X-Men: The Last Straw

Which will be forever known as “Two Hours of My Life I’m Never Having Back”. I could sit here for hours writing about the plot holes, characters disappearing and re-appearing, not enough Rogue in leather and the massive problem with the whole premise of the film. And WTF is going on with Sir Ian McKellan’s ears? Is he Ferengi?

But I won’t. I’ll just ask this simple question. Why did they replace Hugh Jackman with Wayne Slob? “I’m avin’ a fag, Magneto!!!”

Roll on “Watchmen”…

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Soda Pictures: Building Audiences Online

If you’re anything like me, you’re the internet’s bitch. Look at you, snuggled up to it’s bosom RIGHT NOW. You’ll probably be off to look at some pictures of cats after reading this, when you should be doing some work or using words like “synergistic”. 
But, don’t worry. The internet loves you back. It wants to make webby babies with you and distribute them throughout cyberspace:
“Building Audiences Online
Soda Pictures: Film Distribution Company Case Study
Friday 30th January 2009, 2 for 2.30 to 5.00pm, London

Soda Pictures is a UK independent film distribution company focusing on world cinema and independent films working across theatrical and DVD release (www.sodapictures.com). This seminar, in the Digital Horizons 2012 programme series, will show how a small company with limited resources has used online social networking and viral marketing to integrate its business online and develop a highly synergistic relationship between its physical and virtual film distribution strategies.

Building on online audience is an integral part of film publicity and marketing. Looking beyond more traditional (often expensive) ‘above the line’ campaigns and to social media, online communities and open source tools, there are ways of: reaching niche and targeted audiences; creating a brand identity and audience communication channel; gathering and collating audience data; producing cost effective online campaigns; and, becoming part of a social media community and support network to chare ideas, tools, contacts and ideas.

Everyone welcome. Further information: www.semn.org.uk and Digital Horizons 2012 or email digitalhorizons2012@semn.org.uk or call SEMN, the programme lead partner, on 01753 639211. Pre-booking recommended.”

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A Nice Talk in Manchester

Good morning. It’s Friday. Woo! – And Indeed – Yay!

Here’s a little something for those of you Oop North. I attended a talk about distribution from the head of Sony last year. Learning about demographics and how cinemas decide on what films to show was very interesting from a screenwriter’s perspective. And there were statistics. Oh yeah, statistics…

“Elizabeth Draper Distributes Advice to Northwest Filmmakers

Vision and Media are delighted to be hosting an evening master class with veteran film distributor, Elizabeth Draper.Well known throughout the film industry as a leading film Distribution and Marketing Consultant, Elizabeth has a vast amount of experience having worked as Head of Fox Searchlight, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Acquisitions at Pathe Film Distribution and General Manager at Icon. Elizabeth will be discussing how traditional distribution works, as well as exploring new opportunities and examine the challenge of finding an audience.Head of Film at Northwest Vision and Media, Tara Cook comments on the special event, “We are delighted to invite Elizabeth Draper back to the Northwest to share her extensive knowledge in film distribution. This is a fantastic opportunity for the region’s many talented filmmakers to benefit from her experience and to realise the possibilities available after their film has been created.”This exclusive event will take place on Monday 2nd February from 7pm at City Inn Hotel, Piccadilly, Manchester. Places are very limited, so a speedy response is advised. To reserve your place please email RSVP@visionandmedia.co.uk or call Hannah Salt on 0161 244 3749.”

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Screenwriters wanted for children’s TV Series

I hope that this gets through as Feedburner seems to have gone mental trying to deliver feeds to people. Oh well. Hopefully it’ll sort itself out. Anyway…

“Screenwriters Wanted for Children’s TV Series
Deadline: 21 February 2009
London based independent animation company Virtuocity are producing a children’s computer animated TV series based on traditional European fairy tales. They are building a Bristol-based production team and are looking for writers in the area to apply for a position within a team of screenwriters to develop scripts for the series. If you wish to apply, please tell them in no more than 200 words why you want to work on an animated TV series for children. Please submit you answer and CV, via email to Darrel Butlin
There. This diary’s working out, isn’t it?

Bueller…? Bueller…?

Some top level procrastination today. Have the day off work and it started off well. Got the Screenwriters’ Diary finished and answered a few emails. I just need to think of a good way to publicise it. Any ideas gratefully received!

Then I remembered that I need to get an outfit for a fancy dress party next week. The brief is anything from the last 40 years, so punk it is!!! So the rest of the day has been spent trawling the charity and DIY shops (the padlocks, safety pins and chains don’t grow on trees, you know!)
Anyway, I got to thinking about my teenage years, locked in my bedroom listening to the Clash (Is “(White Man) In the Hammersmith Palais?” the greatest song ever?) and the Sex Pistols. What’s the best teen movie ever?
Personally, it’s a Mexican standoff between “Quadrophenia”, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Say Anything”. Why? “Quadrophenia” captures perfectly the awkwardness, energy and the disillusionment that comes with youth. Though set in the 60’s, it was made in ’79 and fizzes with a speed-freak punk energy. Not even Sting can ruin it. Did the director Franc Roddam really go on and create “Masterchef”?
“Ferris Bueller…” is the ultimate teenage wish fulfillment. Hell, I’m 32 and I still want to sing “Twist and Shout” at the front of a carnival parade.  
And “Say Anything”? Three words. John Fuckin’ Cusack. He is extremely cool. Wearing sandals in “Con Air’? Genius! 
I think it’s safe to assume that I have a man crush on him. 
So, what’s your favourite? And, while you’re there, can you explain the attraction of “The Breakfast Club”? 
…Bueller…?

How Soon Is Now?

If you’ve ever been in front of me in a line, you’ll know that I’m no good at waiting. In fact, while we’re here, if you’re an Easyjet employee, I apologise for Rome Airport 2006.

I might be British, but I lack the skill or patience required for queuing, in the same way that I’m missing the gene that makes men like the internal combustion engine. Which, in a roundabout way, gets me to my point. When you start this writing lark, nobody tells you how much waiting is involved. Surely, you finish a script on Monday, Spielberg likes it and you’re on the DreamWorks lot by the next Friday?

Currently, I’m waiting for feedback for something at the BBC, something my agent passed to a production company and a treatment I gave to my agent. Not forgetting Red Planet, of course. I know a lot of you out there in the ether feel my pain on that one. Combined, that’s several man months of waiting.

Perversely, the better the script, the longer you have to wait. If you’ve (and when I say “you”, I mean “I”) written a pile of crap, it’ll come straight back at you without time for you to duck. But if someone likes it, they pass it to someone else, who passes it to someone else… No news is good news and all that.

So, while I wait for the big brown envelope of death from the Beeb, I’m going to have to stop procrastinating. That just makes it worse. I’m actually going to have to start writing something new. Yeah. It’ll be big and have flying saucers and ghosts and witches in it. Yeah. Jim Carrey will star in it. Yeah.

Now, I’ll just fire up Google and do some research…

Script Frenzy! Raaaarrr!

My parents married on 12th December. I was born on the following 12th August. Exactly nine months since their wedding day. According to the more innocent members of my family, this is the first and only recorded time I ever made a deadline.

Which is why I think I’ll be taking part in this year’s Script Frenzy. In the spirit of the NaNoWriEenieMeenieMinieMo scheme, you are challenged to produce a screenplay of at least 100 pages between 1st and 30th April this year.

I think I’ll take this opportunity to bash out a concept that’s been on the back burner. Let me know if you’ll be taking up the challenge as well. Let’s get some morale boosting support and love going!