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Friday, April 29, 2011

Podcast 9: Going to Cannes

This month of the podcast, myself and Danny Stack discuss...

  • News on BBC Writers Academy
  • How do get yourself established?
  • Is it worth going to Cannes?
  • Review of Dr Who
  • Tim goes along a Picasso tangent looking at Las Meninas.
  • Competition time - win goodies.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Adventures in producing

I was at a great workshop recently with Ted Hope and Christine Vachon.

These are two legendary American producers. Between them they have produced well over 100 films. Some of the most exciting and relevant films of the past 20 years.

There was loads of great advice.

But for me, the one thing I'd take away was something Ted said. This was an idea to make sure projects were always moving forward and didn't end up in development hell or worse still, in the bottom of a script pile.

It was to "make sure your film feels inevitable"

Make sure it appears like a dead cert, like a project that is happening, like one that is a real goer, not one that will fade away. This builds an emotion of people wanting to get on board. Or perhaps a fear of missing out. Either way, it stops the 'wait and see approach'

Good advice. And not just for films too.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Making your effort visible

I took part in a corporate event this week, with guest speaker Gary Rhodes. Now Gary didn't rate my chocolates. But I will let him off because he did tell a story about that night's dinner from which I learnt an important lesson.

Showing the effort behind your work enhances it, rather than diminishing it.

If you are like me you sometimes think that it is better to keep quiet about the working process. To suddenly reveal a finished masterpiece as if to say 'look at what I did with no effort'. 

Gary however talks through his menu, highlighting the steps involved. Painting vivid pictures of every ingredient, articulating the various cooking methods. And, you know what, it made it taste better. Or at least made you think it tasted better. Which is the point.

By talking about this process it made us all appreciate it more. I am aware this advice flies in the face of convention. But I feel there is something to it.

So be proud of your drafts. Be proud of your changes and rewrites. Be proud of your inspirations. And share them.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Just get on with it

At the recent Southern Scriptwriters Festival myself and Danny did a talk on Writing for Online.

This caused a slight worry for us - as there isn't really much to say about the actual writing of online material. All the classic elements of writing remain the same. Just focus a bit more on high concept ideas and keeping it short. If you were already a comedy sketch writer for TV and were going to move across into online then the differences would be minimal. The only major difference I could think of was that the character and concept is much more important than any single film.

But what does change, when you are a writer, is something else. It isn't the script. Instead it is your role as a writer. Because the ideas are more high concept generally, it means that technical prowess and acting skills can be reduced. Now you can get more involved with the shooting and the realisation of your stories rather than handing the script over to a large crew. It is totally proactive.

To demonstrate how that can be true we knocked out a quick viral short in the lecture itself. It is, "If Cracker taught scriptwriting". The opening scene to Cracker is often used in writing lectures, so Danny felt it was ripe for a bit of satire. You can see the original scene here.

It is not a great viral. It took 10 minutes. I borrowed a jacket of Dan Pringle. It was shot on DV. Edited in 30 minutes. But it is out there and not on a page. That's the main thing.