer. Get some proper writers in. A few years ago I did a little bit of writing for an EA game. But this is rare. Surely its time to get some new thinking in there. And while we are at it maybe this should work the other way around. Get some game people working in pre-production. Who knows what will happen? I don't. But I know what won't happen. More of the same old shit!

Original photo

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Acting


I've been doing some acting recently.

Not crazy comedy sketch acting like in 'This Time Last Tuesday' but a small monologue in a corporate. I was directing it but we needed a small extra part so I stepped in. We had a bit of fun with it. The 'real' actors all sat in a line like a reality TV show panel and all rushed to give me direction. Revenge!

But it was also a great experience for me. I learned a lot about what it takes to stand up and read lines out. In this case lines that I hadn't written. Its odd. You just want to rewrite it yourself. I was wondering if other writers have ever done this. I recommend it everyone.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Exeter Talk


I'm very excited to be heading down to Exeter University in the New Year to talk to the students down there. I want to see if I notice the problems that Joe Tunmer has been experiencing. Or will I find a thriving and interesting group of students. We shall see.

There is a couple of interesting things about Film Studies at Exeter.

The first is the excellent Bill Douglas centre which has an archive of film knick-knacks. That description completely downplays its scope and importance however. If we see film as a cultural window then the memorabilia around it can tell us a lot. Don't worry if you can't go - you can access it on-line.

The second interesting thing is that Film Studies course is part of the Languages department. Now presumably this has something to do with 'fitting it in' somewhere. But surely it also demonstrates that the language of film can take as long to understand and pick up as any other language. But to me it also reinforces my opinion that film should be more two way. If film is a language then we shouldn't be delivering monologues. We should be having conversations.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Ideas


Mockingbird by Joe Tunmer

I was having a discussion with Joe Tunmer a little while back. Joe spends some of his time teaching at Bournemouth University where he tackles the ever thorny topic of script development. The first part of this of course is 'the idea'.

When I was at University I was taught a method of brainstorming that involved looking around and spinning ideas off. An example: I'm looking at a Mac monitor as I write this. A mac is a coat. I could do a story about a coat and its life - from the rich bloke he buys it to the tramp who dies in it. Joe teaches a similar method.

Rubbish! You'd be bloody lucky to write a great script but thinking 'Hmmm... What's also orange?'

When I ran the scriptwriting workshop I used a different method that started from a point of view of what you wanted to say or what you wanted the audience to feel. Start there. Start at the end. And then work back.

Joe says this method is useless to him. Why? Because students don't have anything to say. What the hell is that about? If you don't have anything to say - get out of the media.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Gender


I was talking to my good friend and slick director Suki the other day. We were talking about forthcoming productions and our plans for the new year. Part of this was a quick outline of a new feature script he is working on - Analogue. An interesting story, which obviously I can't go into here, and the central protagonist is a cop.

I know it seems obvious, and it is when it isn't your script, but always rethink your genders. This was a piece of advice I read a long time ago (can't remember where) and I also try to apply it from now on. Why does it have to be a male cop. It doesn't matter to his story, but it will make a difference to the film.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Don't hold back

An interview in Wired magazine with Steven Soderbergh examines his decision to release on DVD and at the cinema with his new film. In his own words:
Name any big-title movie that's come out in the last four years. It has been available in all formats on the day of release. It's called piracy. Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, Ocean's Eleven, and Ocean's Twelve - I saw them on Canal Street on opening day. Simultaneous release is already here. We're just trying to gain control over it.

I'm in favour of this approach for the Landcrab Film Festival next year. Buy the DVD on the way out!

All the way?


Good night at the Future Shorts screening. My favourite was The Unusual Inventions of Henry Cavendish - a silent era style offering.

It put me in the mood to do a silent film. "10 Seconds" was half way there, but faint heart ner won fair maiden or somesuch. So maybe I need to go all the way?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Me and You and Everyone we Know


Great film. And a great film because of its unusual structure.

I've talked before about how over analysing your structure can ruin it. This film is free. See it. It will make you love films again.

Houston event


Directing '10 Seconds'

To redress the balance with all the recent UK events I've been publicising - here is an American event.

Microcinema is presenting their screening program at Diverseworks. This program was curated this summer, includes "10 Seconds", and has yet to be screened before Houston audiences.

12 short films and videos from the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom presenting a diverse and eclectic range of typical summertime themes...such as sex, coffee, the beauty of electric can openers, Davidic Psalms, hot dogs, and french fries, urban legends, and the search for the 100% perfect girl.

Screening: 12/10/05 8:00pm, 5$ admission
info ph. 713-412-5120
diverseworks
1117 east freeway, I-10 at north main
houston

Click here for full details on the program

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Blogs

At the recent "Les Blogs 2.0" Ben Hammersley laid out the following in his speech...

8 Ideas That Will Revolutionize the 21st Century (and blogging isn't one of them).

1. Information wants to be free (vs. copyright).
2. Zero distance (vs. borders).
3. Mass amateurisation (vs.censorship).
4. More is much more. (vs. network blocking).
5. True names (vs. idendity cards & databases ).
6. Viral behaviour (vs. more network blocking).
7. Everything is personal (vs. everything is trackable).
8. Ubiquitous computing (no privacy).

As you know, at this blog, we always try to see how this will effect TV2.0 or how ideas effect audience / filmmaker interaction.

What would a copyright free TV situation look like? As advertising drops off and piracy becomes more commonplace is there a future in finding new revenue sources. A great, free, easy to swap movie would spread like crazy! If you didn't have to always worry about people copying your show or affording the DVD but instead you just went with the flow imagine what would happen. But how does it get made? Who stumps up? Will we have ads in our vodcasts?

Future Shorts


Don't forget - Future Shorts on Monday at Twisters Comedy Club - Bournemouth, 8pm. Great short films and a one-off Christmas special treat, stand up comedy turns!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Kiss of Judas


A project that has never been blogged before is The Kiss of Judas. It is in development with Covent Garden Films whom I met at Cannes.

Its is a medieval western. What does that mean? It means taking the genre of the western and transplanting that into Britain's own time of feudal life - the Medieval era. In a similar way to how Kurosawa moved the western into his own country to create The Seven Samurai.

Simon and Margo at Covent Garden have been pitching it all around the world and their sights are now on the UK Film Council. The UKFC state that they want British stories that define the UK state of mind. This story does this. We just need to hit them on the head until they realise it!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Top Landcrab


Another great festival. Hope won the best Drama award with my long suffering colleague Shaune Fradley picking up the main prize - the palm door. Remember - there are always two dark lords!

A great festival also in terms of audience participation. Lots of great feedback. Lots of conversations. Lots of new films being planned.

That's what its all about.

Speaking to the non-film making audience they loved it also. They associate it more with panto or theatre than cinema. Why? Because going to the cinema is boring. My goodness something is going to have to change or those screens are going to price themselves out of the market and begin to close.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Quick link

In my cheeky way I'll hand you over to Cinema Tech for a quick report on a conference to do with getting your short film out there. MicroCinema (who are mentioned in the article) distribute 10 Seconds.

LandCrab


Its the Film Festival this Saturday. A quick note to all you detail junkies that the photo is from last year so that's why it says the 4th on it. This year it will be on the 3rd! A top event and as we talk about how as film makers we can get more in touch with the audience then this is the best way! Sit in a room full of them and listen. Then you know you should have cut your film shorter.

And what an audience. Last year we had over 200 people. This year we are on course to beat that again. We get no funding and ask for no sponsorship. Why? Because we don't need it. We just put on such a great night that people WANT TO COME. I know - its radical!

So all you fans of crazy off-the-wall shorts come down, enjoy the films, have a good time (bar open all night) and still be safe in the knowledge you are supporting your fellow film makers.

Venue : The Mowlem Theatre, Swanage  (www.themowlem.com)
Time : 7.00pm till 12.00am (with the bar staying open for another hour or so)
Cost : As usual a small charge to cover costs, estimated at £4 per person.
Dress Code : Your glad rags (crack out the black ties you scruffy film makers!)
Getting there: If you are in Bournemouth or Poole we have a special bus to get you there. Enquiries to…emma.powell@sha.co.uk

See you there.

Website is www.landcrabfilmfestival.co.uk