Thursday, 22 October 2015

London Screenwriters' Festival 2015

Darling ones,

I am live-tweeting as many sessions as I can and catching up with friends. I will be using an iShine Power Bank 5200mAh to aid me in this fell purpose... #LondonSWF

Hopefully see some of you there!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Udemy infographic

Darling ones,

here's an interesting infographic about screenwriting from the lovely people at Udemy - thanks Samantha! Check their site out here!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


Darling ones,

it's been my gory pleasure to read many short stories entered for the Twisted50 initiative over at Create50. You can submit up to three drafts of your bone-chilling/disgusting/spooky/sick story and redraft according to your peers' feedback on your glorious prose. But hurry - Cristina and I are soon to draw up a shortlist with which to entice a publisher!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Thumbs of Fire!

Darling ones,

not long ago I had the pleasure of attending Lucy V Hay's two-day course on script reading. Myself and the very lovely Michelle Goode live-tweeted the whole shebang. You can read what we tweeted here. And it got me to thinking that I'd like to do some more of that. So, if you have a film or writing event that you'd like live-tweeted, get in touch. No charge, just get me a ticket.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Review: Writing and Selling Drama Screenplays by Lucy V Hay

If, like me, you have the good fortune to know Lucy personally, or you’ve had the sense to check out her excellent Bang2Write blog, you’ll know that she’ll have no truck with jargon or unnecessary mystification of the dark art of screenwriting. This book cuts - as ever - to the chase, decoding the elusive drama film. I must confess I’m more of a genre freak than I realised! I haven’t actually seen that many drama films, shying away perhaps from the emphasis on emotion and internal conflict.
Lucy lays out the difference between dramas and other genres in a friendly humorous way that doesn’t make your eyes bleed. I think her exhortation to make a character’s life challenging rather than full of unmitigated misery is the thing that stands out for me. Also the way in which she identifies the various types of drama story and how to write good, believable characters without resorting to clich├ęd stereotypes.
I particularly enjoyed the case studies, some of which I’d seen and some not. I watched ‘Hours’ and ‘Blue Valentine’ with Lucy’s words very much fresh in my mind. I also admired the unflinching way in which she acknowledges that it is difficult to write a great drama script that producers will want to make, but she is also endlessly encouraging to the writer. Like I said earlier, she demystifies the process.
In keeping with the other titles in the Creative Essentials series, this is a book for writers at every stage of their development and is a must-read for anyone finding their way through the financial maze of production. I think film students will find it very approachable, due to its common sense. Lucy writes about drama as though she’s sitting in the room talking to you about it, and you can’t get better than that.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

REVIEW: Writing and Selling Romantic Comedy by Helen Jacey and Craig Batty

Darling ones,

this just in: cynical reviewer likes excellent book about writing romantic comedies. I know! Le shock, right? Please observe that I said 'like' not 'lurve'. I have a platonic friendship with it, we're not engaged or anything. I was familiar with Helen Jacey's writing, having devoured her book on female heroes and taken part in a workshop of hers at LSWF.

In keeping with Kamera Books' other titles, this tome does not disappoint. I particularly liked its no-nonsense approach to the vexed subject of romcoms. I've always felt that it was slightly sneered at as a genre, yet, when well-written, it's so marketable. The book is informed by the authors' love of their subject (pun intended) and their keenness for the aspiring romcom writer to identify with the emotions that their characters experience. Where else would you find an exercise that requires you to go on an 'conventionally romantic experience on your own'? The idea being to record all your sensations and examine how being with another person would improve it. What struck me about the exercises was how therapeutic they might be to the writer who has experienced heartache (which is just about everybody).

Loads of films are referenced. I watched 'Her' as a result of reading the book. I liked the sci-fi angle but wasn't convinced about the emotional story. That probably says more about me than it does the film, mind. I think anyone trying to write a romcom as a purely technical exercise wouldn't succeed; you do really have to love it as a genre. There are lots of insider insights, top tips and every sub-genre is discussed, exhaustively. I was delighted to see the reference 'sorocom' as opposed to the derogatory 'chick-flick'. In terms of female representation, romcom has the power to be subversive, using the genre to depict the complexities of female friendship. The book cites 'The Heat' as an example of this, and has an extensive list of films for the writer to check out in the index. There's a useful section on finding funding (which seems to change every day), with the advent of Kickstarter et al.

So, a happy ending for this reviewer! Awww. Cue music as reviewer and book drift off into the sunset...