Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back to winter...

Back in Ireland and it is freezing! Thought NY was cold until we got off the plane in Dublin and it was 4 degrees. I was so cold when I got to New York from Austin (by comparison!) that I bought a puffa jacket which is getting a lot of use now.

IFTN have published my diary piece, which gives the main lowdown on what happened in Austin. I'm definitely heading back to Austin next year - by then I plan to have entered The Heartstoppers in the AFF screenwriting competition and hopefully have got somewhere with getting one of my films made over here.

On that, I had some good news this week. A director may be interested in making my film Summer Tide! I'll post more news on this as I have it: it's really early days but I'm excited about it nonetheless. Fingers crossed!

Back to winter...

Back in Ireland and it is freezing! Thought NY was cold until we got off the plane in Dublin and it was 4 degrees. I was so cold when I got to New York from Austin (by comparison!) that I bought a puffa jacket which is getting a lot of use now.

IFTN have published my diary piece, which gives the main lowdown on what happened in Austin. I'm definitely heading back to Austin next year - by then I plan to have entered The Heartstoppers in the AFF screenwriting competition and hopefully have got somewhere with getting one of my films made over here.

On that, I had some good news this week. A director may be interested in making my film Summer Tide! I'll post more news on this as I have it: it's really early days but I'm excited about it nonetheless. Fingers crossed!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Update from the Lone Star State!

I'm still in Texas and nearly finished this leg of the trip - it's been a crazy, action-packed few days. I'm writing a diary account of my festival journey for the Irish Film and Television Network when I get back, but in the meantime let me tell you that if you've ever thought about making scriptwriting your career, the Austin Film Festival is definitely worth a trip. The people I've met and the stories I've heard will stay with me for a long time - when it's zero degrees in January and I'm wondering if I can ever make it as a scriptwriter, this experience will be there to cheer me up!

I'm not saying that lightly because it was an unbelievably long day last Thursday getting here - my geography is terrible and I had NO idea how far south Texas was! But it was brilliant the next day getting up and going to a Q&A with the great Mr. Terry Rossio. I got to ask him a few questions and he gave us some really interesting tips about pitching (trust your content and your ideas above all else). He didn't end up being my pitching judge after all - which was probably a good thing considering how nervous that would have made me - but the pitching itself went well. See the news section of IFTN for lots more details!

In the meantime, here are some pictures from the festival:


Charlie Kaufman talks about the (baffling, for me anyway!) Synecdoche New York....


Danny Boyle answers questions on the brilliant Slumdog Millionaire....














Heroes creator Tim Kring and comedy writers Phil Rosenthal and Greg Daniels talk TV writing, product placement and dealing with the networks....



The fabulous motel pool.....


My equally fabulous motel room - check out the cowboy boots....



Logan Steiner and I show off our all-access badges....



"Raiders of the Lost Ark" legend Laurence Kasdan, "Whip It!" writer Shauna Cross and "Go"'s John August talk inspiration....

Update from the Lone Star State!

I'm still in Texas and nearly finished this leg of the trip - it's been a crazy, action-packed few days. I'm writing a diary account of my festival journey for the Irish Film and Television Network when I get back, but in the meantime let me tell you that if you've ever thought about making scriptwriting your career, the Austin Film Festival is definitely worth a trip. The people I've met and the stories I've heard will stay with me for a long time - when it's zero degrees in January and I'm wondering if I can ever make it as a scriptwriter, this experience will be there to cheer me up!

I'm not saying that lightly because it was an unbelievably long day last Thursday getting here - my geography is terrible and I had NO idea how far south Texas was! But it was brilliant the next day getting up and going to a Q&A with the great Mr. Terry Rossio. I got to ask him a few questions and he gave us some really interesting tips about pitching (trust your content and your ideas above all else). He didn't end up being my pitching judge after all - which was probably a good thing considering how nervous that would have made me - but the pitching itself went well. See the news section of IFTN for lots more details!

In the meantime, here are some pictures from the festival:


Charlie Kaufman talks about the (baffling, for me anyway!) Synecdoche New York....


Danny Boyle answers questions on the brilliant Slumdog Millionaire....














Heroes creator Tim Kring and comedy writers Phil Rosenthal and Greg Daniels talk TV writing, product placement and dealing with the networks....



The fabulous motel pool.....


My equally fabulous motel room - check out the cowboy boots....



Logan Steiner and I show off our all-access badges....



"Raiders of the Lost Ark" legend Laurence Kasdan, "Whip It!" writer Shauna Cross and "Go"'s John August talk inspiration....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nearly there.....

I've waited so long for this trip and it's mad to think it's only a few days away.

I'm decided on The Heartstoppers as my pitching script - I've done a treatment for it whereas the other script just isn't at that point yet. I've been practicing by speaking my pitch into a recorder and playing it back - it's unbelievable how bad your own voice sounds when you hear it like that...

Have no idea what I'm going to pack - Austin is meant to be really hot but I'm flying to New York after the festival and it's apparently not much warmer than here. Good thing I'm bringing an utterly massive case....

Nearly there.....

I've waited so long for this trip and it's mad to think it's only a few days away.

I'm decided on The Heartstoppers as my pitching script - I've done a treatment for it whereas the other script just isn't at that point yet. I've been practicing by speaking my pitch into a recorder and playing it back - it's unbelievable how bad your own voice sounds when you hear it like that...

Have no idea what I'm going to pack - Austin is meant to be really hot but I'm flying to New York after the festival and it's apparently not much warmer than here. Good thing I'm bringing an utterly massive case....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pitching questions...

With one week to go before Austin I have my treatment for The Heartstoppers (my comedy horror) finished and am starting on the pitch. The other film I could pitch is an adventure thriller about a diplomat who ends up in the middle of a coup in a foreign country. It’s a film I could really see getting made. The problem is that I can’t even think of a title for it and overall it’s proving to be a lot more work than Heartstoppers, which just burst out of me as if it had been waiting to get out...

Still don’t know who I’m pitching to, so keeping both films in mind seems like a good idea.

Pitching questions...

With one week to go before Austin I have my treatment for The Heartstoppers (my comedy horror) finished and am starting on the pitch. The other film I could pitch is an adventure thriller about a diplomat who ends up in the middle of a coup in a foreign country. It’s a film I could really see getting made. The problem is that I can’t even think of a title for it and overall it’s proving to be a lot more work than Heartstoppers, which just burst out of me as if it had been waiting to get out...

Still don’t know who I’m pitching to, so keeping both films in mind seems like a good idea.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

How to Lose Friends - Plus Who I'll be Pitching to in Austin

Went to see How to Lose Friends And Alienate People today - not half bad. Much funnier than the trailer would make you think and not deserving of a lot of the poor reviews it's received. Simon Pegg's dancing has to be seen to be believed and Miriam Margoyles is brilliant as his landlady. It doesn't have as much bite as it could have had but all in all a good time at the cinema and worth the price of a ticket.

I got an email from the Austin Film Festival yesterday giving me a list of eight two-person panels that I could be pitching my movie to. I had to choose my top three choices and send them back - top of the list had to be Terry Rossio, not just because he's co-written the Pirates trilogy and Shrek but but because he penned Small Soldiers, an underrated gem. Also in my top three was Mark Vahradian (produced Transformers) and Lauren Levy (Miramax executive). I can't wait to see who I get to pitch to!

I've written three feature-length movies, but they're all set in Ireland. So for this pitch I have to choose between two films I only have treatments for. They are: a comedy horror set in Maine (think an updated version of the Cat and the Canary) and an adventure thriller set in Central Asia (sort of The Last King of Scotland meets Romancing the Stone). And I only have 13 days to decide which one to pitch - and practice.....

How to Lose Friends - Plus Who I'll be Pitching to in Austin

Went to see How to Lose Friends And Alienate People today - not half bad. Much funnier than the trailer would make you think and not deserving of a lot of the poor reviews it's received. Simon Pegg's dancing has to be seen to be believed and Miriam Margoyles is brilliant as his landlady. It doesn't have as much bite as it could have had but all in all a good time at the cinema and worth the price of a ticket.

I got an email from the Austin Film Festival yesterday giving me a list of eight two-person panels that I could be pitching my movie to. I had to choose my top three choices and send them back - top of the list had to be Terry Rossio, not just because he's co-written the Pirates trilogy and Shrek but but because he penned Small Soldiers, an underrated gem. Also in my top three was Mark Vahradian (produced Transformers) and Lauren Levy (Miramax executive). I can't wait to see who I get to pitch to!

I've written three feature-length movies, but they're all set in Ireland. So for this pitch I have to choose between two films I only have treatments for. They are: a comedy horror set in Maine (think an updated version of the Cat and the Canary) and an adventure thriller set in Central Asia (sort of The Last King of Scotland meets Romancing the Stone). And I only have 13 days to decide which one to pitch - and practice.....

Friday, October 3, 2008

Upcoming Movies You’d Chew Your Arm Off to See

It’s been a strange year for movies – nothing good out for ages and then several brilliant movies come along at once. I’m thinking of Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder, two hilarious comedies at the same time just when I’d given up hope on comedy flicks.

When I think back on the summer, the two films I enjoyed the most were Iron Man and The Dark Knight. Maybe I’m becoming a comic book nerd in my old age cos I can’t wait for The Spirit next year. Out of the two, though, Iron Man rules – it was much more fun than the Knight and it was a great career comeback for Robert Downey Jnr, who’s one of my favorite actors. The sequel will be one to watch.

Ten movies I’m looking forward to:

1. Quantum of Solace - even though Daniel Craig does NOT get into the tiny blue trunks again: shame on you Daniel!

2. Eagle Eye – trailer looks good, will the movie deliver?

3. Burn After Reading – The Coens have their hits and their misses but No Country for Old Men is already on my top 20 films list so this new one is a must-see.

4. Frost/Nixon – Michael Sheen is one of the most underrated actors around and this could finally be his breakthrough movie.

5. W – how brilliant is it to have a film about a President in theatres when the real thing has barely finished cleaning his hair out of the White House shower?

6. Revolutionary Road – Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet re-united. Will this be as big as Titanic? And will the acting be better?

7. Valkyrie – Tom Cruise as a Nazi? This I have to see…

8. Bride Wars – Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson in bitch mode over a wedding sounds like chick-flick heaven.

9. Marley and Me – this I have to see purely on the basis of the teaser trailer, with the doggie making like Chariots of Fire on the beach.

10. Jennifer’s Body – this sounds like a completely demented episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is written by Diablo Cody – worth a look.

One gripe – where are all the cool action films? And no, ones starring Jason Statham don’t count.
However, the granddaddy of action movies is rumoured to be making Under Siege 3 – yes, Mr. Steven Siegel. But will this be cool like Under Siege 1 or crap like Exit Wounds?

Upcoming Movies You’d Chew Your Arm Off to See

It’s been a strange year for movies – nothing good out for ages and then several brilliant movies come along at once. I’m thinking of Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder, two hilarious comedies at the same time just when I’d given up hope on comedy flicks.

When I think back on the summer, the two films I enjoyed the most were Iron Man and The Dark Knight. Maybe I’m becoming a comic book nerd in my old age cos I can’t wait for The Spirit next year. Out of the two, though, Iron Man rules – it was much more fun than the Knight and it was a great career comeback for Robert Downey Jnr, who’s one of my favorite actors. The sequel will be one to watch.

Ten movies I’m looking forward to:

1. Quantum of Solace - even though Daniel Craig does NOT get into the tiny blue trunks again: shame on you Daniel!

2. Eagle Eye – trailer looks good, will the movie deliver?

3. Burn After Reading – The Coens have their hits and their misses but No Country for Old Men is already on my top 20 films list so this new one is a must-see.

4. Frost/Nixon – Michael Sheen is one of the most underrated actors around and this could finally be his breakthrough movie.

5. W – how brilliant is it to have a film about a President in theatres when the real thing has barely finished cleaning his hair out of the White House shower?

6. Revolutionary Road – Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet re-united. Will this be as big as Titanic? And will the acting be better?

7. Valkyrie – Tom Cruise as a Nazi? This I have to see…

8. Bride Wars – Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson in bitch mode over a wedding sounds like chick-flick heaven.

9. Marley and Me – this I have to see purely on the basis of the teaser trailer, with the doggie making like Chariots of Fire on the beach.

10. Jennifer’s Body – this sounds like a completely demented episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and is written by Diablo Cody – worth a look.

One gripe – where are all the cool action films? And no, ones starring Jason Statham don’t count.
However, the granddaddy of action movies is rumoured to be making Under Siege 3 – yes, Mr. Steven Siegel. But will this be cool like Under Siege 1 or crap like Exit Wounds?