Monday, November 29, 2004
The site tells you all you need to know about submitting scripts and even has a specially written formatting programme, Scriptsmart, that you can download for free.
There are also regular interviews with writers and producers in the Insight section - well worth checking out.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
The Observer also has an interview with Julian Fellowes who wrote the book for the musical.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Airport (1968) arguably remains Hailey's best-loved work and prompted the disaster movie genre. The thriller follows events in the sky, and on the ground at a snow-logged airport, when a terrorist boards an airplane with a bomb.
The book was adapted into a hit film in 1970, starring Burt Lancaster as the harassed airport manager and Dean Martin as a womanising pilot, alongside Jean Seberg and Jacqueline Bisset.
As far as my eye could see, every adult in that queue was, like me, accompanied by at least one child. Now, the box-office tallies for movies like "Finding Nemo," "Shrek 2" and "The Incredibles" suggest that a lot of tickets are being sold to unsupervised grownups, but they also suggest that intergenerational moviegoing has become not just a common but a normative cultural experience.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Unfortunately there is no information on the Arts Council website, so the following is taken from the BBC Writersroom.
A Panel of independent judges will take the decision to reward a writer whose play, in the judges' opinion, satisfies the following description:
- a play in which the writing is of special quality
- a play of relevance and importance to contemporary life
- a play of potential value to British theatre
The judges do not have regard to whether or not the play has received a production, or is likely to receive a production or publication. It must, however, have been written during the years 2002 and/or 2003. The judges reserve the right to advise the Arts Council that no script meets the required standards of the award and that therefore the Award should not be made.
The value of the award is £6,000. The judges' decision is final.
Any writer is eligible to apply if they have had one of the following in the calendar years 2003 or 2004:
- An offer of an award under the Arts Council
- A commission from one of those theatre companies in receipt of annual or revenue subsidy from the Arts Council
- A premiere production by a theatre company in receipt of annual subsidy from the Arts Council
No writer who has previously won the award may reapply, and no play that has previously been submitted for the Award is eligible. A play submitted for consideration must be an original work. Translations are not eligible.
How to apply
Contact the Arts Council Theatre Writing Section on 020 7973 6480 and an application form will be sent to you.
Return the form, along with three copies of the script you are entering and a copy of your CV, to the Arts Council no later than 10 January 2005.
The winner will be announced in October 2005.
Slightly confusingly, the take part in the Evolve programme you have to enter the Ignite competition. All the details are on their website.
That atmosphere of casual but friendly welcome, which used to stamp the Old Vic's character, seems to have changed utterly. Front-of-house and bar staff are now all gussied up in sombre formal black and seem to share a house-style manner of impersonal - not to say chilly - hauteur. Certainly it is one of the factors which fail to bear out the claim - palpably sincere, though it may be - by the company's producer, David Liddiment (an ex-television executive who "discovered" Cloaca) that: "We are trying to live up to the values of this building".
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Short-listed writers will have the chance to pitch their books to a panel at the Book Fair.
The closing date for entries is 14 January 2005. The bad news is that there is a £12 entrance fee.
...when everything is working well, something mysterious happens between an audience and a play that isn't just the sum of the component parts. It can spring from the obviously fantastical and from the most minutely described realism: Rostand makes it happen, and so does Shaw. It happens with original plays, and it happens with adaptations. But something happens, and everything is transformed. We could use a scientific term like emergence for this process, or we could use an older word and call it sorcery; but whatever we call it, there's no point in trying to explain it to those who insist on a functional justification for everything, those who can only see value in an activity if it brings in money from tourists, or helps children with their GCSEs. They'll never understand. You have to find some other sort of language if you want to convince them.
But that strange and inexplicable thing is what the theatre is for. That's why we need it.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
It was a good night for British programmes at the International Emmy Awards in New York yesterday.
Among the winners were:
- Henry VIII (written by Peter Morgan)
- Waking The Dead (series created by Barbara Machin)
- The Illustrated Mum (written by Debbie Isitt and based on the book by Jacqueline Wilson)
Update: The writer of one of the two selected episodes of Waking The Dead was Guild member Stephen Davis. (Sadly, no mention of the episode writers in any of the publicity - including from the BBC.)
Monday, November 22, 2004
What's the difference between writing for animation and writing for live-action?
ML - If you're comparing it to sitcom writing, for example, it's harder. The structure of the writing is harder, like a little feature. You're not just writing dialog, you're writing direction, you're almost like a writer and director. It's a lot closer to hour drama or screenwriting, I'd say.
The first Tinniswood Award ceremony took place at the Foreign Press Association in London on 18 November 2004 with members of the Tinniswood family in attendance.
The award, for Best Radio Drama, went to Christopher William Hill for his script, ‘Killing Maestros’. He was nominated by his producer at the BBC, Liz Webb. The award was presented by Richard Eyre.
The most popular programme so far has been the new series of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (written by Douglas Adams)with 653,636 "on demand" listeners. Drama claims second place in the list as well, with the Archers claiming 382,726 listeners. The Afternoon Play was the next most popular drama, in ninth place with 147,317 listeners.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
How would the two men describe their long theatrical run and 35-year friendship? "A light charming comedy," responds Mr. Blakemore, elegant and well pressed in a shirt and jacket. "A buddy movie," says the slightly rumpled and scholarly Mr. Frayn.
A prime example, writes Roger Clarke in The Independent, came with The Raiders Of The Lost Ark, written by George Lucas, Philip Kaufman and Lawrence Kasdan.
In one of the most famous scenes in the movie, an assassin dressed in black confronts Indiana in a souk in Cairo. Marion, played by Karen Allen, is about to be abducted after she unwisely hides in a convenient rattan basket. Indy hasn't much time. But the looming Arab swordsman has plenty of time. He loops his gleaming scimitar in skilful arcs of light. He is going to take great delight in showing his skill at killing this infidel American. Indy, on the other hand, doesn't even bother to reach for his bullwhip, his usual weapon of choice. Without the merest hint of fair play, he shoots the swordsman down with his pistol.
As it happens, the script had allowed for an extended period of choreographed fighting. But Harrison Ford had other things on his mind. He needed to use the lavatory. He had diarrhoea. This comically improvised scene proved such a hit with the director, he junked the written scene and left it in.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
It will bring four leading US writers to the University of Warwick for the American South West Writers' Festival at Warwick Arts Centre on 23rd to 25th November.
Four American writers - Ron Carlson, Jay Boyer, Jewell Parker Rhodes and Melissa Pritchard - will be giving readings and holding individual sessions with local writers.
I decide to speak to Stuart Kelly, author of The Book of Lost Books, due from Penguin next year. "Literary reputations are predictably precarious," he tells me. "Although one might remember that Iris Murdoch and Muriel Spark were both shortlisted for the inaugural Booker Prize in 1969, memory has been less kind to Barry England, GM Williams and even the first winner, PH Newby."
Ms Reynolds' move will prompt a restructuring at Granada's drama department in Manchester, with her executive producing responsibilities for Coronation Street split between the show's producer, Tony Wood, and John Whiston, Granada's director of drama, children's and arts programming.
Granada's head of drama in Manchester, Kieran Roberts, who has worked as a producer on Coronation Street and Emmerdale, will look after other drama projects Ms Reynolds had in development and pre-production.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
The lawsuits, which could seek up to $150,000 in damages for each film illegally copied, are the first of their kind to be filed by the movie industry. Motion Picture Association of America President Dan Glickman first signaled the lawsuits two weeks ago when he said that the studios would sue approximately 200 people suspected of illegally trading movies online.
"The future of our industry, and of the hundreds of thousands of jobs it supports, must be protected from this kind of outright theft using all available means," Glickman said in a release issued today.
Discussions were started under the former [Channel 4] chief executive Mark Thompson, who has since left to become director general of the BBC.
He was replaced by Andy Duncan who had been the director of marketing at the BBC.
Mr Duncan said: "With concerns being raised about our future funding it was legitimate for Channel 4 to explore this merger, but we've concluded that protecting and strengthening Channel 4's public service role isn't compatible with the full merger that was proposed."
“Reps are acknowledging that Christmas will be terrible,” said one senior figure, “but they are fearful of admitting it.” Said another: “They’ll have the new Jamie Oliver on the van, but not core fiction.”
Speaking of his decision to accept the role of artistic director, after more than ten years freelancing, he said: “I went to Basingstoke as a guest director and fell in love with the theatre. It’s such a warm place. It has a loyal and committed audience and I will serve that audience but at the same time I want to expand their horizons.”
In fact, the recipe for a successful animated feature or cartoon hasn’t changed since Mickey Mouse first appeared in Steamboat Willie (1928). “It’s all about the story and characters,” points out John Lasseter, the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and the director of Toy Story. “That’s what we put our effort into. And just look at our track record.”
Monday, November 15, 2004
Contrary to his image as some kind of genius who sprang into the literary landscape from nowhere, he has been writing all his life. Northern Lights was just the culmination of an extraordinary range of storytelling skills that he had been honing in a variety of contexts for years: in his work as a teacher, where he would read the children fairy tales and write plays for them to perform, and in a range of books for younger readers.
Friday, November 12, 2004
Thursday, November 11, 2004
1. The Usual Suspects
2. The Sixth Sense
3. Thelma And Louise
4. High Noon
5. It's A Wonderful Life
7. Whale Rider
9. Shawshank Redemption
10. The Green Mile
Ross oversaw the drama department before she was appointed of head of films at the end of 2002.
Best TV comedy
Little Britain (written by Matt Lucas and David Walliams)
Nighty Night (Julia Davis)
The Office - Christmas Special (Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant)
Best TV comedy drama
Doc Martin (Dominic Minghella)
Jonathan Creek (David Renwick)
Shameless (Paul Abbott)
The Awards will be presented on 22 December.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Mr Yorke, the drama chief behind hit shows Shameless and No Angels and a former executive producer on EastEnders, will take charge of BBC1's biggest drama series, including Holby City, Casualty and EastEnders.
He will share the job of commissioning independent productions with Ms Richer, but will not have responsibility for returning drama series such as Waking the Dead and Judge John Deed, which are being merged into the in-house drama department.
Clutching crib notes, fighting butterflies and wearing the stricken look of cattle being led to slaughter, aspiring screenwriters from Ireland to Australia awaited their once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to pitch The Great Idea to a battery of Hollywood producers, agents and managers.The New York Times reports on the LA Screenwriting Expo, where writers pay $60 to attend and $25 per pitch.
What every writer is hoping for, of course, is the mega deal. Troy Duffy sold his first script to Miramax for $1 million, as documented in a new film about him, Overnight, reviewed in the New York Times.
There is something both infuriating and sad about the way Mr. Duffy mistakes money and entertainment-industry curiosity for real power and actual achievement. His stubborn refusal to heed good advice is matched by an angry belief, born out of unacknowledged impotence, that studio and record-company big shots are secretly afraid of him. He has fallen into the fallacy, endemic among aspirants to post-modern show business glory, that a contract or a big advance means at least as much as a good album or an interesting movie.
Novel Award shortlist
Kate Atkinson - Case Histories
Louis de Bernières - Birds Without Wings
Alan Hollinghurst - The Line of Beauty
Andrea Levy - Small Island
First Novel Award shortlist
Susanna Clarke - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Richard Collins - The Land as Viewed from the Sea
Susan Fletcher - Eve Green
Panos Karnezis - The Maze
Biography Award shortlist
John Guy - My Heart is my Own:The Life of Mary Queen of Scots
David McKie - Jabez: The Rise and Fall of a Victorian Rogue
John Sutherland - Stephen Spender
Jeremy Treglown - V.S. Pritchett: A Life
Poetry Award shortlist
Leontia Flynn - These Days
John Fuller - Ghosts
Matthew Hollis - Ground Water
Michael Symmons Roberts - Corpus
Children’s Book Award shortlist
Anne Cassidy - Looking for JJ
Geraldine McCaughrean - Not the End of the World
Meg Rosoff - How I Live Now
Ann Turnbull - No Shame, No Fear
Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on Wednesday 6th January 2005. The overall winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year will receive £25,000 and will be selected and announced at the Whitbread Book Awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 25th January 2005.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Lancashire also created two comedy series, The Cuckoo Waltz and Foxy Lady, and wrote numerous episodes of other series including All Creatures Great and Small.
There's an obituary in The Guardian.
Monday, November 08, 2004
The official launch for the programme was held last Friday, when representatives from major publishing houses were briefed on the programme’s format and content. Page Turners will consist of eight weekly programmes, each featuring three books. Each book will have a celebrity advocate, and there will also be audience participation. The programmes will be presented by Jeremy Vine. Each publishing house may submit up to five titles for consideration, before the 3 December deadline.
In recent years Whitbread had concentrated mostly on writing for the theatre, but his greatest success came in 1974 when his drama Mr Axelford’s Angel won the Emmy Award for Best Television Play. He also wrote many scripts for Emmerdale Farm.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Interviewed by Nick Duerden in The Observer, he talks about his new work and the the media frenzy surrounding his first major series, Queer As Folk.
"So there I was, having to defend myself against all manner of idiotic shock jocks on the radio and some very stern journalists, as well as the people of Gay Land who were horrified that I chose to depict homosexuals as people who liked drinking and shagging. I remember thinking I could either sink or be brilliant in this situation..." Davies, shameless self-dramatist that he is, pauses, and allows the pause to become pregnant. "I chose to be brilliant."
Saturday, November 06, 2004
"To take a risk in a poem is not to write a big sweary outburst about how crap the war in Iraq is, even if you are the world's greatest living playwright. Because anyone can do that."He also stuck the knife into amateur poets.
"Many people feel that, armed with a beermat, a pencil, and a recent mildly traumatic experience, they are entitled to send 100 pages of handwritten drivel into Faber or Cape."Some lively correspondence ensued.
Friday, November 05, 2004
Thursday, November 04, 2004
THE first director of the National Theatre of Scotland takes the helm of the £3.5 million-a-year company [this week] with only one staff member and a rented office in Glasgow.The full story is in The Scotsman.
Small beginnings, perhaps, for Vicky Featherstone is tasked with building the new organisation into one that is big and bold enough to fulfil the aspirations that led to its creation in the first place.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Writers selected for the programme will have the opportunity to workshop their scripts with actors, get expert teaching on story structure and screenwriting craft, be inspired by masterclasses at the screenwriting festival, SCENE, and work one-to-one with a script editor through three re-drafts. The aim of this course is to prepare all participants to be launched as professional writers within the UK film industry.
At the end of the programme each writer will receive valuable feedback on their project from some of the most respected individuals currently working in film. Entry is only open to writers who live or work within the West Midlands and have completed a first draft screenplay.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 17 December 2004.
Full details are available from The Script Factory.
CNN: A cliché in Hollywood is "She was so dumb she slept with the screenwriter" -- they're at the bottom of the totem pole. Do you think that's still true?
MCKEE: If I were a young actress trying to get ahead today, I would sleep with a television writer (laughs), because what's happened in Hollywood is that the very best writers have abandoned screenwriting and they've all gone over to TV. We're now in a golden age of television writing.
"It's been a long five months since we walked away from negotiations without a contract on June 2nd," said Daniel Petrie Jr., President of the WGAw, "but it has been well worth the wait. This tentative agreement is projected to be worth almost $58 million by the end of its term, nearly double what the producers offered us on June 1st. The new agreement will fully address the needs of our health plan, ensuring us a six-month reserve at the current level of benefits by the end of the contract in 2007. We consider this a major victory that was critical to protect the health benefits of writers and their families. What's more, the companies have also agreed to recommend to the pension fund directors that they increase pensions."There's a full report on the WGA website.
The aim of the Foundation, whose patron is the Oscar-winning screenwriter Emma Thompson, is to foster new European screen-writing talent by awarding an annual prize of £10,000 to the best first draft screenplay in a genre which changes each year. The genre for 2004 is Thriller.
The deadline for submissions has been extended to 5pm, 6th December 2004.
Read the full details on screendaily.com
Monday, November 01, 2004
Are we actually more frightened, as the Puritans were, of what's inside us than of what's out there in the wilderness? Maybe. In any event, the internal terrors are infinitely harder to laugh at, or to beat back with overwhelming force, or to turn into a lucrative, teen-friendly franchise.
1. Grettir's Saga by Anon, 1320s (trans. Fox and Palsson 1974)
2. Monkey by Wu Ch'eng-en, 16th century (trans. Arthur Waley 1942)
3. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, 1726
4. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, 1908
5. War in Heaven by Charles Williams, 1930
6. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, 1937
7. Titus Groan/Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake, 1946/1950
8. The Dying Earth by Jack Vance, 1950
9. The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones, 1974
10. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, 1979
The stories depict little epiphanies of perdition, in which people blow their chances of redemption on the slimmest gratifications. Hence Seconds of Pleasure: such ruination, and in exchange for what? An orgasm, or the relief of making a catty remark. The title came from a song by Elvis Costello, to whom the book is dedicated. LaBute borrowed it because "it reinforced that notion of what people were longing for, and willing to throw everything away for."
ITV3 will be available on the following channels:ntl 8 & 118, Telewest 116, Freeview 34.
To watch ITV3 on FREEVIEW from 1 November you might need to retune your digital box. Some boxes will retune automatically, however with some boxes you will need to press "Menu" or "Setup" on your remote control and follow the on-screen or printed instructions. Depending on the language your equipment uses, choose "update", "retune" or "store".