Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm committing something to celluloid!

I've always wanted to see my work up on the big screen and now it looks like I might just get my chance! I entered a competition a few weeks organised by the good folk at the Darklight festival. This is a film and animation festival taking place in Dublin in October, which I highly recommend that you check out.

They asked you to submit an idea for a short set at the fictional Hotel Darklight, which was a sort of Twilight Zone-type place where anything could happen. I submitted two ideas, one of which was set in a fancy hotel restaurant and involved wealthy diners being fed some unpleasant crap masquerading as haut cuisine...

Anyway, they liked it and (hopefully, all going well), it's getting made as part of a segment of about 10 other 3-minute movies set at the Hotel. I have to meet up with the other writers some time over the next few weeks and also get partnered with a director. 

So far I have no experience of working on a movie so it will one huge learning curve. But I can't flipping wait...

I'm committing something to celluloid!

I've always wanted to see my work up on the big screen and now it looks like I might just get my chance! I entered a competition a few weeks organised by the good folk at the Darklight festival. This is a film and animation festival taking place in Dublin in October, which I highly recommend that you check out.

They asked you to submit an idea for a short set at the fictional Hotel Darklight, which was a sort of Twilight Zone-type place where anything could happen. I submitted two ideas, one of which was set in a fancy hotel restaurant and involved wealthy diners being fed some unpleasant crap masquerading as haut cuisine...

Anyway, they liked it and (hopefully, all going well), it's getting made as part of a segment of about 10 other 3-minute movies set at the Hotel. I have to meet up with the other writers some time over the next few weeks and also get partnered with a director. 

So far I have no experience of working on a movie so it will one huge learning curve. But I can't flipping wait...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Times may be hard but IFTA is opening up....

Recession wonders will never cease! Up to yesterday, I would have said that becoming a member of the Irish Film and Television Academy was quite hard. You had to have some film credits AND get some industry referrals.

But I had an unexpected phone call from a guy at IFTA asking me if I wanted to join, unproduced writer or not. I wondered how he got my number – I think they pillaged the IPSG’s mailing list.

He said they were looking for more writer members, but with things being as they are financially, he could well have meant more members in general. Organisations need longer membership lists right now to justify their existence!

Well anyway, I coughed up my €100. For that, I apparently get to go to some free screenings AND vote for awards in next year’s IFTAs. Bargainous! I wonder will they let me go to the ceremony and quaff some free champers as well??

Times may be hard but IFTA is opening up....

Recession wonders will never cease! Up to yesterday, I would have said that becoming a member of the Irish Film and Television Academy was quite hard. You had to have some film credits AND get some industry referrals.

But I had an unexpected phone call from a guy at IFTA asking me if I wanted to join, unproduced writer or not. I wondered how he got my number – I think they pillaged the IPSG’s mailing list.

He said they were looking for more writer members, but with things being as they are financially, he could well have meant more members in general. Organisations need longer membership lists right now to justify their existence!

Well anyway, I coughed up my €100. For that, I apparently get to go to some free screenings AND vote for awards in next year’s IFTAs. Bargainous! I wonder will they let me go to the ceremony and quaff some free champers as well??

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My scripts in the PAGE Awards semi-finals!

I had my family script “The Heartstoppers” read by a screenwriting group last night. The group was originally organised by the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriter’s Guild and is a great idea: every two weeks 8-10 of us meet up at the IPSG’s offices to talk about two people’s scripts and offer (mostly) constructive criticism.

Getting feedback on this one is important because it’s currently a semi-finalist in the 2009 PAGE Awards and if I progress to the finals, I get to submit a rewrite! Even if I don’t, it’s always good to have the best possible version of your script completed. The group generally seemed to like it but offered some great advice, such as making the main characters younger to suit a family audience and clarifying some of the more confusing elements.

I’ve got three weeks to find out if I’ve gotten in the finals so it’s time to brew the strongest coffee possible, get in a stash of chocolate and get re-writing!

My scripts in the PAGE Awards semi-finals!

I had my family script “The Heartstoppers” read by a screenwriting group last night. The group was originally organised by the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriter’s Guild and is a great idea: every two weeks 8-10 of us meet up at the IPSG’s offices to talk about two people’s scripts and offer (mostly) constructive criticism.

Getting feedback on this one is important because it’s currently a semi-finalist in the 2009 PAGE Awards and if I progress to the finals, I get to submit a rewrite! Even if I don’t, it’s always good to have the best possible version of your script completed. The group generally seemed to like it but offered some great advice, such as making the main characters younger to suit a family audience and clarifying some of the more confusing elements.

I’ve got three weeks to find out if I’ve gotten in the finals so it’s time to brew the strongest coffee possible, get in a stash of chocolate and get re-writing!

Friday, August 7, 2009

What's in a Title?

What’s in a title? A lot when it comes to scripts!

I’ve found that every time I’ve completed a treatment and started writing a script without a title I’m happy with, the final result has been a disaster. Having a good title from the start seems to be a vital confidence booster, proof if you will that the script already exists and just needs to be written.

This is also true of loglines. If you can’t easily summarise your script in a logline after you’ve finished the treatment, it often means there’s something rotten in the idea, something overcomplicated that will be hard to pitch. I’m not saying everything has to be high-concept, but people shouldn’t start napping when you try to explain what your script is about!

I’ve learned this already the hard way: a good title and a snappy logline, and you’re halfway there….

What's in a Title?

What’s in a title? A lot when it comes to scripts!

I’ve found that every time I’ve completed a treatment and started writing a script without a title I’m happy with, the final result has been a disaster. Having a good title from the start seems to be a vital confidence booster, proof if you will that the script already exists and just needs to be written.

This is also true of loglines. If you can’t easily summarise your script in a logline after you’ve finished the treatment, it often means there’s something rotten in the idea, something overcomplicated that will be hard to pitch. I’m not saying everything has to be high-concept, but people shouldn’t start napping when you try to explain what your script is about!

I’ve learned this already the hard way: a good title and a snappy logline, and you’re halfway there….

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day Job Versus Real Job

Well, I've got a week off work (sorry, the day job) and plan to make a serious run at Star on the Run, my rom-com. It's mainly com though, sort of Hannah Montana meets Private Benjamin.

I read an article recently on Logline by U.K. based screenwriter Dylan Costello about how he motivates himself to write and it's basically this: he's made a conscious decision to view himself as a writer and therefore he is a writer. He sets aside at least one hour a day to write, no matter what. Even if what he writes is rubbish, he's still written something that could possibly be used for some future project.

I think this is excellent advice and I'd go further: IMHO, you have to view the writing as your real work and the other role, office manager or whatever, as what you do to pay the bills and nothing else. Disengage and do the work, but don't put your heart and soul into it. Save that for the writing, your real job!

Day Job Versus Real Job

Well, I've got a week off work (sorry, the day job) and plan to make a serious run at Star on the Run, my rom-com. It's mainly com though, sort of Hannah Montana meets Private Benjamin.

I read an article recently on Logline by U.K. based screenwriter Dylan Costello about how he motivates himself to write and it's basically this: he's made a conscious decision to view himself as a writer and therefore he is a writer. He sets aside at least one hour a day to write, no matter what. Even if what he writes is rubbish, he's still written something that could possibly be used for some future project.

I think this is excellent advice and I'd go further: IMHO, you have to view the writing as your real work and the other role, office manager or whatever, as what you do to pay the bills and nothing else. Disengage and do the work, but don't put your heart and soul into it. Save that for the writing, your real job!