Saturday, January 30, 2010

A free pass to watch movies - shouldn't there be a catch?

I had very exciting news this week – I’m going to be an official blogger for this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival! The festival’s chosen six bloggers in total to cover the films, the parties, and all the stuff in between - so there’ll be loads of different writing styles and points of view.

Things kicked off on Thursday night with a launch party at Tripod, but before this there was a press briefing with festival director Grainne Humphreys. She went through the rather cool-sounding 2010 programme while the assembled journalists/bloggers pored over the handbag-sized book of events. 

Then the festival bloggers got the good news – we get a free pass to the whole thing and all we have to do is what we’d do anyway, i.e. blog!

The official launch (after speeches from the chairman, the Arts Council, etc etc) was by Brendan Gleeson and actress Nora-Jane Noone, while the throng sipped Jamesons and ginger ale (well in my case, anyway). 

I ran into Hotel Darklight production manager Marie Caffrey, who was going on to a party for Donegal Person of the Year and kindly asked me to come along. So I did and met every Donegal person living in Dublin (or so it seemed), including the Person of the Year, who turned out to be Altan singer Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh. She once, in a former life, taught in my primary school. Mad fact.

Anyway, it was a great night and I'm really looking forward to February! 

 

A free pass to watch movies - shouldn't there be a catch?

I had very exciting news this week – I’m going to be an official blogger for this year’s Jameson Dublin International Film Festival! The festival’s chosen six bloggers in total to cover the films, the parties, and all the stuff in between - so there’ll be loads of different writing styles and points of view.

Things kicked off on Thursday night with a launch party at Tripod, but before this there was a press briefing with festival director Grainne Humphreys. She went through the rather cool-sounding 2010 programme while the assembled journalists/bloggers pored over the handbag-sized book of events. 

Then the festival bloggers got the good news – we get a free pass to the whole thing and all we have to do is what we’d do anyway, i.e. blog!

The official launch (after speeches from the chairman, the Arts Council, etc etc) was by Brendan Gleeson and actress Nora-Jane Noone, while the throng sipped Jamesons and ginger ale (well in my case, anyway). 

I ran into Hotel Darklight production manager Marie Caffrey, who was going on to a party for Donegal Person of the Year and kindly asked me to come along. So I did and met every Donegal person living in Dublin (or so it seemed), including the Person of the Year, who turned out to be Altan singer Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh. She once, in a former life, taught in my primary school. Mad fact.

Anyway, it was a great night and I'm really looking forward to February! 

 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

ABW! And BOS!

Always Be Closing is a mantra known in many a sales office. For me, the two essential screenwriter mantras are ABW (Always Be Writing) and BOS (Bums on Seats). Yes, I said bums but you can substitute this for asses, arses, tushes, junk... whatever you want!

Always Be Writing kind of speaks for itself. You can network, market and enter an endless number of competitions, but if you don't park yourself in a seat on a regular basis and write, you'll have nothing to show for your efforts.

Bums on Seats is where I brand myself with the mainstream tag and do so unashamedly. It refers to the folks paying the bills. No, not the studios heads. And not the producers. It's the ordinary Joe Soaps who look up the cinema times on a Saturday afternoon or a Wednesday night and decide to go and spend up to fifteen quid each on a movie ticket and some snacks. What do they want to see? 

Will they read the brief description of your movie in the paper or on a website and think, "That's sounds good. Let's go and see that!". Or will they say, "Nah. Let's go and see Transformers 4". Or worse, "Let's stay in instead".  Remember, your movie has to be so good that Joe and Jane Soap are prepared to leave their house, drive to the cinema, and hand over their hard-earned cash. Make it worth their while.

ABW and BOS  - I feel like making a big banner of each and hanging it over my desk. But we're selling the house, so that might be embarrassing.... Either way, remember the golden rules. Keep writing, and bear the consumers of the end product in mind!


ABW! And BOS!

Always Be Closing is a mantra known in many a sales office. For me, the two essential screenwriter mantras are ABW (Always Be Writing) and BOS (Bums on Seats). Yes, I said bums but you can substitute this for asses, arses, tushes, junk... whatever you want!

Always Be Writing kind of speaks for itself. You can network, market and enter an endless number of competitions, but if you don't park yourself in a seat on a regular basis and write, you'll have nothing to show for your efforts.

Bums on Seats is where I brand myself with the mainstream tag and do so unashamedly. It refers to the folks paying the bills. No, not the studios heads. And not the producers. It's the ordinary Joe Soaps who look up the cinema times on a Saturday afternoon or a Wednesday night and decide to go and spend up to fifteen quid each on a movie ticket and some snacks. What do they want to see? 

Will they read the brief description of your movie in the paper or on a website and think, "That's sounds good. Let's go and see that!". Or will they say, "Nah. Let's go and see Transformers 4". Or worse, "Let's stay in instead".  Remember, your movie has to be so good that Joe and Jane Soap are prepared to leave their house, drive to the cinema, and hand over their hard-earned cash. Make it worth their while.

ABW and BOS  - I feel like making a big banner of each and hanging it over my desk. But we're selling the house, so that might be embarrassing.... Either way, remember the golden rules. Keep writing, and bear the consumers of the end product in mind!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Where there's a quiz, there's a way....

The plans for the short I'm producing continue on their messy little way - but we are getting there. I've secured a venue for a quiz to raise some funds for it, which is The Mercantile on Dame Street. Quiz will be on Wednesday 3rd February at 7.30pm and my uncle Ainnle, Quizmeister extraordinaire, has agreed to host it. There will be prizes so please come and win some of them!

Exploring some other funding routes too - and the crew is starting to come together. We needto sort out one more location, which is a white room.  It has to be a stylised white room which could be a lab or hospital room, sort of like an all-white gallery space, something like that. If you know of such a place that we can use for a day, let me know!

In other news, gutted that Dennis Hopper appears to be on the way out cos I'd always hoped to meet him. Apart from being a great actor, he's a brilliant artist. The guy has embarked on a divorce at possibly the weirdest time ever in someone's life, however... 

And in other, other news, there's a rumour that the Oscars are going for THREE hosts this year. So they're not content with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin? I don't like this multiple host thing. Bring back Billy Crystal!

Where there's a quiz, there's a way....

The plans for the short I'm producing continue on their messy little way - but we are getting there. I've secured a venue for a quiz to raise some funds for it, which is The Mercantile on Dame Street. Quiz will be on Wednesday 3rd February at 7.30pm and my uncle Ainnle, Quizmeister extraordinaire, has agreed to host it. There will be prizes so please come and win some of them!

Exploring some other funding routes too - and the crew is starting to come together. We needto sort out one more location, which is a white room.  It has to be a stylised white room which could be a lab or hospital room, sort of like an all-white gallery space, something like that. If you know of such a place that we can use for a day, let me know!

In other news, gutted that Dennis Hopper appears to be on the way out cos I'd always hoped to meet him. Apart from being a great actor, he's a brilliant artist. The guy has embarked on a divorce at possibly the weirdest time ever in someone's life, however... 

And in other, other news, there's a rumour that the Oscars are going for THREE hosts this year. So they're not content with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin? I don't like this multiple host thing. Bring back Billy Crystal!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Writers that direct, writers that produce. Writers that, um, write...

Whenever I meet other writers, be it at a festival or at a party, they always seem to fit into one of three categories. There's people who only want to write - and that's it. They're quite happy to hand the script over once it's done, and bar the inevitable rewrites, that's the end of their involvement until the premiere. 

There's the writer/directors, which make up by far the largest group in my experience. They want to make their own stuff, and their scripts have the camera directions to prove it.

And then there's the wannabe producers. They want the control of the writer/directors, but it's a different sort. They're the business-minded types who can see the big picture - literally.

So what category do you slot into? I'd say I'm in the first group, dipping my toes into the producing group. I've zero interest in directing, though - someone else can work out the camera angles and wear the truckers hat!

Writers that direct, writers that produce. Writers that, um, write...

Whenever I meet other writers, be it at a festival or at a party, they always seem to fit into one of three categories. There's people who only want to write - and that's it. They're quite happy to hand the script over once it's done, and bar the inevitable rewrites, that's the end of their involvement until the premiere. 

There's the writer/directors, which make up by far the largest group in my experience. They want to make their own stuff, and their scripts have the camera directions to prove it.

And then there's the wannabe producers. They want the control of the writer/directors, but it's a different sort. They're the business-minded types who can see the big picture - literally.

So what category do you slot into? I'd say I'm in the first group, dipping my toes into the producing group. I've zero interest in directing, though - someone else can work out the camera angles and wear the truckers hat!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

You and your script - happy ever after...

As much as I enjoyed the first two Spiderman films, it has to be said that Spiderman 3 sucked. I was hiding behind my hands for some bits, not least the utterly horrific scene where Tobey Maguire dances. Worse than anything in the entire Saw franchise. 

Anyway, my point is not to bitch but to learn from the experience. It was obvious to a lot of people just from watching the trailer that the Spiderman 3 writers had made life hard for themselves. There were THREE villains if I remember correctly, not to mention the fact that Peter Parker himself had developed a dark side. How were they ever going to resolve all this satisfactorily in two and a half hours? Well, they couldn't. No one could. The moral of the story is that two main villains is about the most any movie can support - and the sad result of S3 is that Spiderman 4 now appears to be on long-term hiatus....

As for myself (and I wish I had a script like Spiderman to worry about), I'm currently locked in doing rewrites. I often find myself viewing scripts in terms of relationships, so using that analogy: a new script is like a hot new relationship with a partner you can't wait to get your hands on. A first rewrite is like a guy you've been seeing for a while. Problems have started to emerge and the way forward is not yet clear. Second rewrite, the scales have fallen from your eyes. This person is far from perfect and the relationship may in fact be irretrievable. It's over - forever! You take refuge in a packet of peanut M&Ms (ahem).

Third and fourth rewrites are bad but a glimmer of hope starts to come out. You might just be able to fix this! Fifth rewrite, you see the truth: this guy is a gem and all the hard slog was worth it. Your relationship is better for having gone through all the drama. 

You're going to be happy ever after - until you get your first producer's coverage, and the rows start again....

You and your script - happy ever after...

As much as I enjoyed the first two Spiderman films, it has to be said that Spiderman 3 sucked. I was hiding behind my hands for some bits, not least the utterly horrific scene where Tobey Maguire dances. Worse than anything in the entire Saw franchise. 

Anyway, my point is not to bitch but to learn from the experience. It was obvious to a lot of people just from watching the trailer that the Spiderman 3 writers had made life hard for themselves. There were THREE villains if I remember correctly, not to mention the fact that Peter Parker himself had developed a dark side. How were they ever going to resolve all this satisfactorily in two and a half hours? Well, they couldn't. No one could. The moral of the story is that two main villains is about the most any movie can support - and the sad result of S3 is that Spiderman 4 now appears to be on long-term hiatus....

As for myself (and I wish I had a script like Spiderman to worry about), I'm currently locked in doing rewrites. I often find myself viewing scripts in terms of relationships, so using that analogy: a new script is like a hot new relationship with a partner you can't wait to get your hands on. A first rewrite is like a guy you've been seeing for a while. Problems have started to emerge and the way forward is not yet clear. Second rewrite, the scales have fallen from your eyes. This person is far from perfect and the relationship may in fact be irretrievable. It's over - forever! You take refuge in a packet of peanut M&Ms (ahem).

Third and fourth rewrites are bad but a glimmer of hope starts to come out. You might just be able to fix this! Fifth rewrite, you see the truth: this guy is a gem and all the hard slog was worth it. Your relationship is better for having gone through all the drama. 

You're going to be happy ever after - until you get your first producer's coverage, and the rows start again....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Our movie needs you!

This is a new year and I’m starting it with a call to action.

· Have you worked on a movie before?
· Would you like to become involved with making one?
· Or have you always wanted to be a film financier?

Either way, this is your chance! I’m going to be producing a short film (15 minutes long) in mid to late February, based on a script by fellow writer Colin Scuffins. Prodigal Son is a sci-fi crime thriller set entirely in Dublin city in the near future. We are looking for help and practical, financial or emotional support will be very gratefully received. Well, the first two especially ;)

If you’re interested in becoming involved, we basically have 3 options available:

· Do you like quizzes? We will be holding a quiz in Dublin city (at least one, we may even have one northside, one southside) in early February and there will be some great prizes. All proceeds will go towards the movie. This is a zero-budget production but we still need funds for insurance, contingency and post-production costs, at the very least. Please support us by attending – and bring your friends! I’ll have a date for this quiz very soon.
· If you have experience of working on a film and would like to fulfil a role on set, email me at eilism21@hotmail.com with details of what you’d like to do. We need the following: a DoP, a soundman/woman, a lighting specialist, hair and makeup artist, a horse wrangler (yes, really), someone to do continuity, a costumer, editor, storyboard artist and as many production assistants as we can find.
Everyone who works on the film will get a screen credit and a copy of the DVD for their showreel. And you’ll get fed well. That’s about all I can promise as again, this is a zero-budget production. However, if you want to be involved and can’t do it without payment, email me anyway – all applications will be considered. We will be shooting over four days in mid to late February – again, I’ll have a firm shooting schedule soon.
· Option three – if you are shooting a movie yourself and would like help with the script or need someone to be a gopher on set, maybe we can arrange a work exchange. Again, email me and we’ll talk.
· Lastly, option four. If you are a connoisseur of the arts and would like to invest in the film, email me for details. We are happy to acknowledge your involvement in the credits. Or if you have a business and would like it to feature in the film, we can also arrange this.

Thanks in advance and remember, it’s never too late to lose your movie virginity!

P.S. If you are a doctor and would be prepared to let us shoot a scene in your surgery, let’s talk! We won’t break anything, I promise.

Our movie needs you!

This is a new year and I’m starting it with a call to action.

· Have you worked on a movie before?
· Would you like to become involved with making one?
· Or have you always wanted to be a film financier?

Either way, this is your chance! I’m going to be producing a short film (15 minutes long) in mid to late February, based on a script by fellow writer Colin Scuffins. Prodigal Son is a sci-fi crime thriller set entirely in Dublin city in the near future. We are looking for help and practical, financial or emotional support will be very gratefully received. Well, the first two especially ;)

If you’re interested in becoming involved, we basically have 3 options available:

· Do you like quizzes? We will be holding a quiz in Dublin city (at least one, we may even have one northside, one southside) in early February and there will be some great prizes. All proceeds will go towards the movie. This is a zero-budget production but we still need funds for insurance, contingency and post-production costs, at the very least. Please support us by attending – and bring your friends! I’ll have a date for this quiz very soon.
· If you have experience of working on a film and would like to fulfil a role on set, email me at eilism21@hotmail.com with details of what you’d like to do. We need the following: a DoP, a soundman/woman, a lighting specialist, hair and makeup artist, a horse wrangler (yes, really), someone to do continuity, a costumer, editor, storyboard artist and as many production assistants as we can find.
Everyone who works on the film will get a screen credit and a copy of the DVD for their showreel. And you’ll get fed well. That’s about all I can promise as again, this is a zero-budget production. However, if you want to be involved and can’t do it without payment, email me anyway – all applications will be considered. We will be shooting over four days in mid to late February – again, I’ll have a firm shooting schedule soon.
· Option three – if you are shooting a movie yourself and would like help with the script or need someone to be a gopher on set, maybe we can arrange a work exchange. Again, email me and we’ll talk.
· Lastly, option four. If you are a connoisseur of the arts and would like to invest in the film, email me for details. We are happy to acknowledge your involvement in the credits. Or if you have a business and would like it to feature in the film, we can also arrange this.

Thanks in advance and remember, it’s never too late to lose your movie virginity!

P.S. If you are a doctor and would be prepared to let us shoot a scene in your surgery, let’s talk! We won’t break anything, I promise.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Making it happen in 2010

2009 and the party season is grinding to a halt and I'm itching to get going on 2010. Bring it on!

The ugly spectre of New Year's Resolutions is looming on the horizon so I'm going to get them out of the way now. And in writing these down, I'm putting them out there - so I have to fulfill them!

1. Spend as much time as possible with my friends and family.
2. Write four feature scripts! 
3. Write at least two shorts.
4. Produce a short.
5. Write as many query letters as I can afford to post.
6. Get fit.
7. Learn to salsa dance. This may relate to number 6.
8. Start exploring alternative income generators.
9. Have as much fun as I can, as often as I can.

If you're making resolutions, you could do worse than check out this guy. I read Tim Ferriss' book over a year ago and I've put some of his ideas into operation, thus achieving a lot more in a lot less time. One of his best tips is to concentrate only on the important tasks and then set yourself aggressive deadlines to complete them. It works! If you give yourself an hour to finish something, you'll do it. If you give yourself three hours, it will take three hours....

Happy 2010 and I hope all your dreams come true!



Making it happen in 2010

2009 and the party season is grinding to a halt and I'm itching to get going on 2010. Bring it on!

The ugly spectre of New Year's Resolutions is looming on the horizon so I'm going to get them out of the way now. And in writing these down, I'm putting them out there - so I have to fulfill them!

1. Spend as much time as possible with my friends and family.
2. Write four feature scripts! 
3. Write at least two shorts.
4. Produce a short.
5. Write as many query letters as I can afford to post.
6. Get fit.
7. Learn to salsa dance. This may relate to number 6.
8. Start exploring alternative income generators.
9. Have as much fun as I can, as often as I can.

If you're making resolutions, you could do worse than check out this guy. I read Tim Ferriss' book over a year ago and I've put some of his ideas into operation, thus achieving a lot more in a lot less time. One of his best tips is to concentrate only on the important tasks and then set yourself aggressive deadlines to complete them. It works! If you give yourself an hour to finish something, you'll do it. If you give yourself three hours, it will take three hours....

Happy 2010 and I hope all your dreams come true!