Added bit: You can now download my scripts and adapt them for free under a creative commons license - from here.
Here is an interesting email I recieved. Check it out for a quick peek into what script readers are looking for...
Hello Projector Films:
I enjoyed browsing your website this evening - and found your screenwriting resources to be interesting and informative.
I work for Abbot Management - a Screenplay Management and Representation company. We currently employ 15 Script Readers and we do something unique in the entertainment Industry - in that we always share our Readers coverage with the Screenwriters who submit material to us - free of cost. We need it for our own purposes, and figure why not share.
Last week we posted our Reader Rubric online that helps define our readers comments / suggestions - for example, what criteria gives charecters a 2/5 or dialoge a 4/5. I was hoping that you might post a link on your website - as its a valubable checklist for Screenwriters and we offer a valuable free service to screenwriters. http://www.abbotmanagement.com/screenplaycoverage.php.
Tim Lambert Abbot Management
Check it out. A good reminder of the hoops to jump through if you choose to go that way. It's almost a guide to what makes a good script and what makes a great screenplay and film.
Here is Episode 1. Best thing about this new series of web-sketches is that they were funded through this blog! Cheers to everyone at Dailymotion for backing it also. Obviously its a great marriage of topic and medium. ie - its great for nerds to watch on the net.
Check out 'A Softer World' for short little works of art that are also short stories. Very interesting. And also good to study in terms of packing a story AND a character into a minute space. 3 examples below...
A quick flash forward (don't you love non-linear structures) to April will reveal Danny Stack giving a two day Masterclass at the Poole Arts Centre - aka The Lighthouse. The title is 'How to get ahead in the Screenwriting game'. If you know Danny's blog then you know he gives solid advice. I pop up for a couple of hours also with some more fringe ideas for the more adventurous souls.
He is one of my mentors certainly. And I'll be attending the whole anyway to learn what I can.
More details to come. For now just put aside the 5th and 6th April if you want your noggin filled with narrative goodness.
As you may know I have a poor track record when it comes to seeing the films I love being recognised in the 'proper' awards. But the BAFTA and OSCAR nominations are in!
Now I can't outline the exact details of what I have voted for. But I will say this. I'm a big fan of Juno and I recommend it to you all. The other films are all excellent. But Juno is special. Why? Because it doesn't take the easy drama route. It's about a teenage girl (called Juno!) who becomes pregnant by her boyfriend (who isn't a full on nerd or jock). So obviously this means a big arguement with Pops then for a bit of dramatic tension. Nope. He is concerned, but wants to do the best for his daughter. So does this make it dull, lacking it drama, with no peril, deficient in 'stakes' - no - none of it. It gives it charm. It probably won't win. But you shouldn't care. Juno wouldn't.
3 times in a week this thought has come across my eyeballs. Can we have too many new ideas (I hope not for the sake of this blog). Here is just one quote - from here.
Perhaps the greatest challenge for a creative group is to consume it's creative juice sparingly. Creative people, regardless of their commitment to a cause, are more likely to exchange ideas than take steps to push any one idea forward. Why? Idea generation is an addiction. It is an engaging, brain-spinning indulgence that must be practiced in moderation.
New ideas have the potential to transform your life in wonderful ways, but they are also the most notorious source of distraction. Frustrated entrepreneurs and struggling creatives often trace back their problems to a moment when they decided to pursue too many things at once.
So, drink in moderation. Hire “designated drivers” that are more cynical and have the power to keep you focused. And strive to make ideas happen, rather than just generate more ideas.
I agree - but would also counter with the same analogy. Drink something different when you get the chance.
As a fan of new structures I had to check out the Echo Beach / Moving Wallpaper double bill.
For those outside of the UK (and also for people who have better things to do) the pitch is - one show equals two shows. Echo Beach is a new soap on at 9:30. Moving Wallpaper is a sitcom that features the fictional story of making a new soap called Echo Beach and its on half an hour earlier at 9:00.
I was intrigued by this premise. It reminded me of my own work with projects like Circumference in which the main character talks about his own film.
However, for me, it didn't work as it had a negative bias. The slimy (fictional) producer of Echo Beach is always annoying the writers, trying to sell out the show, making glib choices for short term gain, trying to win soap awards rather than gain credibility and casting based on demographics not what is best for the show. Which is probably how it happens in real life. But the effect of course is that you then feel a mug for watching the soap.
If however the Moving Wallpaper half had showed us TV people trying to do something great with a crappy soap, sneaking in hidden moral messages, casting people who need the work, putting in 'unpopular' characters that advertisers wouldn't like (but the audience would) then I would feel great watching Echo Beach. I'd feel I'd helped get one over on the starchy old TV suits.
Just an idea. I recommend the show to you as a study of unusual structures and ideas. I don't recommend it to you as entertainment. My wife lost interest in about 3 minutes.
Sam Wollaston in The Guardian says, "I'm also slightly worried about this obsession that TV currently appears to have with itself. What will happen if it continues? I think it may turn into one giant impenetrable swirling vortex of onanism."
So at least I learnt a new word... o·nan·ism (ō'nə-nĭz'əm) n. Masturbation. Coitus interruptus.
Here is an extract from Lucy's blog that I found interesting...
How would you like a small part in making a dream a reality? Are you up for a small pledge?
Iain Cash and I are trying to raise funds for our feature film - no, don't tune out just yet - and we have found a way we might be able to do it, through a site called Indie Maverick.
What happens is that people pledge small amounts (minimum of $50 USD, which is roughly £25 - £30) and the pledges - not the cash - are stored. If we reach our target of $500,000 everyone chips in with their pledge, and if we don't make our target, no one pays anything.
So you only have to make good on your pledge if we raise all the $500,000 or £250,000 good old English pounds.
The project is THE LAST BRITISH EXECUTION, a comedy/satire, inspired by the tone of THE THICK OF IT, the BAFTA winning BBC3 show.
It's a good script, got an 'Honorable Mention' in Writemovies.com international screenwriting contest 2007, and has also been entered into others.
We hope that Iain will direct. View his IMDB link here.
Script is available to be read if you wish and if we get it made everyone gets a cut of the profits and a special edition DVD of the film.
I like Peter's proposal and the fact it clues into some 'modern' ideas - pledges, using crowds, small amounts of cash etc. And I also like his use of old-school achievements like the fact it has done well in the contest. But it needs a bit more of that.
What I think Peter has missed a trick on is stating some personal opinion - why he wants to make it and what it would mean to him. On a similar thread why this film is important. Not everyone will be a film fan, but they might help a film if they know it looks at the issue of - say - human rights (just as an example). It is very unlikely that this film will see a profit so I'm not giving my fifty bucks as a monetary investment. But I might do it for an ethical investment, because I believe its a good thing to do.
Lastly, a bit more meat on the bones in terms who might be in it if the money comes through would be good. Very annoying I know, but there you go.
Saturday was the shoot day for the first episodes of Mr Vista. This is a new series of comedy shorts / skits that I'm putting together.
They all feature the adventures of a man who sees progress bars wherever he goes.
The shorts will be released about one every week through his own blog www.mrvista.net (which will be built shortly) and on Dailymotion.com This post is to share some of my thoughts about what I hope to achieve from this series.
One: Building audience. As you know I've got about 20 shorts on-line at the moment on various sites and portals. But the shorts are all one-offs. If you like one, there is no reason to check out the others. Why would you? They are not similar beyond the fact that I've made them. With Mr Vista I hope to explore the idea behind growing an audience with a stock character. If like one Mr Vista adventure you should like the next one. I'm keen to find out if that means an increasing audience.
Two: Simple idea. A man who sees progress bars is a simple visual idea. What that means is that any viewer can quickly come up with their own quick gags and send them in. By having an ongoing series it means we can actually do something with those ideas, rather than just admit they are good ideas but be able to do nothing with them. I'm excited to discover how much the audience will actively get involved.
Three: Plug-ins. Again the simple nature of the idea means people can 'hack it' themselves in a funky web2.0 way. So on the blog we'll have all the graphical elements required for people to be able to put a Mr Vista progress bar on their own films or photos. Will they? How will I know they've done it?
Four: Budget. As I've mentioned before the budget for this first shoot has come from the advertising revenue of the blog and previous film downloads / streaming. With the Mr Vista project I want to test the idea that its easier to build a regular income from an ongoing show. Unlike Circumference this project requires smaller amounts of funding build upon previous proven viewing figures, rather than a larger lump sum. Will this be the case?"
Five: Ideas pushing. How far can we push the idea (Young Mr Vista, Mr Vista through the ages, Mrs Vista) and will the audience want this?
I'll be posting the answers to the questions as we move forward.
Steal This Film is a free film about oppressive copyright. You can download it in numerous formats via bit torrent. As say in their pitch...
These are strange times indeed. While they continue to command so much attention in the mainstream media, the 'battles' between old and new modes of distribution, between the pirate and the institution of copyright, seem to many of us already lost and won. We know who the victors are.
If STEAL THIS FILM II proves at all useful in bringing new people into the leagues of those now prepared to think 'after intellectual property', think creatively about the future of distribution, production and creativity, we have achieved our main goal.
Of note is the fact that the guys behind the film accept donations. They say however that they did not cover the costs for Steal This Film 1. The film had an estimated 2.5m views.
In a similar attack on the standard business models comes Sam Jackson's Video Diary. It's a kind of a thriller and is being offered on a pay-what-you like model - similar to Radiohead's last album. Radiohead of course had a large following. It will be interesting to follow this film's progress.
They claim to be the World's first - but like a lot of these things it is hard to define the difference between the funding idea of these two films.