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Friday, June 30, 2006

Cheers

Cheers to everyone for making the "BBQ" a success. Photos to come soon. As well as a list of 'done deals' and projects kicked off or moved forward.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cheltenham

Dom has been up to the screenwriters festival. His report seems downbeat.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Film Makers Get Together



These people couldn't make it. But many can...

Here are the details you require. Basically it is at my house as I can cope with the 15-20 expected. However the 'iffy' weather has forced a reconsider on the BBQ approach. So instead it has become a 'snack based' affair. I'll have some stuff and if everyone brings something (and apply the same creativity to snacks as you do to your projects) it'll be awesome - or at least competent. Shaune Fradley (aka The Uncle) has still threatened to light the barbecue anyway but then he is a bit of pyromaniac generally.

Tim's Guarantee: You will meet people you've never met before and find out more about all the great films going on right now in this neck of the woods.

So who will be there?

  • Me
  • DoP legend Shaune Fradley
  • Script master Danny Stack
  • Ad director Suki Singh with his new feature script
  • New writer George Wielgus (a naive dreamer in his own words)
  • Composer Lee Miller who worked on 10 Seconds
  • Short film prodigy Steven Lake
  • Director of Family Portrait Rob Brown is just back from another shoot.
  • Andy Marsh and Tania Dessolin I haven't spoke to in years - we'll see what they are up to.
  • The 2 Adams from Whitelantern are a couple of local producers
  • Artists Kim and Mark helped me with Hope which we will be at Edinburgh FF this year
  • Comic short hero Adrian Ward might be persuaded to finish his feature
  • Kings of Cannes Pete, Chris and Natalie are just completed their awesome feature Small Town Folk
  • Spinner of odd ball tales Paul Draper will entertain us
  • We also hope the Bournemouth King Pin - Jordi Robert - will make it and bind us together

Story dust source


Junk email can be a great source of story dust. Check out the 3 above. 3 great titles - 3 great character names. I'm going to keep the best ones from now on! If anyone can make a story out of it though then they are a better writer than me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Interesting Things

Below are seven great new ideas that push things about a bit. Check them out. Some are Storydust and some are 'behind the scenes of film making' things.

One: Watch how they made Marlon speak new lines in Superman returns here.
Two: Check out the world first bio-engineered pet here. Not really - but they are causing a scene for the artist who designed them.
Three: Dad is telling it like it is in an overheard conversation here.
Four: Buy the Acme Library of Novelty here.
Five: There is a video on the blog for the film Sunshine here.
Six: Learn about Gravanity. Not a variation on Gravity but rather that idea of people wanting things to be about them. Everything has to be personalised. They want to be seen. So my scheme to sponsor a roundabout and put my name on it was not so odd after all! Its written about here.
Seven: These whiskey people are only selling to members of their own club. They make the whiskey FOR YOU! What would a film equalivant be? Visit here



Pic from Gaping Void.
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Sunday, June 25, 2006

A man on the same wavelength


An interesting article was in yesterday's telegraph. It concerns a small book called 'The Schreiber Theory' by David Kipe.

In it he outlines the idea that writers should get more credit for films. Not a radical or new idea I know. In fact, it was discussed on this blog last year (Here is the sum up.) But two things make the Schreiber Theory stand out. Firstly, according to the article people seem to be reading it and taking notice! Secondly, that he asserts that now is the best time for writers to take more control.

I'm not confident it will happen. Mainly because I agree with the second point. By will emphasise a word. This is the best time for writers to take control. It won't be given. Of course one way to take control is to be known. (if you become a box office draw then higher billing and more control will follow) And to be known we go back to our recent point - you need a brand. If we want people to say a 'Tim Clague' film, not a 'Martin Scorcese' film then people need to know more about what I stand for and what I'm about.

**Not much talk about this on the blogs though?**

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Protecting your work


Head on over to Stewart McKie's site. He has a new article on how best to protect your work - including how to register your script and a bit about a creative commons licence. All good stuff.

On a related note - I should just write down here what I tell students when I do a University guest lecture. I've seen more good scripts fail because people won't send it out for fear of someone stealing it - than I have seen scripts being stolen.

Ideas like 365films are ripe for a steal. But no one has after 2 years.

Still from Eight.
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Thursday, June 22, 2006

What is your hobby?


Here is a challenge I got recently. It prompted me to think about my writing and film making life. Perhaps it will make you think about yours.

The challenge is - "What is your hobby?"

Why did I find that so hard to answer? Perhaps for the same reason you do. Your writing started more as hobby. You made films for fun maybe. You know, with your mates, for a laff!

Now it has become more like work. You want to do it 'properly' and 'make a go of it'. So it isn't your hobby anymore. Except it is. Because you love doing it - you do it as work and as a hobby.

When do you switch off? When do you do something else? What is it?

The danger if you don't is something we have seen too often before from too many people. Tiredness at the least, burn out at the most. If you've seen 'The Kid Stays in the Picture' about Robert Evans then you'll know what I mean.

Still from WaterMelon.
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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Analogue


More details are emerging around Analogue - the new film from Suki. Check it out. No need for me to say anymore as it all on his site.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Film makers BBQ


Lets get some film makers together and light a fire. No, not to burn some embarassing rushes. Far from it. In an attempt to keep the spirit of Cannes alive. Now that sunny days are here as well I propose a similiar, if smaller event:

The first Bournemouth film makers / scriptwriters BBQ.

It will be on Thursday 29th June. I know that this is in the middle of the Scriptwriters Festival - but it seems most of use aren't going. Besides - do the same thing here for cheaper.

If you're up for it and can make that date then post a reply. But only if you love talking about films and scripts.

Still from here.
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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Falling cost of film

Interesting article.

Replace 'old classic' with 'low budget character led drama'. Will that work as well? The falling costs benefits us as well. But it shows more than ever why you need a hook or a brand. People have heard of Top Gun - but have they heard of Circumference? And how will they?

Writing and Branding

Below is a quote from Christopher Carfi's blog called The Social Customer Manifesto. Let's read that first...

The People ARE The Brand
Three choice tidbits from Mike Manuel's recent post: "Real Brand Engagement"

"People don't want to engage with brands, they want to engage with the people behind the brands. " - Mike Manuel
"Scream marketing fails because, all too often, it is just that, and if we are not in the mood to be screamed at, it fails or – worse – turns us off completely. The most powerful brand relationship is personal but with people who have akin values." - David Philips
"In an ideal world, the people ARE the brand." - Jarrett Nixon


So what? Isn't all this talk for the big boys. Apple - they have a brand. But I'm just a film maker. I don't have a brand.

That's the purpose of this post. To challenge you to think about your brand. You do have one. If you don't then you need to get one - seriously. What is your thing, your style, your angle. What is it you stand for. What makes you stand out and be different. That is your brand.

Once you know that then your audience will follow you and enagage with you. Last year I wrote about how writers need to command more audience respect. This is one way. Give the audience a 'brand' to follow. Writers need to concentrate on their career - not just their current script. Don't be a leaf blowing in the wind. Take charge of your career and your own brand.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pre-production new method

While at Cannes I bumped into Julian Bushell from Innoso films. He is in pre-production on a feature called Moot. What is Julian's new method? Well he has an idea of shooting the film before he shoots the film. What??? Yep, that's right. He shoots a line-reading / rehearsal first. He already has an edit of his film. A stripped down version obviously with minimal set etc. But imagine the power and benefit of having THAT before you do your next re-write.

Monday, June 12, 2006

New distribution and sales method


If you click the above picture you can read an article on Melissa Balin and her new film. She didn't go to Cannes and do the normal distributor / sales agent route. Instead she started an ebay auction of her film. The highest bidder gets the rights. Its just one more new idea to help the film makers keep control. For some the 'Cannes' route is the right route. But all new ideas give us more options and a greater flexibility to get the right deal for our film (whether its a feature or a short).

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Broadway conquered


This article in the NY Times got me worried for a while. Has someone else done a Broadway??? This new film does have an interesting premise. It is all of Broadway - now - at once. As you need a log-in to get the article I have copied it below.
I think this is a great TV2.0 idea. I just wish I'd thought of it! But good on 'em.


By EMILY VASQUEZ
Published: June 7, 2006 
 
Armed with a rented video camera, a MetroPass and a copy of one of the most expansive filmmaking permits New York City has ever issued, Dora Espinoza reached her assigned block yesterday — at 105th Street and Broadway — and immediately started making a movie.


James Estrin/The New York Times
Almost 400 filmmakers took part in the project for Robert Liano, between 4:30 and 5:30 Tuesday afternoon.
She dropped quarters into a mechanical horse, and 11-year-old Meldwin DeLeon, at Ms. Espinoza's urging, jumped on for a ride. Ms. Espinoza had found her first subject for part of an hourlong documentary. A moment later, she slipped into Juanito's Unisex Barbershop, not once lowering her camera.
Ms. Espinoza was one of almost 400 participants in a one-day project for documentary filmmakers, amateurs and professionals. Together, they set out to capture on film every block of Broadway from Battery Park to the Bronx.
For an hour, between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., they searched simultaneously for all the moments, characters, stories and images that Broadway could offer.
Robert Liano, a filmmaker and the founder of Saul Goode Entertainment, organized the event. Watching passers-by from his apartment at 10th Street and Broadway, he said, he would wonder just how many people walked along Broadway at once.
The thought evolved into curiosity about those people's stories.
"There's a story every second," Mr. Liano said. And Broadway is perhaps the world's greatest stage, he added, as it winds from Wall Street, through the Village, to Midtown, Harlem and beyond. Two years ago, he decided that the only way to capture all that life was to put a lot of cameras on the street.
He set up a link from his company's Web site, put postings online, contacted professors at universities and began sending e-mail messages to artists. He revealed very little about the project, just that he was offering an opportunity to be a part of a "massive collaborative documentary film and photography project about New York City."
Katherine Oliver, the commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, said Mr. Liano's permit request stood out. "While other documentary filmmakers have filmed the city over time," Ms. Oliver said, "this is the largest portion of the city that we have seen documented simultaneously."
Filmmakers young and old took Mr. Liano up on his offer.
Fourteen-year-old Jon Buckley saw Mr. Liano's posting on The Village Voice's Web site at his home in Londonderry, N.H., and applied. He heard back from Mr. Liano, who assured Jon's parents by phone that the project was legitimate.
Yesterday morning, Jon and his mother, Kim Buckley, drove in for Jon's first visit to New York City.
Shortly before 3 p.m., when Mr. Liano's team revealed the details of the project to the filmmakers, Jon said that his plan for his one-hour documentary was just to "show real New Yorkers."
"I just want to talk to people in New York and see how rush hour affects them," Jon said. Assigned to the 42nd Street block, he got a taste of Times Square's character. About 4:30 p.m., about a dozen people dressed as grim reapers to promote the movie "The Omen" filed past him.
He was disappointed when the reapers declined to be interviewed, but he did capture five minutes of an impromptu, sidewalk rap performance, and a passer-by bought him his first New York pretzel.
Downtown, Tim Eggert, 34, a real estate broker and jazz guitarist from Boulder, Colo., was stationed at the corner of Broadway and Spring Street and reported slightly less success. He was waved off by a Con Ed employee who told him that filming required permission from headquarters. A woman selling sunglasses from a card table told him she was leery about the lens because he might be a spy.
When the filmmakers — 223 people with cameras and 160 others assisting them — began to return to their rendezvous point, the Roseland Ballroom on West 52nd Street, around 6 p.m., Mr. Liano and his team collected the hundreds of hours of videotape. He will log each tape and pull bits and pieces from some to make a full-length documentary.
All of the images will then be posted online for free access by participants and the public, Mr. Liano said.
Ms. Espinoza said she thinks her tape will be in good hands.
"It was a beautiful piece, but I have to give my video away," she said. "It belongs to everybody."
Colin Moynihan contributed reporting for this article.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Circumference model


So what is this Circumference business model?

This new idea came about because of three problems:
Problem one: Piracy in the film industry. We want people to tell their friends about our film. But we don't want them to actually give a copy of the film to their friends.
Problem two: Distribution costing so much. Distribution and marketing costs make film making more expensive than just making the film. (if you see what I mean!)
Problem three: No new money. We are all chasing the same sources of film money.

The Circumference model answers these three problems.

It suggests a new way of funding and distributing a film - through sponsorship. Companies would advertise in the film. That way the film is free to give away - like ITV is free television. People can upload it, download it, copy it, give it to their friends. Heck, we WANT them to give it to their friends. I want them to as it means more people see my film. The sponsors want them to as it means more viewers. Plus, being a new initiative they get plenty of standard media / news coverage as well seeing as how this is a new technique.

This model is not a general model however. Circumference has been written specially for it - thats why it features a salesman in the title role. Just to be clear - this isn't produce placement. We are upfront about these being adverts.

Our good friends at South West Screen are looking into perhaps finding us some seed money to kick us off. We'll see how this pans out.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Going cheap - Airtime

Have you noticed TV companies are getting more desperate to sell airtime? I guess it used to be that they could wait on the end of the phone and be order takers. Those days are gone. The fact that broadcasters are having to actually train their departments - train them to be more proactive and train them in sales - shows that they are in trouble. Or maybe they should have done the training a few years ago.

But surely this is a sign of changing times. TV adverts are broad and general. You don't know how many people have actually, really watched it. And did they like it?

Internet advertising - for all its faults - at least is interactive. People only click if they want to.

That's why the face of TV must change. Not for artisitic or creative reasons. But for financial reasons.

Of course I'm hoping that ideas such as 365films and the funding method for Circumference will be a new way forward.

(more on Circumference funding tomorrow)

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Monday, June 05, 2006

10 Seconds rolls on


10 Seconds has become unstoppable. Here we see DoP Shaune Fradley collecting the runner up prize from the Big Screen event. This was to be presented by Mark Kermode in Southampton - but he was in Cannes. I reminded him of his absenteeism when I bumped into him at the UK Pavilion. But he said the same of me as I should be there to collect the certificate - so we're even now.

Anyway, another chance to catch "10 Seconds" is on Tuesday 6th June. Get on down to ShortCut Paris run by Martin Sandberg. I met Martin in Cannes. He is into his short films as well and his initiative shows that sometimes you just need to get some great films and show them. You don't always need to get drawn into the crazy market mentality.

Remember you can now watch the film on BBC Film Network now.

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Breaking the bad news (comedy post)


What do you do when you see a film that isn't really what you expected from someone? By that I mean worse. Here are a few opening lines that myself, Suki and Danny put together over the days at Cannes.

To set the scene. You have just seen a film. Its a stinker. Then you see the grinning film maker (writer / director / actor) coming your way. What do you do? They invited you. They are proud of the film it seems! So you bite the bullet, shake their hand and say...

1/ Wow. You've done it again!
2/ That film was so you.
3/ You know what. You made it what it was.
4/ No one else could have done it quite in that way.

or if all else fails...

5/ I'm speechless

Of course if I say any of these things to you then its just coincidence. I really like your film obviously.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Cannes photos


Short Film Corner. Over 900 short films crowd into the market. This is just too much now. Better to find a less competitive industry with better returns in my mind! And I love shorts!

Danny Stack in the pool. No meetings going on here!

Joe Tunmer,Danny,Suki,Me and the 2 Adams.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Email again

And then later on you follow up that email with another one. If someone doesn't reply to the first one - don't leave it at that. Send them another with a quick message saying, "Have you had a chance to consider the request for a meeting yet?"

I would say I get more meetings out of second emails than I do out of first ones. I can only guess the reason as being that people ignore the first emails as they see them as junk mail. But second ones show you are both a real person AND keen on meeting up.

And don't forget a post-meeting email to follow up. I'm still wading through my Cannes ones now!