Sorry about the complete lack of posting, but I don't have much spare time on the computer at the moment.
With the above in mind I've been a good writer and rather than blogging I've been screenwriting. So without further ado; I am pleased to announce that last night I managed to type "FADE OUT". Woohoo!
I've already been through it and written some of my own notes, so if I can show discipline I'll see if I can start the tweaks tonight.
It's a good feeling typing "FADE OUT" :)
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Sorry about the complete lack of posting, but I don't have much spare time on the computer at the moment.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
I've never attempted one of those screenplays that tell two or three stories at the same time. I'm not talking about a plot and sub plots, but a screenplay with many characters (a family or group of friends), where they all seem to be the protagonist and all have their story to live out. So perhaps before I bitch about one I've seen I should have a go at writing some good examples, but I believe if I can't make money with crap, no one should!
I fondly remember a film called Parenthood with Steve Martin and a load of other well known actors. Now, I'm not going to watch it again after writing this in case I spoil my memory of it, but I remember it working well. There were many characters all living out their own story (many were complex stories), and when it came to the end, all had been resolved and I remember a balanced film (but I think a lengthy one - I could check IMDB but...).
The other week I watched Trust the Man.
What on earth was that about?
Advertised as a Rom Com with Mr X Files, I sat down to watch to it and found myself confronted with that (minus the 'com') with another story running in parallel. Yes, it tried the many story model. The writer probably understood it is difficult to pull off so only went for 2, but God it was painful to watch. The stories were rushed (to be fair that could be the director's fault), and I guess there was some 'Rom' but the 'Com' was so out of place it seemed unnatural, and what did exist was a poor attempt at bad verbal slapstick (unless I invent a word that's the best description I can come up with).
I'll put my soap box away before I get to the ending, but it missed 'Romantic' by three solar systems.
I think that there isn't enough room in 90 to 120 minutes to tell more than one story well (unless you are a writing God, but there aren't many of those and they know a tough job when they see one), but I guess people will always try; and produce stuff like this.
I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!!
Hmph! Rant over :)
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Not much to report of late but Jason prompted me to post in a comment, so in a desperate attempt to hold on to the people who take the time to read this blog I'll give you an update.
During my trips to London I have been plugging away at 'Only in Dreams' on the train. This has involved some re-writing and some new pages and if I gauge things correctly, it should pan out at roughly 85 to 90 pages long. Currently I've got 55 pages (not continuous) putting the script at about 61 to 64% complete, so in short; I'm getting there.
I'm really not sure if what I've got works any more. It's something I've had running around in my head and on paper for such a long time that I don't think I can see the wood for the trees. I'm afraid that if I stop and take another step back I may never get it finished, so if I carry on to the end, I'll at least have something complete to fix.
In other news I've been participating as a beta tester for the new version of Movie Magic Screenwriter. After trying others I always fell back to MMS and I can say that this new version (version 6), is a vast improvement on version 4.x/2000, so users wanting to upgrade won't be disappointed. It brings into the software some basic outlining features. Up to now I'd been using another piece of software for that so I'm quite happy, plus it finally shows misspelled words with a red underline. For a bad speller like me I find that much easier as I can correct on the fly without having to fire up the spell checker like I did with the old version. I don't know where you can buy it in the UK (I haven't looked), but you can buy it on Amazon.com.
Anyway, I'm off to London again next week so the page count should creep up some more.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
On the train to London yesterday I actually added to one of my screenplays.
Not much as I had to re-read what I had to make sure I was up to speed with where I left it, but I added to it all the same. Only two pages, but the scenes I wrote smashed their way through a big brick wall that previously I couldn't break through.
I'm taking the train home this afternoon so I'll see if I can build up some momentum.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I joined about a month ago and have found it great for getting in contact with friends and family that I really don't see as often as I should.
Just wondering if anyone else in the scribosphere uses the site, or am I now a cybergeek :)
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 11:08
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Sorry, yet another non writing post but an important one all the same. Please read on.
I have a friend who had been travelling around the world with a rucksack and a laptop. He is about to finish his adventure and rather than just jumping on a plane to come back home he has decided to walk it (approx 1000 miles) from Monaco to Newcastle all for charity.
The charity is The Blue Dragon Children's Foundation www.bdcf.org which takes care of street kids and children with no other chance in life in Vietnam.
The blog for his charity walk is http://www.iwouldwalk1000miles.me.uk/.
Sponsor, donate or just support by giving the walk some publicity on your blog or in your workplace. He is a genuine guy and I personally vouch for him and that this is for real.
Thanks for reading
Sunday, July 08, 2007
I have no idea why, but I have no motivation to write at the moment.
When in London I found other things to do and haven't put finger to keyboard on a script since. I have said before that blogging comes in seasons, so perhaps writing is the same. It could be the weather because let's face it; when it is raining outside and has been for days, it can be difficult to find inspiration.
Anyway, things will pick up soon (my glass is half full) :)
Monday, June 25, 2007
So here I am off to London and I have to say things have not gotten off to a good start.
First the train was cancelled so I had to wait for the next one. No so bad but read on; it get’s worse.
We are stuck in Retford, because of the weather and flooding; the train guard is currently announcing that they are waiting permission to go into the flooded area (do trains float?).
I am sharing this tiny bit of internet bandwidth with 7 other people I can see and probably a ton more, but it’s internet on the train so I shouldn’t complain (Hey! I can rhyme!).
And to top it all the train is leaking and people are getting wet! I quickly had to move the laptop before it went “pop fizzle”.
And for some reason GNER (the train company) are directing me onto the internet via a proxy server in Germany, so all of those helpful websites out there (Blogger included) are displaying their menus, buttons and other non-user generated text in German. I could struggle along in French, but German is totally foreign to me.
Well it looks like we may be here for a while so I guess I’ll fire up Movie Magic.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Sorry for the lack of posting.
I wish I could give some impressive reason why I have had no time to post, but I can offer nothing more than "Life has taken up all of my time".
I am really out of touch with my writing, however I'm off to London for a week with work so a dull hotel room should be all the motivation I need :)
Time will tell.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
So the shooting script was finished and shot.
Here is the result.
Enjoy, rate and please subscribe to my YouTube videos if you have an account there.
There are a few YouTube in jokes and I guess you have to understand what happens when you put Mentos and Diet Coke together to get the build up to the finale, so my audience may be limited.
One thing I do know is the script you have may not work out when put into practice :)
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
One thing that has always bothered me since I've started writing is my inability to write short screenplays.
I don't know if it is because I have never been interested in writing them, or that I'm incapable of condensing a story into less than 15 pages. When I have an idea I want to explore it in detail and that usually raises concerns around the 120 page limit, so I've had no chance up to now of keeping things under 15.
Anyway, since I've started to explore filmmaking all of these little ideas for shorts have began popping into my head. I don't know why I've suddenly started to think 'short', but perhaps it is down to the effort involved in making a film. I've got a little 5 or 6 minute film on the go at the moment and you wouldn't believe how much work is involved - "I didn't deliver that line right, I'll have to film that scene again", or "My God, filming from that angle makes me look deformed, I'd better re-shoot it", and so on…
Anyway, I'm not sure exactly what my point is other than "Hey, I can now write short scripts".
Thursday, May 17, 2007
AND I LOVE IT!
I'm breaking all the spec script rules. I'm numbering scenes, writing CUT TO, specifying close up shots, zoom and all of that. I'm even writing things like "We see" and "beat".
I feel reborn!
Why should I get away with all of this crap? Because I'm writing my very first shooting script. I admit that it is for one of my own videos, but us writer/directors can make the rules up as we go along you know ;)
I hope to start shooting this Saturday and edit during the week. I'll let you see the result when it is done.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Trying to keep in mind that the main subject of this blog is screenwriting, I have created a new blog to chart my experiences in filmmaking:
YouTube or Bust!
If you are in anyway interested in filmmaking and have no idea what to do, you should visit there every now and then as I'll be posting what I learn.
With luck this is something I can do in conjunction with my screenwriting, although it will mean a slight change in tack as I've only written feature length films so far (it will be a while until I'm ready to take on anything the length of a feature).
Anyway, there you have it.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I may have posted about this before but can't be bothered to look back through the archives.
I'm sure blogging does have an "off-season". I openly admit that I've been a slack with my posting lately, but so have many others. Posting on some blogs has slowed to a crawl of one or two a month, whereas Warren over at The Screenwriting Life (see the links on the right) has dropped of the radar completely.
I always feel a bit bad complaining about the lack of posting on blogs because let's face it, I don't know these people outside of the Scribeosphere and they could be in hospital or something. I recall one poster on a forum who fell silent; a month later his wife logged on to let us know he had been killed fighting in Iraq.
Anyway, on a lighter note…
I have a few ideas for a film that will feature more than a two pound coin stuttering around a table to the Benny Hill theme tune. My four year old daughter Anna-Louise has agreed to star, so weather permitting and my ability to make props out of cardboard and glue (I should audition for Blue Peter), production should start on my epic this coming Saturday. If the weather does not play ball then I have a lesser production I will make a start on.
I really hope this doesn't take over from my writing, but if Hollywood isn't interested in making my films, then at least I'm learning how to :)
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 08:19
Saturday, May 12, 2007
It's been a while since I've posted but I have a good excuse:
I went to the doctor's and he said I had Pneumonia!
That's right. I was about to ask if he would ring an ambulance for me or if I should make my own way to the hospital, but he packed my off home with antibiotics and told me to get some rest.
Anyway, apart from a cold I'm better now, so I thought I'd draw your attention to a list of goals I posted. One of them was to "Dabble in Filmmaking", so without further ado I give you my first attempt at filmmaking.
Go easy on me.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I found this on YouTube and can't get the song out of my head, so I thought I'd pass it on. Perhaps by the end of the day we can have the whole scribeosphere humming the song.
Try this link if you can't see the youtube window above.
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 16:20
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Catchy title eh?
Anyway, I was reading a post on Scott’s blog about plot. He was mainly talking about comedy where often a movie is built on a premise and has little to no plot.
This got me thinking about various films I’ve seen (Anchor Man is one where they openly didn’t even bother with a plot… I think… but I’ll get to that), and then onto the scripts I am writing, and I have to say I’ve got my mind in a twist.
My definitions of premise and plot with regards to screenplays have become mixed up and I have to say it’s doing my head in. Do my screenplays actually have plot, or are they just drawn out premise?
I can think of many films where a clear premise is there, but I’m starting to see that premise extended slightly and used to fool us into thinking plot is also there. Take ‘A Night at the Museum’ as an example. Museum exhibits come to life at night is the premise, but what is the plot? Bad guys try to steal museum stuff so the museum night watchman and the exhibits must stop them seems to be the plot, but after thinking about it, that just seems to be another premise and isn’t in the film long enough to be considered plot. The filmmakers make an attempt to do this with a single scene inserted at the start of act two where one of the bad guys plants something expensive from the museum at the night watchman’s apartment, but that isn’t even used in the film later on.
I don’t know. Can you separate the two for me?
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 14:25
Well the last time I played tag was at school but it seems there is now a grown-up version out here in the blog world.
I have been tagged by Mr. Alexander to set myself five goals, and as I’ve been slack with my posting of late I shall take on the task. I don’t know if these goals are to have a deadline or not, but I’ll set a deadline of before Christmas.
My five goals are as follows (in no particular order):
1) Get a better Job
Not that I have a bad job at the moment, but I’ve outgrown my current position. I actually went for a job interview yesterday that went quite well, but I won’t know the result for until Thursday at the earliest, so it makes the list.
2) Complete ‘Only in Dreams’
This one is a writing goal. I could say “write five scripts”, but all wannabe writers set goals like that (I have done so before) without following up on their pledge when they find real life gets in the way.
I state this particular script because it is different from any idea I have had before and it is really going to test my writing. If come out with something that can work I will be happy.
3) Get fit (again!)
I am full of good intentions and I did start to cycle to work last year, but unfortunately I picked up an injury and had to stop. Since then I haven’t started again. I really need a better bike that does not weigh a ton (you should see the hills, nay mountains I have to cycle over).
4) Send a script into the real world
That’s right, put my money, or writing, where my mouth is. I’ll put something out there (with other works in reserve) in an attempt to get an agent. I’ll probably ask the scribeosphere for a load of advice first, but I will do it.
5) Dabble in filmmaking
This is one where it will be easy to make the minimum requirements as I have a video camera beside me right now, and I’m sure my 4 year old daughter will be excited at the chance of playing the leading lady, but this is something I have always had an interest in. I’m not sure what will come out of this goal, but I have one or two ideas.
There! Done! Now, who should I tag?
I tag Iain
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 11:02
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I have to apologise for the lack of posting lately; things have been a bit hectic.
I went down to our company's London office last week and used the time to get back into the writing swing of things (train journeys and a night in a hotel are ideal tools to help with that).
I've taken 'Only in Dreams' into act two and can actually see a path through to act three and the end. This can only be bad news as this screenplay should NOT be that easy. I'll plug away to the end and see what I come up with. I'm still unsure about this as a concept, so when I am finished I may need to get some notes on it.
I'm sure I'll have more confidence in the script when it is finished, or at least be able to see what needs fixing :)
In other news I have applied for a job in our London office. I have no idea if I will get it, but I am in with a good chance (and have an interview). It won't require me to move down to the city, but I will mean I have to travel down there for two days a week. I know that sounds a pain, and it is, however my wife is okay with it and you have to take your opportunities when they arise. I guess there will be lots of train journeys for me to keep my writing going.
Anyway, I have an interview I need to swat up for.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
You really can get some good information out of Google Analytics.
Following up on my last post where someone searched for "Chris Parr" (that's my name folks), I looked at what Google could tell me and it turns out that the person doing the searching was located in (or near) Madison, Wisconsin, USA. I can even tell you the operating system they used, screen resolution, type of internet browser, number of colours their computer was running with, and a ton of other information.
It shows that person has only stopped by that one time, but if you come again, say hi.
Oooooh, all this information makes me feel powerful. Aint' big brother great! :)
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 13:19
Sunday, April 15, 2007
So most people in the scribeosphere do the Google Analytics thing and have a laugh at the searches that bring people to their blog.
I signed up and waited for strange searches like "ham and cheese anal water sports" (hey, its the strangest I could come up with of the top of my head: analyse that!), so I could create a humorous post about it, but alas nothing remotely along those lines.
There are lots and lots of searches for unlock codes for screenwriting software (you naughty, naughty people you. Yes you!), but the strangest search was "how to write birthday call". I've no idea what they were looking for.
Anyway, to the point. One of the searches was for me "Chris Parr". Who are you? Were you looking for me or someone with the same name as me?
Show yourself dammit!
How do you know me? Are you friend or foe? Animal, vegetable or mineral? Skeleton in my closet? Man, woman, alien? or all of the above playing with my mind?
I may never know.
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 21:58
Friday, April 13, 2007
Today I've discovered a new drive for 'Only in Dreams'.
I spent this lunchtime writing out a new beat sheet and I'm now really excited about the script again. My excitement comes from the fact that I'm sure this is something totally new that no one has done before (at least not that I've seen). Now there could be a reason for that (i.e. the concept just doesn't work), but I've managed to map out a story from start to finish so that can't be bad. I've no idea if I can pull this off and I think it is really going to test my ability to write, but I'm up for the challenge.
I'm also going down to London for two days on business next week so there will a train journey each way and a night in a hotel to really get my teeth into it. I hope to be at least 40% into it by the time I get home on Tuesday night.
Anyway, got to get back to work (don't you just hate it when you sit next to your boss?).
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 13:26
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Okay, I've removed the Snap link previews.
They don't work exactly as they should with blogger so I've removed them and I'll tweak them on my test blog.
Sorry if you wanted to see how they worked, but you can go here and visit the Artful Writer who has them implemented correctly.
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 20:45
If you hover over any external link on this site (try it on my blogroll) you will now be shown a little window giving you a preview of the target site. There is supposed to be a little icon next to each link that has this feature but it doesn't seem to be working at the moment.
If you want this for your blog go to Snap. The only downside is it slows page loading down a little (please feed back if this is a problem).
If anyone with a new style blogger blog adds this and gets the little icons next to their links working, please let me know how you did that.
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 13:31
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
So is 1973 the afterlife?
Step away/walk into the light Sam. That ending was just silly.
You must know what I'm going on about.
EDIT 11th April:
Okay, after thinking about it I won't go as far as silly. I'm just disappointed they didn't do more with it.
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 21:59
I saw Sunshine on Friday and it wasn't a very bright film.
If you forget that little known fact that anything attempting to go into the Sun will melt; then the theory is bright (oxygen gardens, sun shields etc…), but that is about it.
The film was just a mess. Was it a horror? Not really. Was it a slasher? For about two minutes. Was it a thriller? I can't say I was thrilled.
Now call me stupid, but I knew what the film was about (the Sun is failing etc…) and I guessed they were going to fix it in the end, so the film wasn't going to impress me by achieving that goal. How the film gets to the end was going to be my bit of entertainment for the afternoon.
The build up was okay. A bit of techno-explaining dropped in here and there to make things interesting, then they find the first (presumed lost) ship they sent on the same mission 7 years earlier. They go after it and Captain is killed correcting the result of a mistake made by a crew member (very heroic), and they loose their oxygen so they can't make it to the Sun. People must die to save oxygen, and whilst on the other ship (which his broken so they can't use the oxygen there), two more crew members are killed. Only one more and they will have enough air to breathe, so remaining members decide to off the guy who screwed up and is now on suicide watch because his mistake killed the Captain, but he has committed suicide (wey hey!), no we don't see a difficult choice followed through.
Then we have something like:
Crew Member: "Computer; Isn't is great we now have enough air to get to the Sun"
Computer: "No you don't"
Crew Member: "Yes we do!"
Computer: "No you don't"
Crew Member: "There are 4 people, we have enough air for 4 people"
Computer: "There are 5 people on board, you don't have enough air."
Then we have a two minute slasher movie, where for some reason that is NEVER explained, the Captain of the first ship has survived and tries to kill everyone so they can't defy God's will by 'saving' the Sun.
Now, all of that should make a pretty exiting film, but what was presented in the cinema missed the boat by a mile. There was never a single point in the film when I thought "how on earth are they going to do it now?". Even when the Captain from the other ship started killing people the worst I thought was "well that's inconvenient". No explanation given as to how he survived exposure to the sun (he is burned almost to a crisp, but can still walk, run, talk and kill), and 7 years in deep space. Is he a ghost, alien or God's agent? Who knows?
Then we get to the end where they fly a big bomb into the Sun without it melting to complete the mission (well, apart from the getting home because they are all now dead).
Visually it was great, but pretty poor otherwise. It was a toss up between Sunshine and the Will Farrell ice skating thing. I wish I'd chosen the ice skating option.
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 12:50
Monday, April 09, 2007
Crikey. Well there's a word I don't often use, it's so... Well I have no idea.
Life seems to be getting more and more hectic and I'm writing nothing at the moment. I applied for a new job at work and the very next day I convinced my boss to apply for a higher position. Now I'm torn as it's his job I really want, but his won't become free until he gets the higher position (that's if he gets it at all).
In other news my wife has gone back to work. That means I have to look after a baby for 13 hours when she wont take milk from a bottle and refuses to sleep unless she gets her milk in the way nature intended (I'm ill equipped for that I'm afraid). Oh yeah, I also have to keep a four year old entertained at the same time. Life is fun :)
I hope my muse finds me soon.
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 09:13
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I've been waiting for him to put a "donate" link on his blog, but he is currently busy planning.
Iain is a friend of mine currently currently wandering around various countries in the Pacific region. In an attempt to raise some money for charity he will head home, stop roughly 1000 miles away and walk the rest. He's a sound bloke and you can take my word for it that this is genuine. I have his stuff in my loft, so if you donate and he doesn't do it, I'll sell his possessions and send you the money. After I've drank his wiskey that is :)
Seriously, he is genuine so take a look (I'll plug the site again when he is accepting donations).
Click here to find out more (www.iwouldwalk1000miles.me.uk).
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 12:58
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
A little about me:
I don’t really swear, don’t do drugs, don’t break the law, don’t abuse people, in fact I don’t really do much apart from work, look after the family, sleep and attempt to keep up my hobby (wishing it was a career) of screenwriting.
So why do I like Kevin Smith films that much?
By all accounts I should be repulsed (or at least slightly offended) by them (I wonder if deep down I really want to be a loud mouth, abusive slacker with no prospects - Analyse that if you will!). I mean some of them aren’t really any good: Mallrats; what was that all about?
A really good example is Clerks 2. I had missed this at the cinema so I bought it off Amazon and watched it over the weekend. I really enjoyed it but when I put my writers head back on it wasn’t really that good a film.
Even though Kevin Smith’s career was founded with a film about Dante and Randal, what exists as his career today is constructed around Jay and Silent Bob (two bit part characters from the first Clerks movie). They were in Clerks 2, but as far as the story goes they had no business being there. They offered Dante and Randal some money, but that didn’t justify their existence in the film. In fact they took up valuable screen time that could have been used to fill in the gaps (I won’t go into those gaps unless prompted to do so). Perhaps this is another example of a director getting away with stuff other writers would get dropped for.
Anyway, like I said; for reasons unknown I enjoyed the film. If you have never seen a Kevin Smith film before I would avoid it. If you have then give it a go.
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 12:35
Monday, March 26, 2007
I was fishing around on filmflex last night looking for a film to watch and I stumbled across “Arthur 2 on the Rocks”. I’ve never seen it before, but am very fond of the first film so I typed in my pin number and sat down to watch.
What a load of rubbish it was!
It started off okay; not as snappy and funny as the first but sometimes sequels aren’t. Then it all went wrong (spoilers ahead). It was like the writer said:
“This story is going nowhere fast. I’d better slap on an ending!”
The premise of the story is that Arthur looses everything he has (money, home etc…) apart from his wife. If he wants it back he has to divorce her and marry the girl he left at the alter in the first film. All while they are trying to adopt a baby.
So Arthur goes through the motion of moving into the pokey apartment and working for a living, but the father of the jilted bride makes it impossible for him. His wife leaves him and he ends up homeless on the street. In an attempt to blackmail the father of the jilted bride he gathers some dirt that can’t possibly stick. At this point the pace of the film is grinding to a painful halt and should really be ending, so the writer does something like this:
Father of Jilted Bride (FOJB): Arthur, you have lost! You’re finished! [Insert evil laugh here]
Jilted Bride (JB): Daddy, he doesn’t love me, so I don’t want to marry him.
JB: I don’t want him, give him his money back.
FOJB: Oh okay, I wasn’t bothered about that anyway.
Arthur runs to the shops and turns up at his wife’s place with a convoy of vans full of gifts.
Wife: You got it all back?
Arthur: You bet!
Wife: That’s great, we can be together again!
Adoption Lady: And look; I’ve brought you a baby girl! It doesn’t matter that you had split up and one of you was living on the street, because I’m a nice person!
WTF! What was all that about? Arthur really got himself out of that mess didn’t he! He didn’t grow, learn anything, or defeat the bad guy. He was exactly the same person he was at the start of the film. I suppose he is sober but that just seems to make his character dull. We witnessed no battle with alcohol, he just decides to give up.
I feel robbed and want my money back!
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 13:33
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Saw “300” last night and thought it was a cracking film.
It’s a no-brainer really. Everyone knows the story and how it will end, so it’s really just an opportunity to see some good blood, guts and action. One other thing I saw that I didn’t think much about on the way in was some good filmmaking. If you have time to kill I would recommend it. The only point I did find strange was that a hard-ass Greek King would yell “THIS. IS. SPARTA!” in a Scottish accent, but hey; I suppose it happens :)
Now I usually don’t go for horror films, and the ones I have seen didn’t scare me that much, but whilst waiting for 300 to start I saw a trailer for “Ghost House” (I think that was the title). Now I don’t really swear so you should take that into account when I try to describe the effect it had on me:
“It scared the fucking living daylights out of me. Shit the bed it was scary.”
If that was just the trailer I don’t know if I would survive the film. That will tell you that it will be a fantastic horror film or I’m just a big girls blouse.
No progress on the writing front this week. Back in January I said that I would write at my own pace and not bother about it if I didn’t write for weeks, but I think I need to kick myself a little. I hope to have made some progress by this time next week.
Anyway, must rush as my 5 month old is protesting at the fact she has just woken up in her cot when she fell asleep in my arms about an hour ago.
[Thud!] Back to reality :)
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 13:09
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
(Don't watch the youtube clip if you have kids around or you are offended by bad language)
I posted ages ago about a version of one of my scripts where a character had a bit of a foul mouth. I was worried that even though it was in character, it would be off-putting to readers. Anyway I re-wrote the character (not because of his foul mouth) and the language was toned down as a result.
To get to the point; I found The Fu*$ing Short Version of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back on youtube the other day. Now I think the gauntlet has been thrown down to produce the longest film using just bad language.
(If you can't see the clip, use this link)
Ouch! My ears hurt :)
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 12:43
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Friday, March 02, 2007
I've canned my "Twist on the Super Hero genre" effort as I only really had two thirds of a first act, half of act two, and not much of act three.
I have decided that I am allowed only five screenwriting threads running around in my head at any one time, and have replaced it with my Rom-Com and another idea that has been built on a little story my grandfather once told me.
The story itself is a cheerful one and isn't worth a feature screenplay, in fact probably isn't enough for a short, but as a foundation for a feature it sets up the motivation for one of the main characters and will give me the type of character I've always wanted to build a screenplay around: "The passive protagonist". In a nutshell this is a World War 2, Merchant Navy story (I'll probably have to do a bit of research there).
I doubt any of my family read this but if they do the script will be called "Bacon and Eggs". With that title they should know the story I am talking about.
Five threads at once may be too much, but in reality at any one time two of those should only be at the outline stage.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Extravaganza! Now there’s a word you don’t hear much any more.
Anyway, the people at Sophocles commented on one of my software posts suggesting I give their software a run for its money. In the interests of fairness I have downloaded the beta of their next version and will use it to write my new Rom-Com.
This means I and using MMS to do the re-write of Good Guys, FD for Only in Dreams, and now Sophocles for the Rom-Com.
The comparison won’t be posted until I have finished each one, and unfortunately that may take some time so please be patient.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
After a (very, very, very) long time trying to come up with an original idea for a rom-com, I think I've finally got something. It is in the form of "guy develops a super power to help him with women", so it isn’t entirely original in format (there is What Women Want for example), but I'm sure the idea is fresh enough to avoid being a clone.
But how does the guy get his power?
I can't use lightning as its been used before. I was thinking of an accident: run down by a car or some sort of fall, but the power would need to be taken away and therefore the event would need to happen again (a bit harsh to run the guy over twice).
Then there is the magical mystic object approach, but like most things it as been done before (Big, Vice Versa).
This is clearly fundamental to the story so I don't really want to use an event that has been used before. Of course this doesn't stop most writers (how many body swap films are out there?), but I feel I'm letting the story down if I copy.
Now where the hell is my Muse?
P.S. Feel free to throw any suggestions in for free.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I really feel like I'm making good progress for a change.
The re-write of Good Guys is past the 50% mark (just), and my new spec 'Only in Dreams', is at 10% after only a few days. It doesn't sound like much but I'm quite pleased considering I have a day job and a family :)
Whilst looking over act one of Good Guys which is still a little two long, I came across a scene or two that had no business being in the script. They served no purpose to the story at all.
That got me thinking:
What is the most pointless scene in a film that you can think of?
I have to go for that racing car scene in Charlie’s Angels. I have no idea why on earth that scene was in the film.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
I watched Children of Men last night, a film I had missed at the cinema.
I have to say I was really looking forward to it. The idea is fantastic, the story and its setting is new and fresh, however when it came to the end credits I couldn't help but feel a bit let down.
Like I said, the idea and its setting: Fantastic. The director had done a top notch job in showing us what a world like that would be like, and actors were also top notch.
I just found the execution of the story lacking in some way. Thinking about it I think it is just the ending that left me wanting. It seemed rushed and unfinished. I got the impression the whole movie was filmed in sequence from start to finish and when they were getting towards the end someone said:
"Aw crap! We're running out of money. We'd better think up a quick ending and film it pronto!"
This film is so close to fantastic, but still so far away.
Oh well, until the next hyped up offering.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
As promised I’ve downloaded the demo of Final Draft 7 and am writing my newest screenplay with it (see ‘Only in Dreams’ in the progress section on the right).
I won’t compare it with Movie Magic Screenwriter just yet, but there are some things it does better than MMS and some things it doesn’t.
I’ll post more later.
Friday, February 16, 2007
I thought I'd follow up on my last post with some more software.
Before I bought any software I spent ages doing the FD or MMS debate, freaking out at the price. At the end of the day you could use MS Word or any text editor, but auto formatting really helps.
If money is an issue then try CeltX (www.celtx.com). This is free and does the job well. It also has some story and character development features, as well as enabling you to back up you work online. I used it for a while and couldn't fault it. The only reason I went back to MMS was because I was used to it.
If I had no money and didn't own MMS, I would use Celtx without complaint.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
I don't know if this is old news to any of you but Movie Magic Screenwriter 6.0 is out next month.
I've used MMS for what must be at least 5 years now after buying version 4.0. Updates have now moved this on to 4.7, but since then I've heard nothing about the next major version (I've no idea what happened to version 5).
I think Movie Magic is great. It has NEVER EVER CRASHED on me. It formats everything for me and saves/exports in enough formats; native, rtf, pdf, ASCII,and a ton of others. It will even convert to final draft version 4 format (although I'm sure no one uses version 4 anymore). The formatting is correct "out of the box" (as far as I know) and I've never had to touch any settings. The inline script notes are a great help and it even has the silly stuff like that talking robots to read your script back to you.
From what I've heard the "Final Draft industry standard" thing isn't as true as it used to be, and FD's support is infamous.
I have used both Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter before and MSS wins by a mile, however in the interests of fairness I will download the latest Final Draft demo and post back if I decide to eat humble pie :)
Either way I'm still looking forward to the upgrade.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I like the film ‘Last of the Mohicans’. It has a great opening sequence where nothing much is said at all. I looked up the script on the internet to see how that is portrayed. The following is what I found (do you think this would make it as a spec script from a newbie writer?):
The screen is a microcosm of leaf, crystal drops of precipitation, a stone,
emerald green moss. It's a landscape in miniature. We HEAR the forest. Some
distant birds. Their sound seems to reverberate as if in a cavern. A piece of
sunlight refracts within the drops of water, paints a patch of moss yellow. The
whisper of wind is joined by another sound that mixes with it. A distant
rustling. It gets closer and louder. It's shallow breathing. It gets ominous.
We're interlopers on the floor of the forest and something is coming.
SUDDENLY: A MOCCASINED FOOT
rockets through the frame scaring us and ...
EXTREMELY CLOSE: PART OF AN INDIAN FACE
running hard. His head shaved bald except for a scalp-lock. Tattoos. He's
twenty-five. He seems tall and muscled. Heavy, even breathing. We'll learn later
this man is UNCAS, the last of the Mohicans.
Now don't get me wrong; it is a fantastic film, but I couldn't get away with this in a month of Sundays. It looks like it was lifted right out of a book!
Oh well. One day I'll have enough film credits to write like this :)
Monday, February 12, 2007
After my last post I found myself wondering why I bother having a page on MySpace?
I couldn't come up with an answer so I removed it. I'm not advertising my blog on it. I'm not using it as any sort of CV. I've found it easier to find information on like minded writers through blogger. I just couldn't see the point on keeping another site up to date.
If I feel alone out there in the virtual world I may re-subscribe, but until then MySpace is my space no longer.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
I know I said I’m ill but before I went to bed I had a random click around MySpace.
I do have my own page there (click here to take a look) and it would seem I’m a bit of a Billy-no-mates as I have only 3 friends. To make it worse you get one of those for free when you join. Since I signed up I have yet to define what MySpace is.
On one hand it seems like a world wide competition to get yourself more ‘MySpace friends’ than anyone else. I’ve had more people requesting to be my friend than I’ve had hot dinners. No reason offered and when I view their profile I have nothing in common with them at all. It just seems like they need to have more virtual friends than the next person.
One the other hand… well I can’t think of anything, apart from 75% of the profiles have been modified so badly it is impossible to read them.
It seems to offer you a blog, but there are much better blog offerings out there. You can upload pictures (again, countless better places out there) and videos (youtube?). The fact that all of these are in one place is let down by the fact they are so inferior.
Perhaps it is just a fad - just like this whole interwebnet thing ;)
That sound is me feeling like crap. I’m ill with some evil virus thing that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
I doubt any writing will happen for the next few days but I have a few posts queued up so I should be able to keep the blog active.
Now, where’s my wife, I need sympathy.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
I wondered about this after watching Kelly's Heroes last night.
I was board out of my skull scrolling down the TV guide. Nothing worth watching was on and then I saw the title, smiled, said "that will do", and pressed ok. I've watched it more times than I can remember and have been entertained with every viewing. Kelly's Heroes to me is a "classic" film. A film you love and will watch at any time (even if there are only 20 minutes left to play), and be really entertained.
But what makes it a classic (assuming you agree that is the case here)?
The characters don't really present any acting challenges, so I doubt any Oscars were picked up for the performances (although you have to love Donald Sutherland's Sgt. Oddball), the story is good even if it is a little unbelievable that they could have pulled it off, in fact if you step back an look at it you see nothing more than just above average. But there is something else there.
I remember watching this as a kid. To me back then it was exciting with action and tension. I wanted to be Oddball and started telling people to "knock it off with them negative waves". People did die in the film, but the horrors of war were hidden from me.
So, is it nostalgia that makes a film become a classic? Can only films that we remember fondly become a classic in our hearts?
There have been many good, possibly even great films since I cast off my childhood, but I wouldn't go as far as calling any of them classics. At the end of the day perhaps "classic" is in the eye (or mind) of the viewer.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I never thought I would manage it but I've finally managed to drag Good Guys kicking and screaming into act two.
If you look to the right the progress has jumped 10% up to 35% and I feel like I need to celebrate. I went down to London on the train for work, and that gave me 2.5 hours each way to sort the thing out.
Good Guys was the first thing I go to the 'FADE TO BLACK' stage and although I was chuffed to bits with it, it was also crap. What I thought was act two was actually the second drawn out half of act one. Act two really started around page 66 (I was almost too embarrassed to write that). This was draft two, as draft one was the Dukes of Hazzard clone I blogged about ages ago.
To fix this I needed to merge act one with what I thought was act two, slim it down to 25'ish pages (30 tops), come up with a whole new act two, plus re-write half of my act three. I'm sure many of you would have all that rattled off in an afternoon, but I shit my pants at the prospect (well not really but I was going for drama!).
I started draft three and the thing ground to a halt approaching the end of act one and I couldn't move it on for toffee. It sat in my desk draw (actually on my memory stick) for six months and now I've come back to it things seem a little clearer. If I'm totally honest I need to slim another three of four pages off act one (it finishes on page 33), but that should be no problem when compared to the task of getting it that far.
With luck I should have it finished within the month - well it's the thought that counts ;)
Monday, February 05, 2007
Sunday, February 04, 2007
...when writing a feel good ending.
I often listen to music when writing as it helps me visualise the end product, so I thought I’d list a few good songs. This set is good stuff is you’re looking for that feel good ending (in no particular order):
Romeo and Juliet - Dire Straits
Dignity - Deacon Blue
Maggie May (unplugged and sat down) - Rod Stewart
These are the Days - Jamie Cullum
Good Riddance (Time of your Life) - Green Day
Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwo
A Murder of One - Counting Crows
Sullivan Street - Counting Crows
Where’s Summer B? - Ben Folds Five
These Are Days - 10,000 Maniacs
Walls - Tom Petty
Only in Dreams - Weezer
Island in the Sun - Weezer
Acoustic #3 - Goo Goo Dolls
Agree or disagree; they do the job for me.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I'm back from my trip up to Cumbria to visit family (not that I told you I was going), and I come back a year older - I'm 33 years and 2 days old as I write this.
For my birthday I got (among other things) Scrubs seasons 2 and 3. This is my feel good TV. It used to be Friends but when I watch the repeats it just seems so dated and I wonder why I ever liked it.
Feel good TV is great; you find yourself alone in the house with an afternoon to spare and nothing to do, so you watch your feel good TV and have the most relaxing afternoon you can remember. Some people may reach for the computer and visit interesting (ahem) web sites, but I'd settle for Scrubs. Plus I know my wife sometimes reads this blog, so it's not like I'd admit to that here ;)
I was off work yesterday and my better half was out with the kids for the afternoon, so I had my fix. I'll be okay until the end of season 3 and then I'll have to suffer the shakes because I don't think season 4 is out yet.
Writers out there may be horrified to hear that I didn't use the afternoon to rattle off a good handful of pages, but I remember my resolution to write at my own pace and only when I feel like it (I'm determined to prove I'll write more that way).
Anyway, I'll rattle more pages off tonight as I think I'm in a writing mood. To aid in this I seem to have developed the ability to write in the living room with a 4 year old running around and the TV on. Admittedly I only manage a page in the time it would normally take me to write four or five, but one page is still better than nothing.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
The time is approaching again:
I am soon to hit the "end of act one" mark with the hit man script. I am over half way through the first act and may have a little trouble getting things in the correct place (I don't want to drag it out to page 60), and I do want to keep this script out of my act one pile.
Wow, what a link that was (I should be on the radio or TV). If you have an act one pile check out the following:
The Act One Project.
Register your interest by leaving a comment here, on the project blog (follow the link above or on the right), or drop me an email with Act One Project in the subject. Leave contact details and I'll be in touch.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
The hit man script has been added to, so I'm now allowed to post this.
Let me introduce a little collaborative project I've thought up:
The Act One Project.
I know we all struggle to get on with our own spec scripts, but I'm thinking a little structure may help speed up the writing process and allow us to put the odd stalled act one to some use.
If you are interested then leave a comment here, on the project blog, or drop me an email with the subject "Act One Project" and I'll be in touch (don't forget to leave your contact details).
I think I've got all the changes to the new template made:
- I've replaced HaloScan comments with blogger comments.
- I've got the progress bars back.
- My blogroll links now open in new windows (please let me know if your pop-up blocker doesn't like that).
- I've got SiteMeter linking again.
Monday, January 15, 2007
After waiting for ages, I've finally been moved over to the new style of blogger.
Has a good thing came to someone who waited? We'll see.
To mark this monuments occasion I will be changing the look and feel of the blog to take advantage of the new features. I will probably put HaloScan to bed as what I use for comments and move to blogger comments. They have served me well as they are not password protected and only had one piece of spam (manually entered I'm sure), but one must move with the times and it will mean one less web account to manage. This also means that historic comments will disappear, but I can live with that. I just hope you guys can put up with the word verification (but most blogs have that nowadays).
Of course, new people coming to this blog after the event reading the archives will have no idea what I am on about, but that can’t be helped (I currently use a white template and before that (and a week of "suck it and see" template experiments) it was orange (yuck)).
I'm determined to do more writing tonight so I may get to post about a little collaborative project I've go up my sleeve.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
True to my resolution, I have written more before I wrote this post.
The hit man thing is moving along at a slow pace, but that's the important thing; the moving.
I have decided to take a different approach to my writing this year. In the past I would go out of my way to make sure I wrote as much as possible, and then get pissed off when I didn't manage anything. This year I'm putting myself under no such pressure. If I don't manage to put finger to keyboard for 3 weeks then that will be fine. I'll plod along at a snail's pace if I must, but all that matters is I plod along.
All that said, it does seem to downsize my ambitions towards screenwriting as a career. In the past I would have said something like: "Write and polish three screenplays and use then to get an agent…", but 3/4 of a screenplay won't get me that (not that 3 polished efforts would guarantee it either, but you know what I mean).
This isn't really a step back from things, but more of a less ambitious approach. I'm sure many, many people would disagree and say 100% ambition is a must to succeed, but I think ambition can often get in the way. Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees.
Who knows, less pressure may mean this approach may become more productive.
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 08:43
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
So 2007 has arrived and life goes on.
I've thought about making a large list of resolutions (like get fit, promoted at work, get an agent, sell a screenplay, make a ton of extra money, work for myself), but I won't commit to anything more than the following:
Write a new spec script.
Simple as that. If you look over on the right you will see a new script has appeared (the hit man one). You could say I have cheated a bit as I kicked it off on New Year's eve when the most people were partying, but I'll put it down as effort from this year.
One other thing that I will change is the order blog and write. I know I had a blogging absence at the end of 2006, but apart from that I always tried to blog once a day. This usually meant that by the time I had done that and caught up with my blogroll, I had no time left to write. So the new rule:
I am not allowed to blog until I have written at least one page.
Well there you have it. Now I should get on with it.
Posted by Chris Parr (ukscriptwriter) at 13:17