Thursday, 28 February 2008

Movie Posters Post

Can't sleep after my play meeting and the long drive home so I'm blogging again. Yep. That'll help me wind down. Sit here juggling on the Html. Because it always puts stuff exactly where you want it, doesn't it.

OK. There's been a wee Movie poster conversation starting to germinate at Sheiky's patch. He wants to see our fav. posters so I've been digging.

Once upon a time, long ago and far away (or down the coast a bit) I was an innoscent little student freezing away in her student room. You could shove fingers through the gaps in the windows. Hell you could shove your room-mate through the thing. The electric fire only had one bar working and blew the fuses. The communal living room had no ceiling because it rained one day. Basically we aspired to the Young One's Hovel.

So what did we cover the flourescent lime green woodchip with? Film Posters of course. And I had the best cos baby sister worked in a video store. Look, if you're too young to know what one of those was go look it up.

I tried finding some of those posters but many seem to have disappeared. So I've done my best. The pickies below show posters I'd be happy to put on my wall in their own right. Regardless of the quality of the film. Enjoy. Oh and a cooler set can be found on the other half's blog.

The first film I ever saw. I had nightmares for weeks and wasn't allowed to go to the cinema again until Oliver came out. I still can't watch it but this time because I'll lose what I saw with a child's eye.
Then some oldies. Saturday was Dixon of Dock Green, Doctor Who then the Saturday Movie. Wrapped in a blanket, eating porridge and disappearing into Day of the Triffids, When Worlds Collide, War of the Worlds and these goodies. Remember when they don't do what they said on the box?

Unlike these for the lads. Dinosaurs, eternal life, lovely. And the other one sums up the film beautifully. No little old lady is going to pop in to see a nice film about the history of Pitman unless she thought it included some serious lumbar stretching.

And to balance that some broody men for us ladies. Worryingly they are all armed.

And finally a cool and scary mix.

That's all folks!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

What's brewing?

So tomorrow I'm off to be interrogated about my play. Don't really know what to expect and having that panicky "will they think I'm a fraud" moment. These are experienced writers I'll be chatting with. They'll know their stuff. Gulp.

Got to sit down and knock the feature treatment into its final shape. It's almost there. Know what's happening when and why. Just got to get the gobbledygook into the Queen's English and kick it out for feedback.

I have two other features bubbling along.

One is past the treatment stage but I've probably been overambitious. It has three main characters instead of one. Though there is a single lead the others aren't really support. Mainly because they are alpha females and don't like second place. However if I succeed in reigning them in it could be interesting.

I'm very fond of this one. All the main characters are over 40. They refuse to become respectable middle aged ladies and instead are after Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll.

The other feature was going along nicely then I started having doubts. It is currently a period Gothic horror though it started out as present day. I'm now wondering whether to go back to that. I do like a good old Byronic hero/villain. Heathcliffe, ahhh. So I suppose its going to be which shows his brooding splendour the best.

I was going to submit this last one to A Pitch in Time but if its going to change so much it will be a bit pointless. I've got a pitch submitted already for my first one so I'll pop this last one aside for a bit while I battle with the other two.

So lots to do.

Earthquake? Where?

Well I kind of missed the earthquake last night. I was watching my Life on Mars DVD and heard a wopping wump. However that's usual round here with the gales from the Irish Sea battering the front of my house with abandon and low flying jets using the chimneys for slalom practice. It was only later I realised what it was.

I feel like a missed something. However I've discovered I can live through it vicariously by reading accounts from Dan Owen (will his remote recover) and Adrian Reynold (will fridgehenge be toppled).

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Body Counts

Just a quick one. Got one entry off to Pitch in Time and another half written. Then I'll move on to finishing my treatment.

Did make some headway. I now know the ending of the film. Usually I know the start and the end but I stuggle with the middle. This time it was the end that proved a sod.

I also had one of those weird conversations. You know the ones writers have. I thought I'd had the ultimate last year when I went around asking "What's funnier, wet boxers or wet Y-fronts." Y-fronts won, hands down.

However I think I topped it this weekend. "I have a low body count so it wants to a drama. Won't it want to be a comedy if I up the body count? A lot?" Yes I went with a high body count. Much more comfortable with it now.

Then I had to work out how to kill all the extra ones. That came to me in the car ride back from Tescos. Don't ask me how. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the kids killing each other in the back seat.

Also I've got my next project decided, thanks to a discussion on Elinor's blog. Wrinkly women unite! The idea's been knocking around since I turned 40 and became one of the invisibles.

So I've done my duty and provided a post. Though not a long one I know. Hope you all got your pitches in too. Only a few days left. Give it a try. Got to stop cos my giant feline is about to walk over the keyboard and butcher it all.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Won Something

It's been very eventful since my last blog. I won something. Yes really. I'm still sort of in shock.

I'd entered a county competition for a short play. North Cumbria Scriptwriting Group is going to put on a set of plays at Theatre by the Lakes and offered one of the slots as a prize. Yes I live in Cumbria. Said it was the back of beyond didn't I? Wouldn't swap it though.

The group selected submissions down to three and then the theatre director chose mine.

So my 5min play will be professionally staged in the spring. I then got an email last night for character notes so they can start casting. Eeeek. Haven't had to write those before. At least not for anyone else to read. Had a go. I'm sure they will tell me if the notes are useless.

I also submitted my portfolio for the course I've been on. Got to wait to find out if it was alright.

I'm also cracking away at Draft II of the treatment for my feature. I worked on it with the course and just have to choose between the three endings I can see.

Also realised the deadline for the Cheltenham Screenwriters' Festival competition Pitch in Time is almost upon me. And I want to submit a pitch for the feature. So I'd better get cracking. If you don't try then you're guaranteed to lose.

And then there's the early deadline for BSSC Live Action shorts at the end of March. I've got a couple of shorts I think are ready but I'm letting them sit there a little so I can read with new eyes before submitting. I got through the first round last year. Doesn't mean I'll get that far again this year but lets see.

I'm also reading and checking a synopsis and 3 chapters of a novel for a friend who is about to send it out. She finished a novel AND reworked and rewritten it. So much better than me. My novels get fully planned out then I get distracted. Not a good habit I know. I've got my fingers and toes crossed for her.

So I've got to get some heavy writing done. Paper out. Pencil sharpened.

And I got this from Sheiky

Friday, 15 February 2008

Bring back Clapperboard

OK so I'm going a bit off topic today. I've mastered the links so now I'm going to use them. Highlight the word, click on the chain thing, then paste in the URL (the address thingy at the top of the window thingy). Just for those that were stuck like me (hi Shiekspear).

Talking to the other half about modern animation techniques, as you do, we ended up reminising about Clapperboard and Screen Test. OK that's an age giveaway I know.

For those too young to remember there is a bit about them in this and this. But not much. Screen Test was a film quiz show that included a young film-maker's competition. The entries would be shown on the programme. We all thought we stood a chance if only we had a camera. Clapperboard did a lot of behind the scenes stuff. I remember the Bugsy Malone one really clearly.

Anyway we tried to think of a modern equivalent, a film programme for kids. About making them, not just what's new out. The sprogs then gave me a despairing look and pointed me at Popcorn. On satellite and internet. So I had a look.

Sorry folks, still nothing like Clapperboard and Screen Test. More Film insert-year with extra bits. "They don't make kids programmes like in my day." I'll now totter off to get a nice cup of tea and a hobnob.

Postscript: Find some old memories here and here.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Book Meme

So it's happened. I've finally been memed. And by Sheikspear no less. What's more I've finally worked out how to insert a link and it to appear the way I want. Lots to learn with the blog lark.

Well the list of useful screenwriting books isn't too hard, I hope. The tricky part will be finding other victims. Hmmmmm.

Right. I've looked along my writing shelves. I suppose I'll list the ones that I read from cover to cover when I got them. Not to many really. Most are used like reference books. I dip in and out when I need inspiration or I'm stuck on a particular issue. I've also stuck to screenwriting or TV ones.

No.1. Alternative Screenwriting by Ken Dancyger & Jeff Rush

This is top of my list in so many ways. Easy to read, inspiring when I get a block. Despite the title it isn't about breaking rules. More explaining them and showing how to twist and recombine them. Lots of examples too.

No.2. Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman

Is this absent from anyone's list? Just to remind you how nuts the industry is.

No. 3. Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger

My characters used to just free-wheel. This meant the plot got forgotten completely. This book helped me knock them into shape and to get into their head a bit better.

No.4 and 5. Screenwriting by Lew Hunter and Story by Robert McKee

The nuts and bolts. I don't follow them religiously, instead I use them as problem solvers.

Then the fun ones.

No.6. Porridge: The Scripts by Dick Clements & Ian La Frenais
No.7. Steptoe and Son by Ray Galton & Alan Simpson
No.8. BlackAdder 1485-1917 by Richard Curtis & Ben Elton
No.9 Withnail and I Screenplay by Bruce Robinson
No.10. Smoking in Bed by Bruce Robinson

So how many was I supposed to list? I'm going to stop now or I will end up logging every writing or script book I own!

So who do I meme in turn? Well I pick Jon and Paul and Colin. Unless someone beat me to it.

Saturday, 9 February 2008


I'm still counting this as Friday because I've not slept yet. That makes this as a weekly blog.

It has been a busy week juggling hats. There's the hard hat for my daytime job of analysing, mentoring, pointing out the bloody obvious, shouting, screaming and breathing fire. Then there's the knitted teacosy hat for the nurturing wife and mother bit. The trilby for the checking procedure for the village school bit. Lastly the floppy felt beret for the writing bit.

I've managed to keep all in the air this week but I'm really not sure how. Maybe that I'm writing this at gone 1am is a clue. (The time bit at the bottom insists its staying an hour behind me. Sod it.)

So the course went really well and we had a go at directing each others work too. I think I managed to ignore the camera when I was in front of it but it's like....

Don't look at that spider behind you!

There, bet you looked. Just in case. After all how do you know I'm not a cyberpunk construct watching you from within the machine. Sorry, rambling a bit.

Anyway my last bit of homework is nearly done for them to assess next week. However I have been a bit silly. We had to set our plan for after the course and hand it in last week. So what did this airhead put?

What will I have done in :-
1 week : Treatment
2 weeks: Step Plan
1 month: Screenplay

This is for a feature. I'm doooomed. And I did it to myself.

So I'm counting the end of the course as next weekend. That gives me one extra week. Will I make it? Stay tuned folks.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Revenge is lucrative

Well I'm at the end of the week and I've done my homework. It was so much harder than I thought but its Done, Done, Done. Until I have to re-write of course.

Did I get any other writing done this week? Well a quick horror short because the idea was there. More notes on my feature. Gunned down a few characters, moved others up to the front line. And it isn't even a war film.

What I am now wondering is if my black comedy is a comedy at all. As it rips apart and reforms it is starting to look like a drama. There again whenever I try to write a drama I end up with comedy anyway.

Can't take anything seriously. Even did a string of jokes in my eulogy at my Dad's funeral a few years back. Dad the rebel would have approved. Funeral director certainly did. A few blue rinses looked shocked though. Haven't they heard of graveside humour?

Anyway I'll just let the characters decide for me.

And that's my weekend planned, more listening attentively at the weekend and tapping away in the evenings.

So if your boss has treated you like you're braindead, your colleagues nicked all the chocolate biscuits and your clients complained because you didn't do 2 weeks work, jump backwards in time and deliver it the day before they realised they needed it then GET REVENGE.

Write a good gorefest story where they all die a horrible death and you will feel so much better. Call it practice and there will be no guilt at all. And you never know, I sold a short story once just letting off steam.

Have a relaxing, revenge filled weekend