The Sweet Aroma Of Juniper

Another couple of pages down for today. It doesn’t sound like a lot but I’m pretty much running off the notes to get the intro into some kind of shape. I’ve typed a couple of character names straight in without really thinking about it. I’ll probably use the next week or so to actually pin stuff down properly and make the rest easier.

In these moments of firing away stuff happens with characters that might well stay for the long run. It’s stuff that I might not have ever thought about giving them or making them do. Early on in this draft Jennifer, our main scientist and lead character, is stuck on the space station. One of her opening lines is to tell mission control that she’d like a gin sent up as she ‘hasn’t had a drink for weeks’. It’s thrown in there as an aside but I’m not sure if it’s making her sound like a raging alcoholic. Am I accidently writing her as Bridget Jones in space or is the fact she’s joking about this stuff making her more human and therefore more believable?

Devil Storms

I took a look at Parallel again. Well I took a look at the four or five pages that I’d done a few weeks ago and promptly scrapped the lot. I’ve started again, this time starting the story on Earth at the Mission Control building as they guide the penultimate scientist down from the space station to terra firma. This leaves our remaining scientist alone up in the sky until the shuttle can turn around and get her too.

There are flaws in this already. Why should there be a shuttle that can only take one person at a time. Surely any project like this would be funded to a large degree and be able to fit all of them on board? The only thing giving some kind of reason for this right now is a very simple one. This expedition to the stars is not only in the near future but also very British. I don’t want the massive NASA missions that we’ve seen in movies before with hundreds of technicians running around massive computers. This is something on a much smaller scale with just about enough funding to get the thing off the ground.

I had toyed with the idea of having a huge Union Jack flag proudly displayed on a pole in the room much like the American ones displayed either side of the President during speeches at The White House. I then began to think that it’s not something we Brits would do. We would simply be uncomfortable with that level of bombast. I’ve therefore settled by having a very small flag on the desk of the lead technician. It still means the same thing but it’s more in keeping with nationality in this film.

The other slight trouble I have is that all the characters you meet in the first few minutes are white men. Our scientist in the sky, whose journey back home is the bulk of the movie from then on, is female and in her early 40’s which isn’t often a profile seen in a movie like this. The trouble is that it takes a few moments to get to her currently and I’m worried it’s a bit off putting.


But still, we’re off and running again.


Wunderkind Child


I refer you dear reader to a film maker bulletin email I have received this evening. It’s a shining example of the kind of stuff I see nearly everyday regarding producers looking for scripts. I won’t put the guy’s name on this but I will start quoting.

Firstly our producer/director introduces himself alongside a link to his latest short film. It’s all good so far, he’s done good stuff. Then we get…

‘Right now I’m looking any writer that has un-produced scripts that they would like to see brought to life.’

Fantastic! He’s done movies before so isn’t some joker with only a Youtube channel to his name and he’s willing to read new scripts. I’m seriously thinking about giving him an email with the synopsis of ‘Order For Burning’.

He then lists the music artists he’s worked with, the adverts he’s filmed and the vast selection of software he uses. More importantly, he has his own company. This is seriously sounding better and better.

‘I’m considering any genre and style but I’m really looking for scripts that allows for visual flare, that can be considered cinematic in content, and have strong themes & subtext that’s explored within the narrative.

I’m naturally drawn to big concepts but I am considering anything and everything at this point.’

Okay, Order For Burning might be a story about witch burnings in a Scottish setting but it does have themes of religion, how people will commit torture gladly if their belief system dictates it and society’s attitudes towards women. There’s a fair bit in there that chimes with some modern day stuff.

‘These projects will be self funded so I’m not looking for any scripts that need serious financing. As a result of self funding I will not be able to buy or pay for any scripts that I make.’

Uh oh…It was all going really well too.

So this producer who has worked with stars, been on the books of advertising companies and has experience up to his eyeballs will not pay a penny towards any script he makes..

‘…but I will happily sign a profit sharing agreement in case the film wins money at a festival or earns profit in any other way.’

Yes my friend, you’ll be happy because you’ll have got a script for free. I seem to have to settle for ‘in case’ and ‘earning profit in any other way’. So I have to wait until you’ve broken even just to get a sniff at anything do I?

‘Please be aware that any scripts chosen are likely to under go some changes to maximise my vision of it. This wont ever be a personal reflection on the quality of the script’.

So even after spending the grand total of absolute zero on it you believe you have the right to change everything around. As part of a normal film making process this is perfectly fine but I highly doubt that you’ll be paying me for rewrites if you can’t be bothered paying for the script in the first place.

‘I am planning to post this in as many places as possible with the aim of reading as many scripts as possible. With this in mind, if you wish to submit a script/scripts for me to read it must come with a short letter that very briefly covers the following:

A quick summary/description of the scripts narrative
A list of any (if any) themes, issues, subtext, visual metaphors addressed in the script
A quick description of yourself
contact details

Please understand that I cannot read any script that doesn’t come with this’.

So not only are you not going to pay me but you’re also going to make me jump through these hoops just for the privilege of you possibly reading it. I assume you won’t accept a synopsis like most others in the industry then?

When ‘Robotics’ was made I didn’t get any money from that as a writer, the main reason being it was a short. Shorts traditionally go around festivals and do not make any kind of return. If they’re asking for features then the amount of work involved would require payment. If it’s shorts then the promise of ‘making money at festivals’ should be seen as the bullshit it is.

I’ll be keeping my scripts in the drawer for this one.

Has anybody out there ever found success writing for free?

Death Is Bvt A Door

I would have got more writing done today were it not for small technical glitches. Long time readers will know that I make a wrestling podcast with a few friends called ‘The Conquistabores’. As part of the show’s blog I’m watching all the WWF shows from the late 90’s I missed. Each entry is usually between 4000-5000 words in total and I had carefully edited the entire article about the 1998 Royal Rumble (from California for all you fans of geography) and placed photos in the relevant places. It was then that Tumblr decided to have some kind of fit, graying out the ‘Post’ command. I couldn’t do anything with it as it seemed to be stuck in a loop of backing itself up. I deleted the entire thing and went back in to try again. The text went on fine but the photos meant I was unable to post again. After much swearing I went to the kitchen to get a coffee. Leaving the article to one side I began a short story instead.

I haven’t written much in the way of stories in a while. I started what might end up being a book not that long ago but this is the first time in a while for a self contained story. I haven’t actually planned anything about it but it’s written in the first person so I’m hoping this actually helps it along somewhat. It’s a recollection of an event rather than a polished piece.

I had thought originally that I might be able to finish it tonight. I was wondering what exactly I’d do with it when it’s done. Keeping it saved on a hard drive defeats the whole purpose of writing as it’s important to get your stuff out there so it can be read. Trying to find a place to publish it would take a very long time and wouldn’t guarantee ever seeing the light of day. I’ve reached the conclusion that I could probably finish it on Friday and then I’ll just stick it up on here.

I’ve currently shut it down for the night as it stands at one thousand words. I went back to the wrestling article after this and the gremlins clocked off for the night as it posted fine.

If it’s your bag then you can check it out here.

These two things combined mean I’ve probably done about 3000 words today. Tomorrow night will probably be spent playing video games.


The Bear, The Bull & The Punk

How do you begin a film? What should the opening scene be? How should you grab attention?

I think I’m ready to bolt together a scene by scene now. It’s the final piece before we head out of base camp for the long climb ahead. The dilemma is that I’m starting this story at the end of the main character’s research trip. It feels like it’s winding down just when I want to apply the pressure.

I might start with another character getting back to Earth first. He ends up being safe and sound back with his family. We then cut back to space and our main protagonist remains up among the stars waiting for her ride home.

Which, after a few pages, we know will never come.

Paper Air

Do something constructive.

So I’m hauling ideas together for the next script. It’s back to my usual science fiction after the detour that was witch burning last year. It’s also something which I hope can be filmed on a fairly low budget. At the moment I’m aiming for a maximum of four characters and probably only two locations.

It’s based on the theory of parallel universes, mainly about what would happen if every single possibility that could happen was happening at the same time. I’m also trying to tell the story in real time as the main character has an hour and a half to resolve the situation. I’m completely unsure as to if this will work well or not at all.

I’ve spent time the last few nights just taking notes with a pen and paper. I’ve yet to touch a computer with regards to any kind of prep work for the script. It’s been a strange feeling because it comes across as just scribbling and not really doing anything constructive towards anything. The first five pages of the script actually existed beforehand as I blasted through them before Christmas but, since reading though it a few nights ago, I ended up deleting the whole thing with the intention of starting again afresh.

I have a week off work coming up, hopefully I can get a major part of it done then.



There Is No Room For Hatred (In A Broken Heart)

I never used to listen to much music on the radio. During the nights when I used to stay up late and write I had a small radio in the room which was tuned to talk stations. I wanted to hear voices, to get the idea of different people talking, how they put across an opinion, how different voices overlay and interact with each other. The dial would be set into anything vocal, it didn’t even have to be in English.

Last night I was working on a piece of writing for The Conquistabores podcast I’m part of. Because I have a weakness for keeping social media open on another tab whilst I work I noticed that a notification had popped up on Twitter saying that the show Wireless Nights was about to start over on Radio 4. It’s presented by Jarvis Cocker, the lead singer of Pulp. This edition was about journeys in the night and it featured sections with Kathleen from Mostly Ghostly Investigations with regards to the A75 haunted road tour.

In the stillness of my living room, late at night, the voices were a call back to those teenage days scribbling with a pad and pen. Not only were there stories about sightings of ghosts just outside Eastriggs but they also had a segment on a hitchhiker trying to get from London to Liverpool and a former soldier who told stories of his time driving in warzones.

I wrote away at speed. Two thousand words became three thousand then four thousand. I was able to put up an entire article in the early hours of the morning.

I might have just found my muse.

Phantoms of Stuttgart

The list of semi finalists for the script writing competition I entered a couple of months back has been released. My script is not on there. I won’t see the £35 entry fee again as, being the cheaparse, I went for the ‘no feedback’ option.

One of the main troubles with doing this writing thing is the sensation of working on a script for a few months and then having it go nowhere. It’s often then really hard to get yourself going again and start the climb once more. Also, there’s a whole question as to what the hell to start.

For this reason I’ve been facing up to a blank screen a lot lately, usually walking away in the end. I need to get some kind of momentum back in the game plan as I’m feeling a little bit lost right now. This usually leads to a fair amount of anxiety and a general feeling of just being a bit pointless really.

It’ll pass, most of the time it does.

I have an idea of something I want to do but it’s just that at the moment, an idea. There’s not much story hanging from it to begin with.

There’s also the book I started. I’m half thinking I might just be better off sticking chapters of it up here for people to read because I don’t think it’ll go anywhere else otherwise.

The Cake Cannot Be Chocolate

I’ve come back from holiday, staying in a small town not far from where my grandparents lived when I was younger. Any thoughts of continuing any work with the producer I emailed ‘The Salesman’s Gamble’ to a few weeks before I left have now died out. There is, quite simply, nothing in the email inbox from them. No feedback, no response to suggest anything is being read. In fact there has been little but silence. Upon checking the person’s website it suggest they ‘specialise in the development of writers’ which seems to not include being able to tell them that their stuff is not for you. Obviously they frequent the ‘they’ll take the hint’ crowd.

If I said bitter it’s probably because I am. It’s a little disappointing to be led up the path like this only to have it crash down. The fact these people exist shouldn’t surprise me but it still sticks in the throat a little.

But I’m moaning.

And you don’t want to hear it.

So we move on.


On very odd occasions there’s a email that will go around via one of the various script writing internet forums I’m on which will offer up an opportunity. Some of them are extremely specific such as the one recently that wanted a co-writer but only one who knew Arabic and had grown up in South London. Some however take a slightly wider scope and ask for ideas or help.

One came via Scottish Screenwriters the other day from a producer who was after short film scripts that he could make in a smaller budget. He also mentioned how he had access to a fight coordinator and was therefore interested in anything along those lines. As far as cheap scripts go I thought of ‘The Salesman’s Gamble’ which remains sat on my computer hard drive doing nothing since getting rejected previously. I sent him an email asking if it was okay to send the script but also mentioned I had an idea that might involve his fight guy. The only bother is I haven’t written it yet. I did explain this however.

So I get one back asking for the script and a pitch for the idea, I supply both. I know a whole lot of people wouldn’t dream of pitching to somebody they’ve just emailed over the internet. The thought being that some unscrupulous sort will take this no doubt blazing idea and make it anyway. In all honesty I haven’t got that much to lose by just trying so that is indeed what I did.

I have yet to hear anything back but I’m not pinning myself to it and waiting around doing little else. Maybe when I was younger I’d stop everything to just wait by the computer for an email to come in but now I’ve got another stuff to get through and to keep myself busy with.