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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Why blog?

Talking about blogging to people brings you back to the same question - why blog?

Do you remember at the end of He-Man (that's old He-Man not new He-Man) he always summed up the moral of the story. That's what a blog is for you. A way of summing up the moral of YOUR day. Its not always as exciting as He-Man's day but it is less cheesy and with fewer easier answers.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Must try harder

Here is the casting call for the Circumference trailer. Adam who is producing the trailer wrote it and I checked it and we sent it out.

White Lantern Film and Projector Films are looking to cast two actors to film a short drama extract for the forthcoming feature film Circumference. If you fulfil one of the roles below and are available for a 1 - 2 day shoot sometime between 21 – 24 August and can travel to Bournemouth (Dorset) please send your photo and biog to Tim Clague, 398-400 Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth, BH8 8BN or to arrive no later than Monday 7 August 2006. Unfortunately, we can not respond to everyone who submits, if we would like to arrange an audition with you we will respond by 11 August. If you would like us to return any photos or supporting material please include a stamped address envelope. Thank you.

Archie – Is a successful sales man who now spends his working life travelling around the country delivering sales training workshops. He is in his mid-30’s, tall with average build but takes pride in his appearance as looking great is key to a successful sale. Slick, cool, but lost in a world of sales techniques.

Chloe – Is aged in her early 20’s, plays the cello and aspires to play in a national Symphony Orchestra. She loves the environment and lives a creative care-free life but has hidden ambitions. With long blond hair, Chloe is beautiful in an uncomplicated way and enjoys her life.

Everything in the right place? Yes. But now, when I look back, its all facts. Where is the excitement? Where is the reason to apply? No mention of BAFTA nominated writer, nothing about how exciting and cutting edge the film is, no mention of previous productions and their successes. If you were an actor in a hurry doing your emails would this jump out at you as more exciting than any other opportunity? This film is more exciting so we have failed to get that across.

Sometimes we know ourselves and our material so well we forget to tell people about it and get them excited.

If you know someone who would want to know about either of these roles then let me know.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Golden Day

I had a golden day the other day. A golden day which demonstrates the power of increasing your Gravity and making sure you talk to as many people as you can. Here is the breakdown of the golden day.

  • Woke up to find a letter from Julie Christie on my welcome mat. She was considering whether to do the voice over for Hope or not. The answer was no, but it was cool to get a hand written note saying she thought it was 'wonderful'. We wouldn't have had time to do it before our show at Edinburgh anyway.
  • Lunch was with Sam Gauntlett from the Bournemouth Echo who wants to write a piece about blogs featuring myself and the infamous Uncle.
  • Read the Mark Cuban article and was pleased to see that film models such as Circumference have come of age.
  • Found out more about the success of companies such as The Viral Factory and started to bring them into the 365 films idea. Again, I'm sure we are on the right track.
  • In the evening went to a Wessex Media Group event where I met Rosie who attended my scriptwriting workshop event about 5 years ago. She has recently graduated from a 3 year degree in scriptwriting and is finding her feet.
  • Talked to Dr Stephen Fry (Marketing guru) from Fry Samuels who said 365 films was a dream idea that only comes along rarely. In his words, 'It has to happen'.
  • Returned to find Mark Forstater has managed to attach Graham Norton to the 'Broadway' show.

Now watch it all unpick again!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mark Cuban agrees...

Mark Cuban knows the problems that I've been blogging about. He is living them. He knows the business model is broken and he knows which new digital issues will effect him the most. AND he knows that cinemas need to sort their act out!

He has put a call out for new ideas. Read about it here. New ideas to help him build a new business model. Obviously new ideas are out bag baby so I dropped him a line with regards to 365 and the new Circumference model. However 376 people had beaten me to it. But with rubbish ideas obviously.

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photo:Reproduced with acknowledgement to Eric Gold, East London, formerly of Dumbiedykes and Craigmillar, Edinburgh

More spam storydust - in action!

Following on from my observation that spam is a good source of story dust The Uncle has taken up the challenge to turn spam into something creative. Swing on by.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Digi hoo haa - not a new idea! Leave it!

The NY Times had an article today by Scott Kirsner (who does the CinemaTech blog) about the use of digital cameras in movies. Scott knows his stuff as his blog is always a spot on read. But really, shooting on digital or on film - who cares anymore? Most people, people like my mum, assume they stopped using film years ago. After all her shift from super 8 cine film to mini DV seems a distant memory.

But people do care! Big people, in New York and in Hollywood, they care about this! But to me its not even a debate. It is a movement that is happening that you can watch and join in on if you want to. Some people shoot on digital, some on film. There is no link between financial success and format for either side. So it comes down to picking the tool that is right for you.

If I had these five 'digital new ideas' in front of me:

  • Digital access (YouTube etc)
  • Digital compositing and access to tools (eg Apple Motion / After Effects at home)
  • Digital marketing (blogs / funky websites / word of mouse)
  • Digital cinemas and digital theatre distribution
  • Digital Shooting

I'd put them in that order of importance to any new film. Its more important that you understand and utilise (if you want to) any and all of the top 4 before the 5th. They all will effect the success of your film to a much greater degree.

Monday, July 24, 2006

New ideas - the mysterious source from where they come

Apologies for poor English in the title.

Looking at my web stats the number one search term that leads people to the Projector Films blog is 'new ideas'. Obviously with having a by-line of 'new ideas for film makers' this isn't such a surprise. And I tried to think about the situation (maybe dear reader your situation) that would lead someone to type in the words 'new film ideas' into a search engine. Where do new ideas come from? Something that we have never actually answered on this blog. Today's post fixes that problem.

So where do new film ideas come from? If you are sitting at your computer, or note pad, or empty board for structure cards where is your big film idea going to come from?

Does it come from a mysterious well in the middle of a desolate plateau?

Do you need to consult the stars and use black magic to conjur up a fantastical new insight into human nature?

Do you need to handed down a great idea by a soothsayer? Will you profit from the use of a prophet? Even one that looks like Billy Zane?

Or do you just send away for new ideas and they come in a box? Perhaps in a similar way as you would order a new cat?

No. Of course it is none of these things. New ideas are not what we are looking for. As an analogy - they are like new fonts and a new layout for a newsletter. What actually matters is the content of the newsletter.

That is something that you can't send away for. And it boils down to this. What is it that you want to say or want the audience to feel? Only you can answer that. What is your goal? To say something, to change something, or just to take people on a crazy ride - or all 3 - or something else.

That must come first.

So when we say 'new film ideas' we mean new ways of presenting these stories, new ways of delivering them, new ways of selling them or dressing them up. New stories - they must come from within. If you have nothing to say or don't want to move an audience then no new devices or techniques will ever save you.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Follow up

I forgot to mention in the recent post about the balance between work you have to do and work you want to do the excellent e-booklet already written on the subject. I hand it out all the time. It's by Hugh McLeod from the gaping void blog and is called simply "How to be Creative". Download it here.

Still from Gaping Void.
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Thursday, July 20, 2006

The sight of sound

Its not often that we feature sound on here - and its not often we do a plug. The reason for this is encapsulated above. This is James Ward. He is a VJ. You can see his showreel here. Give him some work if you can. He is also a sound recordist with his own kit and does tons of other useful stuff with video. Making a film, doing something cool - think of James Ward - but don't think of this picture!

The balance

A question often raised in person but rarely blogged is - how do we earn our cash.

Few people earn 100% of their income from the scriptwriting of dramatic narrative material. Suki directs adverts, Danny as we all know does script reading and I work in the corporate sector.

In the end it all comes down to being clear about your goals and what you want. Even as I write that it seems obvious. But how many of us actually do have that clarity? How long will you continue to write as you have been doing before you change tactics? How are you measuring how successful you are? What is your actual goal for earning money through film making this year? What about next year? What about in 10 years time?

We don't like these sort of questions. They don't seem artistic. But we also don't like them because they hold up a mirror and we may feel uncomfortable. But they wouldn't feel uncomfortable if we had a plan. Just a quick plan. A plan about balance and slowly increasing our scriptwriting work.

Yesterday I met up with Christina Ferguson from the Development Hell blog. She had an interesting story about how she (kind of) quit her job. You know when your life feels wrong. The only answer is to act.

***extra bit*** Meeting Christina shows me the power of the blog in action. People all over the world coming together to share new ideas. We'd never met - but we had a lot of shared experiences already.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Method in his madness

In his new show Ze Frank talks about how putting the production of the media in the hands of the great unwashed may challenge design conventions.

But he also says that as more people learn about editing (through iMovie etc) they notice editing more in the media they watch. It used to be a hidden craft. Most people just thought film making was filming stuff happen anyway - no real editing occurred. Now people know it. They look out for it. What editing has occurred in Big Brother to skew the story? "Hey, they've edited that to change the emphasis" and so on. That's what ZeFrank says anyway.

I'd go further. I'd say people are tired of the whole thing. They don't want anymore TV lies. They don't want situations that are contrived and false. 'oh look - here conviently is an expert of the subject'. Blogs (and MySpace et al) have shown us the real people can be cool anyway. Just tell us how it is. If someone didn't turn up - say it. If something went wrong - show us. In this age you need to be honest to build trust with an audience. Be proud of your editing. Tell us what was cut and why. People can take it / understand it these days.

My hope: Less TV lies. More TV honesty.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

After the pitch

Just a quick link to this post about what happen AFTER you've done the pitch!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Do you like being sold to?

Seth Godin talks about how we may get some hard figures for audience ratings of TV ads. I'm sure these figures will only strengthen the cause of schemes like 365films.

TV ads are great for launches and big one-offs. But what next? Its long term initiatives that will deepen relationships and build conversations. That works well for us as customers as well as we'll be more likely to get the products and services we want.

In fact I think we should stop talking about 365 and other tv2.0 ideas as an alternative to TV ads - but instead say its a way to build up a user community for the first time ever.

Image from here.
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What? - updated

So good its bad?

So bad its good?

Post-modern / rehash / cash in. Whatever! I can't believe there will be another round of this! After a challenge from The Uncle there is a new name for this kind of remake combined into a sequel - a requel - with the emphasis on reek!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More 365 fluff!

Steve says he misses the old ads on 365! He's right. We need to get them out and about. So they will probably go off-site and find a new life roaming the web. Keep an eye out for them!

Also his bit of research has thrown up these extra notes on podcasting. But for the word podcasting read vodcasting or a 365 film:

According to Disneyland VP Duncan Wardle, who’s in charge of the resorts podcast, “In a very short period of time, consumers that choose not to hear from a given brand will screen it out.”

The Diffusion Group says demand for podcasts is likely to grow from less than 15% of portable media player owners in 2005, to 75% by 2010. And estimates say more than half of all podcasts are consumed on the desktop.

Podcasts afford companies the ability to leverage electronic programming without an outside news media filter

On the last note I'd also add that vodcast content is unregulated unlike TV ads.

Big thanks to Steve at OnMeJack.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The view from the window

This is outside my office window. Its a guy, in a van, who is paid to sit there and... well that's it really. That's their advertising strategy. Park a big van around the place, hope people see it, and then phone up Thomson. Clearly they would be better off putting their marketing bucks into 365films.

The new site is up now - although it is still in beta.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Off topic - but still relevant to writers - wine!!!

As you all know - I love a new idea or a challenge to convention. As such I thought I'd share this advice from a wine expert. He says the best way to keep an open bottle fresh is to freeze it.

More on hyphens

Hyphens can be good. And not just in above example. But in your own career.

^^^ Look at this crazy spilling out picture. Not sure what has happened. But you get the gist.

Back in the early days of the blog we had a big discussion about hyphens. About how being a writer-director is better than being 'just' a writer as it gives you a greater chance of the film you want to see being the one that is actually made. What? That's terrible English. In other words - the film would achieve your vision. Another hyphen benefit is it makes you easier to market (by either yourself or your agent) as directors are more highly regarded. Rubbish I know, but its true.

Not all writers are good directors though! So we looked at the role of writer-producer. But perhaps the best, and I don't know of many at all, is a writer-editor.

Now that's two jobs that are undervalued combined! So its not so great for making your name known. But it is the position of chief storyteller. Both of these phases of the film have the biggest impact on the final story. Most editors are storytellers as they must craft a pace and a tone in much more detail than writers do. What does the director do? Pah - just the bit in the middle.

The new tool for writers - Final Cut Pro.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

New look trailer

Check out the trailer for The Last Kiss. I'm looking forward to the film having enjoyed Zaxh Braff in Garden State so much (this isn't directed by him however). But its the design within the trailer that is unusual. It looks like a blog or a new computer interface. Or perhaps a pop-up advert! Graduated colours, shadows, modern font, sliding colour boxes. Whatever next, reflections and a glass look?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Odd little show - done nearly everyday.

Here is a good TV2.0 show - the video is hosted at Revver and the clips are organised on his own blog. Its called "the show" and it is by ZeFrank. He does a new show every couple of days or so. What is heart warming from a 365films angle is how many comments he gets. Check this.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Project update

Sorry. But its time for a quick project update. I always forget to mention what is happening 'in the background'.

365films: Following on from some feedback at Cannes and from the BBC Film Network we have a new brochure and website to launch very soon. This idea grows and grows. Devon Landau is also looking at how he could run this in Australia in parallel.

Hope: This has been selected for the Edinburgh Film Festival - which is a first for me. It will be on in the New British Animation section on the 15th August if you will be there.

Circumference: This has reached a first draft stage - feedback is coming in from Danny Stack, Adam Merrifield and Suki. I have also made a great new contact in David Cohen who is the the youngest cello principal ever of the Philharmonia Orchestra. While we work on the script we also wait back to hear from the Lottery about whether they will fund development into the advertising-in-film idea.

Broadway: This feature version of Wimborne Road is currently being considered by a top TV presenter and is being pushed forward by Mark Forstater.

Exciting times!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

New video

I don't like music. But I like this new video.

Blogs are all about honesty. Like 365films is all about doing away with TV lies. These guys toy about with the same idea. (or did they just run out of money?)

Watch it here.

A new way to fall asleep!

Earlier in the year I wrote a blog entry about the need for cinemas to do more.

Marcus, my friend who now lives down under, has this picture of a 'gold class' screen. Here is his description...

Now, what’s Gold Class, I hear you say. Well, once you go gold you’d never go to a normal cinema again. Tis brilliant. You get your own room with about 35 capacity, huge, soft, comfy, electric reclining chairs and ninja’s serving you whatever you want though out the film. I call them ninja’s cos they are dressed in blank and crawl on the floor so not to disturb anyone.

Would this work here?

Monday, July 03, 2006

New distribution - that may make money!

Check out Revver. Its like YouTube etc except they slot in little ads to give the film makers some revenue for each download. I put up "10 Seconds" to see how it works. Basically they put an advert on the end of your film. If someone clicks on it then you get some cash. I'm not sure how many people would want to click on an ad at the end of a film, but we'll see.

In the meantime (on good old-fashioned YouTube) you can check out Andy Marsh's eerie Silent Hill style 7 min short here. Andy was at the film makers BBQ. In fact there is a new group on YouTube for Bournemouth film makers its at If you have films up on YouTube then join and add yours.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

How many film makers does it take to light a BBQ?

The gangs all here!

Adam Neale from Whitelantern who was runner-up of the snack awards. He wins Pearl Harbour on VHS for his Hawthorn based snacks.

Steven Lake wins a copy of Transformers: The Movie (set in the futuristic year of 2005) for his house made of sausages. No photographic evidence remains of the sausage-house thanks to Pete Ward.

Let me know of any outcomes. So far I know about a couple of new team ups for new projects and some new ideas for locations on projects shooting soon. This is on top of lots of great advice being swapped and offered. I know a lot of people were unaware of the local help already on offer. So don't forget to check out...
The Wessex Media Group
South West Screen