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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Interview greatness

The Wessex Muse popped around the other day to ask for some scriptwriting insights for their new issue. The resulting article can be read here in PDF form. Worth a quick read if only to be outraged that I can be called a 'demigod'. You heard it here first folks.

Actually the Wessex Muse is always worth a quick read - even more so if I'm not in it. Its free, but only currently available in the Dorset and Devon areas. It covers all art forms.

I always feel like I should give some sort of advice in the blog posts but I'm not sure what form that should take today. Instead let me tell you about two things I noticed while I was dragged around the shops for the post-Christmas sales.

One: Books Who needs books? We can read stuff on the internet. Its cheaper and quicker and more up to date. Everyone knows this, even publishers. So what I noticed this year, more than ever, was the way that the publishers have tackled this head on. A lot of the new books are bigger, or super glossy, or use rough paper, or glow in the dark, or do something. In short they are tactile - because you can't touch a website. Books have adapted and used their difference to stand out and offer something unique. Great. What about film/ cinema? Will it do the same? If HD DVDs become cheap and easy - what will cinema do?

Two: Choices The girl in Starbucks asked me what muffin I wanted. I replied 'you choose'. She started to tell me all the flavours. So I said again 'you choose'. So she started telling me what other people liked. In the end I forced her to pick one but she didn't like it. Not sure what the morale is here - though but its a good bit of story dust!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Circumference launch

The new Circumference website is up. As a regular blog reader I'd been keen to hear your thoughts on it.

Its the same website for both the audience (who can sign up to get their free copy of the final film) and for advertisers (who get to find out about the opportunity to advertise).

Most films have two websites. One for the public and one for companies / investors. But we're making a big deal about the honesty and transparency of this film. In a blog style we'll be upfront about how we are making it and why we're doing it. And this starts with the website.

This approach also matches the style of the film itself. In the film we get to see the story and the central character Archie's analysis of his own story. And here on the website everyone gets to find out about the film and the way we are making the film.

Check it out. If you like what we're doing then sign up for your free copy already. Tell your chums!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pete Blaggit

I was looking at the Fuji film magazine and was pleased to see Mark Jeavons featured. His film 'Whatever Happened to Pete Blaggit' formed in his mind during our 2005 trip to Cannes. We kicked around the idea and laughed about the possibilities with main character and so on. A nice way to while away the time in between meetings. But what's great about Mark is that while others would have just talked about it he has gone and made it already! Its a 16mm feature and I've seen some of the rough cut already. Its shaping up well. Go to Mark's site for more.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Presentation skills part 2 - Hand outs

Hand outs sounds like we are at school. Well boys and girls we are. And the lesson is your film. Teach to people to love it as much as you do.

What do we mean by a hand out? We mean one sheet of paper, about your film that you can use as an aid to a verbal pitch or can be sent in an email. So normally we mean a word document, a pdf, or if you are a hot designer then something done in in-design or quark. The software package doesn't matter. Look again at the competition...

These are all the handouts at the short film corner in Cannes last year. These are for finished short films of course. But as scriptwriters we should learn from our directing colleagues. They know that a good handout is key to getting people to watch the film. Our goal is similar - to get someone to read our script.

Being a caring and sharing kind of a guy I'll share with you an early handout for one of my films - The Kiss of Judas.

Page One

Page Two

As you can see it is less colourful than the handouts for the short films at Cannes. But that's because this is to promote a script. Too much 'empty' design detracts from the power of words. The script is a written form of a moving image. That balance I seek to incorporate into the handout.

4 good things about it:
1 - There is one side for people who like images and one side for people who like to read. Something for everyone.
2 - If you fold it in three (as to put it with a letter) then the front neatly shows just the logo and the short synopsis. I was pleased with this little detail.
3 - The content is all there including the development stages which is needed for businesses or organisations to see where this project currently is.
4 - the paragraphs. One intro, one on development, one on plot and one on the USP. In my example I wrote about genre. Having a script in the 'medieval western' genre is worthy of some explanation. It is what makes this script different. For your film it may be more appropriate to say that this is a good vehicle for a young singer, or its based on a true story - or whatever your films best selling point is.

2 bad things about it:
1 - Spacing. The front page must be less crowded than this. And more clearly laid out.
2 - Simpler images - these images are too complicated. Less is more

In all - not a bad handout. But I do have a new version now.
Sorry for the long posting on this occasion.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Monday, December 18, 2006

Merry Christmas

Yes. Its that time of year again. Its time for the annual Projector Films Christmas cartoon card. Every year I write a card that Kim illustrates. Every year we always wish I had written something funnier and Kim wishes she had drawn it better. But we hope to get by on the goodwill of the season.

Just also time to reflect on the past year. That has involve the creation of the Scriptwriter's Life diagram and moving into pre-production on the feature film 'Circumference'. You can see the rough cut of pitch 'trailer' for Circumference on Revver here.

Merry Christmas to you all. If you're not a Christian then I hope you'll still enjoy the break and have a successful and interesting 2007!

Anyway, for what its worth, here is the card...

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Presentation skills part 1a

As promised (but a little later than expected) this posting is some ideas on what to do when you want to write 'a little about myself...' for your emails etc. A key part of your Presentation Skills. Again I've tried to boil this down to simplest advice...

Use three sentences

First Sentence: write about your key achievements or successes or what you have going for you.
"I am a BAFTA nominated writer and winner of the Jerwood Film Prize whose last film was screened at Edinburgh Film Festival"
"I am a recent graduate from the London Film School and my final short was in the top 10 on ifilm for 2 weeks running."

Second Sentence: write about yourself and your interests.
"Recently I've become very interested in new technologies and new film business models"
"Even though I've graduated I remain a student of new narrative structures and techniques."

Third Sentence: write about the future and your goals.
"My next project brings together my writing skills with these film 2.0 ideas to form the world's first advertising funded feature film that will be free for audience to view worldwide."
"Now I'm keen to get out in the real world of work and bring my energy and effort to some interesting projects."

Remember - this is just the paragraph about yourself. You still need to match this to what you know are their goals and their projects.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

This week is a special week!

That's because its the Tim Clague short film retrospective week on the short film channel at iFilm.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Presentation skills part 1

Presentation Skills are the second part of Technical skills. Like Computer skills that we talked about before this can be a weak spot for writers. But this is only because they deem it of no interest / importance. Presentation skills are important to get right. We may wish this wasn't so - but it is. The good news is that we probably are already great at presenting - if we just apply our knowledge and abilities in a slightly different way.

For instance, we all get very uppity about the proper way to format a script. And we get very 'into' the different ways that we can structure a scene to make an impact. We like applying a good structire and we like making an impact. But we forget these skills when it comes the layout and structure of the more formal documents we have to write. And its these other documents that we'll be kicking about in the next few posts. Today its the turn of Letters and Emails.

Just after Cannes I copied up a version of my Introductory letter and got some comments on it. A bit long and perhaps almost a bit too slick. The point of any 'cold call' style communication is for you to get your foot in the door by selling yourself in a honest way. So your email wouldn't be exactly like my email. But here are some golden rules that should work for everybody.

One: Keep it short.
If it was a letter then one, nicely spaced and not cramped side of A4. Shrinking your font size to 10 points and expanding your margins to fit more on a page IS CHEATING. You have written too much. Whoever is reading it doesn't have much time. Do them a favour (by not weasting their time) and they might do you a favour (by wanting to find out more about you and your script)
We are a modest bunch, us writers. Everything is 'quite good' and 'nearly there'. Well now is not the time for this kind of talk. If you've won something then get it in there NOW! If your script is the great then say it is. So long as you go back it up. Boasting is not the same as bullshitting.
Three: What do you want?
"Why am I reading this? What do you want?" Its surprising how few people answer these questions in their introductory email. What, specifically are you asking this person to do? Does your request sound reasonable? Does it sound like you have sought them out or is this a cut n paste job? Make your email tailored to the reader, make it clear what you want, make your request easy to grant. For example "I read about your new film in Screen International. I am also writing a Sci-Fi love story. It would be great to meet up at location near to you for half an hour to hear about your experiences, particularly with regards to how you managed to make the dialogue jargon free, a challenge I am struggling with."
Four: Be positive.
In my example above I say 'I would be great to meet up' rather than 'would you like to meet'. A small point but one that shows that you are 100% up for the meeting them. Rather than wanting to do it if they don't mind doing it.
Five:What's in it for them?
The hardest part. But because its hard doesn't mean you should shy away from it. Why should they bother to meet you or email you back or give you work? What's so great about you? Find it. And write it in. I will remind you of rule 2 again!

Tomorrow we'll look at what to write when you want to write 'a little about myself...' Ahhhhhhh!

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Super 8 - and old idea that's a new idea

This is an old movie I shot on Super 8. Like super 8 itself, I hope forgotten about it mostly. The super 8 page on the Projector Films static website didn't even have a stats counter on it. I believed it was something from the past. In fact, that's why I sometimes like to shoot on it. Its the ultimate antidote to the digital world. Watching it on the computer monitor betrays the feel of course. The only real way to view it is for me to bring my projector to your house. But you'll get the idea.

If you don't know what super 8 is - then you may know it as cine film. The small format film that your granddad used to shoot his home movies on. These days it's the same Kodak stock as in 35mm reels. So the results can be amazing.

Last week I finally got around to putting the web stats on the page. It turns out that this is the most page on my site! So if you are a super 8 fan than check out the updated page and apologies for taking my eye off the ball. If you're of the digital video generation then I suggest that you shoot on super 8 once in your life. Its the ultimate retro experience but with a look that is unique. I only know of one other person (Andy Marsh) who shoots on the format and you can see his film here. If you've used it then let me know.

I'm glad super 8 is still so popular and people are trying to find out more.

Its been a fun video clip week. But next week - back to the Scriptwriter's Life.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How do you get ideas?

This question seems to bother a little people. It shows up in my stats a lot. People who search for 'film ideas' end up here. So, for all those people check out this advice from ZeFrank.

(note: if you are reading this on an RSS reader or via email then you may not see the film. You need to visit the blog to watch it.)

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Monday, December 04, 2006

TV is dead - evidence item number 219

Read this. CBS shows off how great it is now that's its on YouTube. That's right. The US TV giant is pleased because its download numbers are okay. Once the internet was the enemy, then it was a colleague, now its their boss (or so it seems).

It reminds of the Simpsons with Tibor who moves from being Homer's scapegoat to his boss and we don't even see him.

Its good news for us. Its official. The playing field is now level.

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First seen on Seth Godin.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Enrol today

For those that may need help with the film2.0 world...

For people reading this on email or on RSS there is a movie to watch. You'll need to visit the blog to see it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Writers in SW England

Just a quick post as this is limited geographically. Click here to read about how you can partner up with Touch films to develop your TV drama one-off or series. For writers in the South West only I'm afraid.

New book on the whole film2.0 future

A few posts ago I talked about the rules of the film2.0 world. Well Scott Kirsner over at the CinemaTech blog has gone one better. He has collected together all the thoughts and ideas from over 2 years of interviews with the top 'web video' guys into one place. His approach is much more on the business behind it rather than the art. Its a good length as well - about 90 pages.

Here is how Scott sums up the book...

"Initially, my objective with the book was to put together something that would be useful for independent "creatives" -- filmmakers, freelance TV producers, anyone with a camera and an idea -- who want to understand how they can make money in this Web video economy. I hope I've achieved that. But as I was writing, I expanded the scope quite a bit, getting into the the challenges and opportunities Web video creates for big media companies, advertisers, and entrepreneurs. There are lots of interviews, data points, and case studies."

Scotts a good writer and has written on this topic for big US publications like The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, NY Times etc.

You get it from here and it costs £10.99 for a paperback copy but there is a cheaper e-book version. Scott sent me a free preview copy as he knows this is right up my street. But, just to be clear, I don't get any commission or any benefit from recommending it. But I do recommend it none the less. I'm half way through and its given me 3 ideas for Circumference already. I don't recommend that you give it to your mum as a Christmas present.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A visual medium

For a long time now I've been considering the right use for a script. Readers exclaim; "What? What's he on about now??? Isn't this guy supposed to be a writer?" Clearly a script has a use. But just launching into the script form is what I am challenging in this blog post. Do we do a script just out of habit? If no one had ever made a film before would we believe this to be the most sensible way to do it? After all film is a visual medium and the script is the written medium. Why is the script even a good idea?

Above is a picture of a writer's storyboard. This is by Christina Ferguson from the Development Hell blog. You can read more about her take on it here. But the central point is that this is a writers storyboard. Not a sexy full on directors board. It seeks to sketch out the flow of the narrative rather than detail out shots. This is how she has chosen to work on her structure. The aim is to craft a more visual story where what you see is more important than what people say. Would this work for you? Is this better than staring at final draft and getting bogged down in dialogue when you should be doing narrative structure?

Once the writers storyboard is done you then move into the script.

Why have a script at all though? Well Steve, the web designer for Circumference, designs all his sites in black and white first. Colour is a distraction at an early stage. You need to get the tones and shapes right first. A script, and a writers storyboard follow the same idea. Focus on one thing at a time and get that right first.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Meanwhile, in India

This guy makes the cheapest features - ever!

True non-linear

Following on from yesterday...

Check out the Korsakow system. Its a system that allows film makers to make truly non-linear films. You find your own way through chapters. The links on the page were to documentary ideas but fiction is also being done. Writing for this must be a challenge.

Cheers to Stewart McKie for the link.

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Guest Blog on circular narratives

Back in the past Lucy left a comment on the blog about her 'new idea for scriptwriters'. Obviously this would be a home for it. So here it is! Cheers Lucy.

Hi Tim, thanks for expressing an interest in my Narrative Circle idea on your blog.

Bit of background - at uni I became very interested in the French philosopher Roland Barthes, who wrote "A Structural Analysis of The Narrative." I came up with my own idea of The Narrative Circle as a reponse - it became my most trusted answer for exams and my dissertation. My mentor at the time said I should expand it into a book, but to be honest I wouldn't know how to make it interesting for 100+ pages, which is why I thought it may be something you'd like.

If you are unfamiliar with Barthes, the basic gist of his idea was this: just as sentences are made up of words which are in turn made up of phonemes, narratives too can be viewed in this "linguistic" fashion - they are made up of sentences, paragraphs, chapters, etc (or sentences, turning points, acts, etc - dependant on what medium you're in.) He talked of all narratives being composed of these "building blocks" in that they all have a beginning, middle and end, no matter which order this was in.

This got me thinking: I did the scriptwriting degree around the time MEMENTO was really huge - I think it was 2001 by this point. Everyone was going on about how it broke the boundaries, how NON-LINEAR it was. I watched the film and yes, I liked it but I found it frustrating because a) that huge deus ex machinas at the end with Teddy ("oohh, you've already killed John G" - I got the point, but I still felt cheated) and b) it didn't seem non-linear to me at all. The main plot was backwards, the subplot was forwards. What's non-linear about that? It follows a line!

Yet still everyone was going on about non-linearity and how it was this BIG NEW THING so I was delighted when an essay title arrived on the list that week at uni: IS NARRATIVE NECCESSARILY A LINEAR FORM? I set out to prove NO narrative was linear at all. Not if you view it as a circle.

Why would you do this? I see everything as a circle: you don't do things in straight lines in your life, completely passively; you go back to things, start again, multiple times. For example: you don't watch a movie in a straight line, you go and get a DVD, watch it, respond to it, go back to it, discuss with others, maybe watch it again...Even if you hate a movie you will still talk about it at some point, even if it's just 20 years later. And so it goes on and on, in ever decreasing circles.

For example, as I said: main plot goes backwards in MEMENTO - subplot goes forwards (Sammy Jankis), joining up at the point and paying off with "Never answer the phone." This is a circular motion to me. In PULP FICTION - we start in the middle as the beginning AND end, ergo making it circular. To me, at least. This is before we include the notion of audience's reponse, even.

Barthes said all narratives had a beginning, a middle and end: a set up, conflict and resolution. He didn't say which order they were in - so is there any such thing as a non-linear narrative when narratives aren't actually linear according to my idea of the circle? Does my Narrative Circle demonstrate Barthes' point? I think it does. But I would be interested to hear what you think.

BTW - I have some pictorial representations of this if I've garbled way too much here! Just didn't know whether you'd want attachments from me without my asking!

Best regards, Lucy

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The rules

'Real' bloggers like Hugh 'Gaping Void' MacLeod and Seth 'Purple Cow' Godin are doing mini manifestos. A manifesto is a set of rules that lie behind an idea. I talk constantly about film 2.0 and TV 2.0

But what does it really mean? What is the manifesto?

The rules of film making in the film2.0 world are:

One: Be close.
The audience and the film maker must be as close as possible. People that get 'in the way' (exhibitors, distributors) must either become part of the film making team or be side-lined.

Two: Making it together
We are on a journey together. The film is not a product to be flogged to customers. The film is an interesting challenge that we want to share with others.

Three: Honesty
I don't have all the answers of how to make a perfect film easily. No one does. And we all know that. So do not pretend otherwise. Overcoming obstacles is more interesting than just appearing to magically getting it right.

Four: Make it worth talking about
Word of mouth is the enemy of traditional movies. Poor word of mouth fights against their blanket marketing. We rely on word of mouth to spread our films. So make your film worth talking about.

Five: A story lasts forever
Therefore - invest in story, not glossy marketing.

Six: 'A film for...' NOT 'A film by...'
No one cares who you are. But they care if you made a film for people like them.

Seven: No snobbery
It doesn't matter how people see the film - DVD, TV, phone, big screen, download. It only matters that they see it. Most people also don't care what it was shot on, so long as it looks good.

Eight: Film is fun
We love making films. Show it. Excitement is infectious.

Comments on the manifesto are welcome. Its an ongoing work.
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NOT a trailer

Circumference producer Adam has reminded me that what we are producing is not strictly 'a trailer'. The reason being that a trailer is made from clips with a finished film. Being a bit like Archie, the main character who is detailed and methodical, Adam sent me a Wikipedia link to the actual definition.

So if it isn't a trailer then what is it? We were calling it a Visual Treatment as it seeks to bring our written treatment of the film to life. A treatment is a document that outlines both the plot and the style. So that kind of fits but isn't quite right as a lot of people wouldn't really know what we meant by Visual Treatment. And if we have to explain it - then it isn't right.

In the end I think we might go for 'The Pitch'.

"Have you seen the Circumference pitch yet?" Its a common term that most people know and it sums up what it does. It just pitches the film to you. A pitch by its nature is not a finished film. In fact it says you are a early in development. And I think Archie would approve.

I think we are in for a lot more of these kinds of discussions as we move forward on the film. What do we call things? What's the best way of presenting these ideas? If you are trying to create a new market rather than just another product then its to be expected.

All this discussion of course gives me an excuse to tease you with another screen shot. This only has 5 layers of effects.

  • One to blue up the sky
  • One to make Archie's tie more red
  • One to decrease the green of the trees behind Archie so it doesn't distract
  • A general colour increase for the sand and sea
  • A slight graduation left to right so its brighter where Archie is

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tied up

Apologies for the infrequent blogging. I'm deep into the final polishing of the Circumference trailer. (NOT a trailer - see post above!) And the computer is deep into the rendering. So we are both busy. The above picture shows why. This is just one frame of HD material. It has over 200 images in it. Some of the final sequences will take 100 hours to render. I'll let you know when its done.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The list

I expect most of you will have seen this. But this is one of those golden lists that you always wish someone would do. And now they have. And the genius behind it is the one and only Danny Stack.

Its a list of companies that accept scripts from people like you and me.

But please read his upfront advice.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A red light

"Obviously you need to..." should throw up a red light in front of your eyes. When someone says 'obviously' it means 'so far everyone else normally does it this way so I guess you will too'.


If everyone else is doing maybe it then I should do something else to stand out. Fair enough. Maybe the normal way is the best way. But maybe it isn't? Especially considering how fast the world changes. What used to be a great idea may now be a dinosaur idea. 3 examples from my life...

Obviously you need to write the next draft of Circumference. Why? I wrote the last one. Why am I best qualified to do the next one? I am hoping Bournemouth writing colleague and script guru Danny Stack will help me and write it with me.

Obviously you won't actually walk all the way down Wimborne Road - you'll just cheat it in the edit. Yeah right. Just walk it and be done with it. People know. They can tell!

Obviously you'll eventually charge for The Scriptwriter's Life diagram. Why will I? Its not for the money. Its half for doing it for myself. The other half is more self-centred. Its about promotion and recognition and for being seen to be the guy who does new ideas.

So just picture that red light! It works for me. Obviously it will work for you.

This photo is called Red Light and is of room 64 of the Jardin de l'Odéon. It is by FREDERIC DURAND.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

More computer skills and more on eggs

Computer Skills

Last piece of advice on technology for now. Its one that I am surprised that others don't always know about. But offering these bits of advice reminds me of the comedian's dilemma. The comedian wants to say something exciting and on-the-edge but isn't sure everyone will get it. His joke needs to be about something we all do, but never talk about.

The comedian might say; "You know there is always one teacher that you fancy at school..." Well what if only the comedian fancied the teacher at school? What is all the audience look back and think 'freak!'? Oh no!

Well, that's my position. (Not the teacher bit, the dilemma bit) Except for me its the worry that you may all look back at me and think.. "Yeah. We know that!"

Today's risky issue is around "Track Changes". A useful tool for working with others. We all need to work with others at sometime and we need to work on documents and scripts and share ideas. Track changes ensures people see what are you doing. Its transparent working.

In Microsoft Word its in the Tools menu. Try it. You see instantly how it works as soon as you turn it on. You see all the changes being catalogued off to one side with your name written next to it. If someone else changes the document it has their name. Now we can see how is changing what. And we can either agree or disagree.

Google Documents is even more powerful. This is like word-on-the-web. Your document is stored on-line and people you invite can edit it. Again - all changes are tracked so you can see who has changed what and go back to earlier versions. Here is our proposal for a video wiki to give you an idea. If you had permission you could just change the document straight away.

Next time you need to work together give it a go. If you can't be together its the next easiest thing. One document - many editors - all at once.

Coming next on the Scriptwriter's Life is presentation skills.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Computer Skills and sucking eggs

Computer Skills

Some wags have said that the Scriptwriter's Life is like teaching writers to suck eggs. And in some ways they are actually right! If we are good writers we should know most of what is on here and be good at it. So I feel little need to explain much about script layout and what Final Draft is. If you do want to know more then just click on the links in the last sentence.

But, to keep the analogy going, how many of us can actually suck an egg? In fact, in real life, who the hell would suck an egg without breaking it. I expect Potdoll can for some reason. But anyway...

So my only piece of advice for today is 'beware complacency'. You may think you know Final Draft but do you know the ins and outs of the Revisions feature or how to use Macros (its in the document menu and lets you set keyboard shortcuts) Did you know it has a built in Thesaurus (in Tools) and that you can leave yourself notes in the script to remind yourself to do something (by using Insert Scriptnote in Document? These are your tools. Know them well.

My top advice. Set your auto back up save location (which is in preferences) to a different drive on your computer to where you normally save your scripts. That way even if one drive fails you don't lose your work.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Free Film

Thanks to Suki for finding this. Like our film Circumference this is a free film - as in no cost to the consumer. Its called Human Residue and is a horror-style affair. A lot of work going in so drop by and check it out. Unlike Circumference however it is a way of getting the film out and about rather than a new business model. But its interesting times to be a film maker and its great to see the UK leading the way.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Beware the Doppler effect

Sound 'sounds' differently if it is travelling towards you or away from you. The most commonly used example of this is an ambulance siren which will change pitch at it flies past you. It sounds higher in pitch at it dashes down the round towards you and then slides into a deeper pitch at it passes and sets off into the distance again.

This is called the Doppler Effect and, simply put, is an explaination for how wavelengths change if relative speed changes. It even happens for light. Things appear more red if they move away from you for instance. This is something you won't tend to see in normal life as things have to travelled very fast.

So what's this got to do with film making? Well first off its interesting in itself and that should be enough! But of course, as ever, I do have a film making analogy up my sleeve.

Replace siren with idea.

A new idea can be distorted if it comes at you quickly. The speed of its approach to your mind distorts it and makes it sound better (or worse) than it might actually be. That flash of inspiration on the film set for a new shot, the sudden burst of ideas that means merging two characters in your script. Let them sit for a while first. Only an idea that has sat for a while and is stationary can be properly judged whether it is pitch perfect of not.

Next time you get that flash of inspiration - enjoy it - then remember the doppler effect.

If you fancy twatting about for a bit then explore waves with this java applet.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Technical overview


The word to strike fear in writers. We write because we are artistic beings who strive to enrapture our audience with tall tales gleaned from the human condition. 'Technical' doesn't come into it. Man!

But that's of course complete bollocks for the writer trying to get ahead and ensure his script turns into something tangible - film, TV, game, play, whatever. There is definitely a certain level of competency that you must have in order to be taken seriously. But I say we should go just that bit further. We should not have the minimum skills to get by. That would make us like a painter who doesn't understand the materials he uses. He can get by without it - but knowledge of how paint reacts to the canvas can only help to make him more competent. It doesn't make him 'better' or more artistic. Just more professional.

Rough old analogies aside this may make us feel a bit out of our 'comfort zone' or more simply put, it sounds like a bit of effort. But actually being on top of your computer skills, knowing how to make your documents look great, understanding some conventions will make your work better and make you feel confident.

So, tough sell though I think it is, that's what we'll look at in this section. What do you actually need to be able to do and how well? It may surprise you but some writers actually enjoy this. My friend Stewart McKie even runs a website specialising it.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Friday, November 03, 2006

The best book on film making

This book is great. I've only glanced at it for a few minutes but I'm already committed to reading it thoroughly. Its all here:
Funding, festivals, agencies, agents etc, etc. Its for all levels of film makers.

In a way I feel bad. Its taken me about 10 years to know all this stuff. Now you can just read it in this one book. But this bad feeling is the way I know its a great resource - its worth being jealous about!

Its on Amazon here.

I got a free copy through the post. It wasn't actually meant for me, but I got it anyway. So this blog entry is written through guilt / seeking to balance the karma.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

20 years is a long time...

Watch this.
Then this.

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Thanks to William Speruzzi.

Character & Dialogue part 3 - read thru and improv

Read through and Improvisation

These are two powerful techniques. But they used mainly by directors. But writers should use them more than they currently do.

Both techniques are seeking to prevent the danger of 'head down' writing. This is a bigger danger than most writers realise. A head-down approach leads to characters that aren't fully alive, that perhaps don't speak realistically, that just act rather than react. Its so easy for this to happen because the written word is NOT the spoken word. As writers we are trying to capture the flow and energy of real conversations and interactions - on a page. So is staring at typed up words the best way to do it? It seems crazy the more you think about it.

If you fancy another way to write then try these ideas.

Improvise it. Working with others kick around some scenes. Film it maybe. But do some of the key scenes in your story: What would I say, what would they say, would I walk off, would I come back, would I try and talk about something else? Know the characters, know the scene, know their agendas - and then go for it. Afterwards, pick it about and take out some of the good stuff (not all of it obviously). This idea is similar to writing with a writing partner (like Sam and Jim or the WordPlayer guys) but even better.

Read it through. Further down the line read the script out. Not just read it. Read it out. Best of all is to get other people to read it out. Once you hear it you realise there is a massive difference between what you thought the scene would work like and how it really works. Your following draft will be amazingly better. Its a guarantee.

Once you explore those ideas you'll wonder how you ever thought you could write a dynamic, realistic, flowing, natural, exciting scene by sitting at your desk on your own. Most of all you'll wonder why we start with the written word when we need the spoken word.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Stop moaning about it - and start moaning about it

You may have noticed (but probably not as I've only just noticed after 5 years) that Apple Trailers pages don't feature the writer. Come on now writers - what are we going to do about it? Probably tut into our rich roast organic fair trade coffee and moan on a blog. That's one way...


Write to Apple like I did. They even wrote back within the hour. Here is what they said:

"Hi Tim,

We have had a couple of emails about extending the film data to include additional cast, writers, etc.

We are following the lead of the studios to offer primary cast and the director info they give us and list on their film sites. They don't offer the extended info to us yet.

We'll look into it and offer them if provided. Thanks for the great suggestion!

-Movie Trailers Team

So not an amazing result. But a start. Keep an eye out for people that you can put writers issues in front of. We need to take a lesson from other 'campaign groups'. So its not really about approaching people in the direct business. We know that some of them don't give a shit. I mean approach people in the 'new' business - in the film2.0 business.

Not just Apple. I'm pretty sure I can single handedly take them on! But who else? And do it. Do it once at least. Or I never want to hear another moan about writers being undervalued again.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Character & Dialogue part 2 - gender and race

The Gender and Race segment sits within Character & Dialogue section of Storytelling Skills.

To answer what this mean its worth first saying what it isn't! It isn't a pass through near the end. It isn't going through draft 6 and saying that the police chief is black or that the judge is a woman. In fact my advice is never mention gender, age or race if it doesn't matter. For some smaller characters maybe it doesn't. But for most characters in your script it should matter. The gender and race of a person is a big influence on their lives. So tweaking around last minute is not the way. So that what it isn't. It isn't a tweak. And it isn't a quick PC fix.

What it is should be a challenge to your own standard writing. Have you made assumptions? Have you missed some great character richness by automatically playing it safe? An example film...

So its about a cop and he's trying to track down the serial killer. Okay. Why isn't it about a cop and she's trying to track down the killer? The killer being an elderly man of course. Just those two changes make this a richer source of characters for a better plot. Basically - there is more potential.

Some good examples:

  • Ripley in Alien/s
  • Samuel L Jackson in Die Hard 3.

Both of these challenges to race or gender really add to the film and inform it. They are not just a nod in the direction. They steer the film.

Some more for fun...

  • What if Indiana Jones was black? What would the Nazi's think of that?
  • What if Jules (Samuel L Jackson) from Pulp Fiction had been an old Indian woman?

One last question, a challenge: Can you think of a black serial killer in a film?

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Friday, October 27, 2006


Its always important to celebrate your successes so I'm pleased to say that I've reached a target. I always wanted to reach 1000 downloads of the Scriptwriter's Life diagram and today we passed that. So thanks to all who downloaded it and I hope you're finding it useful. Keep the great feedback coming in.

On another note the Steven Wright animation on YouTube passed the 10,000 downloads.

Just goes to show. People would rather watch a stupid cartoon that get on with their writing!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

YouTube spoof

Been under the weather the last couple of days. But this cheered me up. Its a spoof youtube site taking a satirical look at ad agencies trying to get in on the act. Its almost like mini clips from the TV show 'The Office'. Watch a few of the clips. Hearing the main character go on about how quickly he wants the footage on-line, the importance of branding, and checking his colleagues are all blogging has convinced me that my life is a now worthy of satire. Which is a shame as I now need a new life. Back to scriptwriting then. No laughs there!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

No lighting required

Luckily no lighting was required for this scene from Adrian Ward's film which was shot on Sunday. So I didn't need to involve myself. Watch out - bad language ahead so turn down the speakers if at work.

This mini making of is called "Crashing cars - the English way".

Where you been?

Yes blog readers. Its me, holding a light - on a film set. Quite why you put a writer in charge of lighting I don't know. But then such is the nature of Adrian Ward and his feature film "Heading South".

For all those that complain of lengthy productions and difficult times check out this tale...

He started work on it 6 years ago and shot 85% of it. In the intevening times people have come and gone. By the time he got around to doing the pick ups (6 years later) his original 16mm rushes had been destroyed when the developers went bust. This leaves him with just a BetaSP one light transfer.

Despite ALL that he still finished it. Its easy to see the moral of the story as being - "Be better organised and don't twat about for 6 years". But that isn't it all. I'd rather celebrate Adrian's tenacity to get the damn thing done. I'll see you all at the premiere I hope - probably in another six years.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Character & Dialogue part 1

Character and Dialogue is crucial. Obviously. Its as important as structure. And its not an accident that these two elements are together. Character insight is 50% driven from dialogue and dialogue can only flow from an understanding of character.

Great. So what? What do we do about it? In this post we'll look at two things.

1 - Perfect cast I've written about this idea before. But here it is again. The idea is to cast the film before you write it. The aim is not to actually get into a production corner where only one person could play the role but rather to help you, as a writer, get a feel for your character. Write it as if Bill Murray was the character. Whoever plays the role eventually won't sound like Bill Murray but the world-weary feel will shine through. Your perfect cast need not be drawn from the film acting world. We played Archie in the Circumference trailer in the style of Tony Blair.

2 - Research A big idea that can be explained simply. Take a cue from our actor friends and do your research. A lot of writers will do secondary research (read some books / articles etc). But what about primary research? Are you speaking to people who do the job your main character does? Are you spending a day in a school if your film features schoolchildren? Things will have moved since your day! Are you getting on the phone and speaking to experts? David Cohen is one of the worlds greatest Cellists. He has read my script that features a cello player and he has given some expert insights. I didn't know David before. But I do now. And he wants to continue to be involved. That's the benefits of research - better script, great contacts in other industries, building a core following, getting things right early in development to save costs later.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006


This is a guy called Andy. He played after the films at Future Shorts. And what a great contrast to have him play then. After seeing some great, but complex, films this guy can come on stage, on his own, plays and gets off - to vast applause. Film - bah. Who needs the hassle! The one-man band is all you need.

Quick story

In the spirit of James Moran here is a feelgood story. I've noticed that hearing about the success of James (due to his film Severance) is a great tonic. On a smaller scale here is what happened to me yesterday.

A few of us went to the local short film night - FutureShorts. A couple of hundred students also had the same idea. Which is great. This kind of alternative cinema circuit could be a big thing in a few years time. Its the kind of idea that I know a lot of American companies are looking at. Going one further I heard in Cannes about films (mainly political films) that get 'distribution' by arranging screenings in peoples homes. But I digress.

The story is about a girl called Amy who came up to me to tell me how much Eight had meant to her. She had arranged a screening of it in her home town and everything.

That's the kind of story that sticks with you. And drives you on. And makes you wish you made more films.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I was speaking to my old school friend "Dave the Rave" over the weekend. Mr Rave is in marketing - and successful at it in terms of doing well within an established company. We talked a little about goals etc. He remarked that a lot of the copywriters at his firm also dream of becoming TV writers, whether that is for sitcom or drama. It surprised him that this was no longer a big goal for me. Its not a big goal for me as I don't see TV as an interesting medium at the moment. I'm hoping that it will come back better than ever.

I believe in TV generally. An analogy to help explain this. I believe in socialism. But I don't support the Labour Party anymore.

Dave is well aware of the 'fall of TV' from his marketing point of view. He needed no convincing about that. But he hadn't made the connection that this business impact may in fact taint the view of the creative people or, ultimately, the audience.

Also on the goal front we have been approached as "video viral experts" to produce a series of comedy clips to go on YouTube by an online games company. Its football related. More details if we get the gig. Interesting that this is seen as a bone-fide advertising method now. They are also pursuing other avenues, but not TV at this time (sorry Dave).

So is it a downward spiral. Does Dave stop promoting TV to his clients, so it gets less money, so the quality lowers, so people watch less, so I don't want to write for it, so other people stop writing for it as well, so the quality drops further, so its less attractive generally, so Dave stops recommending it to even more clients.

In short, was our 365films slogan 'TV is dead' coming true?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Structure part 3

What is your story?
A couple of extra things that can go into structure and story. And they are a couple of unusual things. Both techniques are designed to help you know what scenes are in and what scenes are out. In our rough sea of good ideas and story cards - these help focus us (check out the mixed metaphor fellow writers!)

The first one is Off-Screen Story. This is, clearly, the story that occurs during the edits, or elsewhere while we are looking at the scene in front of us, or even backstory. In short - what we don't see. What happens when 'we' aren't looking. There can be a tendency to show all the story on screen. After all, that seems obvious. But is it? The audience in fact appreciates the excitement of trying to keep up with the story and fills in the gaps. We don't need to see everything. However, everything has to make sense. So, as we work out our structure why not consider the full story before you consider what scenes we see. What happens off screen should be just as exciting and vital. For me, this is the key to my next draft of Circumference. You can read more about this idea at Wordplayer.

The second technique in the segment is called 'Whose POV?'. Another way to think about it is - who are we? Who are the audience?
Are we the hero? Do we go where only she / he does and become her / him?
Are we cupid? Do we see two people and the contrasts between them?
Are we God? Do we see everything and go anywhere?
We can't be all these things. We (usually) must be one. Each has its own merits and drawbacks of course. We might get sick of seeing only Travis Bickle. Conversly we might find a film that doesn't linger on the hero uninvolving and wonder what its about.
Choose wisely. But choose.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Monday, October 09, 2006

Time for a break!

If you need a quick break then I urge you to check out the DePict finalists. (Don't worry. Examining new films by new talent is allowed during the working day. Its is the scriptwriters life diagram!) Each film is only 90 seconds long. And each is a gem. The site is here.

Worthy of mention is Shit Happens by Rob Brown. I read the script about a year ago and it came out great.

What if - it had already happened

What if I was too slow with my 'what if' post. These show fans are now making the show - never mind just writing it! Paramount gave them permission to shoot new Star Trek episodes. Check it out.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

What If?

Sam and Jim talk about professional writing as they see it. They are new writers in Hollywood. Its a great podcast. Check it out. On one show they talked about all the comedy writers who suddenly fell out of work. They fell out of work when reality TV (or unscripted entertainment as they call it there) took off. We all know that the landscape is in upheavel at the minute. Money is moving into the internet. The old studios are owned by new companies. TV ratings are falling. 100+ channels was bad enough. Now we have infinite channels thanks to on-demand and Sky+. And that's stuff that has already happened. Here are some what ifs. Things to think about if you are trying to get into the industry. Maybe it will be easier to answer these questions and get into the 'new' industry - whatever it turns out to be.


What if MySpace users started to hire writers to make themselves seem better?
What if you had to write tomorrows episode of a soap today - based on viewers feedback?
What if viewers wrote the episodes via a forum? What would your role be?
What is there wasn't time to write down scenes for actors? How would you work?
How would you explain the fact you need 3 months writing time to
How would you explain a 'final draft' to Google where everything is in Beta?
How will you feel when your movie is pirated?
What if the Film Council closed down tomorrow?
What if you started to get paid from TV broadcasters on a per viewer basis?
What if you got paid from ITV on how well your show had shifted products for the advertisers?
What if you did win an oscar? What would you actually, really do?
What if you had junior writers below you? How would you treat them? Would you listen to there pet ideas?
What if you could fire the director and producer?
Which would you rather have - 50% more writers fee, your picture on the back of every DVD (like a novel) or the chance to tour with your film and introduce it?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Structure part 2 - concept


Concept, for some people, has a bad connotation. We think of high concept films - and these aren't everyone's cup of tea. If you look at the Wikipedia definition of 'high concept' you can see it includes "The plot of a high concept movie is easily understood by audiences, and can often be described in a sentence or two, and succinctly summarized by the movie's title."

For some films this is easily evident. Let's say "Sixth Sense" - I see dead people - etc. But what about "I Heart Huckabees" or "Eternal Sunshine" or "Pushing Tin"? We may choose to describe these as low concept if we are feeling a little mean. But all the same, they do have a concept.

So is this concept to do with marketing? It is. But that's not the point of this post. If anyone has going to have half a chance to market it (and by marketing I also mean you pitching) then you do need to be able to sum what the film is about. So that's the question isn't it? Before the marketing. Before the writing. Before dialogue. Before structure. Before story! What is it about?

And now to add emphasis rather than extra clarity - WHAT IS REALLY ABOUT?

Personally I aim for my films to be able one thing. What is the one thing you are looking at? It doesn't have to be a concerning the plot. It doesn't have to be about "There's a bomb on the bus". It can be about "What happens if you wake and discover you lost a day" or even "Its about isolation in the modern world". Once you have this one thing all other questions regarding your script become easier. Because you have that one thing to hang everything off of.

An additional comment: Make sure you really know what your film is about. The Full Monty may seem to be plot driven (Guys who become strippers) but is in fact issue driven (In a world of male unemployment how does man gain respect?).

Get your concept - and hold onto it tight.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Help me, help you

The grand master of all things to do with scriptwriting software needs your help. Stewart McKie is doing his PhD in writing software. And he also develops software and keeps an eye on all the available packages on his site.

He wants to know what we need to be in the next gen of story telling software.

His survey is here.

Help him, help us.

Still (and quote) from Jerry Maguire.
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Structure part 1

Let's dip back into the Scriptwriters Life diagram again today.

Within What is your story? and placed at the top is Storytelling Skills.

This would be your traditional script skills. The sort of thing that occurs in most script courses and the sort of thing that is mentioned in most books. As I write this I worry that it seems as if I am dismissing the importance. I am not. Knowing your craft, knowing your skills, being good at your job (basically) is fundamental and its no coincidence that this part is top left - where most people start reading. The reason its called Storytelling Skills rather than script skills is to make it clear that in this slice we are dealing with the artistic craft of good story and not things like layout, courier font, putting copyright on the front page and all that other stuff that gets in the way for new writers especially.

Within it is structure.

In my mind (and others do disagree I know) structure is key. Get your structure right, and have at your fingertips a range of structure ideas and methods, and writing becomes easier. Easier not easy! Structure is the architects plans. You can have nice fancy tiles to put on the outside later. But get the structure of the building right first. Continuing the analogy a bit further - many writers dislike structure talk as they see it as dull. But this is because they see only one kind of building that can be built. But good architects can design a small semi, a palace, or an office block. We must be the same and revel in the excitement of new structure 'design'.

One method is the use of cards that people are probably sick of seeing me write about so I won't go through that again now. Just to add that their power comes from the ability to move them about and try things out - so do it.

Another method is to get in tune with different structures. Here's a short summary of the 3 act structure and also a page of some reasons against using it. Then there is the nine act. There's also a seven step version of the hero's journey.

They can't all be right. Or rather they are all right - for the right film. Keep an open mind. Or maybe you need to invent your own structure if that's what it takes.

Monday, October 02, 2006

For all the doc people out there.

Spelling error there. What I am more keen to talk to you about is Current TV. Its an interesting TV1.5 idea. It is a cable channel (in the US) where the content is pulled in from an upload YouTube style site. However the over-riding theme is about citzenship / politics / opinion but its a great outlet for documentary people. Just to get you a bit more interested - you get paid. Films latest friend Al Gore is involved at some level.

Speaking of past political leaders check out the interesting case study of Bill Clinton on Fox News. Bill decided in an interview not to play along with the line of questioning that he saw as one-sided. Fox News spun it as 'Clinton out of control' while people who uploaded the clip to YouTube all labelled it as 'Clinton fights back'. In my mind this may be the ultimate benefit of the web. No editorial slant by a single company or person can stick - we'll add our own.

More about it here. YouTube got leant on by Fox and took it down - but you can watch it on Google instead here!

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Big Moo on holiday

Half way through the holiday.

I've been reading The Big Moo by Seth Godin which I picked up at the airport. Its primarily about new ideas for business. As a lot of you will know I'm interested in new film models - ideas such as the 365 and the Circumference funding model. However this book is great for all writers. It talks about the need to stop trying to do everything perfectly. Its overall aim (and I mean overall as it is in fact written by 33 writers) is to stop us putting in all our precious energy and effort into getting everything 100% perfect. Instead we should (just) be aiming to be "remarkable".

An odd approach for writers - they like to polish things and make them perfect. But what if instead we aimed to get into new territories with our writing. What if we tried instead to make bold statements with radical stories and fresh characters. Perhaps then it wouldn't matter if it was a little rough around the edges. Would it better to have 3 crazy new ideas than one polished safe one?

This is something that I've never heard said before. But its worth a thought.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A big break

Right then guys. I'm off on holiday for a week. I'll leave the enormity of the 3 circles for everyone to digest. If you want more info on the outer circle content then let me know and we'll crack into that on my return.

A little break...

I saw this on Gia's blog Porn stars whatever. These girls have been directed by 'The Biggins'!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What is "The blue circle"?

Your dialogue with the industry.
This circle, the last of the three, looks at your dialogue with the industry. And dialogue is what it has to be. It has to be a two way conversation. Only by being in the conversation can you ever hope to find that people are talking about what you want to talk about.

If you look in the three inner sections you can see what I mean. There is:
  • Gravity - How often are you networking and discussing projects? Not just at formal 'networking events' but also informally and on-line. And how visible are you? Do people know what you are doing? If they think 'writer' - do they think of you first? Gravity has been talked about on this blog before but the diagram shows how it fits into the big picture - and also how important it is.
  • Business - business is boring. That's the normal battle cry of a writer. But your business head should be put on for more than just invoices and accounts. Do you know where your money is coming from? Should you spending more time on those projects (eg. corporates) and less on your pet projects. Or the other way around? Do you know what other people are charging? Are you selling yourself short?
  • Relationships - how are you keeping in touch with people? Or has it been six months since you last spoke to that great contact you made? How are you meeting new people? And who are you keeping in touch with? Producers of course and agents I hope. But what about other writers? What about business experts - eg. lawyers? What about new up and coming directors? What about actors?

This circle can be the most difficult for writers. Which is strange. Perhaps as professionals we don't always relish the idea of networking. Instead we would rather get our heads down and get on with some of the tasks in the other two circles.

But for over a year now on this blog (and in many, many other places) writers have been moaning about their position. The cause of discontent is around status. We sometimes feel we don't get enough respect or people are not aware of our work and what we do.

This circle is about doing something about that. And doing it as an everyday thing / part of your normally working pattern.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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Short cut

If the effort of the Scriptwriters Life is wearing you down then here is a shortcut. Fox (in the US) are doing a 'pop idol' for directors. So sign up, upload your film and let the yanks vote you off.

Its all here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What is "The red circle"?

Building your character.
This circle, the middle of the three, looks at building up your character. That means you have to be three dimensional - never mind the people in your story.

If you look in the three inner sections you can see what I mean. There is:
  • The industry - how much do you actually know about your industry. Do you look at box office figures. Do you read other scripts, professional scripts? How many?
  • Research - where are your new ideas going to come from? Are you up on the new developments in other art forms? Do you look inside yourself and consider your own emotions and thoughts?
  • Training - are you getting help. Have you identified your weak spot and done something about it?

I think this is my favourite circle of the three. This is because it invites us to look deep in ourselves, where we are, what we want to do, how we compare to the best people out there. But at the same time its about being open and outward looking. Its about getting our head up and looking around for new sources of inspiration.

In essence this circle is about the long term. Its about having the character to stay the course and get there in the end. This is what I try to do. And I've noticed its what the best writers do do.

New to this diagram?
What is it? - How do I get a copy? - Read from the beginning on the blog.

The Scriptwriter's Life diagram is by Tim Clague from a joint venture by Projector Films, South West Screen & MartonHouse.
The diagram can be used by anyone and is under a Creative Commons License.
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