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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Where do ideas come from? (with swearing)

ZeFrank's song is running through my mind today. It's his cheeky take on storydust and brainstorming from a 'generalist' point of view. And its catchy in a shit way - damn him.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Longsoft and Microtails

10 Seconds is now on Atom Films. The world of the long tail is good - except it doesn't half make things drag out.

On an unrelated note here is a French comment on an episode of Mr Vista translated into English by Google Language tools. I don't know if it is an accurate translation, but I like it. Clearly he isn't a Microsoft fan... Vista is the caca with pieces of patch inside ...


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Making your film successful - what does successful mean?

This post is a musing on what we may mean by 'success'. 3 of the top posts on this blog (measured by traffic) are; "What makes a good film?", "What makes a good script?" and "What makes a short film successful".

I guess people are looking for those answers, searching for them. Maybe we all are? But before we ask that question we must first ask - how will I measure my success / success of the film or script? Or as real people might phrase it - how will I know if I got it right?

This seems easy, but it isn't. I'm really impressed by Danny Stack's achievement of 5 million viewers for Sofia's Diary. But when I met up with him recently I was talking to him about what that really means. 5 million what? Views of it on the homepage? Watching it all the way through? Clicking it by accident? What?

But that goes for TV viewing figures also. What are they counting? People watching, people eating, people with the TV on who are really watching Sofia's diary on-line?

What should we count as success? Should it not be figures at all? Should it be cultural importance, the shows impact on the world or society? That would mean Cathy Come Home is highly successful. That seems right. But that would make entertaining fluff like "Trading Places" unsuccessful. That can't be true.

Is it a case that depth is better than breadth. Is really changing just one person enough? Or do we measure by money? More cash = more successful?

I guess (and I mean guess) that in the end it is different for each project - that is the 'art' part of our job. But it don't half make it tricky to fill in the 'your greatest success' on forms!

Monday, April 21, 2008

On-line premiere

Over at MoviePol they have an on-line premiere that looks quite good. Cost is five bucks.

But, being a film 1.0 (that happens to be on-line) rather than a full on film 2.0 I can't embed a trailer for you to see. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

(zero) dollar baby

Stephen King has done a simple deal for years. A deal that is seen a series of films made under (what he calls) a dollar baby deal. These aren't the famous films that you may know. These are shorts adapted from his work, for festival use, for student film makers. For the rights to adapt he charges one dollar. The exact deal is written about here.

I'm no Stephen King. But then I can't spend dollars either. But I do have a bunch of short scripts sitting around gathering dust. They are yours if you want - under a creative commons license. In short...

As you can see from the licence you are free to adapt and alter this script.

All I ask for is:

  • a clear credit.
  • that you honour the spirit of this agreement and upload and share the result of your work.
  • that if you don’t get paid, I don’t. If you do, I do.
  • that if you plan to profit financially from the final work (or you do profit via ad revenue downlaods of the final film from example) then let me know and we will come to very simple arrangement.

The four scripts are:
The Banderilla Technique - a 20 minute thriller, single set, in the style of Jacob's Ladder
The Completist - a light hearted dialogue free (ie international) film about a man who stops collecting after ebay takes all the fun out of it and learns how to create instead
Frames - a rich poignant film, single set, about a man on his last day in a film shop as digital takes over. Elements of Blow Up and Rear Window
WaterColours - a half hour drama set in a school

Are these scripts my best work? No. They are my work from the past, as I was learning. But I share them here in the spirit of learning from each other and getting films made! My hope is that some directors and producers in need of a script may find this an okay place to start.

Perhaps other bloggers have already done this - if so let me know and I'll link. Or perhaps they will join me?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, April 14, 2008

offline / online

Today has been a day of being offline, but talking about being online. What does that mean? The balance of our online world and our offline (ie real) world has never been more crucial.

I met up with the great guys at who are trying to build a film maker friendly site. But our meeting was offline.
Then I met an actress who doesn't have a facebook account. She prefers offline conversations.
And then I met a great fellow filmmaker Nick Scott to talk about my new script (about google earth) as he always has a great take on things. I wanted to talk to Nick about this online idea in person! By now my head hurt. Anyway, he loved the idea. And as we talked about it I realised that the online / offline balance was a thing that really is an issue for us all. It isn't just in my script - it had been in my working day. There has been a lot of discussion about work / life balance. But now we have a new issue. How do we balance our facebook friends with our real friends? And how do we balance our virtual audience with real bums on seats.

Don't just leave a comment. Talk to me about it when you see me! Offline.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Film making is...

Film making is a lovers tiff with the world

Friday, April 11, 2008

You are here

Google Earth makes me think of Carl Sagan and his 'Pale Blue Dot' speech. Here is a version of him reading it - especially edited for film fans!

Technorati Tags:,,.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lost is like World of Warcraft...

A theory from here:

This is the LOST formula in a nutshell. During each show you gain a little experience in the form of new information: about the island, the characters, or both; every four episodes or so you level up, as some (allegedly) major piece of the overall puzzle falls into place. After leveling up in a CRPG, you typically head to Ye Olde Flail 'N' Scented Candle Emporium, sell all your current equipment, and buy the improved weapons that your enhanced abilities now allow you to wield; likewise, after a revelatory LOST episode, fans chuck all their old theories into the dustbin and cook up new ones consistent with the revised facts. Then, having done so, each--the player of a CRPG, or the viewer of LOST--is handed a brand new quest, or puzzle, or plot plot. The ephemeral thrill of leveling vanishes, replaced by a longing to hit the next milestone. You never disembark from the treadmill, it just goes faster.

This may sound like criticism, but it's not. It's admiration. Like the creators of World of Warcraft, the writers of LOST have managed to throw a saddle on the addictive lure of leveling and ride it to success. And bully for them. Like I said, I love this genre, even if I can visualize the levers they are pulling.

A couple of examples of Google Earth

Why use Google Earth as a structure. Here are two examples.

1 - From my office, sitting in the dark, on my own, I can see a shadow of a couple holding hands across the other side of the world.

2 - Angelina Jolie has the GPS co-ordinates of where her children were born on her arm.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

New outline

I started on a new spec project today. It is built around three of my long-term themes. But so you can agree or disagree with that statement - here is the pitch. Current title is Travelled and Moved.

In 25 words...
Bizzare things are sometimes spotted in Google Earth. They need solving. Enter Kelly. She has 7124 MySpace friends but hasn’t gone outside in 5 years.

When you click ‘add friend’ – that’s Kelly Scott’s code. But she has reached burn out.

Management offers a solution that ‘helps everyone’. She is to tour the country for the interactive map division. Strange images have been found in the sateillite photos. Someone needs to go and check them for themselves.

Can the girl who made us all social networkers – network within society?
Kelly’s journey is a conduit to allow us to meet a series of disconnected and disenfrachised characters and hear their stories. Each is a facet of the overall theme; that a lack of inter-personal skills can be disasterous. We all love other people, yet seem incredibly fearful of them.
We are now offered the possibly of travelling without moving, to see the whole world from above. But sometimes we need to get onto the ground, get our hands dirty, find not just connections and links, but understanding.

One: New structures. This is an episodic structure that features a passive central character - or rather a character who is a voyeur. So a few challenges there. And if any blog readers can think of good examples of voyeuristic central characters then let me know for my research.

Two: New visual techniques. I am imagining using some Mr Vista visual stylings - but in less stupid way. In a more Annie Hall way.

Three: New distribution. Clearly plenty of opportunities to explore new companies to tie-in with here and use for marketing, creation and distribution.

Technorati Tags:,,.

Friday, April 04, 2008

1000 Journals

A film 2.0 if ever there was one. Send 1000 journals out into the world. And wait...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Teddy and the Moon

Just a quick share of my recent half hour script that is in for the IWC / Ch4 coming up scheme. You have until the end of the week if you want to get in your entry and steal the prize from me!

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.
Has his life all been spin?

If you fancy it then here is the 2 page proposal and script.

Cover art by Darcy Ripley

Comments more important than quality!!!

The new Mr Vista episode is up - episode 9 no less. And this episode has thrown up an interesting observation on the audience.

Now, I admit, this is almost a filler episode. It's not that great but I wanted to give the idea a go. It was a last minute improvised idea made up on the spot at the end of the shoot. My experience tells me that these ideas will sometimes be amazing, probably about 1 in 3 times. I think perhaps this time we are in the other 2 out of 3.

But, and this is the strange observation - it is one of the most successful in terms of comments left and viewing figures. People leaving negative comments (not as good as the others etc) is understandable. I believe that people like to leave negative comments more than positive. Blogs teach us that. And a study of criticism would show us something similar.

However, somehow, this has raised interest in this episode. As if people want to see what the fuss is about. Or rubberneck the disaster.

It does leave me in an odd position. How does this effect the series as a whole? And do we have a new situation for the new era. A flop episode / sequel is never good for film, TV, radio, comic or the web. It pulls down your overall brand. But a flop film at least doesn't seem to be seen by many people. Here - a flop draws an audience. Which leads to a new danger. Your most successful film may be your least favourite and lowest quality. Bizarre!