Thursday, July 27, 2006


I've been thinking about posting this for a while and have finally decided to take the plunge:

I will give you script notes on your feature length screenplay for FREE! A4 size. 2, 3 or perhaps even 4 pages.

I will be a lot more constructive than your Mother's review of your latest epic and be totally candid about it. I will point out what is wrong (in my opinion) and perhaps suggest improvements. If I end up tearing it apart then don't hate me as I'm only trying to help (and don't forget this offer is free).

So to summarise:

What: Script notes (2 to 4 pages of A4)
Cost: FREE!
Turnaround: 3 to 5 days
Format: Final Draft, Movie Magic, .pdf, .rtf, or MS Word sent by email (pdf is probably the best as most script software should be able to export to that).

What is in it for me?

Well reading experience for a start. If I want to try my hand as a script reader I have to start somewhere. Also it will allow me to keep my head in the writing world. Don't worry about copyright issues, I'm not the type of guy to steal and your email and my response should be proof enough the ideas are yours.

I can't imagine how I will be, but just in case I am flooded by requests I will keep it down to one script a week (I have a day job too). I will look at expanding once I have a little more experience.

Email me at to take me up on the offer or ask questions.

If you are going to pay someone else, then at least give me a try first. Then compare what I said with what you got when you paid. This won't be free forever. If I get some good experience I may look at charging for this in 2007, but for now, what do you have to loose?

Thanks for reading


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Must be low season

Does blogging come in seasons?

I’m trying to think of something to post and I’m coming up blank. Even though there should be lots of things screenwriting going on at the moment, you can see that the progress bar on the right hasn’t shifted past 10%. Good old DIY is getting in the way (a reader of this blog commented Don’t Involve Yourself, but did I listen?).

Looking around my blogroll tells me that things are quiet elsewhere too. Perhaps it’s the heat? Who knows, but I’m going through one of those dry patches screenwriting wise. Inspiration is not lacking and ideas are flowing, however putting finger to keyboard while my screenwriting software is running is difficult.

Nothing will happen tomorrow as I have to get another coat of pain on the skirting boards before the carpet fitters come, not to mention the fact that I have yet to paint the ceiling.

Anyway, I babble. I’m away visiting the in-laws this coming weekend so starting Monday week...... well, we’ll see :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

I can't write "UK"!

Or can I?

Somewhere in the archives of this blog I posted about where all my screenplay ideas seem to take place. The problem was most of them seem to take place in the good old U. S. of A. I don't seem to be able to write "UK" based screenplays.

It would seem that the media has snared another victim. Most films that hit our movie screens are in the US, and/or star primarily US actors/actresses. Perhaps that is why.

Perhaps it isn't the sole reason. A lot of adverts on TV would be in a typical US location rather than a UK one. A lot of music videos (even from UK artists) seem to be in the US. We have a lot of American high street names (Starbucks, Subway, McDonalds etc…). America also seems to dominate the news most of the time (sadly not for good things). Even my favourite TV shows are American.

HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED? I think a good attempt has been made!

So, to my point: I am "thinking" about my ideas and they are all set in the US (apart from one which is 50% UK, 50% US), but just because I am thinking that way doesn’t mean that have to be written that way.

Take "Good Guys": Scene number one starts with a guy walking down a New York street (THINK "New York Street" but WRITE "Street"). The story involves the Mafia (THINK "Mafia", but WRITE "West End Gangsters"). See the theme? If I go through my first draft doing things like this, it turns into a UK based screenplay (plus some tweaks). It's a simple tool to use.

In short, it is fine to think your screenplay a certain way, but that doesn't mean it is restricted to that environment. After all, if someone optioned Good Guys and said "but I want it to be UK based", I wouldn't be much of a writer if I couldn't come up with the goods.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Woo Hoo!

I have now had more than 2000 unique visits to this blog!

Actually there will have been more but (as I post this) there have been 2004 since I started my stat counter. I was going to send the referrer a thankyou if the visitor came from another blog but he/she came by way of a google search. Oh well :)



Sunday, July 16, 2006

Hey, I paid for a whole movie! Give me my act three!

I paid good money last night and rented Broken Flowers .

I didn’t know what to expect apart from the fact I had heard it referred to as a “nice movie”. A nice movie was what I was in the mood for so I rented it. My rating: 2/10!

***Spoilers will follow***

It started off slowly, but in a way you could see was being used as a story telling tool. Here was a guy (Bill Murray) getting on in life with nothing to show for it except perhaps a comfortable existence due to previous success in the computing industry. We are left with the plot hook and how he will deal with it (on the instructions and insistence of a friend) early enough to see the slow pace of the film as acceptable and the possibility of it adding to the story.

The plot hook is that the same time his girlfriend/partner leaves him, he finds out that he has a 19 year old son by an old flame (through an anonymous letter), but he doesn’t know who sent it. Now that in itself opens up a box of exciting possibilities for a story, so we set off. Don Johnston (Murray) doesn’t seem to care. It seems his “ladies man” past is behind him and he doesn’t care too much about his current existence so why should he care about a long lost son? His (only?) friend and neighbour seems to add the only colour in his life and he pushes and pushes him into going on a quest to find these old flames and find his son. At this point we seem to be in Lost in Translation mode which was a fantastic film where the slow pace was in itself telling a story.

So Murray half heartedly embarks on his quest meeting up with his old flames. We see some full frontal female nudity from an old flame’s daughter for no reason I can work out other than to scare Murray out of the house to meet old flame number one (don’t know why that *had* to happen outside).

After meeting old flame number one I start to see a hole in the story. We have this dull man, sad with the way his life has turned out, but how on earth this guy could attract any woman yet alone the early 30 something that left him at the start is beyond me. At no point in time do we find out what he used to be like that could attract an endless stream of women. He carries on meeting the women on his list but nothing more is revealed. There is the possibility that he may have found the person who sent the letter, but we are left with just the possibility and no conclusion.

I can see where the writer/director attempted many profound moments and they all missed the mark by a mile apart from one when he visits the grave of one of the old flames, sits down in the rain and we see tears welling up in his eyes. We get the feeling of deep regret that their relationship ended. The problem is that I’m doubting this film so much by now that this can’t lift my expectations.

Murray ends his quest without resolution and he finds another letter written on the same paper with similar handwriting. It is from the 30 something at the start of the film (I think but I’ve lost interest by now) and suggests the whole idea of his son was made up by her, BUT it is left at just that; the idea that it may have been made up by her, nothing to confirm of deny it!

He meets up with someone who may be his son looking for him, but he runs away without us finding out for sure one way or the other.

At this point I figure we are at the end of act two and act three will reveal all and save the film. Then the film ends! No act three!


The end?

All I can think the writer/director was trying to leave us with was the fact that his life is dull and it is never going to be anything more than a dull mess, but like the rest of the film, we are never given confirmation of this!

I am trying to find a point in this film to justify the money I spent renting it... but I can't.

If I’m missing something about this film please let me know.

What a week!

Just a quick post to let you know I'm still here.

The week of DIY hasn't exactly gone to plan, mainly because at the last minute I added a big job to the list. We have (or had) a rather large 70's style red brick fireplace. The type that extends all the way up to the ceiling and out to either corner of the room with a ledge each side for a TV etc... and compartments underneath for a video or whatever. Well a lot of hard work later and it was no more. The only problem was what to do with the 350 red bricks piled up on my living room floor (and half a ton of cement chunks). After many back breaking trips into the garden the bricks were piled up beside my shed (does anyone want 350 red bricks?), I then said "sod it!" to myself, pulled up a few floorboards, and shoved the rest of the rubble in the void under the house, job done!

The spare room is now decorated, with a new radiator on the wall and also a new radiator in the dining room.

What remains now is to lay a new carpet in the spare room, decorate where the bricks used to live, and put a new carpet in the living room as with the fireplace gone the carpet no longer fits. Then I will replace the fireplace with a small affair made out of wood and marble substitute.... ok I mean MDF made to look like marble and a new fire (purchased from screwfix direct, fantastic place if you are doing DIY, cheaper than B&Q).

That will be most of the jobs done that need to be complete before baby ukscriptwriter arrives.

Phew, what a week.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

For the love of God, show me quality!

So, a post over at Danny’s blog talks about him getting scripts with a picture on the cover (even I know you shouldn’t do that).

That leads me to the question:

What is the quality of work currently in the hands of studio execs?

I read posts from studio readers (freelance and employed), where they comment on the poor quality of what is passed to them. Now, somehow these scripts have found their way into the hands of someone at a studio and given enough consideration to warrant paying a reader to go over them. I was under the impression that studios would bin any unsolicited submissions, so they must have gone through an official channel like through an agent.

I always thought a newbie writer has more chance of seeing the Queen’s tits than getting an agent that will get their work into the hands of a studio, but from what I’ve read a great deal of poor quality work does get through.

Does this mean that getting stuff to a studio isn’t as hard as people in the know would lead us to believe?

Is getting a good agent easier than I think?

I don’t believe I have anything good enough to submit yet so I haven’t tried for an agent, but am I worrying about nothing?

The waters seem a little muddy to me so please can someone clear this up!?!?

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Tell me, what do you see?

I've never made any claim what so ever to have an artistic bone in my body, but I wanted to come up with a sketchy logo type thing for a little project I'm working on. I came up with the image you see here.

I was going for a quick sketch effect but on a laptop with just a touch pad to work with (I don't own a mouse), it's the best I could come up with and if you don't see a typewriter then I'm gutted.

I'm not going to tell you more about the project just in case I don't do another thing with it, but with luck I'll present it in a week or two. The problem is it involves more art work and as I’m not blessed in that department (the image may show that), it could turn into a drawn out task.

So what is next?Well I think I’m going to write a good thorough outline for my Roman idea. I do have one, but I want something rock solid before I write fade in. As it’s not your every day story I think it may be a tough one. On the other hand, as it’s not your every day story, perhaps I have a little freedom with what I can present (time will tell).

In other news: We are pregnant, or at least my wife is. Baby Ukscriptwriter is due on the 19th October, 3 days after my daughters 4th birthday. She wants the baby to be called Flower (it isn’t the 60’s is it?).

DIY Alert! I’ve got the coming week off work to decorate the house, so if you see posts appearing here 4 times a day, you’ll have a good idea about how well that is going.

Friday, July 07, 2006

So What Next?

As you can see from the status bar on the right I am 10% into draft three of Good Guys. Everyone else seems to have a status bar so I looked at the HTML on a blog or two and pinched it (I hope no one has copyright!).

I pretty much know where I’m going with it (apart from perhaps three or four pages before the ending), so I’m sure I’ll finish. When it is finished I’ll put it down for a while. It will be getting there but I’m guessing I’ll need two more drafts before I dare enter it in any competitions or attempt to get it in the hands of someone who may make it. However I’m not sure if I can live through another draft without taking a break from it. It’s my first stab at anything near funny and I didn’t know funny could be such hard work (I’ve still no idea if I’ve pulled it off). If you are a comedy writer please tell me how to translate funny into text!

So what next? When I say ‘next’ I mean I will probably will write it in parallel with the Good Guys draft. I have the following I could start:

  • Feel-good romance story called ‘3500 Miles from New York’ (I got about 40 pages into this one roughly two years ago, but will probably start again from scratch)

  • Time travel back to Roman times thing

  • Love story drama thing called ‘Only in Dreams’ (I’ve never seen anything like this one before so I don’t really know what category to put it in)

  • American civil war script (I can do history I can! But it will be fiction)

  • World War Two story based on a little known fact about Nazi experiments (I can do factual fiction me!)

  • A type of deep gritty post Balkan war film that then switches location to the USA mid act two and gets a little silly (I think I may forget about this one)

  • Deep thoughts: Something I can only describe as Fargo meets K-Pax

Apart from the Balkan war thing, I’m easy. Does anyone have a preference?

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm finished tinkering now

I'll stick to this format for the blog, so some things to note:

I've uploaded a picture so you can now see my ugly mug. The blog list has been filtered and now contains regularly updated blogs, and I've also found how to set up searching restricted to my own blog (not that I am claiming to have posted anything worth searching for).

A few people have asked me what the movie template was like. I've posted a link in a comment to the last post but here it is again:

Click to see the movie template

This isn't my work, but I've pulled all the style sheets into it from an external location. I also downloaded the images to another of my test blogs so I wasn't dependant on anything external.

Second New Template

Back to one of the standard blogger templates (I'll settle for this white one I think).

I was trying to go for something different to what everyone else has and liked the movie theme, but it didn't resize properly.

DAN - The other template was not one of the standard ones. I found it on the web but it was made for blogger. I'm a bit disappointed it didn't resize well, but if you are a whiz with HTML I'll send you a copy (just drop me a line).

WRITING NEWS - Well, I'm getting into act two of Good Guys (draft 3). I'm resisting setting myself a deadline until I really get back into the writing flow. I'll set one when I'm writing three or four evenings a week.

Doesn't work

Ok, so I tried to be fancy with this new template, but it doesn't work. If you make your browser window small it just doesn't display correctly.

I'll just have to move back to one of the standard templates (and once I have, any new reader won't have a clue what I'm talking about).

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

New template; Comments Please

As promised in my last post, I now have a new template. I think it improves on the horrid orange thing I used to have going on (new readers here seeing a bag of popcorn in the top left corner won't have a clue what I'm on about).

I require your comments:

Do *you* think it improves on the last template?

Does everything work? I spent ages setting this up so I must have missed something.

Does it look okay in your browser? I've checked firefox and IE, but can someone let me know how it looks on a Mac?

I know the title wraps a bit, so I'll reduce the font size when I can spot the setting in the stylesheet. Apart from that I think it may be okay.



Itchy Template Syndrome

I'm falling out with my blog template!

We've been together for a while now (Wednesday, April 28 2004 was my first post), but I really don't like it anymore. We had a big argument this morning when it (It? He? She? Hmmm, I'll call it a she)... she caught me in my blog settings looking at other templates. I tried to change the web page to the news, but my clumsy dash to change the URL made me look even more guilty.

You can now cut the atmosphere between the two of us with a knife. I don't think we'll be able to work it out and right now she is looking for a new blog and says she will leave in a week. That gives me seven days to find a new template. I'm sure I'll find one, but even though it's what I feel I want right now, something tells me I'll miss her.

Sniff... Sob.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Lost is loosing its way

We are into the second season of Lost over here in the UK.

I was on the edge of my seat for the first season and thought it was fantastic, however the second season has really started to piss me off. It would seem that flashbacks are going out of fashion, but the writers have just bought 5 million of them. As a result they are plugging them into random places in the script. They are getting in the way of the story!

I can't see how I will give anything away here, but I'll give a mild spoiler warning just in case. In last night's episode the "Others" showed their faces. There was so much that could have been done with that to pick up the tempo of the story (which has slowed to a snails pace at the moment), but instead it was broken up with about a gazillion flash backs. I must have watched about 10 to 15 minutes of flashbacks focused on Jack, where the only point was to make it clear that Jack always has to have a problem to fix!

I was always told that to blatantly show back-story to get a point like that across was bad writing. After season one I saw one of the writers say that they have about 4 seasons worth of story. I think they probably only have 2 seasons worth, but they are padding it out to 4 with these unnecessary flashbacks.

This show is going to die on its backside soon if they don't sort it out.