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Monday, January 26, 2009

It is all about...

...oh yeah, timing!

Which can be, not good or bad exactly, but rather favourable or unfavourable to your project. This is out of our hands. It is luck. Will our project align with current events, clash with them, or seem irrelevant to them? What do I mean by this?

Well let's reflect on the Circumference proposal.

This was a bold proposition to combine a new way of funding a film with new distribution channels. The timing for that idea was good - when we launched it, but now less so. The timing is awful now for seeking high risk advertising money. That is long gone.

But, the timing is good, beyond good in fact - it is amazing - for the topic of the script. Remember that the lead character in the story is someone in financial sales - a banker. So before, 2 years ago, this character was having a low-drama life. The script notes coming back were around his lack of jeopardy, that he was comfortable, that he had nothing to lose, his starting place was too powerful. The timing has changed that for me. Now is the time of great drama in a person like that's life. Everyone hates him for ruining the economy. He is basically waiting for the final curtain. His gig is up and he has nowhere to go. Now when you add in a romantic interest who offers a way out - you can suddenly see the emotional appeal. The relationship now makes sense.

In many ways I would say that the timing has fixed the script problems.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Storydust way...

I'm afraid I don't know who to credit for this design but the words belong to Jim Jarmusch and my favourite part is the quote at the end is from Jean-Luc Godard.

In case you want to copy and paste it out he says:
"It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to".

I still go back to the 'storydust' analogy. It is not the bits of dust (ideas) that really count. It is the new star (the story) that is formed from them that lights up the world.

Update on the other big story, Nick Scott send me this link saying that the complaints against the atheist bus ads have been thrown out by the ASA.

Addition news - more from me The Politics Show again this week.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tim Clague - TV's newest political satirist! Now online

There is a new law. It is called Clague's law. It goes like this...

The 'worse' a project, the 'better' it is.

Why do I say that? Well, first we had the ridiculous event where the poorest ever episode of Mr Vista got nearly the most views and certainly the most comments and the most votes. (I link to it in shame)

Now the 'knocked out on Boxing Day' film God versus the Advertising Standards Authority goes from strength to strength. It's already been a hit on the Dawkin's blog. And now it has landed me a gig.

It has been spun off in a new direction. I was asked to tackle the world of politics by the BBC Politics Show (South) on BBC1. Instead we now see the Council Leader's desktop.

It is on Sunday (12:30 - BBC South only) as a pilot and will be available online after the broadcast so I'll link it in then. Now online here.

A strange gig indeed. But my hope is that the project will be a grower.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back despite popular demand not to bother

After a short break Mr Vista is back. If you don't know (and why should you) this is a short viral-style set of shorts comedy sketches created by myself, Andy Marsh, Shaune Fradley and features Jonathan Rhodes (whom I met at the Berlinale Talent Campus a couple of years ago) and a few others such as The Gorv.

It has no reason to exist - we do it for giggles and to learn more about this exciting new way of getting films out there. It features a geeky central character who finds IT and computer cliches (like a progress bar) creeping into his real life. Geeks, comedy, the web - it kind of all slots together.

Best thing about Mr Vista so far: Because I edit up the episodes as I go it means the character is slowing changing and evolving, becoming more downbeat. Which is a surprise even to me.

Best thing about the next series: This features ideas and scripts from other bloggers and Mr Vista fans. So it really is truly a film2.0 project.

Biggest surprise for me: I have found I enjoy writing the Mr Vista blog and the movie descriptions MORE than writing the episodes. I guess because unlike writing scripts I can have fun with wordplay and intricate descriptions.

Below is a teaser for the next season - and my 'descriptive writing' from the blog.

Yes! He is back. At last, finally, after all this time. He returns like a great blue hat wearing superhero with his green progress bar shaped cape fluttering in the wind of time. Yes back, better than ever.*

Well nearly. In fact he isn't. But he will be. Soon.
The progress bar of editing is the most erratic of all. But he will be back next week, right here.

In the meantime I found this never before seen episode left over in the 'trash'. I guess it is left over as it isn't funny, poignant or even interesting. But tough. Here it is anyway. And it will help you get the taste of failure and ineptitude back in your mouth so you can fully enjoy next week's brand new 'adventures'**

*not legally binding, you may indeed decide he is more juvenile, puerile or facile than ever.
** not strictly adventures as nothing ever happens

Saturday, January 10, 2009

God moves in fictitious ways (updated)

Everyone seemed to enjoy the Christmas Film. Some enjoyed it too much and decided to copy it for real.

The Christian Voice has complained to the ASA about the advert above which was funded by the British Humanist Association and Richard Dawkins - but written by comedy writer Ariane Sherine. They claim that there is plenty of evidence for god so the advert "breaks rules on substantiation and truthfulness"

Typical - you try and write something outrageous and then real life goes and tops ya!


Richard Dawkins featured the film on his website. With this message -

Tim Clague created this film two weeks ago, BEFORE Stephen Green complained to the Advertising Standards Agency about the bus campaign, indeed before the bus campaign was launched. Tim Clague's satire anticipated the preposterous reality, which makes it even funnier.

Watch Ariane Sherine discuss why she wrote it here.
Thanks to Emma for spotting this.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Why are you here?

3 stories in Variety caught my eye.

Story one: There are many legal cases (suing, counter suing, lawsuits etc) in Hollywood right now. So many that Variety counted them all up. The hot news is that Warner Bros are currently the top of the charts for being in the courts. Well done to them.
Story two:United Artists need a hit with their film Valkyrie as it cost perhaps up to $150m including marketing costs. It started life as a simple and tight $20m film. But things grew.
Story three:Chris Jones has a short film made, he made it with passion, will probably not get his money back - but he loved doing it.

I feel no need to comment further on these stories.

But I do feel the need to challenge myself and perhaps others. Do we always remember why we are doing this? And do we let ourselves be distracted too easily?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Are you a rummager?

I always liked BagPuss.

And the passing last year of Oliver Postgate made me think about this again. Especially as someone said to me that some of the ideas coming out of this blog - like beachcombing and storydust - actually equate to being a junkshop owner.

They are all about collecting bits and pieces that look interesting to us and hopefully we can see to others. But instead of glass doorknobs and strange victorian toys we collects great lines of dialogue, odd character motivations, funny things people say, eye catching images and bizarre sounds.

But does that tendency transfer to 'real' life? I bet it might. I bet you are naturally a hunter of the odd. So, are you a rummager when it comes to car boots and junk shops?

Picture from here

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Filmmaking Portal

Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)

"Alltop" has a new blog portal on Film making. It collects the top blog sites (and their recent posts) all on one page. The site itself has been set up by the unstoppable web legend that is Guy Kawasaki. It is similar to the Scribomatic really - but for film making. And there is a screenwriting one too - featuring the usual suspects of the John August / Danny Stack variety.

I think both of these offer a great one-stop page to point people towards if they are looking for an insight into film making or scriptwriting. A fantastic launching point. Bookmark it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Opportunity to pitch

Here is an opportunity if you have an idea for online, and if you don't have an idea then get an idea - that's your job...

Call for entries now open for Content 360, MIPTV09’s international competition for new cross media content ideas to engage audiences on digital platforms.

You would be pitching to the BBC, MSN and the National Film Board of Canada. Quite a bit of cash up for grabs so check it out here.

I've entered. With an idea that shares the road movie aspect of Delete Friend? but with a new central character that allows for as much on line and off line interactivity as possible. So its more of the on-line feel.

In that very same spirit here are some extracts from my draft version of my proposal. There is more you have to write, but I don't want blog clog!

Here is the pitch...
"Be right back" - a road movie of a girl with no where to go.

This interactive comedy web series not only reaches out into other virtual spaces, but also out into the real world, becoming truly interactive.

The setup: Rachel Moss is just turning 31. She doesn't like her small flat. She doesn't like her job in marketing. And she doesn't like the people she works with. But that is because they remind her of herself. She has become so distant from life she can't even decide what people want or how to sell to them. Her marching orders are on the cards. She can feel it. And her ex-husband is already hassling her for the divorce settlement.

But there was a time when things were different. Back at college everything seemed possible. If only Rachel could tap back into that potential energy of ambition, that feeling of being in touch, of belonging. Then her career could be saved.

And so Rachel begins a one month sabbatical to visit all her old college friends, men and women, now spread out across the country. 30 friends, 30 days.

Each has gone their separate ways and taken strange career choices. And the journey itself leads Miss Moss into some strange encounters.

Tone: Think 'My Name is Earl' meets 'Where the hell is Matt'

And here are the benefits...
There are four main benefits.
Firstly, this approach is about going out there and getting this missing audience by filling the gap in their entertainment needs. By showing them a character that they recognize but have yet to see presented to them in this manner.

Secondly, it then reaches out from the PC into their world, by inviting them to bring the characters into their locations and situations. This spreads the project and means it has high visibility across the whole of web as local people post about their involvement in the filming. All good (and free) publicity.

Thirdly, the audience is being primed to participate in other elements of MSN. Clearly Rachel's decision to hook up with old friends, to keep in touch with new friends and to blog about what she is learning in life should inspire the audience to do the same. And when they do - they are already on the platform that allows them to do it.

Lastly, this proposition and project is not limited to any geographic region and so could be shot in the US or Europe.

New Year, new life!

So new year - yet same old random bits of interesting stuff featured on this blog to inspire you, to challenge you and to help you avoid cliches in your writing and film making.

Last year, researchers from Germany created a specialized microscopic camera and observed the formation and growth of a zebrafish embryo. They watched it from a single cell until it reached a cluster of almost 16,000 individual cells.

In short - a timelapse of a creature forming. Check it!

The original research is here.
Download the film as a quicktime here.