Christmas cracker #2: Totally Serialized 3


From 16 to 19 January 2014, Ciné Lumière will hold the third edition of Totally Serialized, London’s favourite TV series festival. It will showcase the best of new productions from both sides of the Channel as well as European TV series. Audiences can enjoy their favourite shows on the big screen (Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, The Returned, My Mad Fat Diary) attend premières of tomorrow’s cult series and meet the creators during Q&As and masterclasses.

Totally Serialized is back for it’s third year and this time I’ve got some tickets to give away. Three pairs, to be precise.

You (yes, YOU! And two other people.) could win a pair of tickets to:

Saturday 18th January

14.00 Cult Comedy Marathon
in English, or in French with English subtitles
The Cult Comedy Marathon will feature episodes of French shows Love Bugs (Un gars, une fille) and So (Bref), as well as favourites from the UK.

or a pair of tickets to this double bill:

 Sunday 19th January
The Line / Un village français
2.00pm | UK premiere season 4, episode 1 | cert. 15 | in French with English subtitles
France | 2012 | 52 mins | creators Frédéric Krivine, Philippe Triboit & Emmanuel Daucé; with Robin Renucci, Audrey Fleurot


Les Anonymes
3.30pm |  UK premiere single drama | cert. 15 | in French with English subtitles
France | 2012 | 125 mins | dir. Pierre Schoeller; with Olivier Gourmet, Mathieu Amalric, Karole Rocher
Followed by a Q&A with director Pierre Schoeller and James Rampton, arts feature writer at The Independent.

or even a pair of tickets to this double bill:

Sunday 19th January

7.30pm |  UK premiere
season 1, episode 1 | cert. 15 | in Flemish and French with English subtitles
Belgium | 2012 | 45 mins | creator Ward Hulselmans; with Filip Peeters


The Protectors / Livvagterne
8.30pm |
season 1, episode 1 | cert. 15 | in French with English subtitles
Denmark | 2008 | 45 mins | International Emmy Award

Maybe you’ve been to this the last few years and fancy going again for free? Maybe this isn’t something you’d normally consider but are willing to try something different? Or perhaps you just live nearby and are just looking for something to do?

Whatever the reason, if you want to win tickets then simply tell me how depraved your excesses were whilst watching TV on Christmas Day. Did you eat a whole roast goose stuffed with Quality Street and smothered with pan-fried otters’ bile for breakfast before preparing your main meal? Or perhaps you marinated your own liver with five litres of Baileys, in situ, coughed it up and ate it with lashings of piccalilli before visiting the hospital and lightly dying? Maybe you had half of that second dry cracker, which is more than enough for any God-fearing human?

Invent your tales of excess, leave them in the comments below (or email them, if you must – why do most of you email your comments these days? Are you ashamed to be seen with me? Don’t blame you, I am) and don’t forget to say which of the three pairs of tickets you’d prefer.

Maybe leaving the comment with a valid email address might help too?

The closing date for this will be … I don’t know. New Year’s Day 2014? That sound good?

Off you go then.

Here’s more info about the festival for those of a curious nature:


The rise of TV shows in the past few years has been meteoric, with clunky acting, minimal plotlines and pre-recorded laughter replaced by multimillion-dollar productions starring A-list actors, with staggering special effects, and the finest writers churning out complex stories and incisive dialogue designed to keep the viewer hooked. An even more recent development in the British TV industry has been the breaking down of frontiers, with international buyers moving away from a remake-centred strategy and now broadcasting the original series with subtitles. French shows such as The Returned, Braquo, Spiral, Hard and Maison Close have benefited from this shift, and have proven to be a success on Channel 4, FX, BBC Four and Sky Arts respectively. One of the aims of this festival is to encourage this trend by showcasing tomorrow’s cult series.

TV professionals will get a chance to participate in an industry event dealing with various aspects of the constantly-evolving field of TV series, including producing, screenwriting, and financing, as well as case study of The Tunnel featuring writer Ben Richards amongst others. There will also be networking opportunities to allow ideas and future collaborations to flourish. The general public can also have a peek at what goes on behind the scenes with our Craft Masterclass on women and TV writing, organised in collaboration with BAFTA, during which leading screenwriters such as Virginie Brac (Spiral), Paula Milne (The Politician’s Husband, White Heat, Small Island) and Emma Reeves (The Dumping Ground, Young Dracula) will examine women’s contributions to screenwriting and the particular obstacles they face.

This masterclass will be a central part of our Leading Ladies strand, which will also include UK premieres of the French hit Mafiosa in the presence of director Pierre Leccia, and of season 2 of My Mad Fat Diary, in the presence of Sharon Rooney and writer Tom Bidwell. Our other highlight will be on political thrillers, with three gripping UK premières on Sunday 19 January: the Belgian Salamander, recently acquired by BBC Four for its Saturday Night Slot; the Danish hit The Protectors, an Emmy Award-winning offering of Nordic noir which is set to delight fans of Borgen and The Killing; and the French Les Anonymes by Pierre Schoeller (The Minister), who will be here for a Q&A.

Following the success of our UK premiere of The Returned in last year’s edition of Totally Serialized, we are pleased to host a marathon of the full first season of the now Emmy-awarded French show as part of our Saturday Fright Night, which will also feature a 10th anniversary screening of all the episodes of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace – with a Q&A with Matthew Holness – and a zombie party. For those who prefer laughter to chills, our Cult Comedy Marathon will showcase the best comedies from both sides of the Channel.


Categories: Christmas Crackers, Festivals, Someone Else's Way | 1 Comment

Letters from Linda

Last year I went to the BBC Drama Writers’ Festival in Leeds and had a merry old time. On my return, I wrote this post about it.

You can read the whole post again if you like, but it’s not really relevant. The relevant bit  is this description of a session:

Non-Linear Storytelling with Linda Aronson was a complete and utter head-fuck.

There was days’ worth of information squashed into 50 minutes.

Most of it seemed pretty decent, but I’d need to re-watch a lot of the examples used in order to agree or disagree. A lot of it seemed quite obvious, but was stuff I hadn’t really given names to before.

There were one or two things I think are obvious which seemed to be missing … but I may be wrong because I zoned out more than once. When I get information like this, I like to mull it over and apply it to as many films as possible; but there just wasn’t really enough time.

I think maybe you’d need to read her book or attend a longer seminar to figure out if any of it was useful.

Which is not to say it wasn’t useful, just a bit compressed.

Which, frankly, I think could be interrupted as being a bit rude. It wasn’t meant to be, but I am severely socially inept and tend to say the wrong thing more often than not. The fact I wasn’t saying this, but typing it is even worse.

Linda later got in touch with me and asked, very politely, what information I felt was obvious, but missing?

And I duly replied in a hastily thrown together email which I’ve since lost. In fact, I seem to have lost all emails from 2009 until May this year.

This is annoying.

The lost emails, not the communication with Linda.

To be honest, I can’t really remember what I wrote in that email. I remember being on the secret writing island, so I would have been in a different time zone to my brain; but beyond that … I know there were random witterings about WHEN to begin a story with a flashforward and … some other stuff.

Nope, it’s all gone.

I can only assume it was long, badly worded and burbled quite a bit; but Linda replied with another polite thank you and stated her intention to think about my opinions.

Which she did.

For fourteen months.

And now she’s replied with a fantastically in-depth, well thought out essay. Luckily, Linda had a copy of the email I sent her and quoted some of it, so I’ve at least been able to glean this snippet of my witterings:

It seems to me a lot of films adopt that structure [preview flashback] primarily because they otherwise wouldn’t open with a genre scene. Comedies start with a joke, musicals start with a song, action films start with action … but sometimes the stories need to start in a different place. If it’s an action film, for example, then the easiest way to get round this is to pinch 3/4 of an action sequence from later on and stick at the beginning.

To my mind, that buys you about 20 – 30 mins of scenes which aren’t action (or whatever the genre is) because you’ve shown the audience it’s coming and hopefully whetted their appetite enough to sit through the essential, often non-genre, character scenes. Although I only think this works if the scene you flashback to is completely opposite from the initial scene and you can’t see how the protagonist goes from A to B. If it’s too similar or you can easily imagine the journey, then it doesn’t work.

Opening with a genre scene and flashing back is frequently done because otherwise the first act of the script is non genre and therefore not what the audience has paid to see.If the following scene is too similar in tone or it’s too obvious how the character will get from there to the opening scene, then it just feels like a gimmick instead of a natural story structure.

If  you want to read Linda Aronson’s response and her thoughts on the matter, then you can find them here:


You need to scroll down the homepage to the subscription form, fill it in, and  hit  the ‘view previous campaign’ button.

You’ll be subscribing to Linda’s Newsletter about screenplay structure and parallel narratives and the like; but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Linda’s made an incredibly in-depth study of alternative screenplay structures which makes for an interesting read.

So thank you to Linda for (hopefully) not taking offence at a badly worded review of her session and for taking the time and effort to really think about and codify the kinds of things I should pay more attention to.

Categories: BBC, Festivals, My Way, Someone Else's Way, Things I've Learnt Recently | 1 Comment

What not to wear






I’ve always said format is the suit your script wears to its interview.

Well, not always. Sometimes I’ve said other things like “Please” and “Thank you” and “Where the fuck’s the remote gone now?”. Perhaps consistently said format is the suit your script wears to its interview is more apt?

And whereas I believe that, I’ve also always believed what we wear as writers is largely irrelevant.

So long as it’s not a suit and tie. For some reason, people don’t seem to trust a creative person in a suit and tie. Businessmen wear suits and ties, creative people wear berets. That’s a fucking fact.


Okay, maybe not a beret; but you get the idea. As (someone whose name I’ve forgotten) put it “dress like a slob to get that job”. And he should know, he wrote (a really good film I can’t remember) and (another really good film I can’t remember. Possibly something by Pixar). People who write stuff like that know stuff like this.

Although, recently … I’m not so sure.

About the slob bit. I’m still convinced (the person whose name I’ve forgotten$) is awesome, that’s probably not going to change.

At the BBC TV Drama writers Festival last year, I couldn’t help noticing most of the really successful people were smartly dressed. Not suit and tie smartly dressed; but … just smart. Smart/casual, if you prefer.


Okay, so maybe they’re dressing up just for the festival. Maybe they normally attend meetings barefoot and dressed in rags. I don’t know … but I doubt it.

A few years back, a friend of mine was a session musician and he told me the really well paid session musicians, the true artists and recognised genii of their fields tended to turn up early, be exceptionally well dressed and very polite.

As opposed to the charting teens they were recording over, who tended to be drunk, abusive and fashionably scruffy – the media’s portrayal of rock and roll, in other words.

The moral I took from that is the people who are currently in vogue and making money can dress/behave however the hell the want; but the people who make a career out of it, the ones with longevity, tend to dress/behave in a manner which is much more acceptable to the money people.


And I think scriptwriting is the same, because here’s the thing – the people who have money, the people who invest in films, tend to wear suits. They tend to trust people who also make a similar effort to look smart. Producers tend to be well dressed because investors may well be reluctant to hand over millions of pounds to someone who dresses like a junkie.

Producers want writers to be creative, but manageable. No one wants to deal with a tortured artiste who rends his clothes in twain when the wrong kind of biscuit is served with elevenses.

Unless their last ten films have all made millions – then people will deal with them no matter how difficult/awkward/bastshit insane they are.

People want to work with professionals – people who will get the job done on time, on budget with the minimum of fuss. People who are creative enough to be good, but grounded enough to be pleasant to work with.

happy as an idiot

And I think that creative/professional balance needs to come across in your clothing. In the past, I’ve experimented with different types of clothing when meeting people for prospective script work (although I never quite got round to turning up in my Batman costume, just to see what would happen) and I, incredibly unscientifically, came to the conclusion that slightly smart got me more jobs than ripped and dirty.

Ultimately, it’s your ability which counts – but a lot of us are on the same level when it comes to ability. Very few of us are towering geniuses. Very few of us can roll in pissed, call the producer a cunt, vomit on his desk and walk away with twice our normal fee because we’re so damned awesome we’re worth it.

So if there are plenty of people who can do the job, then the job tends to go to the one who makes the best impression as a person. Just like any job. And if the people who are handing over large sums of money tend to hang around with people who are dressed smartly, then maybe they feel more comfortable hiring you if you’re dressed just a teensy bit smartly too?


Or maybe not.

Maybe I’m talking shit.


But I keep thinking back on the BBC Drama Festival and how everyone whose work I admired looked … neat. Tidy. Professional.

Maybe this is obvious? Maybe everyone except me has always known this?

Possibly. But there you go, no one else seems to talk about this kind of shit (probably because it’s fucking inane) and I do like to ruminate on the minutae.

Next week – what kind of panties to wear on the first day of principal photography.*

dr who pants


$ Nope, still can’t remember.

*A liquorice thong. Always. Preferably crotchless.

Categories: BBC, Bored, Festivals, Industry Musings, Random Witterings, Someone Else's Way | 3 Comments


Every year, for reasons I can’t quite remember, I do a post which rounds up exactly what happened to me over the past twelve months. To me, these recap posts seem interminably long, dull and quite pointless … but for some reason they always get read more than the original posts did. I have two theories to explain this odd behaviour:

  1. The majority of you wait until the end of the year so you can get the whole  sordid tale in one go.
  2. The majority of you are fucking mental.
  3. I said two theories, why would there be a three?

But with that in mind, let’s  begin. I promise this list will be as dull and as pointless as ever. We begin, in …


I began the year seven days after everyone else because I’m fucking hardcore, despite having been teetotal for 22 years now.

Maybe I just forgot the new year had begun?

Either way, I began with an explanation of one of my favourite writing techniques, THE BOX.

This technique is so awesome and so useful, not only have I not used it since; but I have no recollection of ever using it in the first place. I’m assuming I just made it up.

You know, lied.

Then I had a moment of genius. I know it was genius because Steven Moffat said it was. On Twitter. This is as close to a fact as you can possibly get without using things like set-squares and alphabet-heavy theorems.

This post garnered more views than my arse did that time I accidentally left it in Trafalgar Square. What’s more, people seemed to  like it. It wasn’t really anything much to do with writing and had more to do with my inability to repair a car … but it’s quite funny.

Essentially, I explained How to beat procrastination and was generally awesome while I was doing it. Assuming ‘awesome’ is a synonym for ‘a bit sad’.

You should read it.

I’ll wait.

I immediately failed to capitalise on this massive new following by bloging about some confused Thundercats and rounded off January by having a film I had almost nothing to do with, Stalker, released on DVD.


And lo, the second month did dawn and lower, I did shout a bit about baby-earrings, hotel sink-plugs, iTunes and shitty writing advice.

Ten days later, I was still pretty upset about people charging writers for bad advice and gave my own bad advice for free. This time about dual time-period script writing. I have since ignored every single one of these ‘rules’ … with catastrophic results.

I should learn to listen to me more.

Or at least learn to read the stuff I write.

I also got upset about Tuesdays and stupidity.

Decided Rosie Claverton is ace …

… and then drowned in bullshit.


I watched Deviation in various international locations.

Wondered when The Descendants was going to end.

Showed you the quad for Strippers vs. Werewolves

… which is far better than the film itself.

And then went on a trailer frenzy for season three of Persona:

I finished March by getting into the quarter-finals of The Sitcom Mission.


Don’t know about you, but I’m bored now. I’m also full of duck and empty of sleep. I might give up at any minute.


April was the month … some stuff happened.

Stuff a bit like …

Pointed out ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITIES happened fairly regularly, best not to get too upset about them.

Explained the difference between a character being likeable and people fucking right off with their stupid fucking notes about kittens and fucking rainbows. Or something.

Swore I’d fucking show you all by explaining why script format was important. This would be it, the definitive guide to every aspect of script format explaining why I’m right and you’re all fucking wrong.

Which isn’t egotistical at all, it’s just the way of the world.

And then there was the Strippers vs. Werewolves première.

This post is well worth reading. It’s a master-class in how to blog about the première of your own film when you think it’s shit, without mentioning how shit you think the film is; but instead mentioning sausages. A lot.

Seriously, go read it. See if you can find any mention of how shit the film is.

They were fucking awesome sausages, mind.

After the première, the film came out in the cinemas because this is what happens.

Here, watch the trailer. Just because, alright? Just fucking watch it so I can have a rest from all this fucking typing.


I began May by making good on my promise to explain every aspect of script format. I started with the title page … and then gave up. For ever. I mean … what’s  the fucking point?

The 7th of May was Me Day when the whole world revolved around me for 24 hours.

It wasn’t my birthday or anything, it was just a day when the whole world gathered round to worship me and celebrate how amazing I am. Or was. You may not remember it because I think you were temporarily dead that day.

Ooh, this post on Script Trajectory was quite good. Must have been ill that day.

The papers in May did a mighty fine job of promoting the BluRay/DVD release of Strippers vs. Werewolves by pretending not to know something they patently do and being all sniffy about it in a headline grabbing way.

I can’t be fucked with this, I’m knackered. I’ll finish it off tomorrow.


Hooray! It’s tomorrow!

For me, probably not for you.

June! The month of … more stuff.

Surprisingly little stuff, actually.

All I did was make a mis-step and bitch about people asking me perfectly reasonable questions.

Fuck you, June, you suck.


July was the month I was recruited by a clandestine organisation to invade a nation of pixie warmongers who live in an old forgotten tea cup behind my garden shed. I was given a spud gun, a nifty secret hat and a licence to break wind in public and sent off to murder pixies. After a series of, frankly, quite dull adventures involving grit and teaspoons, I found myself in Yakatang (the capital of the pixie nation, it looks a bit like Harlow only not quite so grim and with a few extra pixies). I was all set to assassinate King Ian (Yakatang’s chief biscuit maker and all round bastard) when I realised the whole incident was merely the result of a dodgy kipper that morning and I had actually invaded Lakeland, naked save for a pink Santa’s hat and brandishing a small clockwork frog.

Come to think of it, that might not have happened either.

I can’t really remember July, can you?

Oh wait, yes I can. In July I …

Went to the BBC TV Writers’ Festival, met all sorts of splendid people and burbled insanely about The Dukes of Hazzard at every opportunity.

I also said Fuck You, Mr Arnopp.

… and then got all serious with some musings on disability in scripts. That one’s worth reading again.


In August I declared myself FREE to whatever the fuck I want, any time I fucking want to do it!

Then did this …

… which probably wasn’t worth the effort.

Then I watched The Dark Knight Rises … which was worth even less effort.

I did fuck all for a couple of weeks and then I had a serious think about the difference between horizontal and vertical careers. Basically, producers can opt for horizontal careers, scriptwriters can’t.

I rounded off August by giving away literally hundreds of literal pounds … because I’m either nice or a complete fucking mug.



Slipped off to the secret writing island for interesting conversations about ‘the first ever genital piercing’ and ‘how to wake someone up with a spoon’ before proclaiming I had a new regime … and then failing to do anything about it.


Bigged up Helen Smith‘s new book The Miracle Inspector, because she’s all kinds of lovely and I felt like it.

The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith

I paused for a bit longer and dropped in a secret plug for Jason Arnopp’s new book without anyone knowing I’d done it.


Hmm … it kind of looks like I spent the entire month on my secret writing island. Wonder if that was true?

Ooh! I got really shouty about people giving bad advice!


Which was probably uncalled for. Except it wasn’t! Don’t listen to the cunts!

And finally I rambled a bit about changing writers/directors/producers on a film. Which is just fucking annoying, so stop it.


For fuck’s sake, are you still reading? Go out, get some air. Have some fun or otherwise do something more useful than your time.

Like what I am.

October was the month I …

Rambled about recycling jokes.


Realised I shouldn’t be allowed to write horror movies because I don’t really like ’em.


Wrote a long, boring, yet strangely fascinating blog about file names.

And then gave away a free BluRay of some shit or other.

Here’s a photo of me with a spoon.


Why? Why the fuck not?


Thank fuck this is nearly over. I’m not doing this again, I’m bored shitless, fuck knows how you feel.

Met up with some writers …


… and talked about Pets and Zombies. A subject which is nothing to do with either, but just more dull talk about scripts.

And then I saw Looper and explained the RULES OF THE UNIVERSE. There are surprisingly few of them.

Wait, is that all I did in November?

Cool. Let’s hope December was as pointless and then I can go and get some food. I’m having a curry, in case you cared.


Got beaten up by a four year old.

Explained why fighting naked isn’t always sexy and having your arse and boobs on the same side definitely isn’t.


Somehow managed to defend iPhones while slagging off myself. How the fuck did that happen?


And then promoted a festival because someone asked me to and it was easier than thinking of anything new to write.

totally serialized

And really, that was it. That was the whole year.

Fuck me.

I did do quite a lot of proper writing too, I just didn’t really talk about it much. I script edited hours and fucking hours of Persona, wrote far too much of it and worked on multiple drafts of seven features … so not too bad.

But not good enough.

I will do better next year.

Which is in about five hours’ time.

If you want proper stats and all kinds of flashy animation about all the stuff I blogged about this year, then you need help.

Or this link.

Hope 2012 was super-sexy-awesome for you, now stop reading this, go out and get pissed.


Categories: Bored, Career Path, Festivals, Industry Musings, My Way, Opportunity, Persona, Progress, Publicity, Random Witterings, Rants, Sad Bastard, Sitcom Mission, Someone Else's Way, Stalker, Strippers vs. Werewolves, Things I've Learnt Recently, Two steps back, Writing and life | Leave a comment

Totally Serialized

totally serialized


I got this the other day, thought some of you might find it useful/interesting:

16 – 20 january 2013 at ciné lumière

From 16 to 20 January 2013, Ciné Lumière will hold the second edition of Totally Serialized, England’s only TV series festival. It will showcase the best of new productions from both sides of the Channel and also European TV shows – so Londoners can enjoy their favourite shows (The Thick of It, Spiral, Skins, Doctor Who) on the big screen or attend world premières of tomorrow’s cult series (Jo, Flight of the Storks).

TV fanatics, enthusiasts and newcomers will be able to discover the cream of French and British TV with the most amazing actors, screenwriters and directors in attendance, such as Hugh Bonneville and Jean Reno… and get totally serialized!

An industry day for professionals about European TV co-productions will be organised with panels, drinks and networking sessions on Thursday 17 January with Media Desk UK and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

The British TV industry has become more and more interested in broadcasting French TV shows, as a new trend reveals. Spiral is being aired on BBC Four whilst Braquo found a slot on FX. Borgia, financed by Canal+, is an immense success in Europe and is shown on Netflix UK. Sky Arts acquired the rights to edgy series Hard and Maison Close and the sketch show Women was screened by the BBC early this year.

Programme Overview

  • Premiere of the first episode of Spiral series 4, introduced by actor Grégory Fitoussi
  • Conversation with Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville
  • Night of Doctor Who fun with scary episodes, a masterclass with writer Toby Whithouse, fancy dress, music, quizzes and more
  • Screening of the first episode of the hit mini-series Labyrinth, based on the multi-million selling novel by Kate Mosse, followed by a panel Q&A with key creatives
  • World premiere of Jo attended by Jean Reno
  • UK premieres of hot Scandinavian TV series Real Humans and of innovative French shows Rebound, Spin, and The Church Men
  • Panel on TV screenwriting with Jack Thorne (The Fades, This is England), Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars) and French screenwriters
  • World premiere of Flight of the Storks directed by renowned filmmaker Jan Kounen
  • Comedy marathon of French and British sitcoms (The Thick of It, Peep Show, Kaboul Kitchen, Workingirls, Desperate Parents).
  • Skins revival to say goodbye to the cult show ending this year, with a screening of the very first episode and a Q&A with creator Bryan Elsley.

Totally Serialized is curated by Lorraine Sullivan (Honeybrook Consulting Ltd), coordinated by Orianne Bastar and organised by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni, in association with:

Venue: Ciné Lumière at the Institut français, 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT

Info & booking : 020 7871 3515 www.totallyserialized.co.uk

Facebook: /TotallySerialized

Twitter: /ifru_london #totallyserialized

Categories: Festivals | 2 Comments

London Screenwriters’ Festival 2012 – Cheap Tickets


The world’s biggest professional screenwriters event happens in London at Regent’s College for three days in October every year.

For those serious about their screenwriting career, the London Screenwriters Festival is THE point on the calendar. Three days in October – 26th, 27th & 28th – the industry’s top professionals descend on Regent’s College in London for an intense and immersive set of lectures, seminars, workshops, script pitches and networking opportunities. Whether a experienced screenwriter, or an aspiring one, the London Screenwriters Festival offers unparallelled access to speakers, teachers, show-runners, executives and decision makers from the UK and beyond.

Or so the blurb goes.

You’ve probably noticed people popping up offering you discounted tickets to the festival if you use their code. What you may not know is those same people also get a fee for selling you the ticket. Some people use this money to make short films or as payment for the time they give up tirelessly blogging screenwriting titbits … but I don’t really like making money out of fellow writers.

I’ve said in the past I find it immoral, but I’m not sure I really believe that. I certainly don’t begrudge other bloggers any money that comes their way, no matter what they choose to do with it.

However, I don’t really need the money.

Or I don’t really want it.

Or both.

So you can have it.

Full ticket price is £299.

Affiliate discount, the amount you get off for using a code, is £22.

Affiliates then get £30 as a fee for selling the ticket.

So, buy your tickets from me using the code JOBBINGSCRIPTWRITER and you’ll get the standard £22 off the ticket price; plus, as soon as I’ve received the cashback for selling the tickets, I’ll pass the extra £30 on to you.

That means you can get the tickets for £247 – a massive £52 off.

Okay, so admittedly you’ll have to pay £277 up front and wait for me to get paid so I can give you the other £30 back, but it all works out in the end.

Without doing any research whatsoever, I’m fairly confident this is the cheapest you’ll get tickets anywhere.

But it might not be. Fuck it, do your own research.

However, if you want to take me up on this offer, then follow these simple instructions:

  1. Buy your ticket from this link. Use discount code JOBBINGSCRIPTWRITER and pay your £277.
  2. Send me an email (phill@phillipbarron.co.uk) telling me you’ve done it and include your home address.
  3. Attend the festival, laugh, learn from and mingle with scriptwriting awesomeness.
  4. About two weeks after the festival, I get sent a list of who bought a ticket using my code and £30 per person. Upon receipt, I immediately send you a cheque for £30.
  5. Cash the cheque.
  6. Blow the cash on fags ‘n’ booze.

And that’s pretty much it.

Like I say, they are other people offering tickets at a discount price and if you like their blog then you should support them. If, however, you’d rather save yourself an extra £30, then I’m your boy.

Categories: Festivals | 7 Comments


I’ve just been reading Lisa Holdsworth‘s excellent blog on the BBC’s ‘Changing the Face of Drama’ seminar we attended at the TV Drama Writers’ Festival in Leeds.

If you haven’t read her blog, you should do that before you read the rest of this. Go on, I’ll wait for you.


Right, so I’ve been thinking about this too. That ‘24% of the UK population have a disability’ figure shocked me. I too came away thinking I’d put a wheelchair user in each script … but now I’m not sure that’s the right approach.

Hopefully none of the rest of this is offensive to anyone. These are my thoughts on the topic, I’ve tried to be honest and any offence will be caused by ignorance on my behalf. I don’t like being ignorant (despite frequently finding myself so) and would genuinely love to have my ignorance pointed out in the comments.

There were two main opinions on stage that day, one from  Lisa Hammond and Ben Owen-Jones (two actors who used wheelchairs) who felt there weren’t enough roles for actors in wheelchairs and one from Lucy Gannon who felt writers should give people with disabilities a voice.

They both had different attitudes towards the problem – the actors felt you should just write a character as normal and then put them in a wheelchair, because they don’t want to only play characters who are defined by their disability and, primarily, because they just want more work.

For example, Ben felt like he could easily be cast as anyone sitting behind a desk because sitting in wheelchair is exactly like sitting in a normal chair.

Lucy, on the other hand, felt that a disability informs everything a character says and does, the very way they interact with the world and therefore putting a character in a wheelchair afterwards wouldn’t ring true.

I kind of understand both points of view (whilst accepting I may have misunderstood both points of view and be interpreting them incorrectly). I mean, if you transfer any line of dialogue from one character to another, you have to rewrite it, because each character talks and acts differently; so putting someone in a wheelchair must change at least one or two lines or actions, surely?

Part of the problem is how a wheelchair in a script translates into what you actually see on screen. If you just slap a random character into a wheelchair, then someone (producer, director or casting) will immediately ask you if they HAVE to be in a wheelchair, because it narrows the casting range/makes the shoot more difficult logistically and visually/scares the hell out of the narrow-minded.

In a low budget production, where the wrong choice of sandwich filling on the catering truck can cause the budget to implode, the first two are legitimate concerns. Anything which extends the shoot by even a minute can have a huge effect on whether or not the film actually gets made. Or even finished. If you have to ensure wheelchair access to every location then it makes things complicated. But is ‘complicated’ a good reason to ‘not do’?

Similarly, if you have to shoot multiple scenes with one person’s head three feet off the floor and another person’s head six feet off the floor, it’s a headache. The reason short actors end up standing on a box when standing next to a tall actor isn’t always the actor’s vanity, but is usually more to do with being able to see both people at the same time.

So if you put an actor in a wheelchair for no story reason beyond wanting to represent disability on screen then the response is likely to be “That’s lovely and noble, but would you mind doing that in your next film?”

The only way to ensure a character in a wheelchair in a script stays in a wheelchair by the time the story makes it to screen is to make the wheelchair an integral part of their character or the plot. Which leads into Lisa Holdsworth’s fear of getting it wrong, a fear I share and one which terrifies film makers.

I’ve worked with a director who felt female characters MUST be pure and innocent at all times because women weren’t like normal human beings. I’ve been shouted at for making a black character gay, because apparently that was racist (as opposed to the inherent homophobia in that statement). The film industry is full of people who completely misunderstand the point of political correctness and live in fear of causing controversy.

If I write one stupid character into a film and someone casts a black guy or a gay guy or a guy with a disability in the part – I fear I’d be pilloried for being racist, homophobic or … um … whatever the word is for being anti-disabled people. I read an Internet rant recently about how outrageous it was that Joss Whedon wrote a black, female character into Firefly who called a white man ‘captain’ – apparently that’s both racist and sexist.

Some people are actively looking for things to be upset about and those loons make life really awkward for everyone involved. Stupidly, I would tie myself up in knots agonising about whether or not a character in a wheelchair had any negative characteristics which the able-bodied characters didn’t have. Even though I know from actually talking to wheelchair-using actors that playing a complete moron or a complete cunt is exactly the sort of role they would love to be offered.

The smaller casting pool for actors with a disability is an issue too, because most actors can’t act. This is much the same as most writers can’t write and most directors can’t direct and most producers are incapable of being reasonable human beings. These are difficult professions and there really isn’t enough talent to go around, hence you end up with the mediocre filling up all the spaces left vacant by the lack of real talent.

Yes, this is why I have a career.

Less actors means less good actors, means a higher chance of not being able to find an even mediocre actor to fill that role, means more chance of a well-meaning casting director coming back to you and asking if there’s any chance of crossing out the word ‘wheelchair’ and perhaps writing ‘walking-stick’ instead.

As an aside and as an example of this, I was once part of a project with a very limited budget where we (the writers) had specified one of the actors was to be a black woman in her early twenties. I sat in on much of the casting and we couldn’t find any black women in that age range who could act.

Undoubtedly, part of the problem was the expenses-only, deferred nature of the project. It’s not that there aren’t any good black female actors, but the proportion who are prepared to work for peanuts is as close to zero as makes no odds. The great are snapped up very quickly, because they stand out. The new are harder to find because they are few and far between. I’ve never sat in on casting for a character with a disability, but (rightly or wrongly) I assume the same is true.

Obviously this is a cyclical problem: the less roles written for certain types of actors means less of those types of actors can get work, which means less of them enter into the profession or more of them give up faster, which means the casting pool gets smaller, which means less roles written for them … and so on …

Actually, to be honest, if I wrote a wheelchair user into a script, the chances are they’d cast an able-bodied actor and put them in a wheelchair. This would fulfil the ‘represent more disabilities on screen’ side of the argument, but not the ‘give actors with disabilities more work’ side.

I was thinking all this through last night when I realised what I was doing. I was using the wheelchair to represent disability. Most people with disabilities don’t use wheelchairs.

In fact, whereas 24% of the population have a disability, less than 2% of the population use wheelchairs.

Adding wheelchairs to a script doesn’t help redress the balance and represent people with disabilities, it represents wheelchair users.

And here’s an odd problem – we lump all the people of the UK who have a disability under the heading ‘disabled’ and then talk about representing them on screen; but what does that actually mean?

Where does this 24% figure come from? Or rather, who are the people who make up that statistic?

Does that include people with impaired vision? If so, how do you represent them on screen? Do they feel they need representing? I’m not just talking about blind people here, what about people who have limited vision or can only see out of one eye? I found out recently my barber has a glass eye. I’ve spoken to him for years without noticing. I even wrote him into a script because I thought he was interesting; but at that point I didn’t know he had a vision impairment, so neither did the character. If I’d known, it wouldn’t have made any difference – I’d still have written him the same way.

Does that 24% include people with hearing difficulties? Or are they not classed as disabled?

What about the sizeable percentage of people who have an invisible disability? Jack Thorne was on that panel, he has Cholinergic Urticaria – there’s no way you could know that unless he told you. It’s a very specific condition to portray on screen, you couldn’t just give it to a character as an afterthought, you’d have to incorporate it into scenes properly.

Would a person who has Cholinergic Urticaria feel ‘represented’ if they saw a drama with an actor in a wheelchair? Or an actor with learning difficulties? Or impaired vision?

My point is, whereas you can easily represent a race or a gender or a sexuality, it’s much harder to represent ‘disability’ when taken as a blanket term. The obvious mental equation is disability=wheelchair; but, as is so often the case, the obvious is wrong.

I understand the point of representing disability on screen. I understand the ‘normalising’ power of TV and film –  “Oh look, they’re just like us. In fact, there’s no them, there’s just a bigger ‘us’ than I previously thought.”

If all you ever see are stories about people leading tricky lives because of their disability then it gives everyone an insight into someone else’s life … but does it do anything to reduce prejudice beyond the initial ripple of sympathy? If random people in scripts have a disability and it’s not dwelt on as anything other than something some people have, is that better at slowly changing public opinion?

I can’t help but feel casting directors have more power when it comes to representing people with disabilities than  writers and that disability-blind casting is the way to go. I’m fairly certain I can include at least one form of disability in every script from now on … but I’m equally certain that character will either be ‘cured’ during production or end up being played by an able-bodied actor.

Personally, I don’t really know how to approach this. It’s a matter I intend to think more about from now on; but I don’t have any definitive or clear thoughts on the best way forward.

A couple of interesting sites for further reading:




And the Code of the Freaks documentary again, for anyone who hasn’t seen it:

Categories: BBC, Festivals, Industry Musings, Things I've Learnt Recently | 2 Comments

TV Drama Writers’ Festival 2012

If I haven’t been answering my emails for the last few days, it’s either because I don’t like you or because I’ve been enveloped in the welcoming arms of Leeds for the BBC Writersroom’s TV Drama Writers’ Festival. Hence the title of this post which, let’s face it, would be an odd title if I hadn’t actually been. Unless it was a rant about how unfair the world is and how the BBC won’t let me play with any of their millions of pounds.

But it isn’t!


The BBC did let me go and said they would be happy to let me (or indeed anyone else who wandered past) play with all their money … so long as I (or you. Yes, you!) could write a script good enough to make their pants froth with excitement.

So that’s lovely.

If you’ve not been to the festival before (which I hadn’t) then know this:

The TV Drama Writers’ Festival is the festival for professional television writers. Providing a unique opportunity to mix with BBC drama commissioners and producers, and writers who are at the top of their field, the festival is a mix of masterclasses, conversation and debate – led by writers for writers. It is an opportunity to be inspired, challenged, and to have your say.

That’s from the BBC Writersroom website, so it must be true.

And it is.

The estimable (he used to be inestimable but … oh wait, I’ve done that gag before and it wasn’t funny the first time) Piers Beckley and I trundled up on the train the day before so he could get drunk in a pub with some other lovely people while I drank tea and mumbled stuff about The A-Team and The Dukes of Hazzard.

I feel like I should list the other lovely people; but at the same time I’m wary of just listing people I’ve met in a weird sideways name-dropping thing. If anyone really wants to know a complete list of everyone I spoke to, email me and I’ll send it to you.

If, on the other hand, you just fancy seeing your name on my blog then say so in the comments and I’ll list you here:

That’s a space there, for anyone who wants their name in pixels on an obscure writer’s obscure blog.

But enough of this nonsense. What happened at the festival itself?

Lots, is the simple answer.

These are the bits I can remember:


Peter Bowker gave the keynote speech on ambition. It was very funny and witty and insightful … but I was a bit befuddled by … reality, I guess, at that point and failed to take most of it in. I think the general point was:

Ambition – you should have some.

Which sounds about right.

Then I went to a session with Barbara Emile and Mark Catley called Pu … dy in Long Runners.

Or at least, that’s what it said on my eticket. Turns out it was actually called Putting the Comedy in Long Runners, which makes much more sense.

This was a bit of an odd session for me, almost totally because of my own ignorance. I didn’t know ‘Long Runners’ meant ‘Soaps’ (which I don’t really watch*) nor did I know that putting comedy into them was even a debatable point. I mean, surely everything has the odd funny line in here and there? Why would anyone think this was a bad thing?

So the message there was – you should.

Then there were some clips shown to illustrate how funny bits make drama bits more dramatic.

This session and most of the schedule for the first day highlighted a bit of a problem for me, should I ever get round to making a concerted effort to work in TV; namely, I don’t really enjoy cop shows, medical shows or soaps. There are a bunch of different reasons for this, none of which are entirely relevant here. Let’s just suffice it to say I’d rather watch a bunch of beautiful inbred hillbillies driving in circles than anything which reflects real life.

Next up was a discussion about REV with James Wood, hosted by Alice Nutter. The essence of which was, Rev is a fantastic show, James Wood seems like a really nice guy,  Alice Nutter asks interesting questions, reverends are only too happy to talk to anyone about their vocations and research throws up far funnier things than any writer can possibly imagine.

Then I had a cup of tea. I almost didn’t. For a heart-stopping moment, I thought Michelle Lipton had used the last of the hot water in the urn … put judicious tipping proved she hadn’t and the day was saved.


Next up: The Art of Pitching with Ashley Pharoah who comes across as an inordinately lovely bloke (no doubt he was responsible for the  gnawed kitten-skeletons the staff were smuggling out of the Green Room; but in public – really nice guy).

I was a little afraid a session on pitching would be all dynamic and forceful …

but that’s not really Ashley’s style. He mumbled and apologised his way through the session, explaining he tended to mumble and apologise his way through pitching. The result is so endearing I wanted to give him some money there and then … but, you know, I haven’t got any.

The salient points were:

    • Be passionate about your project and know why you want to write it. If you get a no and can immediately pull out five more ideas … how passionate were you about the original idea in the first place?
    • Know exactly what it is you’re pitching. Know the idea inside out so you can answer questions.
    • Don’t rehearse the pitch too much, you’ll sound like a robotic dick (my words, not his)
    • Know why only you can write that story and why it’s important to you.
    • If in doubt, lie – pretend it happened to someone you know so the commissioner/producer will believe only you can write the story.
    • Be Ashley Pharaoh, because being awesome and having an awesome track record means you get to wander into rooms and pitch random, mumbled ideas to people in the knowledge they’ll have enough faith in you to give you the benefit of the doubt.
    • Even if you are Ashley Pharaoh, you still get more nos than yeses.

Non-Linear Storytelling with Linda Aronson was a complete and utter head-fuck.

There was days’ worth of information squashed into 50 minutes.

Most of it seemed pretty decent, but I’d need to re-watch a lot of the examples used in order to agree or disagree. A lot of it seemed quite obvious, but was stuff I hadn’t really given names to before.

There were one or two things I think are obvious which seemed to be missing … but I may be wrong because I zoned out more than once. When I get information like this, I like to mull it over and apply it to as many films as possible; but there just wasn’t really enough time.

I think maybe you’d need to read her book or attend a longer seminar to figure out if any of it was useful.

Which is not to say it wasn’t useful, just a bit compressed.

The last session of the day was a debate about Disability in drama … actually, it wasn’t a debate. It was an articulate and well reasoned case for writing more disabled parts into scripts.

Lucy Gannon, Jack Thorne, Lisa Hammond and Ben Owen-Jones each gave their points of view which, summarised, went something like this:

  • Lucy feels writers are extremely privileged because they have a voice and can affect change. To not use it is a gross dereliction of that power.
  • Jack agreed and puts his pen where his mouth is by either writing disabled characters into scripts or holding disability-blind castings so the person gets hired irrespective of their physical ability.
  • Lisa mentioned and knocked down every objection to hiring disabled people and pointed out able-bodied actors get an average of 25 auditions a year. Disabled actors get an average of 2. That’s just fucking shocking.
  • Ben (a wheelchair user) doesn’t understand why he can’t audition for roles which involve sitting behind a desk or anything which doesn’t specifically involve a character using their legs.

The consensus was that most disabled actors don’t want to only get offered roles which centre on their disabilities, they want to play a variety or roles where they can be perceived as human beings first and not just people coping with a disability.

In an ideal world, we’d just write scripts and those parts would be open to anyone to audition for them regardless of disability, skin colour or gender … but we don’t live in that world.

If you don’t mention someone’s in a wheelchair – casting departments won’t cast a wheelchair user. It just doesn’t occur to them; so even if doesn’t matter whether a character is disabled or not, specify some of them are and help to redress the imbalance.Just don’t make that character defined by their disability.

Write the person first – slap ’em in a wheelchair afterwards.

Lisa recommended watching this short:

And that was pretty much day one.

Interspersed was lunch, booze and mingling.

And stupid fucking questions.

And questions which weren’t actually questions, but statements.

Or bragging.

Or just pointless rambling which derails the session, takes the focus off the person we’ve all come to listen to and puts it on someone who can”t string a coherent sentence together and leaves the poor person at the front trying to unpick a random stream of consciousness in case there was actually a question buried in the middle of it.

Just to confuse matters, when I got back to the hotel – the sign had been removed from the front, leaving me uncertain if it actually was my hotel or whether I’d been the victim of an elaborate Leverage-style  con to swindle me out of my £18 a night.

I hadn’t been, they’d just decided to confuse the fuck out of everyone. Or maybe just me..


The day kicked off nice and early (too early for some drunken layabouts) with a John Yorke Masterclass on Storytelling Physics.

This one was really interesting; John Yorke’s a great speaker with some fantastic ideas about the Ego and the Id and the facade we put up versus our internal desires.

I still need to process a lot of this information and work out how I can apply it to my work; but the main thing I got from it was the realisation that a lot of bad writers misuse his ideas to defend their appalling grasp of story.

Through arguments I’ve had with writers who insist their rambling, nonsensical, structureless work adheres to John Yorke’s five act structure, I’d come to the conclusion he didn’t know what he was talking about.

After hearing him speak and seeing him briefly sketch those acts on a board, I’ve now come to the conclusion said writers didn’t pay enough fucking attention and completely misunderstood what he was saying.

I’d love to hear more of his thoughts first hand.

Plot versus Character with Toby Whithousewas a great session – a discussion about how he creates characters first and uses them to create a plot generator.  I didn’t realise Being Human started off as (essentially) Game On before the idea of making one of them a Werewolf got chucked into the mix.

I’d still argue the premise came before the characters (even if the premise changed when the characters didn’t) but it was a great lesson in character building – followed up by an exercise in creating a character, which was fun until we ran out of time.

Meet the Commissioners  was pretty much exactly what it said and gave us all the chance to listen to what  Ben Stephenson (BBC), Laurie Mackie (ITV), Sophie Gardiner (Channel Four/E4) and Huw Kennair-Jones. (Sky) wanted in a script.

They want it to be fucking awesome and right for their channels.

That’s pretty much it.

Doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve written before, just make it amazing and make sure it’s the right match for their channel.

And that’s kind of all that matters. Stop whining, write something better and it’ll get commissioned.


If it doesn’t, keep trying. They’re always on the look out for amazing work, there are no barriers to entry … it’s just you and your talent, kid.

Last up: The Language and Rules of Reinventing the World which was a hilarious session with Toby Whithouse and Jack Thorne about creating fantasy worlds on a budget, making it up as you go along versus plotting out several series’ worth of mythology and wanking whilst crying.

At this point, I felt the sudden and overwhelming need to turn into one of the people who annoyed me so much and share my knowledge of The Dukes of Hazzard with the room.

If you were in that session, sorry. I’m not even convinced that information was entirely accurate. I really don’t know what came over me beyond a desperate need to join in.

And that was pretty much that.

All in all, a fun and informative few days with friends old and new, information useful (them) and pointless (me) and a bit of a wander around a city I hadn’t been to before thrown in for good measure.

If you haven’t been, I strongly recommend you go next year. It’s cheap, it’s interesting and it’s fun. If you have been … well, then you already know this and are probably wasting your time reading this post.

* This isn’t a judgement on quality, it’s more my inability to grapple with tiny pieces in the middle of a year long story without falling asleep. I’m fairly certain if I watched any soap for a few weeks I’d love it as much as everyone else does.

Categories: BBC, Festivals, Industry Musings, Someone Else's Way, Things I've Learnt Recently | 8 Comments

London Screenwriters’ Festival 2011 – Tickets

It’s that time of year again, Summer hands over the rain-soaked baton of boredom to Autumn; Autumn gears itself up for some actual sunshine (just so it can listen to everyone banging on about how weird it is that September is hotter than August, despite the weather being exactly the same as it was last year and the twenty fucking five years before that); I fight my way past the Christmas cards and the odd hopelessly early Easter egg to stare longingly at the new jackets appearing in the shops … and young scriptwriters fancies turn to thoughts of the London Scriptwriters’ Festival.

If you’re an unproduced or fledgling writer, then this is the networking and training event of the year. If you’re a produced or grizzled, battle-scarred writer then it’s an excuse to mock your industry mates for having their flies open during their seminar and grumble about how the industry’s changed around you whilst getting pissed afterwards.

Basically: people talk at you, you go and get drunk, you talk at them. For three days.

Check out the website for all the gory details including who’s speaking and when and what sort of networking hijinks you can get up to.I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about money.

Specifically, I’m here to offer you the same deal on discounted tickets as I did for the London Comedy Writers’ Festival in March.

Basically, anyone flogging tickets as an affiliate (which I am) can offer you a £30 discount off the £300 ticket price. You get £30 off, we also get paid £30 and everyone’s a winner.

Except, I don’t think it’s right. Personally, I think it’s immoral for me to make money off fellow writers since we’re all pretty much in the same boat and money is tight in these trying times. I don’t want to make money off you, so I won’t … I’ll give you my £30 commission.

By the way, just because I think it’s immoral for me to make money off you, doesn’t mean I think it’s immoral for other bloggers to keep the cash. Some bloggers provide an invaluable, free service for years and years on end – tirelessly feeding you information, hints, tips and competition dates. If, once a year, they want to make a little extra cash; then that’s up to them and who am I to call them names?

We all have a different concept of right and wrong. Personally, I find alcohol and casual sex immoral*; but counterfeit, forgery and stealing from large corporations to be merely naughty. We all have a naughty line and we draw it where we damn well please.

But the fact remains – I want to give you £30 off your ticket and a further £30 after the festival when I get my commission. In effect, you’ll be getting your ticket for £240 … I think. 300 – 30 – 30 = … yeah, that’s right, isn’t it?

£240 for a ticket – that’s a good deal, right?

A word of warning: five people took me up on the deal last time and it took ages to get the money back. The festival was at the beginning of April – I didn’t get paid my commission until the 1st of July. The cheques were sent out three days later. Those five (who may or may not choose to identify themselves) did get their money; but three months later than expected.

Having said that, there’s been a sea change at the festival and they assure me all monies will be paid out within 30 days of receiving an invoice.

So it’s up to you. If you want to go to the festival (and you should) and you haven’t yet bought a ticket and you want to pay £60 less than the asking price of £300, then here’s what you do:

  1. Buy your ticket from this link. Use discount code JOBBINGSCRIPTWRITER and pay your £270.
  2. Send me an email (phill@phillipbarron.co.uk) telling me you’ve done it and include your home address.
  3. Attend the festival, laugh, learn from and mingle with your writing heroes.
  4. After the festival, I get sent a list of who bought a ticket using my code and £30 per person. Upon receipt, I immediately send you a cheque for £30.
  5. Cash the cheque.
  6. Blow the cash on fags ‘n’ booze.

And that’s pretty much it.

Like I say, they are other people offering tickets at a discount price and if you like their blog then you should support them. If, however, you’d rather save yourself an extra £30, then I’m your boy.

Hopefully, I’ll see you all there.


* I don’t, not really. Not immoral. Boring, maybe? But not really immoral. I think I had a moral once; but I may have lost it. Possibly down the back of the sofa.

Whistles nonchalantly – nothing to see here.

Categories: Festivals, My Way | Leave a comment

Grimm Up North

Ooh, festival goodness!

Trailer and info here:

Martin Kemp’s Directorial Debut to Screen at Grimm Up North with Exclusive Q+A

Stalker stars Billy Murray, Jane March and Linda Hayden

On Friday October 7th, the festival will host a very special premiere screening of Stalker– the directorial feature debut of TV and music icon Martin Kemp – ahead of its national theatrical release. In addition, the former Eastenders star and Spandau Ballet bass hero will be joined by members of the film’s cast and crew, including producer Jonathan Sothcott (Devil’s Playground, Dead Cert) and actress Jane March (The Lover, Clash of the Titans) to take part in an exclusive Q&A session after the movie.

Sure to be a controversial festival talking point, Stalker is based on the infamous 1976 sex-and-slash shocker – and previously banned ‘video nasty’ – The House on Straw Hill(aka Expose). For 2011, Kemp has reworked this cult gem into a tense, psychological thriller focusing on memory, identity and the creative imagination. Fans of the original might also be interested to hear the movie features Linda Hayden, cult horror actress and star of the seventies chiller, in a supporting role.

Commenting on the film, Producer Jonathan Sothcott said: “Stalker is the slickest, best-directed film we’ve made to date and a genuinely well-made, creepy horror film in its own right. We feel it is strong enough to stand a theatrical release in selected UK cinemas and we’re looking forward to unleashing it on the world.”

The Grimm Up North team are delighted to be able to unveil Stalker as the first entry in its official 2011 programme and look forward to welcoming Director Martin Kemp to the City of Manchester in October. Tickets for this event plus the entire programme will go on sale soon so keep your eyes peeled Grimmlins.

Categories: Festivals, Publicity, Stalker | Leave a comment

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