For years I have written with my laptop balanced on the arm of the sofa. Not the best situation, especially when I am trying to put myself into work mode.
But, as the fledglings leave the nest, space becomes available.
For the past few months one of the bedrooms has been emptied, ripped apart, rewired, painted and carpeted. The end result is I now have my own writing space in one corner with arts and crafts in the other.
The room will need to multi-task as a guest room. Fledglings do fly back for visits. But for the majority of the time it is mine, all mine. Mwa ha ha.
Now I need to get my head down and do some hard writing. Deadlines looming and new projects to start.
I am on Radio Cumbria tonight some time between 8 and 9pm. Talking about how the local scenery often inspires my multi-media writing projects on horror and the supernatural!
It will be available on listen again if you miss it.
Today was the big panic day of the LSF. There are only so many pitch slots and a lot of people after them.
Most of us have spent weeks researching the pitching victims, aka Executives. What have they made, what are they making, what are they planning to make, are they human beings, will they rip me to pieces with an evil villain cackle...?
We have been putting info in spreadsheets, most based on the brilliant Dee Chilton's annual effort. Scoring the Execs from 1-4 and which sessions have the highest total score.
Is it better to have this session with the most 1 scorers or that one which has the most 1 and 2 scorers? But then there is the other session with the one person who is actually perfect. They can't fail to declare your brilliance and pay you huge sums for your spec script. Oscars lie ahead.
The computer or phone is set up. You have the clock ticking, the pitch booking page open ready to refresh, the LSFConnect chatroom going with everyone passing frantic notes. The count down is on.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. It hits high noon and you refresh your page. You pick your session. Noooo. Others were faster and it is full in seconds. Dive for your second or third choice. Done. Slump in your seat and let your heart calm down.
Then reality kicks in. Have I actually got something to pitch? Do I have an idea or a treatment that they might want to see developed? Will I do something stupid and convince them I am a psycho they never want to see again.
Just a note on that one. Each year I have done one really cringingly embarrassing thing. Something that makes my stomach want to leap up and rip out my tongue. We all do it. Just store it in that dark corner of your psyche and carry on.
So back to the pitching. In previous years I have gone in with a plan of what project I pitch to which person. Some got the same project. Doesn't matter.
This year most of my stuff is early draft or treatment stage. So instead I am just going to chat about my projects, what they are doing and what they hope to see. If I can make them laugh then all the better.
If you are going to be pitching at the festival and didn't get your perfect slot, don't despair. Perfection is a relative concept and full of illusion.
Best tip I can give that has served me well.
If you see a seat free then sit on it. Let them know it your project wasn't what they said they were looking for but seeing as you are both free would you like to hear it? Always got a yes and often followed by "I am looking for more than on the details you got." At the worst it is a practice run.
I will be heading there on Thursday. If you see me feel free to say hello. I love to chat.
So the first of the 2 volume series has been published. I am in volume 2 but you really need to read volume 1 before reading volume 2.
It has been great fun to work with the other wonderful writers, Saranne Mallinson, Emma Pullar, Fiona Leitch, Nick Jackson, Carmen Radtke and Lawrence Mallinson, on the project. Everyone has been so constructive and open to ideas.
We are all hoping to do it again.
Get your copy here.
If you can get to Manchester there is a brilliant workshop being run by Yvonne Grace. She has 25 years experience in script editing, story lining, script development and television drama production. This includes working on East Enders, Coronation Street and Holby City.
The course is on Saturday 30th September from 9am to 5pm.
I can highly recommend this workshop. Find out more here.
I am supposed to be relaxing on holiday but the cottage has a big table which is just perfect for writing on. I've been unable to stop myself on my rest days. What are rest days? The days I have to recover in-between the days of sightseeing. The joys of ME I'm afraid.
So I have finished the first draft of my contribution to The Anthropocene Chronicles. Still got to read everyone else's and give feedback. Wondering how I got involved? Then wonder no more. I have written a guest post about it on my mate Eileen Wilson's blog here.
What else have I been up to. Well I have submitted to the Roadmap "Wise Words" script competition here. Yes I am that old. Roadmap Writers is a mine of information and a full platter of opportunities. Take a look here.
I have also applied to a number of events during the London Screenwriting Festival, LSF. There's the Actor's Table Read where a couple of pages of your script are work-shopped and you get helpful feedback.
Also applied to the Advanced Mentoring Workshop. Did this a couple of years a go with Steve La Rue. Really helpful. You get locked away with a few other writers and your mentor to workshop your work and get lots of gen.
I have to get a couple of other scripts sorted to apply for the Script Surgery where you get one to one feedback from Euroscript gurus. Plus Meet the Experts, where a panel of experts rip your pitch apart, and Live Script Edit where Lucy V Hay rips your script apart. You have to be brave for those two.
Talking about the LSF, have you got your ticket yet? Why not? Raid your piggy bank and get there. Honestly it is a must if you are serious about your scriptwriting.
Want to know what it is like? Well I wrote a post for the festival about what I did last year here. I only did the presentations and none of the extra stuff that year but it gives you a taster. Have any questions let me know.
May your ideas flow freely.
Have you heard of Create50? No? Well I need to do something about that.
It is an initiative that was generated from LSF. You know about that festival don't you? No? Where have you BEEN!!! OK I'll sort that in the next post but right now I welcome you to Create50.
It is a community of creative people, obviously. They work together to make things happen rather than wait to be discovered. Although the majority of members are writers it also involves directors, producers, film crews, musicians, artists, actors, voice artists… you are getting the picture. Basically a creative space.
Create50 has so far collaboratively produced one feature film and two short story anthologies. Another feature film and a couple of anthologies are underway with more projects on the horizon.
The contributors submit their work and everyone can give feedback to help improve it. They can then rework and resubmit twice if they wish. Feedback is constructive and supporting, we want to help each other do well.
But the best way to introduce it properly is through the projects themselves.
The first project was 50 Kisses, a feature film made up of 50 short films, released February 2014. Screenwriters were asked to contribute 2min scripts that were set on Valentine’s Day and included at least one kiss. From these fifty were selected and offered to film makers to create 2min films to make the feature film. You can get more info and see the result here.
The next film project was Impact50. Imagine the world is about to end. Completely. No survivors. Nada. What do you do in your last few minutes? This film was given a timeline from the impact, tracking destruction round the planet. Even better Joe Eszterhas has written part of it!
Film makers still have time to get involved in Impact50. Film one from the winners list and you can then choose to make another from the full list of submissions.
I have a script, "Silence", on the winner list being produced and another, "Jump", on the finalist list. Just saying. In case you are interested. No pressure.
For those preferring prose the first project was a horror anthology, Twisted50. The shout went out to write a twisted tale of max 2k words. So we dived into the murky depths of our imaginations and the stories slithered in. Giving feedback was a brave process because those stories were nightmarish. Somehow 50 were selected for the anthology Twisted50 but the standard was so high that Twisted’s Evil Little Sister was also published. I have "The Beating Of My Heart" in Twisted and "Velvet Mary" in Evil Little Sister.
The anthologies are available as ebooks, softbacks and audiobooks on Amazon and directly here. We even pushed a certain well known Horror writer, Mr King, off the Amazon bestseller list! A possible feature film is being considered too.
This was such a success that Amazon asked if Create50 could do more genre anthologies. So they did another Twisted50 shout. The shortlist for Vol 2 and possibly Vol 3 has been announced. They are now selecting further for those that will make the anthologies.
A SF anthology is also underway, Singularity50. Singularity is the point when Technology becomes independent of us. The stories look at the events up to this point, both good and bad. The finalists are currently being selected then the 50 that will make the anthology.
Whetted your appetite? Ready to get involved? New projects are on their way. more genres are being selected. Come on, join in here. We are a friendly crowd. You won’t regret it.
Nice to meet you and welcome to my first post here.
Some of you may know me from my old blog here. I am going to keep that about but from now on I will be posting here.
So what will you see in my little missives?
I like to chat about my writing, of course, events I have been to, any interesting gossip (writing based only you naughty boys and girls) and odd events in my life. Just to spice things up a bit. A lot of odd things happen to me. Comes from living in a small village and being mostly housebound. I have to keep myself amused somehow.
Things to look forward to in the posts ahead:
1) London Screenwriting Festival (LSF)! If you have not heard about this where have you BEEN! It is the place to be as a screenwriter. A long weekend surrounded by kindred spirits. Learning, networking and having a good time. I will be posting about my preparations, why I go and what is happening this year.
2) Create50. Again as a writer you need to know about this. It is project that has ties to LSF. The project makes films, books and there is more planned ahead. I will talk about why I got involved, what happened and why you should to. Note this one has opportunities for film makers, illustrators and musicians as well as writers.
3) Mentors. Who I turn to for advice. Why having someone other than family reading your work is a good thing. How I cope with feedback. Where you can find useful information and why you should be on Facebook. Yes really. It is not just for sharing photos of your meals. It is a working environment too.
4) Writing Groups. I have had bad experiences. I have had good. Overall they are worth while. I am a member of North Cumbria Scriptwriters (NCS) which is affiliated with Theatre by the Lake (TBTL).
So hope you pop by and have a good read.
Welcome to my thoughts. If my work makes you feel something I'll be happy.