Monthly Archives: October 2010

How many Big Ideas?

So this may be a bit of a pointless post, given everyone who normally comments here is probably at the London Screenwriters’ Festival and far too drunk to read; but I’m curious – how many people entered Shine‘s Big Idea competition?

I entered around tea-time (dinner time if you’re born in the South of England) on the 28th and my last entry number was 85448- this has got me (and a few others) wondering … does that mean there are around 85,000 entries?

Or is the 8 added to everyone’s entry?

That still leaves 5,000 plus – which seems a lot.

I guess what I’m looking for is someone who entered very early and someone who entered right up against the deadline. If you exist and you’re reading this (and you can be arsed)  then maybe you can post your numbers in the comments and we can figure out roughly how tough the competition is?

Assuming, that is, they haven’t already posted the number on their website by the time this post hits the blog. In which case, just post some abuse.

Categories: Random Witterings | 10 Comments

National Student Film Association Announces Free Screenwriting Competition

The National Student Film Association (NSFA) invites all student film-makers to submit their short film scripts to the National Student Screenwriting Competition. The competition is run in partnership with the BFI and boasts a host of professional judges including BAFTA winner Asitha Ameresekere, the organisers of the London Screenwriters’ Festival, and board members of Euroscript and Women in Film and Television.
The competition is aimed at UK students of all kinds who are looking for a career in film but have not yet had the chance to present their work to industry professionals. Not only does the competition offer fantastic prizes such as a mentoring meeting at BAFTA as well as BFI and IMAX vouchers, but students will also have the opportunity to get their scripts read by two members of the high calibre jury.

Competition judge Asitha Ameresekere commented, “This is a fantastic opportunity for students to expose their work to members of the industry and gain invaluable experience in the competitive screenwriting business. I am very excited to be part of the NSFA competition and look forward to supporting outstanding new talent.”
The competition is hosted online at Circalit, an online platform for aspiring writers, where all the entries will be visible to the public, and talent scouts will be paying close attention to the winning writers.
Raoul Tawadey, CEO of Circalit, commented, “The NSFA are doing student film makers a great service by connecting young artists with industry professionals. Starting a career in film can be a difficult process and the gap between writing your first screenplay and seeing your work produced can be very daunting. I hope this competition and the work that the NSFA are doing will give students the opportunity to kick start a career in the film industry.” 

Screenplay submissions can be up to five pages long and of any genre. The deadline is the 7th November 2010. For more information please visit,  
Franzi Florack!/NSFAUK

About the NSFA
The National Student Film Association (NSFA) is the UK’s largest student organisation to promote student film across the country Founded in the summer of 2009, the NSFA is a non-profit, democratically elected organisation which aims to aid the production and distribution of student films. The NSFA actively seeks to help student film makers in producing new films by promoting  cooperation and collaboration at a national level and by working with student film events to improve the quality of talks and workshops they are able to offer. Once a year, the NSFA helps to organise Screentest, The National Student Film Festival, and gives out the National Student  Film Awards.
Categories: Opportunity | Leave a comment

App Media

This may be of interest to some of you.

Or it may not, it’s kind of hard for me to decide without meeting you for a chat first.

Probably best if you just read it and make up your own mind.

App Media will soon be broadcasting a brand new drama made exclusively for the Smartphone, entitled “Persona”.

We will be collaborating with many new and emerging talented people within the film and TV industry.

Our ultimate plan is to reach as large an audience as possible – thereby being a stepping stone for even greater things for everyone involved!

To make the drama a true success will require hard work, determination and a great pool of talent! So if you’re a Director, Writer, Producer, DP, Gaffer, Camera Operator, Sound Recordist, Editor, Make-up artist, Costume Designer, Location Manager, 1st AD, Composer, PA, Runner we would really love to hear from you. In fact, we want to hear from EVERYONE with an interest in film and media.

We’ll be building a community for all those with a passion for film and TV and who want to have their work shown to a huge audience.

On Monday 8 November, there will be a special event in London that we will be hosting for cast and crew to find out more and join us. If you would like an invitation, please email us; we would love you to join us.

Categories: Opportunity | Leave a comment

Missing, presumed imaginary

A few years back, possibly many years back, I had this idea for a film.

I didn’t really have time to write it, nor did I know anyone who could afford to/be interested in producing it – so I put it firmly on the back burner … and then turned the burner off.

Mostly off.

It’s kind of simmered there in the back of my mind. Every now and then an image or a scene presents itself and gets filed in the same mental drawer – but to all intents and purposes it’s an abandoned idea.

Or was, until the other day.

I was thinking about ideas for Shine Picture’s Big Idea competition, remembered that barely warm pan and thought it was probably time to bring it back to the boil. So I sat down and picked vaguely at a logline … while a persistent thought poked me in the back of the mind – haven’t I written at least a logline for this at some point? Possibly even a brief synopsis?

A brief file search brought up a forgotten document – a list of active projects for a guy who was vaguely interested in managing me before coming to his senses. Included in that list was a very short paragraph describing the film.

Cool, so I can take bits from that and rework it to —

Hang on. Hang the fuck on. What’s that?

“Currently a treatment and step outline.”

It’s a what? A treatment AND a step outline? For an idea I’ve never committed to paper?

Ah, this must be one of those ‘lies’ I used to tell to people. You know, along the lines of the ‘Yes, I have got a completed script ready to show you’ type. Back in the days when I was confident I would have the completed script within a day or two of anyone asking. You know, back when I was stupid.


Yes, that must be it. I didn’t actually write a treatment or a step outline because I’d remember.

Although, now  I come to think about it, I do seem to have an awful lot of detail stored in my cluttered brain regarding this project. Proper detail too, not just the woolly detail you get when you’re merely thinking of an idea – the kind of woolly detail where you realise you’ve mentally covered about an hour of the script with a phrase like ‘and then there’s a bit of a chase across Africa’.

No, this is the proper kind of detail, the kind detailing what actually happens during that chase, how many lions there are and what they’re wearing. The kind of detail you get when you’ve sat down and written a … well, a treatment and a step outline.

Fuck, I’ve written a treatment for this idea and completely forgotten I’ve done it! Writing a 700 word synopsis is going to be easy!

Except, no. I don’t have a treatment for this puppy. I’ve checked, double checked and … something which sounds like I’ve done more than just checked again.

Scrutinised or something.

It’s not here, I don’t have it. It should be here. If it exists, it should be on my laptop, my desktop, my phone and online – how can it not be at my fingertips?

I should probably explain I do an equal amount of writing on my laptop and my desktop in numerous locations around the world. I use a service called Soonr which automatically backs up every document online every five minutes and allows me to access the files from my phone. It also provides a cloud drive so I can remotely access the files on whichever computer I’m not using. The contents of which should be exactly the same since I sync them on an automatic and daily basis. I also save a copy of my scripts on my phone so I’ve got them with me at all times.

I don’t lose files.

At least, not permanently.

Although, I’ve always had a vague fear of syncing computers, along the line of Doctor McCoy’s objections to using the transporter. If you delete something from one computer, it automatically gets deleted from the other.


If you alter a file on one computer, it deletes the original on the second computer and creates a new copy of the altered one … what if that goes wrong? What if it gets halfway through and forgets to create the new copy? Next time it syncs, it’ll see the file’s been deleted on the second computer and delete it on the first. Soonr would then follow suit and delete it from the online storage and the next time I copy my scripts to my phone it’ll get overwritten there too.

I’m a victim of cyber-stupidity! And possibly over-thinking. I’ve lost a treatment. And a step-outline! And, since every project gets its own unique folder, the folder it was stored in!

Which, now I come to think of it, doesn’t seem likely.

But it is possible. I haven’t got it, yet I do remember writing it.

Actually, I don’t; I don’t remember writing it, I just have a head full of too much detail to have not written it.

Now I’m all confused, am I the victim of cyber-stupidity or just plain fucking stupid?

Maybe I’m imagining a treatment I can’t remember writing?

Maybe I’m imagining not-writing a treatment I’ve accidentally deleted?

Maybe my computers ganged up on me, decided the idea was shit anyway and deleted it for the good of humanity? Which is weird, because if movies have taught me anything, it’s that the machines don’t give a fuck about humanity and intend to wipe us out someday soon anyway. Or perhaps use us as batteries, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, since I’ve tried to charge my phone by shoving it up my arse and it blatantly doesn’t work.

What the fuck’s going on?

Am I losing my mind or losing my information?

Which is scarier?

Will anyone ever want to borrow my phone again?

I have no answers. Neither do I have a treatment or a step outline. So I’m fucked whichever way you slice it.

Probably best to ignore it and get on with some work.

Categories: My Way, Random Witterings, Sad Bastard, Things I've Learnt Recently | 8 Comments

Short film comp

Anyone else know about this? I was sent these details for a short film competition today, I hadn’t heard of it but then stuff does tend to pass me by a bit these days. Okay, so it’s really a competition for an advert, but it might be worth a punt if you’ve got nothing else on:

To celebrate the launch of new Duracell myGrid, the much anticipated pad offering wireless charging, myGrid is hosting a short film competition for would-be movie makers and film fanatics. Enter the mySequel competition and be in win a chance of winning prizes worth more than £15,000!

The challenge is to create the next instalment to ‘Entangled’(, the short film, produced by Ridley Scott’s production company RSA Films ltd, is shot in the iconic b-movie style, parodies a world full of wires and features you as the lead character – did you surrender your friends to survive?

Entrants have until 31st October to submit their own sequel ideas via a script/plot synopsis which will be uploaded onto the microsite where submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges.  The winner will see their mySequel idea go from script to screen with a £15,000 production day, courtesy of Duracell myGrid.

More details on the website: including all the essential information regarding entering the competition and timings, etc.

Categories: Opportunity | Leave a comment

Networking at its best

Last year I went to the Screenwriters’ Festival in Cheltenham and I had a enjoyable few days of chit-chat with other writers. One day, en route to the venue, I bumped into a guy who’s got a reasonably high profile on one of the filmmaking websites I lurk on and we had a brief chat.

Months later (probably earlier this year, I forget) I was approached by a director to write a feature film, based purely on  a recommendation from another director I’ve worked with.


Except, no, I haven’t got the time.

I hate saying no to people, I especially hate saying no without providing alternatives … and that’s when I remembered my SWF chat. That writer lives in the same town as this director, I like the way he presents himself online and (most importantly) he seems like a nice guy – so, based mostly on a few well written posts, I suggested him for the job.

To me, this is an extremely risky move – recommending someone when you haven’t read any of their scripts and have only briefly met them could backfire. If they turn out to be a talentless twat, it reflects badly on me. I try not to do it, since it can just lead to two contacts falling out with each other and neither of them talking to me again. Writer to director isn’t too bad, but director to producer can be a fucking nightmare – one I’m in no hurry to repeat.

Happily, in this case, the writer seems to have delivered and in fact the resulting script has just started shooting. It’s his first produced feature and he seems quite excited. This sort of thing makes me very, very happy. I like knowing I’ve helped in some small way. Obviously, the writer in question got the job solely on his own merits – if he couldn’t write, he wouldn’t have been hired; but I get a nice warm gooey feeling to think I nudged things in the right direction.

This is what networking should be about, helping your peers to advance. It’s not just about what you get out of it (gooey-ness aside) it’s about what you can do for the people around you.

It also, I think, nicely demonstrates why it’s worth not being a shitcock to people online and why it can be worth going to networking events such as the upcoming LSWF.

Make your own luck: be nice to everyone, be visible digitally and in person and (above all) have a decent pile of specs ready when opportunity knocks.

Categories: Festivals, Industry Musings, Someone Else's Way | 7 Comments

One word

Earlier today, for ’tis late here, I was sitting by the pool with my ridiculously attractive, bikini-clad wife, looking out over the stunning atolls of the Maldives whilst working on a script which (for a change) I’m really, really enjoying writing when my mind wandered to an evening in the pub with Lord Arnopp and a conversation about what we were working on. This script had come up, as had the tale about how it had been optioned before I’d actually written it.

The story goes something like this: I’d mentioned an idea to a friend who’d then gone to Cannes and told it to a producer who immediately got in touch and optioned it – without seeing the script (which didn’t exist), a sample of my writing or even a synopsis. Basically, the producer had optioned a non-existent script – or rather the idea.

At this point, Jason pointed out they hadn’t optioned the idea, they’d optioned the pitch.

A very short pitch.

Two words, in fact.

Obviously, I’m not going to tell you what those two words are (despite telling pretty much everyone I meet) because I hope those two words will make me a lot of money and I’d rather no one else got rich first. Amazingly, no one seems to have put those two words together before – or worryingly, everyone’s put those two words together and it’s such a stupid idea no one’s bothered to do it.

Two words.

“I wonder if you could have a one word pitch?” mused Lord Arnopp.

We gave it thirty seconds or so thought (which is pretty much the maximum I’m capable of) before deciding it was impossible – a pitch has to be at least two words or it’s meaningless.

And there it would have stayed, were it not for the hot sun, the rippling water, the ice cold virgin colada and Mandy’s bikini-ness distracting me from the job in hand coupled with the meandering route my brain takes to get back to the point.

Is there a one word pitch?

Can it be done?

At this point, if I were a better, more imaginative writer I would probably announce, yes, yes there is a one word pitch! I have found it! Which is three words longer than shouting ‘Eureka!’

Which rather proves a point … I can’t think of it.

So I leave it open to posterity – is there a one word pitch for a film?

If there is, post it in the comments and I’ll immediately steal it for your own good. Meanwhile, I’m off for a curry.

Categories: Industry Musings, Random Witterings | 14 Comments

LVJ – name your own space shuttle

Here’s an offer you don’t get every day … unless you work for NASA in the ‘Space Shuttle Naming Department’. In which case, the following video is probably of no interest to you whatsoever:

Categories: LVJ, Opportunity | 1 Comment

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