Bad Santa 2

Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Check out the 2019 Holiday Gift Guide! Look, every blog in the world is doing a gift guide at this time of year, and it’d be remiss of me not to pitch in. After all, someone might gift one of these to me! No sponsorships were received in the writing of this, this isn’t an advertorial, this is merely a list of things I love that I think over people might also enjoy. Picturehouse Membership – You don’t need to buy me this, I already have it. But it is amazing, not just because Picturehouse is great little cinema chain.


Dates for your diary – December 2018

Rather than re-publishing dates of contests, festivals, and opportunities every few months, I’ve instead gone for a big annual page for 2019. I’ll then use the blog posts for significant updates. The main page is still a bit empty, not everyone has announced their dates yet. However, Screencraft has a announced their 2019 dates.  S.O.U.L. has announced their February screening and networking event and the (free) tickets are available on January 25th. Here’s their blurb: Celebrate:Connect is S.O.U.L.‘s first initiative and has been created to offer Britain’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic filmmakers a public and recognisable platform to showcase their

Sabrina CAOS Woods Red Coat

TV Shows I Really Ought To Finish Watching

While I don’t agree with Steve McQueen when he says TV is just bad now, I do agree that there’s so much stuff out there to watch, and so little time to actually watch all of it. Part of it is also wanting to be part of the conversation, so while I’m still enjoying The Haunting of Hill House, I’m keen to start watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Because of binge-watching, by the time I’m even able start watching Sabrina, the conversation will have moved on to something new. Here are some of the TV shows I’ve started, but


Story Factory Reboot, not a Remake

The Visual Thesaurus lists the differences as: Remake: A straight re-telling of a story for the purpose of updating it for a contemporary audience, or making it accessible to a different culture or region. Re-Imagining: A re-telling of a story, but only in the broadest sense. Characters and some story elements may be retained, but mostly plot and story have been repurposed. Reboot: A course correction done with the purpose of restarting a franchise. A reset. Fealty to the original story or film is not a priority. It’s been five months since I last posted a reasonable update on the


Screenwriting Opportunities and Contests September 2018

Planning out the year’s submission strategy for screenplays can be tough, there are so many of them, with dates scattered throughout the year. Time it wrong, and you can end up slipping into late submission windows, often significantly more expensive than the early bird option. So, to make that all a little easier, here’s the deadlines for the rest of the year, and I’ll be posting every month with updates. I’ve probably missed a few, but I’ll keep it updated as much as I can! DateDescriptionRequirementPrice7th SeptemberChannel 4 Screenwriting Course 2019 Applications OpenC & one writing sample; must be free


Project Carnaby – Loglines

Chances are if you see a screenwriter crying and/or banging their head against the desk, possibly whilst wailing about the injustice of the world, it’s probably because they’ve been asked to write a logline. If writing a screenplay is finding the conflict and the drama and exploring that over 60 to 120 minutes, loglines are taking all that nuance and throwing it out of the window. Depending on who you ask, loglines are between 20 and 50 words long, they’re an elevator pitch. A tiny sales document, selling sizzle more than steak. And they’re really hard to write well. Case


Project Carnaby – Urban Fantasy

Most of what I write is in the genre of urban fantasy, and this project will be too. So I probably ought to define it before we continue. According to Wikipedia: Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has an urban setting. Works of urban fantasy are set primarily in the real world and contain aspects of fantasy, such as the discovery of earthbound mythological creatures, coexistence or conflict between humans and paranormal beings, and other changes to city life. A contemporary setting is not strictly necessary for a work of urban fantasy: works of the


Project Carnaby – Research

Write what you know. Such a misunderstood phrase, and it’s why you get so many terrible scripts about writers with writer’s block. (Everyone has a pet peeve, that one’s mine). ‘Write what you know’ is so much more about emotional situations, it’s about theme and mindset. For example, the life of a being with supernatural immortallity is utterly unknowable, but loneliness and ennui, that’s something many of us know, and understand. I’ll get to the theme of Project Carnaby in a subsequent post, and it definitely falls into the remit of ‘write what you know’. But what I didn’t know about,


Project Carnaby – A Writer’s Saga

No, I’m not breaking my golden rule of not writing about writers with writer’s block. There are lots of motivational groups and programs for screenwriters, such as WRAC and Zero Draft 30. However, for my own motivation, and by way of illumination, I wanted to chronicle my path from hair-brained idea to complete feature film screenplay. Unvarnished, and including all the process missteps and crises of faith. Project Carnaby I’d reached the point of saturation with my last project, a TV pilot called Breached. It had been submitted almost everywhere it could, it was complete if imperfect and it was

The Shape Of Water

Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

I covered it briefly in my review of 2017 movies, but I do keep getting asked what movies I’m looking forward to in 2018. Partly so I don’t forget what’s coming up, I’ve expanded on the topic a little. Didn’t That Come Out Last Year? Not in the UK, sadly, otherwise I’d have seen them already. That’s the problem with Awards season, some of the best films end up straddling the New Year. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Martin McDonagh The Shape of Water – Guillermo Del Toro Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig. The Main List Untitled Chris Morris

LOTR One True Ring

Amazon’s $250 million Lord of The Rings TV Gamble

Lord of the Rings has always had a cachet, a multi-billion dollar franchise, winning 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s much-beloved books. Without Peter Jackson’s LOTR movies, we’d likely not have the Game of Thrones show on TV, HBO’s solution to their quest for something LOTR-ish that they could spin into a big budget TV epic. It worked out for HBO, so the Tolkien estate decided to see if anybody wanted to try and bottle lightning a second time, offering TV rights to the whole of Tolkien’s imaginarium, for upwards of $200 million. HBO, already

Red Planet Prize Logo

Red Planet Prize Opens Today

The Red Planet Prize is a well-established and well-regarded screenwriting competition, and it’s back for 2016! Not only that, but the submissions window opens today, closing on Friday 22nd January 2016 at 12pm. One lucky winner will receive £5,000 to have their screenplay exclusively developed by Red Planet Pictures and will also have six months of intensive development with a dedicated and experienced script editor. The winner will also receive one to one masterclasses with British writing talent such as Tony Jordan (Life On Mars, Hustle, Dickensian), Andrew Davies (Pride & Prejudice, Bleak House, War And Peace) and Sarah Phelps (Great


Mobile Apps for Writers 2015

These days many writers rely on their mobile devices, their phones and tablets, rather than (or in addition to) more analogue stationary. Anything to get ideas down on the move with a minimum of effort and inconvenience. So I’ve gathered a list of mobile apps that I find useful to this end. I’ll apologise for the slight iOS bias in these, it’s not that I think one platform is necessarily superior to any other, but it just happens to be the one that works for me. Some these aren’t free, and there are cheaper alternatives for most, but again they’re

Writer's Block Logo

Writer’s Block Episode 2 – Story: Part 1

Filmmaker Mark Lever was kind enough to invite Story Factory’s Stephan Burn to participate as a guest on his screenwriting talk show Writer’s Block. Stephan talks with Mark, and regular guest Gary Thomas, about where story ideas come from, as well as his favourite script Brick. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUrDTNfYfsc Stephan will return for a future episode of Writer’s Block, where he talks about structure in screenplays.


Euroscript Free Christmas Networking Event

Hang out, mingle, network, drink and eat mince pies with producers, directors and writers at Euroscript’s free networking event. It starts at 19:30 on the 9th of December, at The Enterprise, 38 Red Lion Street, Holborn, WC1R 4PN. The event is free, but pre-booking is mandatory.

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