Over the last year I’ve been intermittently fiddling with a short film script which hasn’t really come together. It’s been one of those ideas that seems great, but after much debate with the director/co-writer and many drafts we’ve come to the conclusion that it just doesn’t work.
Which is a shame, but never mind. These things happen.
If you, on the other hand, have a short you’re happy with and looking to get made then maybe you should check out the ShoreScripts short film fund?
In their own words:
We will be commissioning at least one short film with a budget between $9000-$15,000.
The winning film(s) will be submitted to world-renowned film festivals, as well as being shown to our Oscar winning Judges, Production Companies, Agents and Managers.
The filmmaking team will have the full support of Shore’s staff all the way through the production process, including equipment and post-production service deals.
The fund is open to writers from all countries. Scripts must be in English. If a writer wishes to direct his/her own script, then we are open to this discussion.
These are the two previous winners:
Lift – Directed by Claire Fowler. Starring Leslie Bibb (Iron Man) The Orgy – Directed by Sam Baron. Starring Alexandra Roach (Black Mirror)
And if you think it’s worth a go, then you can enter here.
Shore’s Feature, Short Script and TV Pilot contests offer you the opportunity to get your script read by the most respected industry Judges drawn from around the world; including 37 Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy & Bafta winners, and 79 Prod Comps, Agents, and Managers.
With prizes including meetups in Hollywood with producers and agents, cash prizes, script consultancy and software, this year’s competition offers an unparalleled opportunity for new screenwriters to launch their careers.
Update! Good news! We can confirm the deadline for the the TV Drama Writers’ Programme, 2017 has been extended until midnight on Monday, 10th October 2016. And to clarify application criteria, your produced writing credit must be for a script of at least 30 minutes in duration and your original spec script must be at least 50 pages in length and a minimum of 30 mins in duration.
The BBC shall be commissioning 8 writers to write an original series or serial script for BBC One, BBC Two or BBC Three Online. To apply you must have at least one production credit (a drama, at least 30 mins in duration) to your name.
You can have written for theatre, television, radio or film but must not already be in development (beyond treatment stage) with BBC Television Drama. This is not a scheme for new, untested writers or those with significant original television drama credits. It is an opportunity for writers with striking and unusual stories to tell, to take part in a bespoke scheme with input from top television writers and BBC editorial and production staff, as well as a dedicated Script Editor and Exec Producer. We encourage writers from underrepresented groups to apply. The Scheme will last for a year.
We are asking for a CV highlighting produced credit or credits, an original drama script (which could be stage, radio, film or TV – produced or unproduced) and up to one side of A4 outlining a potential series or serial idea for BBC One, BBC Two or BBC Three Online.
There are 8 places and we shall be shortlisting 20 writers for the scheme. Those 20 will discuss their pitches with the BBC Writersroom Team and Drama Execs representing all of the drama hubs, nations and regions. We’ll then select the writers based on these interviews, the quality of the writer’s work and the viability of their pitch.
Writers who have been selected to participate in the Programme will be expected to write three drafts of a script, with dedicated Script Editor and Executive support. In addition, there will be a series of screenwriting lectures, workshops and events throughout the course culminating in a reading and presentation of extracts from the writers’ scripts.
Writers will be paid a minimum script fee as agreed by the WGGB/PMA and the BBC on a favoured nations basis (currently £11,520 for 60 minutes). Expenses will also be paid.
NB: For this opportunity only if you don’t have an agent, when applying, you may tick the box to indicate that you’ve been recommended by the BBC Writersroom staff. You must, however, fulfil the criteria outlined above.
Sounds like a great opportunity to me. I know not everyone will be qualified to enter, but then I’m apparently too qualified to enter most of these things so it’s all swings and roundabouts. If you meet the criteria, it’s got to be worth having a go.
It’s the bank holiday weekend here in the UK which means … absolutely nothing to writers.
Well, I’m having the weekend off because I’m having a barbecue – swing by if you’re passing. The rest of you though, you should be writing. Why aren’t you writing? I don’t think you’re taking this gig seriously enough.
If you do happen to be writing this weekend and you haven’t already done it, maybe this might be worth looking at?
@shorescripts Final Submission Deadline 31st August. Enter your script into the Competition www.shorescripts.com
ENTER NOW for your final chance of winning £15,000 in Cash & Prizes.
35 Oscar, Bafta, Golden Globe, Cannes & Emmy award winning judges will read the winning scripts. These Judges have written on the likes of The Sopranos, Walking Dead, The Constant Gardener, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Freaks and Geeks and countless others.
75+ Production Companies, Agents & Managers will also be reading.
Previous Alumni films include Cake, starring Jennifer Aniston, Retreat, Ripper Street, Geography Club, and Oscar winner, Ben Cleary.
There now follows a short public service announcement:
Shore Scripts Screenwriting Competition 2016 is open for submissions.
Shore Scripts have the highest calibre of industry judges of any screenwriting contest in the world. The winning scripts will be read by 32 Oscar, Bafta, Emmy, Golden Globe & Cannes award winning judges and sent to over 70 production companies and agents from around the world too.
As well discovering new and exciting writing talent through their regular Short and Feature Script competitions, Shore Scripts have also opened a new TV Pilot category, plus are introducing a fantastic Short Film Fund scheme designed to help produce one winning script with a minimum budget of £5,000. That adds up to over £15,000 in cash and prizes for the winners.
… and sending them an email with MAILING LIST – JOBBING SCRIPTWRITER as the subject line.
Presumably the mailing list will be about the competition and things related to writing rather than adverts for PPI and viagra. Although, I don’t get any viagra ones any more … do you? Maybe some viagra spam might actually be useful?
If you do enter, let me know either in the comments or via email/social media – just so I can keep tabs on what’s going on. The two winners will be drawn at random at the end of the month.
The essence of my argument was it would be a shame if HMV went bust because the immediate next wave of filmmakers would never know the elation of walking into a shop and buying a copy of your own DVD. HMV is one of the last outlets who stock pretty much any low budget films. If they went, the only shelf space would be in supermarkets and they are a bit funny about what films they’ll sell.
Now, okay, DVDs (or Blu-Rays, if you prefer) will ultimately go away and people will feel giddy and excited about something else.
But a year later, DVDs are still here (as is HMV) and they’re still exciting. I don’t know about you, but I have a hierarchy of film-love. Only my absolute favourites get bought on DVD. Films I really enjoy … I probably won’t bother to buy. I might watch it several times on TV or pay to stream something … but only my absolute bestest films get bought.
Having a film produced is exciting. Attending the première is more exciting. Seeing it in released in the cinemas is even more exciting still. But holding a physical copy in your hand, one you can put on the shelf or lend to people or just look at and smile … that’s the best bit.
Because that, in a small way, puts the thing I wrote on a similar footing to all the other films I love. Even when I fucking hate the actual film itself.
Was that it? Hmm … didn’t blog much in February, did I? Probably because I gave up chocolate, biscuits, sweets, crisps and cake in a vague effort to stop looking like a fucking hippo. That kind of thing is bound to make someone less bloggy.
I began March by explaining, politely, that they don’t fucking love your script in Cannes – no matter what they may have said. If they loved it, they would have bought it. Did they buy it?
No. Then they didn’t love it.
Yes, you can still pay me to re-write it.
I also blogged about exercise, P90X and biscuits – somehow finding it appropriate to insert myself into Death in Paradise wielding a spoon.
No, I have no idea why either.
That was a weird thing to do. Although, the good news is I still have that spoon. In a lovely bit of serendipity, I stole it from the Jamaican hotel which initially inspired Death in Paradise. It’s now my emergency back up spoon.
Then I wrote a blog about Other People’s Ideas and how hard they are to write. For some reason I equated it to making a human being and having too many ears.
Seriously, never give up biscuits. It’s just not worth it.
Wait … what the fuck? THERE WAS NO APRIL! I fucking knew we hadn’t had a full year! Here’s the proof …
Or rather, here isn’t the proof because April never fucking existed. It can’t have existed or I would have blogged about it.
What was exceptionally exciting about that is a writer friend of mine later told me she’d applied and been accepted onto the course – something she never would have known existed if I hadn’t mentioned it.
That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I love being vaguely useful occasionally.
Buoyed on by that, I promoted some free stuff. Which probably isn’t free any more, so … don’t bother clicking that link.
Assuming anyone’s still reading and is even clicking anything. Are you?
Why? Go do something more fun.
Oh, no, wait! This next post was my most popular post of the year. Still is.
I’m really bored with this now. I’ve no idea why I do this every year, I mean what is the fucking point? Does anyone read this far? I will send a five pound note to the first person who quotes these three words in the comments:
That’s a serious offer. I’ll send you a proper five pound note through the proper mail and everything if you’re the first person to copy and paste those three words into a comment.
And 12p to the first person who can use them in a sentence.
And now that I’ve (hopefully) successfully proved no one’s reading any more … on with November.
First up, Part Three of the Notes from the Other Side trilogy. I broke boundaries here by calling the third part Part Three. I also got a bit ranty about it all.
Especially to the person I referred to as a fucking twat; but to be fair. You were.
Or I was.
One of the two.
Then I talked about tailoring. It was in relation to an upcoming meeting … at which everyone behaved in almost exactly the way I hoped they wouldn’t.
No, seriously. I can only assume I was heavily medicated at the time.
And I finished the month by gushing about my love for a man. Well, eleven men. Twelve, as it turned out. Thirteen now.
If you’re feeling particularly geeky, you can spot seven differences between this photo and the one uploaded in November. Although, I warn you now imaginary person who’s never going to fucking bother doing this … number four is almost impossible to spot.
Behind the scenes, this was an interesting year. It’s the first year for nearly a decade I haven’t had anything produced or released … and yet I probably earnt more this year than any previous year to date.
Apparently a writer can earn more money by not getting films made than by actually getting involved in all that icky and annoying shooting business.
At the beginning of the year, I made a conscious decision to write something for myself. Something I really, really wanted to write which I would then try to sell.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, I worked almost continuously on other people’s ideas with varying degrees of success.
I had some lovely meetings with some lovely people and at least one of them I didn’t completely screw up.
I got paid to write stuff I enjoyed writing for people who actually cared about the script and wanted to get it right … as opposed to caring about the shooting date (tomorrow) and wanting to get it finished … even if ‘finished’ means ‘nobody fucking cares how good it is, we just need some words’.
As an added extra bonus, a producer sent one of my scripts to a director whose work I really, really admire. I’ve no idea if that guy actually liked the script or not. Probably not, but he wanted to read it and therefore at least now knows who I am.
I’m the guy who’s script he (probably) didn’t like.
Unless he hasn’t read it yet. Which is entirely possible and extremely likely.
2014 already has some super cool awesome stuff lined up with a couple of projects lining up on the starting blocks and even a few lumbering asthmatically towards the final set of hurdles.
Beyond which are another set of even higher hurdles, because that’s what the whole writing gig’s about.
If you have any questions, please contact me any time.
It would be my pleasure.
Well that looks interesting. You have to live in the East of England, specifically:
Submissions are invited from writers resident in the East of England (that is the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex) or with another strong and specific connection to the region within the last 5 years which can be evidenced (i.e. having been a student at a recognised institution in the region). You must be over 18 and not in full time education.
But if you fit the bill, it’s probably worth a go.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 2nd August 2013.
FINALLY! A BOOK WHICH TEACHES SCREENWRITERS HOW TO GET LAID!
Okay, so it’s not a ‘get-laid-quick’ book; but (despite the odd choice of cover photo) it’s still a damned fine book.
More importantly than not being a ‘get-laid-quick’ book, it’s also not another ‘How to’ book which tells you all the endlessly recycled secrets of screenwriting you never needed to know but are expected to pay for when you can learn for free with a bit of effort and an internet connection.
Tim Grierson’s FilmCraft: Screenwriting is actually a really cool collection of interviews and profiles with (and of) some of the greatest screenwriters ever to put finger to keyboard. It’s kind of a coffee table book, but jam packed with interesting interviews and behind-the-scenes bits and bobs.
I got sent a copy yesterday by the (presumably) lovely Emily Owen of Ilex Press and I’ve got to say it’s an incredibly beautiful book. I’ve only had time to flick through it (and read the odd bit here and there) but it looks really interesting.
This is the press blurb:
From the Hollywood blockbuster to the American indie to the international arena, the writers in this book are the people responsible for some of our most indelible cinematic memories of the last 50 years – and most audience members don’t recognize their names, let alone know anything about them. Screenwriting aims to give these creators their much-deserved moment in the sun. A must for students, cinephiles and anyone interested in the craft of writing for the screen.
Featuring in-depth interviews with modern masters of film ranging from Billy Ray (Flightplan, The Hunger Games) to Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana) and Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, Babel, 21 Grams).
Includes fascinating behind-the-scenes material from the contributors themselves, including shooting scripts, writers’ notes and unseen visuals.
Features supplementary legacy profiles of the greatest writers of cinema’s history – Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman, Paddy Chayefsky, Ben Hecht and the famous duo of Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond.
Tim Grierson is a film and music critic whose writing has appeared in Screen International, L.A. Weekly, Backstage, The Village Voice, Revolver, Vulture, Wired and Blender, as well as on About.com, IFC.com, Yahoo Movies and Gawker.com. He is the co-author of FilmCraft: Cinematography – a profile of the world’s greatest cinematographers – and the author of the Mark Everett biography Blinking Lights and Other Revelations: The Story of Eels. Tim has served on the jury of the City of Lights, City of Angels (COL•COA) Film Festival, and is currently vice president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
If you listen to John August and Craig Mazin’sScriptnotes Podcast (and if you don’t … really? Start now.) then you’ll have heard John describe this book as his ‘one cool thing’ for … um … well, one of the recent weeks. (I don’t always listen to the podcasts in order and tend to get confused a lot.) Anyway, John August thinks it’s cool and he wrote Big Fish, so he’s probably right.
The best part of all this is the copy I have here is not for me, it’s for you.
Although … I might fight you for it. It is lovely.
No, fair’s fair – it’s a giveaway copy and give it away I must.
So … I need a competition. Something fun, something easy enough to get people entering but not so easy it’s insulting.
Hmm … I suppose I could just get you to leave comments and pick a winner at random … but that sounds a bit dull.
Damn it, I hate thinking up competitions.
Ooh! I know! That’s the competition!
If you want this fantastic book, which normally retails at £19.99, then come up with a competition which has this book as a prize and post it in the comments. You don’t have to actually enter your own competition or even be capable of winning it. You can choose “write an Oscar-winning script using only the letter Q” or “build a matchstick model of my arse on the moon wearing oven gloves” or anything else you like.
It doesn’t have to be feasible, achievable or even pleasant – just think up something which makes me laugh and I’ll pick the one I like best.
Don’t be mean, tell all your friends to come and enter (because you’re so clever they can’t possibly compete with you) and give everyone the chance to win this lovely piece of work.
As for a time-scale, for you … I give you a week. Let’s say the closing date is the 24th May 2013.
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:
The majority of you wait until the end of the year so you can get the whole sordid tale in one go.
The majority of you are fucking mental.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And then promoted a festival because someone asked me to and it was easier than thinking of anything new to write.
And really, that was it. That was the whole year.
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.
Fancy winning DARK SHADOWS on Blu-Ray for Halloween?
If the answer’s no, then … well, fair enough. You can go back to whatever it is you were doing.
If, on the other hand, the answer’s yes (because, hey – who doesn’t like free stuff?) then you’re in luck!
So some random people (who either are Warner Bros or have something to do with them) emailed me and said I could have a copy of Dark Shadows to give away if I did this post, and I thought … well, I didn’t know what to think really. I’m not sure I want this blog to be pimping films I haven’t seen; I’m not even really sure I want it to be one of those blogs which gives stuff away because … actually, I don’t know why.
I mean, I know I have given stuff away in the past, such as a handful of scriptwriting books I didn’t want any more and hundreds of pounds worth of video projector … which I also didn’t want any more. I guess technically I am giving £30 away to anyone who buys an LSWF ticket from me; but this feels different somehow.
This isn’t my stuff to give away.
This sort of makes me some kind of corporate whore.
But then I thought, ah fuck it – someone might want a copy and who am I to stand in their way?
So here we are, I’ve been given a copy of DARK SHADOWS to give away. If you want it, it’s yours. Just answer this simple question:
Answers in the comments below and make sure I can contact you (email me, perhaps? firstname.lastname@example.org), because I need to send your UK address to the give-away people by the 30th October.
So let’s say you have to have posted your answer by the 28th (this year) to give me enough time to get my shit together. That’s five days. That’s enough, right?
Other terms and conditions:
I’m just going to pick someone at random, there is no merit involved.
You have to have a UK address.
You have to post your answer naked.
For fuck’s sake, please don’t send me naked photos of you posting the answer.
Unless you want to.
I’m supposed to embed this web app too … but WordPress won’t let me. So instead here’s a photo of the web app which links to an online version elsewhere:
This may or may not completely invalidate the competition, in which case I don’t owe you nothing; but will probably buy you a drink at some indeterminate point in the future. Let’s be honest, the language and general apathy might invalidate the whole thing anyway. I certainly wouldn’t give me a free anything, I plainly don’t deserve it.