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Monday, September 24, 2007

On holiday for a week

So I expect to see some good writing work done while I'm away...

New ways we watch films...

video watch
Saw this article below on Netribution...

9 billion films were watched online in July 2007 in the US alone, according to the latest figures from comScore Networks. The figure is up from around 7 billion in March, with 134 million people each watching an average of 181 minutes of video during the month.

Interestingly, just 27% of clips watched were through Google/YouTube, which nevertheless far outstripped its rivals - Yahoo nabbed a distant second place, serving up 4.3 percent of the clips, while Fox Interactive Media (MySpace), came in third with 3.3 percent. Viacom (3.1 percent) and Disney (2 percent) rounded out the top five. Google also ranked first in July in unique video viewers with almost 68 million, followed by Fox Interactive (35.8 million), Yahoo (35.3 million), Time Warner Inc. (26.6 million) and Viacom (22.6 million), comScore said.

That means over 50% of films watched online on either very small video sharing/hosting sites or on people's own sites.

So what?

For me - it means I still feel we are onto something with projects like Circumference and 365 if we can make them catch fire.

For producers it means a new possibility of large volume audience figures ready to view films on-line. But this is tempered by the lack of a clear path through. ie. no one 'best place' to do this. It could be Google Video, but not necessarily. You can go it alone. Are these ideas factored into your distribution plan? What do you want to achieve from the web? Money or publicity?

For directors a new challenge. Are you shooting in a web friendly way?

For writers it means getting out some of the skills used in shorts. 181 minutes a month doesn't cut down very far. Is your writing delivered in short, sharp chunks. Our challenge as writers is to keep things moving then - and fast! The web is not the cinema and it's not TV. It's a medium of itself. So enjoy exploring it.

Believe it or not thisvideo watch actually exists. Dick Tracy style!
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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Check out...

billie piper belle du jour
My good friend Yann Demange (not pictured above) has directed the ITV2 series The Secret Diary of a Call Girl which is a strange title as it was in fact based on an anonymous call girl's blog rather than her diary. But I guess 'The Secret Blog of a Call Girl' didn't sound so great. I wonder in fact if this is the first blog adaptation for TV. Let me know if you know otherwise.

What's odd about TV of course is that Yann is not part of any promotion or publicity. Compare this to film. So while I privately celebrate Yann's success we must collectively celebrate that a writer (although an anonymous one) is more highly regarded.

In fact the TV script was adapated from the blog / printed book by: Julie Gearey and Catherine Tregenna
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why do we make films? One filmmaker's reflection*

a little film about making films

Here is Nick's sequel to his previous film. In his words...

Being amongst so many filmmakers at the Berlin Talent Campus, I thought I'd asked a few why they made films. Charles Officer's reply was so eloquent I decided to make it the basis for the super8 that I had shot whilst biking round the city. My mate Gareth Scales joined me for the ride and collaborated on the edit. This is the first of two collaborations I've made with the Mr Scales, which has been great fun! Enjoy.

Does this film speak for you? Why do you write / make films? How was it supposed to make you feel? What was it supposed to achieve? Have those things come true?

* 3 film makers really I guess.
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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Berlinale Talent Campus - you can join today*

a little film about the berlin talent campus

Last year I went to the Berlin Talent Campus. I won't fill this post with all the cool people I met and repeat all the great things I learnt - as these are in the blog archive.

What's new is the fact that you can apply for next years event NOW. Details below. I recommend it to anyone who is serious about their film making and likes meeting other film makers. You can apply if...

  • You are fluent in English.
  • You fill in the application form correctly and fully in English. In case you are selected as participant, please be aware that your data will be published on our website as provided by you in the “presentation” section of your application.
  • You work or study in the areas of screenwriting, production, documentary filmmaking, direction, cinematography, acting, editing, sound design, composing, production design, art direction, visual art, film criticism or animation .
  • You have worked on at least one short film that has received a prize and/or has been selected for an international film festival, OR you have worked on a film of at least 60 minutes in length, OR you are a student in your final year at a film school. OR you are a student of film at a post-graduate level.

For further details on eligibility and FAQs about applying:here or apply online.

Note that being from the UK or even Europe is NOT a criteria. It's truly global. The film above was shot by my formidable friend Nick Scott at last years event on super8.

* what? yeah!
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Interesting - or maybe not

Teddy and the Moon is my new atheist drama...

'teddy and the moon'
anagrams to
'The dandy to demon.'

Good bit of fun. Try your titles here.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Advice from Toronto

david alexander
My film making colleague David Alexander is back from the Toronto Film Festival. He was selected as one of the UK's up and coming film dudes to take part in a series of workshops - The Talent Lab. I asked him for his top bit of learning from this experience. Surprising to me, was his answer...

Probably the best advice was to to just keep making films. I know it sounds stupid and obvious, but that really was the main thing. There were directors going through highs, lows, money, no money, being appreciated, not being appreciated, but they just kept making stuff, however they could, shooting for peanuts, shoot and edit on digital etc. Just always making stuff however they could and not being afraid of failing, just getting on with it.

The good news with that piece of advice. It's something we can all do. Just keep at it. Easy to say. But ask yourself this - what one thing have you done today that is 'keeping at it'.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fonts for lazy people - ie all of us

Thanks to Deep Structure's blog for this. You can download this font from here. It's the tall, skinny font that is used for the credits at the bottom of movie poster. Even better, instead of say the @ sign, you get a neatly written phrase 'Cinematography by'. You could knock out the credits in 10 minutes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


monkey on stage
Most live acts have an encore.
Most films don't.
Or at least they don't plan one. I can think of the little animation at the end of 'A Life Less Ordinary' or maybe the out-takes which started with Burt Reynolds films. Both chucked in afterwards.

But why not write one in? An extra scene for the audience. Go on - they love it - give 'em a cheeky bit more.

Still from Britannia corporate video featuring Adrian Ward and Vladivar the monkey.
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Sunday, September 09, 2007

New way to review your own script

Thanks to Suki for forwarding this new site to me.

It's radical, yet sensible, yet curious - all at the same time.

You send the company your script. They read it out. And email back an mp3.

It is worthwhile? Not sure. I think I'd prefer to get some actors together to read it. But for others doing that may be too far outside of how they like to work. For them this might be heaven sent. Either way, hearing your script is a good idea. It's closer to the final form that is seeks to capture.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Not a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Ben Okri discusses his approach to writing

Novellist Ben Okri talks about his writing approach. A good challenge to structure geeks like myself.

“A story is not a beginning, a middle, and an end. A story is much richer than that. A story is almost like an interval in the enchantment of living. Phases of music, that’s what a story really is. It’s not that this happened to this person and then they did that, that’s not what a story is.”

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Teddy and the Moon

Just about got my application together for the UK Film Council's Cinema Extreme fund. It's an atheist drama.

After being given 2 weeks ‘to get his head together’ by the advertising agency he works for Jimjam (James) seeks solace with his brother, a chaplain.
They set off together on a mission to use Jimjam’s marketing knowledge and persuading skills to debunk psychics, clairvoyants and other pseudo-science frauds.
However, as Jimjam reflects upon his life he draws a far more controversial conclusion – that religion is the biggest fraud of all.

Some of these ideas have been storydust for ages so its great to see them combined and come to life.

The advice bit: But this blog is about sharing ideas, not about my films. So here is an idea that is woefully underused. It's what advertisers call 'an endorsement' or 'testimonial'. In simpler terms, its evidence.

Perhaps in your funding proposal you say that "this film challenges a notion of what disabled people are capable of." Really? How so? Let's ask the Disabled People's Council. Or someone who has gone through the situation in the script. A quote from them will add credibility to the proposal, show you know your onions and show that you are keen to work with people. A great spin off benefit of course is that they can offer insights for your next draft.

I think as writers we often have our heads down too often. We should make our work, our scripts, our films PART of the world. Not aside from it.

For my project I went to Professor Richard Dawkins – holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, Channel 4 broadcaster (Enemies of Reason / Root of all Evil) and author of ‘The God Delusion’. But I think he was more interested in if I was related to his Great Aunt Winifred Dawkins who was wife to Sir John Clague. I don't think I am.

But it's a small world. And if it is small then we should choose to explore it and make our projects part of it. Living scripts.

Picture by Darcy Ripley - my current favourite person in the whole world. From nothing to the image above in 4 hours. Professional, fast, imaginative - and only 18!
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