Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Great Screenwriting Software Extravaganza!

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

Last Piece of the Jigsaw Needed for my Romantic Comedy.

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 :)


Pointless Scenes

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

Children of Men

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

Final Draft Demo

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

More Software - CeltX

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 ( 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

Movie Magic Screenwriter

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

What are the rules of a spec script again?

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.


rockets through the frame scaring us and ...
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

It's no longer my space

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

What on earth is MySpace?

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 ;)

Cough, splutter!


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

What makes a 'classic'?

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

About bloody time!

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

I like to push the pramalot

I put a link in a comment on another blog and can’t resist posting it there:

Click here


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Music to write to...

...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.