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Monday, March 31, 2008

Everyday Man - redux etc



Here is a blast from the past. This is a super 8 I made a long time ago. I have given it a quick clean and tidy and cheekily sliced in some music by the fantastic Japanese composer Joe Hishashi.

I always felt this film was my undiscovered hidden gem. I hope you do too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A film by...

Okay. This guy can say 'a film by' as he made the whole feature on his own. Premiere is April 1st apparently in Odeon Leicester Square!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rhubarb, rhubarb



Three cheers. Rhubarb is making a come back. Good news I say. And symbolic of the new world and the challenges facing writers. What? It's true. Here's why...

After years in decline the rhubarb industry is fighting back. If you doubt what I say (which I recommend on most occasions) then check out the BBC article here. Why is it back? Janet Oldroyd is the fourth generation of a family of rhubarb growers and she says, "...People used to have a really sweet tooth but now we like a bit of sharpness."

That's it right there. We are all on a fight back against blandness. Stronger flavours. Less middle ground. More differential. Why have parsley when you can have coriander? Why have coffee when you can have espresso?

And that, eventually, brings us round to our work. Is it enough? This is not a call for extremism in our work - although we can see that that is a trend that is also currently occurring. This is a call to say is our work strong enough, unique enough, or as Janet said - sharp enough? Or is it in that middle ground somewhere, being safe like a kid's jelly or a custard tart? Of course not everyone likes rhubarb and that's the payoff - passionate fans over bland middle ground.

An example from my own work: I'm meeting up with Dailymotion in a few weeks as they are big supporters of Mr Vista and I think this metaphor works for them. As a concept their website is similar to youtube. But youtube is a granny smiths apple. Their site needs to taste of rhubarb to make it appeal.

An example from my writing - my new treatment is currently being slaved upon. And its going well, unusual structure, odd characters etc. But does it have a strong enough flavour? That's my current question. I'm thinking of giving the lead character only one word of dialogue per scene. hmmmm - taste the sharpness.

Does your work have the tang of rhubarb my friends? Get sour.

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Photo by Dieter Weber used under CC

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Anthony Minghella

Just a quick link to my post about a talk I attended by the now late Anthony Minghella. I was always a fan of his energy and his commitment to his writing roots. That is why as a tribute to him I have decided to not talk about his films but rather keep his advice alive and share it again.

Here is a short summary of his advice to us all:

1: There are no such things as acts. Follow the emotional story and the reasoning of your characters.
2: As a director you only get paid for your taste. Do not compromise.
3: The script (and remember he is a writer) is a guide to allow exciting things to happen.
4: Directing is a balance between 'playing the game' and being an anarchist. Ask difficult questions. From the asking comes interesting things.
5: Why do we do all this? Why tell stories? Cinema and storytelling is there to smash the jail that we've put ourselves in.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Get personal


Not everyone has this reaction when they meet me. Some people like me. Which category do you fall into? Only one way to find out. Attend one of these 3 special opportunities to ridicule me...

One: Bomo Creatives
This Wednesday is a film networking special for BomoCreatives in Bournemouth. I'm guest host. Here is the detail...

It costs £5 to come along, which includes a light buffet and a drink. You can pay on the door. We meet every third Wednesday (that's this Wednesday - ed) of each month at the new All Fired Up CafĂ© at 35-37 Bourne Avenue, Bournemouth Square (a few doors down from Borders). Any questions, please call Brian Jenner on 01202 551257 or e-mail brian@brianjenner.com.


Two: Prequel to Cannes
A more full blown and top notch affair for some hard core networking. Details are...

Prequel to Cannes is a Film Networking event specifically tailored to and designed for Film Professionals living and working across the South Coast of England, particularly within the Wessex Region. It is a high energy, fun evening full of networking introductions and potential collaborative opportunities.

The date of the next event is – Thursday, 27 March, 2008 6pm to 10pm, to be held at: The Study Gallery of Modern Art, Poole
next to Poole and Bournemouth College, North Road, Poole, BH14 0LS


Three: Danny Stack's Workshop
A full course with the scribosphere god Danny the Stack-Attack. Only attend if you want to be a successful writer. Details etc...

‘How to Get Ahead in Screenwriting’
A two-day weekend Masterclass delivered by Danny Stack, which is full of invaluable practical support and recommendations on how to move your freelance career nearer to the goal of becoming a full time Screenwriter. Practice pitching, prepare attention grabbing log lines, treatments and synopses. Guest Speaker: BAFTA nominated Writer/Director Tim Clague

Saturday 5th April, Sunday 6th April 2008

Tickets: £185 (Concessions for members of the Writers’ Guild of GB £175 - Proof required)




See you at one of them I hope.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The secret to being a success in one easy plan



I love this lighthearted plan for scriptwriters. Anyone know where it comes from?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mr Vista Podcast



Mr Vista is now fully available on iTunes.

Still on his own site as well obviously. If someone has it running on Vista then send in a photo!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Proper famous


The Scriptwriter's Life made it onto wikipedia. I'm pleased about that as I have seen the SWL project as a colloborative effort - and wikipedia is perhaps the ultimate realisation of that approach.
My script 'Eight' also features.

So now I am official.

It is strange how quickly we replace our old gatekeepers with new ones. Obviously we like being validated and kept in check!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Big in Bollywood


Hope was a finalist at the Global Festival Of Films On Peace & Spirituality, which is held in India. And today I got my cheque for 19,500 rupees.

What I think I've noticed in the past 12 months has been a much more international flavour to films. Internet films primarily. This used to be a distant goal, maybe even a silly goal. But now I find that people all over the world can enjoy each others films. easily and happily. And if you apply some extra thought this can be people in non-English speaking countries too. Mr Vista is incredibly popular in France, Belgium and Italy due to his lack of dialogue.

Anyway, I'm off to try and cash my rupees! Wish me luck with the bank.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Bless the Little Chef



Quick thought - is one problem with British film that we are embarrassed of our culture in some way instead of using it.

As an example, consider a road movie, a Thelma & Louise style journey. If our heroines were to want a bite to eat (and therefore offer the writer a rare opportunity to get the couple interacting with others and perhaps hopefully into some conflict) where would they go? In the US they would go to the diner, see below. Obviously. Its their thing. Kind of. Not many are actually left now.

But what if it was set in the UK? We seem to be ashamed to set a scene in a tearoom - see above. Perhaps because it seems too everyday. We think other people won't be interested. But they will be. Just as we like to see Amelie's version of Paris.

So be bold. Set films in a Little Chef. Don't make our films a copy of other people's. Use what we have. Cherish it. That's why "Withnail & I" is always in the top 10 British films.

Note: this advice to writers and filmmakers wherever they may live.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Film is...



Film is a contraceptive to prevent real life. Discuss.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Right now

Currently up snowdon with Clay Lowe. This is a guy who lives "the hero's journey" rather than thinking about it. He certainly got me to think about my own writing with some good advice on how I could do more.

He uses the mountain as a metaphor for a script. We climb it one step at a time, just as we write one page at a time. But it also seems daunting. Sometimes we don't always want to climb that mountain. Clay explores why? And he is a wise man. For me its about time management, for other people it might be something else. Only you can know what stops you getting to the summit. So a great and informative walk.

Scenery is great too!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bad news for all?



The above photo is just about the only good bit of news in the Media Guardian today. The MG has usually been a bit of a giggle recently as it has shifted more and more across to new media. But this week its all gone the shape of a certain fruit, perhaps a pear!

TV news: ITV in difficulties again and with a new boss
Film: oscars had falling viewing figures
online: facebook in decline and advertising falling
Press: local newspapers losing 10% circulation a year

I am currently in the crew bus on route to a shoot. Soundman Mark says its all due to an impending recession. Perhaps so. And the danger is that so much of modern media is funded by advertising making it (and therefore us) vulnerable.

But there is a vaccine, an antibody, that we all have that we can use. It's passion. The business may flux but our energy must not. So long as we have a story to tell and people want to hear it then it has to work out!