Being Christmas I have been a busy bee making cakes and mincemeat and puddings. However I have still had time to get some writing done.
One success has been getting a story into Santa's Bedtime Book Of Adventure Stories.
You can hear the stories free, one being read each night by Santa, or pay for a 1-2-1 chat with Santa here. Or buy the book here for the UK and here for the US.
Hi Everybody! How are you keeping?
I’m fine thanks but have been doing a lot of writing. Of course. I also had my first go at making a short film. Well I say me but it was a team.
We spent last weekend doing the 36 hour challenge. Make a 5minute film in 36 hours with a max crew of four (actors are extra), no budget and using only smartphones and zoom. The result was Leap which premiered last Saturday.
“Tell me more,” you say. Of course I will.
The challenge was part of the Screen and Story Festival. A virtual 2 day festival that showcased some of the best short films around. Wow were they good films. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I felt terror for the characters. They showed what can be done with the short form film both in narrative and creativity. Really impressed and know what I have to aspire to.
Anyway, the festival. Where did it begin. Well sit comfortably and I will tell you a story.
Many years ago the London Screenwriting Festival was created. An annual event where writers from all over the world can gather with kindred spirits and learn, share and just know that we are not alone. It is a rollercoaster event that is utterly exhausting but so worth it. If you have not heard of it then WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!!!! Click on the link above to find out more.
Of course with this thing going on, you know, this Covid 19 thingy, the festival could not physically take place. So what did they do? Did they feel sorry for themselves? No they didn’t. They set up, in record time and with a steep learning curve, London SWF Online. Instead of a weekend of flat out goodness they managed a MONTH of it. There were talks, zoom interviews, challenges (I wrote a script from scratch in 28 days), virtual gatherings. It was magic and I made lots of new friends in a way I could not have managed at the rollercoaster that is the physical festival.
At the end of the month, though the festival is still ticking along, we all wanted to keep that camaraderie and support going. So, some of the attendees set up the Global Film Industry Café. Not just for writers but for all in the film industry. We have guest speakers. We have pitch practices. We have cold reads, see Cold Reading Circle run by my mate Wendy Jones. We just regularly gather and support each other.
Anyway, some of them decided to do an extra festival in record time, and I mean record. The Screen and Story Festival. The theme was Connections and they got flooded with wonderful films and I don’t envy them the task they had of paring them down. Even with that, the one day turned into two.
So, as part of the festival, they set up the 36hr Challenge. Some of us formed our own crews. In other cases they helped people fined each other. At 9am on the Saturday morning (or middle of the night for some as this was global) we sat before our computers ready to find out what our theme and colour were. These had to be incorporated into the script, not just a token addition.
The Theme was Connections and the colour was Orange and we were off.
Note that teams were scattered all over the planet, as were the actors. This involved lots of ingenuity and creativity to pull off and the seven teams did brilliantly.
Anyway, being my first attempt, I made the crew a family affair. I was Producer/Director/Writer. My son Matt was Director of Photography. My daughter in law Eve was Sound/Art/Make-up. My daughter Hannah was Editor. They left me alone to get the script and shooting schedule sorted and by lunchtime we were ready to start filming.
Two of the actors were remote from us, Jane Fallon and Rae Stevens. We gave them directions on what to do with the phone, the script and notes and virtual rehearsal then left them to do their bit. The other actors were local, Evie Frost, John Woodward and me. We used social distancing and filmed outside in a FREEZING wind which meant some improvising with the sound recording. How to hide a phone close enough to catch the sound but out of shot and out of the wind.
John also played the music for us. A wonderful musician. I am so lucky there are many creatives in our village. OK back to the plot.
By Sunday lunchtime we had all the footage and sound together and passed them on for editing. That was when my editor informed me that some had to be completely reshot. AAAAAAHHH!!! Off we went to do that while she carried on working on the rest.
With only an hour to go we uploaded the finished result to Vimeo and submitted the link and paperwork and then crashed. We were utterly exhausted but so pleased we got it done.
There is another challenge coming soon so get on board. It is fun.
Oh, and the film? Watch it here.
Not strictly a writing post but I wanted to share the guide I wrote for the village.
So here goes.
Oh and if you see any errors or options I have missed then please shout.
How to chat with friends and family with video.
First of all it is not scary and it is not hard. Grandparents and Grandkids have used this system to chat to each other for years. Here are some systems you can use.
Most people with windows have this already installed. Most of you have probably already used it.
Now you can keep Skype open all the time but it does slow things down a bit. Instead it is probably best to agree a time with your friends then all go on then. If you do keep it open it will let you know when someone wants to contact you. Like having your door open so people know they can pop in and chat.
A lot of people are on facebook but may not be aware that the messenger system does video too.
Really for groups, lectures, meetings, etc but can be used for one to one. Don’t be intimidated by the professional website. It is so easy to use.
This is an option for those with iPhone, iPad or iPod devices. I have mentioned it so you are aware but I know nothing about this one. I am sure someone else will add to this. Some info here. https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204380
Well there is a good guide here. https://faq.whatsapp.com/en/android/26000026/?category
It walks you through it.
Worth following these if you ever wondered what it was like to attend the festival. Tickets are selling out fast. Hope to see you there.
Mark has written a lovely post about our twisted experience writing the latest book. Get your copy here!
And here is my installment of the Short Story to Feature two parter.
You can read it here on Into The Script. A great site for writing advice from Olivia Brennan.
Mark Walker has written installment one of a post on whether Short Stories make good Feature Films. It has been published on Olivia Brennan's Into The Story. A great site for writing advice.
See the post here. Part two by me is next week.
Well here it is. The big announcement. Terror Bites!!!!!
Four writers of horror gathered together but I think the brains behind the operation, Emma, tells it the best.
Terror Bites is a collection of short horror stories written by four deranged writers. It’s a charity anthology dedicated to dear friends who were given their angel wings too soon and to others still battling the beast known as cancer. Our chosen charity, FUCK CANCER, provides hope and joy to people who are living with cancer. We hope to raise as much as possible so they can continue to provide this important lifeline.
Here is a taster from each author.
First the master herself... Emma Pullar.
Then the wickedly naughty... Steve Pool.
Mustn't forget the evilly sinister... Mark Walker.
And finally the modest and angelic... MEEEEE!!!!!
Welcome to my thoughts. If my work makes you feel something I'll be happy.