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Saturday, 25 June 2011

Watch the Complete Liquid Lunch Web Series & More!

Screen grab courtesy of Danny Stack.

Liquid Lunch came to life after a bet Danny Stack and a few friends agreed to at the London Screenwriters' Festival in Oct 2010. The bet was to make a short film to a specific criteria and to a deadline. However, Danny lost the bet - but won with Liquid Lunch instead!

For those who are strangers to the term Liquid Lunch (i.e. Teetotallers, under the age of eighteen, etc.) here is a little education.

If you haven't heard of the six-part comedy web series (webcom to the savvy) or can't remember how the story goes, which is unlikely, here is a reminder:

Ollie and Alex regularly meet in the pub to break up the monotony of their working day. But when they realise life is passing them by, they decide to do something about it...

Three Ways to Watch

You can watch the complete web series at the Main Website, on the Facebook page, or over at the YouTube channel. *Warning, the youtube channel automatically plays the most recent episode (Ep6).*

But that's not all.

Yes, thanks to Danny (and the Internet), there is more and the kind of stuff that we usually wouldn't be privy to.

How He Made a Web Series

Danny Stack has kindly covered the entire Liquid Lunch web series making of process on his blog Scriptwriting in the UK, as well as allowing us to read script drafts and compare them to the finished episodes. You can find all that here!

For a more interactive and dynamic experience with his blog in Blogger's dynamic view - visit here - (It will take a few moments to load - due to all that great content!)

Press

For die hard fans and those interested, here is further insight into Liquid Lunch and some coverage on its press movement beyond Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Bournemouth Echo

Urban Theory Films

For an interview Danny Stack had recently with MZPtv, where he talks about his craft and writing process, favourite films and writing genre, and much more, head over to the article after reading this.

Liquid Lunch

But lastly, and most importantly, is it any good?

Well, I'll let you be the judge of that  - hop over to one of the three platforms now to view it:


"Don’t talk about what you’re going to do, get out and do it.

- Danny Stack

PS: Yes, it is good!!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The New Script... The Approaching Competition

So my TV Drama Spec script didn't pan out for a suitable Emmy scriptwriting competition entry. But a new script was decided a few months back and is almost done. It's a sixty page family drama and road trip type affair written specifically for the Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award 2011

Every script starts out with the best intentions and has an ideal way forward. But due to various factors they can sometimes fail to materialise how and when you wish. However, this one arrived at the right time, took me by surprise, by the heart, and demanded (by way of emotional blackmail) to be written before anything else. I had to comply. 

What begun as a fleeting glimpse of an unbreakable bond between two characters developed into a larger story and a collective journey of discovery. It's a story about the fragile but wondrous nature of childhood and family, the vicious inner workings of assumptions and fear, the destructive and irreversible beast of time, and the power of understanding and forgiveness.

Cool Runnings 

From that fleeting glimpse and initial idea six months ago, through developing and writing, it has been a fast and enjoyable process. It wasn't all easy going and had a few issues. But even during the challenging and tough moments they were enjoyable because I was learning and improving on the script as each day passed. 

However, after three months since embarking on the scene breakdown, here we are two drafts and various revisions later, with last minute tweaks and proof-reading to go, the third and competition draft is almost complete. 

I've had smooth sailing or  "cool runnings" (as it's better termed) with scripts in the past but not since my scriptwriting student days at Bournemouth University (2006 - 2009) have I had one jump out of me in such a quick amount of time. That scene from Alien springs to mind or the KFC advert. But in this case, the beast is a television script, refined; with universal themes, profound moments, an engaging narrative, and powerful uplifting message.

I have had a strong vision on this since the beginning and a clear ideal on each element that informs the whole. Its fast progress is down to just getting on with it and striving to express this particular screen story in its own unique and emotionally complex way. 

Without question the approaching competition deadline helped to spur me on somewhat but after taking it easy on the scriptwriting front for a while and partially displacing the responsibility over to the Myself of Tomorrow, I realised that I have been avoiding the inevitable and so should just get on with it, full throttle. 

The Competition 

I'm really pleased with the script so far and have learnt some new things on this project and re-realised a few old ones. Overall, it has been a joyous and productive experience. I look forward to improving on the script over the next week and locking it down for the competition.

With my heart and soul poured in, a lot of hard work and effort, and writing to an ambiguous entry requirement (family audience), I hope the judges will see something in the script and potential with me as a scriptwriter. If not, there are always other scripts to write and competitions to enter, and I will be no less fond of this script, which by the way is called In My Footsteps

"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way."

- Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award 2011 Entry

Are you rewriting away at your competition entry or have only just heard of the competition?

Either way, the deadline is in just under three weeks time on Friday 1st July 2011.

If you're not aware of the annual script competition held by the Emmy Foundationhere are the details:

Entry Requirements (Basic) 
  • Entry is for non-American novice writers under the age of 30.
  • To write a half-hour to one-hour television drama script (stand-alone or pilot).
  • It must be for a family audience.
Entries must be submitted by email to foundation@iemmys.tv, and to include the following documentation:

Submission Requirements
  • The script attached as a .pdf, .doc, or .rtf file
  • A summary of the script, totaling no more than 250 words, but no less than 100 words
  • A signed copy of the entry/release form (scanned & emailed, or faxed to +1-212-489-6557)
  • A one (1) page resume or biography of the writer
New to the Competition?

Maybe you already have a completed script that fits the above criteria that you could revisit and revise? Dig it out and give it a read. If it's not quite where you want it to be then get rewriting, you have just under three weeks!

Alternatively, why not start your 2012 submission now? Look how much time you have to develop it and get it right... or at least, find the right story to tell and figure it all, saving the mad rush at the end that comes with being unprepared!

To the Savvy

If you are currently slaving away at your competition entry and beginning to sweat a little from the heat of the deadline. Keep at it and I wish you the best of luck!

You can find further details on the competition, a list of past winners and their script titles, and download an application form at the Emmy Foundation award page. Or you can find the application form and detailed rules and regulations here.

Good luck!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Journey of the Self: The Evolving Scriptwriter

During the process of writing a script, new things are learnt, new layers and ways of doing things are found. Upon completion, each draft, revision, and finished script brings you closer to identifying and employing the various elements that a script comprises of and to creating a well executed story, plot and characters. But just as important for new writers is the friction created between ourselves and the outside forces, and importantly what is learnt in the ensuing conflict, before and after embarking on a script. 

With the first draft of an overdue and long TV Drama Spec complete (the follow up script is well under way) and the process and writing experience faded somewhat from my memory. Fortunately I had pre-assembled a list of the main self-development points that I encountered and rediscovered along my journey in the beginning stages of this project.

1) Putting Things Off

For sometime early into 2010 I held the view that my life is a measure of time in which to write everything in. So I would write everything, in time. What's the rush? I thought. I had more patience than a saint - probably even Gandhi! It was comforting because I adore all of my projects; they are lifelong companions and ambitions, but it was nice to relax knowing that I had the freedom to write, ability to learn, and know-how to realise these projects in my own time and way.

"But would you get around to writing as much as you should because of all this time you have?"

Good point.

"What if you were in an accident tomorrow and could no longer write, or see the page or screen?"

Exactly.

At the time I was generating new ideas and developing projects but I wasn't actually scriptwriting, pushing myself too much, or putting myself out there. Part of this approach is because I wanted a break from the pursuit and to find my way. I didn't want to get too bogged down with all the pressure of post-university and the label that comes with wanting to write for the screen (any screen that is).

But after taking it easy for awhile, it didn't take long to realise that the relaxed and putting things off approach was completely wrong and counter-productive. It made me too relaxed and too reliant on the future. I should have been more concerned with the present. It did help in the lull of post-university and to gather some momentum into the future. But as a guide to live by it's pretty useless.

2) Time Waits for No One

In fact it'll happily go behind your back on the matter and wave to you as it flies by, probably even bust a move or moonwalk you into obscurity. It doesn't care either way, but we should.

The truth is it's relatively easy to miss writing sessions and lose a hold on current progress and momentum going forwards on a project, when life and the world outside of writing calls. This is because it's something that has an immediate consequence and so often has to be seen to first. But the other side of that coin is the writer and his/her duty and ability to make time, and being assertive to others and themselves in keeping it.

Through some of the planning stages of TV Drama Spec and a small amount of the exploratory draft, my writing suffered a little at my inability to preserve and make proper use of my time. But I soon realised the importance in keeping the progress train of a project moving forwards because when it stops or delays, time has the ability to just zoom by, and within each hour, day, week, even month, learning opportunities, confidence building, and writing progress are passing by. Not to mention it takes even longer to finish something and the feeling of wasted a opportunity is a horrible thing to bare.

But the trick was to start respecting myself as a writer and to respect my writing. To turn my passion and love for the project and its characters - the craft and screen - into action, self-belief, and an assertive campaign to see it through. I realised the past is the past and that tomorrow is another opportunity to learn, make progress on a project, and develop in some way. And if I want to get where I want to go, that should never be overlooked.

If we want to get anywhere, we've got to help ourselves.

3) Self-Discipline can be Difficult

At the end of a mentally and physically tiring working day it's easy to opt for a relaxing and fun evening, than take a seat and apply ourselves to a different set of tasks and mental challenges. Even for the most passionate and dedicated of writers some evenings are just a write-off because of the unpredictable day or week you may have had. But what is certain is that once the mind caves in on a writing session and displaces the responsibly over to the Yourself of Tomorrow, it's even easier to do again, and again.

But everybody works differently and has different levels of motivation, support and availability to write. But we just need to go through the motions and figure it out for ourselves. If it's something that we enjoy and truly want, then we'll find a way and in our own time. But remember that " in your own time" can sometimes be a counter-productive thing.


"Write, or get written off." - Ray Frensham

What I found was that I was faced with having to confront the truth on why I write. I needed to understand why I did it. Why did I enjoy it? Why I felt that I couldn't live without it. What I realistically expect of it. With this knowledge it helped to approach writing and each session in a new light, with a renewed energy, motivation and understanding. It also helped to alleviate some unnecessary pressure placed on myself by being realistic about goals and re-evaluating them.

"I write because..."

Why do you do it?

4) The Power of Staying Involved

It's said that you should write everyday because writing is like training a muscle on the body, and so it needs constant exercise. That makes sense. However, like a lot of things can be easier said than done. But is something that you have to realise, explore and act on by yourself.

When writing you feel the importance of regular sessions and staying connected because you understand first-hand the art and mechanics of writing. It's when you've been away from it awhile that you're a little out of touch and it doesn't all come as easily as it once did. But if you were constantly involved and writing something then there would be no need to re-educate yourself because it would be ingrained in your mind. But breaking the momentum and learning on a project or on the craft in general only sends you backwards in your writing and development.

This is something that is rediscovered, often met, but always aspired to with every project I have. Whilst writing I am aware that I'm in the front lines and understand the importance of staying there. But it all comes down to each individual situation, self-discipline, and the root of it all: Why do you write? and knowing how to power ourselves into each writing session and not put things off.

Naturally this is also true for reading relevant scripts and screenplays because an understanding of the craft and its experience is developed and strengthened with each script. The more we do and read, the more knowledge, experience, and understanding we will have: the better we will be able to apply ourselves and the more effective writer we will become.

It's about capitalising on the time we do have and potential we can reach.

5) Redefining Success

Success can be an elusive thing and complicated by low self-esteem, a lack of support or encouragement, and made worse by self-comparison with others, especially those currently in a desired professional position, or those with achievements, as well as competition with peers, friends and pressure from family.

But what can easily be forgotten in the midst of that is not only a personal enjoyment in our own work, learning and achievements, but that each professional or someone who has achieved something desirable all started somewhere - it didn't happen over night for them. Hard work day-to-day is the reason they are where they are today. It's important to remember that we are all on our own paths with different abilities, resources and time put in, and should stay true to that road.

When writing a script intended for the screen, success isn't getting it optioned, or seeing it on television, or on sale in a shop or website. Not for me, or for many other aspiring writers. It's nice to dream about that happening and it's motivating, but it's not a realistic achievement right now. It may be for a more experienced writer but that's something that he or she has put a lot of effort in to earn, and so rightfully, that is their next point of success. But for the rest of us it makes sense to start with small goals and achievements, and build momentum, learning, and confidence effectively.

What is success?

The Evolving Scriptwriter

With this first draft and return to actual scriptwriting (this post is long overdue) it brought home the importance of breaking through these five barriers once and for all. At the time, it was frustrating that I still had some issues and unresolved problems in these areas but that made me even more determined to reach the next step by facing them.

But only through action can we achieve what we desire. Only through writing, reading and engaging with others can we grow into confident and effective writers. But it's best to be moving (writing, networking, collaborating, learning, etc.) and not feeling so confident, underdeveloped, and a little unsure about certain things than to be doing nothing at all, and standing still.

Above all, love what you do because happiness is the key to success.

Only forwards.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Story Continues...

It's official.

I've not only moved blogs but have settled on a template, a look and even a title! There were many sleepless nights I can assure you. I'm rewarding myself now with some chocolate digestive biscuits and a cup of tea. Well earned.

If you're reading from a feed reader, or listening through the podcast, then come and pay the blog a visit and check out the new look in person. A picture (or podcast) are no substitute for experiencing the real thing!

You may have noticed the Twitter logo in the left hand corner. That's right. I'm now connected to the tweet network. Feel free to follow me and receive blog updates and whatever else is going on, or not going on. Hopefully I'll pick it all up in no time but if it takes me awhile, any tips?

You can also join the blog's new Facebook Fan Page to show your appreciation and interest; receive blog updates and comment on the posts themselves, spread the word and likes, or start a relevant scriptwriting, film, television or webseries discussion.

As a special treat here's a look into the future of blogging via Scriptwriter With A Cause. It makes me proud to see her in this cool and sexy new way:


Before getting carried away with the new blog, a moment of silence for the old one....

The Screenwriting Craft

B.I.P 
(2006 - 2011)

It was fun. But it's time to develop and move on. That blog will now be an archive of my assignments and time at Bournemouth University on BA (Hons) Scriptwriting for Film & Television (2006 - 2009), and shortly after. However, it's not all doom and gloom as she can be seen and experienced in a whole new dynamic way too.


But enough with the style, it's time for some content...

Thanks for visiting and I hope you stay awhile.

Best wishes!

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