The Festive Season… a creative time or a curse?

Merry festives to one and all!

I hope that many of you are able to relax, share happy moments with loved ones and even create the odd original work too! I know I’ve been blessed this year, with the time and a lack of family visits to enable me to actually get my head down and work when I’ve needed to. So far I have created a new short story – THE LEG MAN -, started editing THE GIRL WITH WHITE HAIR down to a more printable length and been asked to produce a short film in LA for Black CAB Productions at some point in 2009.

But rather than get down about the family visits, when they do occur, I have also noticed a positive effect when the small talk runs out…

Continue reading “The Festive Season… a creative time or a curse?”

Contour 1.0 – new story development software released

Contour Software box

Mariner Software, the company behind Montage and StoryMill, has released a new application Contour aimed at those wishing to develop stories into potential film blockbusters.

Developed in collaboration with Emmy Award-nominated Jeffrey Alan Schechter, “Contour 1.0 is a proven story development system that streamlines the process of turning movie ideas from first glimmer to full outline” says Mariner.

Continue reading “Contour 1.0 – new story development software released”

4 simple pages… famous last words

I have finally finished the pesky 4 Page Treatment for MUTAGENE. Woohoo! I thank you, I thank you, please stop clapping!…

Actually did you just say, “about damned time!”?… Sheesh! There’s no pleasing some folks….

I have been busy and more distracted of late. I am aware that is no excuse, but I don’t much care right now.

The good news about finishing the 1st draft is that I can now rework that until I am happy, before tackling the next stage of the full rewrite.

I have found it to be a very revealing process from a structural point of view. What seemed like a nicely busy and densely plotted script (albeit with huge holes in it, due to the original incomplete rewrite snafu of 2 years ago) actually reads as a very hectic and patchy plot when set down in a short form, with too many characters and different elements going on.

Obviously there are moments in the scenes which reveal thematic details and character motivations etc, and keep it interesting, but in a short form, the script looks totally unfocused and random and ultimately doesn’t build to a huge emotional pay-off that I desire.

So now the next stage is to try two alternative versions, to see what new directions I could tweak it in, that will refine it and make it really work, like a well-oiled and original Zombie flick.

I will definitely force myself to use this technique to set my ideas down and flesh them out in future, before I ever get into the actual script writing stage. And I can recommend it to others.

CORALINE – great website, full of childish wonder

The new Neil Gaiman film CORALINE has an amazing website:

Credit goes to The Vault of Horror for bringing it to my attention.

Amazing website design and it is very easy to lose time, searching through all the amusing fantasic elements within the different areas of the site. I love sites like this and films that celebrate the wonder of childhood; that innocence of fantasy and a desire for knowledge…. magical!

Let’s hope the film lives up to the website.

The Independent – a great movie – and a great message

The Independent DVD cover

I am selling a few films on eBay. One of them is THE INDEPENDENT (2000) by Stephen Kessler. It’s such an amazing film, and it’s funny how I stumbled across it in the bargain bin of a discount store. Before packing it away, and ready to sell, it turned out that I was curious and had to watch it again. Big mistake – think I am going to keep it. lol

In case you haven’t seen it, the film stars Jerry Stiller in the role of an ageing B-Movie producer who is looking to secure the rights to make a serial killer film, whilst the killer in question wants it to be a musical, the bankers are threatening to foreclose on his career and events are conspiring to shut down his career once and for all. Continue reading “The Independent – a great movie – and a great message”

To cut or not to cut? and if so where?

I sometimes write prose as well as screenplays. I know… the shame… delusions of being able to say in polite company that I am a ‘published’ writer, often work on my inner lack of success, as do watching awards ceremonies and thinking “If only my screenplay had been produced” – which is why I steer clear of them now.

Frustrated by certain scripts remaining unproduced, I often decide to adapt them – partly as a learning experience / for the practice, but also because I believe that certain ideas can work equally well in both formats. I’d be just as happy being produced, as well as being published.

The important thing for me is that these ideas are [hopefully] enjoyed by others. And you’re not lynched afterwards for crimes against ‘the rules’…

My main issue as a writer of prose, mainly short fiction, is that I suffer from StephenKingitis – or Overlyverboseprose syndrome as it’s known in certain circles. Continue reading “To cut or not to cut? and if so where?”

Back on the Motion Graphics trail

I am back on the Motion Graphics trail, having to brush up on my After Effects and Motion skills, having been given a boot up the arris by seeing that Mark Christiansen has released an update of his excellent After Effects Studio Techniques book to the latest AECS4 and I am still working on AE7; and if I don’t do it now, by the time I do finish working my way through his book it will be very out of date! With that in mind I see that Computer Arts have posted some excellent Motion graphics tips, as well as those brilliant guys from VideoCopilot.

Art Beats is also doing an After Effects “REAL WORLD FOOTAGE EFFECTS” podcast geared around working with Stock Footage.

So why do I care? When I am much happier just creating screenplays right now….

Continue reading “Back on the Motion Graphics trail”

“All Nightmare Long” . . . The Video Premiere – METALLICA Zombies

I own this new DEATH MAGNETIC album by Metallica and still haven’t learned to love it yet – let alone manage to listen to it all the way through in one sitting. Yet this new zombie video ALL NIGHTMARE LONG is 7 kinds of awesome!



Continue reading ““All Nightmare Long” . . . The Video Premiere – METALLICA Zombies”

First Twenty Pages – upload your screenplays

There is a new resource out there for budding screenwriters and pro’s alike to pimp their scripts to production companies and agents – as well as getting valued feedback from their peers – this site is called First Twenty Pages. The first 20 members who join are able to use the site for free for six months.

“Once you have joined FTP you can submit either your First Twenty Page’s or your full Screenplay (over 85 but under 140 pages)for Review by other members and soon it will be seen by Prodco’s and Agents. The main object of is to help you write at a higher level than you may be writing at now, by getting more visibility and reviews of your writing style from your Peers. Before you enter any Contests, find out what other Writers think of your writing. If you get mostly “5 stars” on FTP, then you are definitely ready for that Contest.  In the same vane, if you get mostly 2 star reviews, then you can learn from your reviews, resubmit and continue to improve.”

Check out:  – It’s eary days as yet, as their are currently only 5 scripts registered – but with your help this site could be massive! I certainly will be using it and have already registered!