Friday, August 31, 2007

WGAE's Mona Mangan to retire

Mona Mangan, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), has announced her intention to retire from the position. Mangan has served as the WGAE’s executive director for the past 29 years.

“This has been an enormously exciting and challenging job and one I’m thrilled to have had for so many years,” said Mona Mangan. “The challenges the Guild has faced have been interesting, complicated, and difficult at times, but I’m extremely proud of the accomplishments that our Council and staff and I have achieved on behalf of our members. I’m very grateful to the members and staff who have helped make this job so rewarding. I can only hope that my new projects will be as professionally and personally rewarding as my work at the Guild has been.”

Mangan will continue to serve as WGAE executive director until her successor has joined the Guild and a transition period has been completed.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Afterworld on MySpace

Afterworld - Episode One
A new online drama series, Afterworld, a just-about-animated show reported to have cost $3 million for 130 episodes, launched earlier this month on MySpace TV.

There's an article about the series, created by American company Electric Farm, by Virginia Heffernan for The New York Times.
What’s best about it is the way it looks: charcoal, hazy, painterly, like nothing on television. To say the animation is rudimentary is an overstatement. Often, when Shoemaker is shown moving from, say, the bottom of an escalator to the top, we see only two still images, faintly interlaced with tracers, as if the action were witnessed in a sleepy, almost drugged, blink. This is not Disney animation, to be sure, but neither is it “South Park.” It’s more like a strange series of digitally manipulated photographs.

And that’s where it all clicks: “Afterworld” is a comic book. It has a far-fetched story, frankly clich├ęd speech, a solitary hero, Marvel-style foreshortening and images that hardly move. “Afterworld” is the work of authors who think in panels.
For some reason I can't get the Afterworld videos to play on MySpace TV , but they work fine on YouTube.

Matt Greenhalgh wins Guild and List Screenwriting Award

Matt Greenhalgh has won the first Guild and List magazine Screenwriting award for a New British Movie at the Edinburgh International Film Festival for his script for Control.

The film, about the band Joy Division, is based on the biography of lead singer Ian Curtis by his wife Deborah and stars Sam Riles, Samantha Morton and Craig Parkinson.

The film was a unanimous choice by the judges Paul Dale (List film editor), Andrea Gibb (Writers' Guild) and Eddie Harrison (Critic, Scottish Metro). It also won director Anton Corbijn the Powell Pressburger award at the Festival itself.

The Guild and List prize is the only screenwriting award related to the Film Festival. Greenhalgh's previous writing credits include episodes of Cold Feet for ITV and Burn It for the BBC. He has also directed TV drama.

Speaking after the announcement Greenhalgh said:

"This is my first film and my first award, so thank you for popping my cherry! Thanks to all those who voted for Control, and to The Writers' Guild and The List for recognising the writer's role in this strange industry; cast as one of the main parts in the beginning of the process we usually find ourselves almost forgotten by the end. It amazes me that a script I wrote in late 2004 is now taking on a life of its own. I dedicate this award to Tony Wilson, a one-off and true friend of the creative mind. 'Rave On' mate."

When TV dramatists self-censor

In The Guardian, Mark Lawson cites two recent examples to argue that the main threat to TV scriptwriters' freedom of expression is self-censorship.
Ashley Pharoah, co-creator of Life On Mars, admitted that he had removed racist insults from the mouth of DCI Gene Hunt, after they caused "intakes of breath" among cast and crew at the first readthrough. Pharoah's explanation was that the success of the series depended on viewers liking Hunt. However, Hunt's swipes at women and gay people remained intact. And the series editor of BBC1's Casualty, commenting on newspaper reports that the editorial policy unit had insisted that two Islamist terrorists in a script were changed to animal rights activists, insisted that the switch had been made by the writer, who apparently feared inviting a reaction from extremists.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New blogs

Two new blogs by Guild members came to my attention this week.

Actually, Cine-City by Nick Goundry isn't new, but it's new to me - primarily a collection of his reviews and comments about new films and wider cinematic culture.

Hauling Like A Brooligan by Stephen Gallagher has only been up and running for a few weeks but already it looks like a significant addition to the world of UK writers' blogs. Stephen, a scriptwriter and novelist, covers a wide variety of subjects including the fashion for 'Director's versions' of films and a surprising recommendation from Amazon.

Serial novel-writing

In The Daily Telegraph, Ronan Bennett explains to Jasper Rees what it was like writing his latest novel, Zugzwang, in instalments.
"I think the first half stands up pretty well, and after that I do feel I lost the plot. There was too much exposition, rather than letting events and action lead you in, and some wrong turns that I couldn't put right. I left the rolling into the denouement too late, forgetting that actually endings need time. I realised by Chapter 28 that I was nowhere near the end."

Bennett now suspects that, as a writer who never plans his endings in advance, he bit off more than he could chew when he started researching the labyrinthine relationship between the Bolsheviks and the Okhrana, the Tsar's spy network...

It eventually took him seven months to revise what had taken him seven months to write. Loose ends were tied up, solecisms corrected, the second half was "substantially redone" and the entire ending rewritten.

Marchant criticises drama execs

From Matthew Hemley in The Stage:
Screenwriter Tony Marchant has criticised the majority of UK television dramas as “badly written and unoriginal”, claiming commissioners are restricting the development of imaginative and innovative scripts.

Speaking to The Stage, Marchant complained writers were suffering because executives were dictating content, rather than allowing them the creative freedom to devise bold scripts and challenging storylines.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin interview

OutnumberedRamona Marquez, Claire Skinner, Hugh Dennis, Daniel Roche and Tyger Drew-Honey in Outnumbered, written by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin (Photo: BBC/Hat Trick/Phil Fisk)

As they prepare for the launch of the new sitcom, Outnumbered, which starts tonight at 10.35pm on BBC One, writers Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin talk to Nigel Kendall in The Times.
What sets Outnumbered apart is its adoption of fly-on-the-wall camera techniques to give the series an almost documentary feel. The humour arises from the chaos of everyday family life, and as the parents, Hugh Dennis and Claire Skinner wage a bemused and constant war against the tyranny of their offspring.

It’s a scenario that any parent will recognise, while nonparents will surely breathe a sigh of relief.

“Well,” says Hamilton, scratching his beard, “if there are long queues outside vasectomy clinics, we’ll know that it’s darker than we meant. We hope that there’s an honesty about it."

BBC Three 'safe' from budget cuts

By Kevin Young for BBC News:
The BBC's head of TV has rejected calls to close BBC Three in order to solve the corporation's financial problems.

All areas of the BBC are facing budget cuts after the broadcaster did not get the licence fee increase it wanted.

Conservative MP John Whittingdale and Panorama's John Sweeney suggested the digital channel should be shut to safeguard quality in other areas.

But the BBC's Jana Bennett said working more efficiently across the board was better than closing an entire channel.

Clive Exton 1930-2007

TV writer Clive Exton has died at the age of 77. Perhaps best know for his sometimes controversial work for ABC's Armchair Theatre in the 1960s, he also wrote numerous episodes of shows such as Poirot and Jeeves and Wooster.

There are obituaries in The Guardian, The Times and by Anthony Hayward in The Independent.
Exton wrote only a handful of plays for the theatre. "I like writing for television because it's such an effective way of forcing action out of a character," he said. "The play that shows people being forced by their natures into a conflict that they can't avoid - that's the sort of play I like to do."

Friday, August 17, 2007

WGGB Writers’ Circle

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain is pleased to announce that the first ever WGGB Writers’ Circle will begin in September 2007 and applications are now being invited.

The initiative is being set up to provide Guild members with a forum to discuss and develop their work. There will be two groups available for applicants to join: one for Full and one for Candidate/Student Members. Writers in these groups will also be separated according to genre: TV/ Film and Theatre/Radio. Please specify when you apply which genre you are interested in.

At each group meeting writers will be given feedback about their work from their fellow participants. After six months two writers from each circle will be selected by a panel of judges to present their work at a showcase. Following this event, each group will be disbanded and new applicants will be invited to form a new Circle. Applicants will be asked to pay £60 for 6 months in advance. (This works out as £5 per session and will cover the administrative costs of the sessions.)

If you are interested in joining please send a cheque payable to the Writers' Guild, to ‘WGGB Writers' Circle ’, Writers' Guild of Great Britain, 15-17 Britannia Street, London, WC1X 9JN. Please remember to include your contact details so we can get in touch with you!

Spaces are limited to 15 people per group so please apply early. Group meetings will be held every two weeks at the Writers’ Guild Centre in Kings Cross. We are keen to have WGGB Writers' Circles set up all over the U.K , so if you are interested in establishing one outside London then please get in touch with Moe Owoborode: moe@writersguild.org.uk

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another Hollywood writers co-op

When news broke earlier this year of a new co-op of top-rated Hollywood screenwriters based at Warner Brothers, John August admitted to feeling slightly left out.

Now, as Jay A. Fernandez reports for The L.A. Times, he's part of another writers co-operative, this time based at 20th Century Fox.
The new Fox cooperative, called Writing Partners, includes equally heavy hitters: John August ("Big Fish"), Michael Brandt and Derek Haas ("3:10 to Yuma"), Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio ("Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"), Michael Arndt ("Little Miss Sunshine"), Craig Mazin ("Scary Movie 3"), Simon Kinberg ("Mr. & Mrs. Smith"), Stuart Beattie ("Collateral"), Tim Herlihy ("Happy Gilmore") and Cormac and Marianne Wibberley ("National Treasure"). August and Mazin have spearheaded the effort over the last few months, and after several entities showed interest, Fox Filmed Entertainment Co-chairman Tom Rothman signed off on the deal organized and negotiated by co-presidents of production, Emma Watts and Alex Young.

In what amounts to a first-look deal for the studio, each writer or writing pair in the group gets an upfront fee of $300,000 -- way below their normal quotes -- to write an original feature-length screenplay for Fox in the next four years.

The writer maintains creative control of the script and can make his or her own decisions about which studio notes he's willing to do and whether to allow another writer on board at the studio's or potential director's request. If the writer agrees, the project moves forward. If not, the writer can ultimately walk away with ownership of the script. But the incentive for both parties is to move the script toward production, in which case the writer gets his full standard fee and 2.5% first-dollar gross points on top of the quote.
You can read August's take on the arrangement on his blog, and Craig Mazin has blogged about it, too.

What's interesting, I think, is not that writers are seeking (and taking) more control over the production process, but they are doing it collectively. As Mazin points out, they're not intending to undermine the American Writers Guild (they're raising the ceiling for deals, he says, whereas the Guild establishes the floor) but they are showing that writers can have a great deal of power when they work together.

The film industry in this country isn't big enough for anything similar to happen over here, but could British TV writers follow the co-operative model? Several, such as Paul Abbott (Tightrope Pictures) and Tony Jordan (Red Planet Pictures), have set up their own production companies. Might writers' co-ops be an equally viable option?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New logo for CBBC

CBBC logo
The BBC have unveiled a new logo for CBBC, the channel for six to twelve-year-olds. The new logo will go on air when the new season of programmes start on 3 September.

According to press reports, the channel will be aiming to increase its appeal to those aged nine and over, taking on rivals such as Nickelodeon and Disney.

New drama will include The Sarah Jane Adventures (created by Russell T Davies); adaptations of Jamie Rix's best-selling novels, The Revenge Files Of Alistair Fury; and Summerhill, a drama based around the pioneering school, written by Alison Hume.

ConstantComedy.com

From Ben Dowell in Media Guardian:
Former Channel 4 commissioning editor Phil Morrow has launched the UK's first online comedy service allowing comedians to upload their work and to judge that of others.

ConstantComedy.com, which goes live today, aims to capitalise on the growth in social networking.

It will offer comedy fans and performers the opportunity to showcase new material ranging from 45 seconds to five minutes in length.

Clips can be judged by anyone watching the "premiere" of the material and viewers can rate the material second by second before it is archived.

2008 People’s Play Award

New Writing North and the People’s Theatre Company have launched the 2008 People’s Play Award. The award is run to find a new play that will be produced for one week in the studio theatre at the People’s Theatre in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, in May 2008. The winning writer will receive an award of £2,000.

The competition is only open to writers who have not yet received a professional production of their work on the stage. The award is funded by New Writing North and The People’s Theatre and is open to writers who live and work within the Arts Council England North East region (Tyneside, Northumberland, Tees Valley and County Durham).

The closing date for entries is 5pm on Monday 5 November 2007.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mohsin Hamid interview

The longlist for the 2007 Man Booker Prize, announced last week, featured several lesser-known writers, including Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

He's interviewed in The Guardian by Decca Aitkenhead.
When we meet for breakfast in a cafe near his Kensington flat, I wonder if he feels awkward at all about the implication that he owes his success to Osama bin Laden. After all, one could argue, al-Qaida's atrocities in the US have proved to be the making of him.

"Well I wouldn't resist that at all," he agrees smoothly. "I mean, the Holocaust was the making of Primo Levi. Anti-black sentiment was the making of James Baldwin. And certainly, I think that this current tension between the west and Islam is, for a westernised Muslim like myself, identity-forming as an artist." He pauses. "But I would very happily trade a world where I didn't have to worry about my family in Pakistan - which American presidential candidates talk about invading - for the success of my second novel." Hamid directs a witheringly polite smile at me, and takes a sip of green tea. "I'd be happy to make that swap."

Scottish Broadcasting Commission

From Matthew Hemley in The Stage:
Playwright Chris Ballance and actress Elaine C Smith have joined the new commission formed to look into the future of Scotland’s broadcast industry.

Both from Scotland, the pair will sit alongside the commission’s chair, Blair Jenkins, and seven others tasked with investigating the state of television and production in the country.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Meet The Writers

Writers ' Guild presents Meet the Writers (Edinburgh Festival)

A series of free, informal events will be hosted by The Writers' Guild of Great Britain at the Edinburgh Festival. Each Guild member will talk about how they became working writers and the best ways into the business. The first two meetings will be held on Saturday 18 August at Oxford Bar, 8 Young Street, Edinburgh:
  • 11am: Deborah Moggach (Tulip Fever, Pride & Prejudice screenplay)
  • 12 noon: Andrea Gibb (2005 Scottish Filmmaker of the Year).
The third will take place on Sunday 19 August at Costa Coffee in Waterstone's, 83 George Street, Edinburgh:
  • 11am: Alan Plater:(Biederbecke Trilogy, Z Cars, Blonde Bombshells of 1943)
Numbers are limited to 15 per writer so come early!

The Working Writer

The Writers ' Guild presents The Working Writer (Edinburgh Festival)

Okay, the producer likes your work, you’ve sold your script, you’ve got the job - now you’re a fully paid up working writer. But it’s your idea, your vision, your baby, so are you a just an employee or a real partner in a creative collaboration?

What can your producer expect for their buck? How does the industry define the terms and conditions for creative work? Who owns who, and what?

Chaired by Andrea Gibb (Dear Frankie/Afterlife) on behalf of The Writers' Guild, a panel of producers, screenwriter and agents will discuss the basis for their working relationships and consider whether a standard industry contract has real relevance in a creative environment.

The panel will include Claire Mundell (The Brotherhood of the Book / Synchronicity Films) Alex Holdrige (US writer /director) Anita Cox (Head of Business Affairs, Scottish Screen).

The event is for industry delegates only and will be at The Sheraton Hotel, Edinburgh at 2pm on Saturday 18th August.

Kate Modern


The man behind YouTube star Lonelygirl15, Miles Beckett, has created another online character, Kate Modern, for social networking site Bebo.

If you're not a member of Bebo, you can see the videos on YouTube.

In Media Guardian, Kate Bulkley talks to Bebo's Joanna Shields about why she believes online drama has so much potential to reach younger audiences.
Shields ... saw the potential for integrating advertisers and brands from the outset. When she was developing Kate Modern, Shields took both Beckett, 29, and co-creator Greg Goodfried, 28, to advertiser pitches, explaining that they would write specific products and brands into the plot. It worked: Procter & Gamble (Gillette, Tampax and Pantene), MSN, Orange Mobile, Paramount and Disney/Buena Vista paid £250,000 each for six months of name-checking in Kate Modern.

Beckett admits that writing a plot line involving Tampax was the "most challenging" but says the result is "pretty creative" and that viewers will be amazed at how seamless it is. "The production team in London is working on a weekly and sometimes daily basis with the brands and the brands have been really open," he says. "They don't have veto power, but I haven't run into many problems, I guess because they mostly like the stuff I'm doing."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Adapting Atonement

On The Guardian Film Blog, Christopher Hampton explains how he went about adapting Ian McEwan's novel Atonement for the big screen.
In the end I think we managed to stay true to McEwan's original vision. If anything, I tend to get fired for being too faithful to the novels that I adapt. So I'm in the camp that says that you should choose books that you love and then honour them. I learned this when I was starting out in the 1960s by reading Harold Pinter's screenplays. The better the book, the more faithful he was when adapting it.

There is an old maxim that says that it is easy to make a bad book into a good film, but that it's difficult to do the same with a good book. I'm very opposed to that argument; I don't see why it should be the case. What I would say is that a higher quality of book forces you to make a higher quality of film. That much is obvious; the rest is a mystery.
Atonement trailer

Truth and factual drama

The recent debate about standards in television has focused on false phone-ins and rigged reality shows. But, argues Jon Sen on the Broadcast Now Blog, the row also has big implications for factual drama.
During the current furore, drama has watched passively from the sidelines as docs and reality TV have wrung their hands over editorial truth. But to think drama is unaffected by events would be wrong. The makers of factual drama need to be the first to take stock of the changing climate.

Amazon sales rank addiction

In The New York Times, Lyndon Stambler looks at how authors get addicted to looking at their sales rank on Amazon.
It may seem obsessive, but every day — sometimes hourly — Aaron Shepard checks the Amazon.com sales rankings for his 12 self-published books. He even created a Web site, www.salesrankexpress.com, that lets authors check their Amazon rankings instantly.

“People want to know where their book stands, just for the thrill of that score,” says Mr. Shepard, whose top seller, “The Business of Writing for Children,” clocked in at 1,834th during one random check last week, and at 2,070th during another one. He says it sells 250 to 450 copies a month.

Mr. Shepard is not alone. Forget writer’s block — many authors put their manuscripts aside because they cannot stop checking their rankings.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mark Rylance interview

In The Daily Telegraph, Jasper Rees talks to actor Mark Rylance about his debut as a playwright.
It may well be the least catchy title in theatrical history. Take a deep breath: The BIG Secret Live - "I Am Shakespeare" - Webcam Daytime Chat-Room Show.

"It was a much longer title," says debutant playwright Mark Rylance, "but I edited it down. It is big, it is a secret, it is live, it is on a webcam, it starts at daytime, it is a chatroom show. That is it, distilled." And it's also about Shakespeare.

ITV to focus on long-running drama

In another statement of intent regarding the channel's drama output, Michael Grade, Chairman of ITV, has said that improving the mid-week 9pm drama slot on ITV1 remains a key priority, reports Katie Allen for Media Guardian.
"I'm talking about series that run 12, 14, 15 weeks a year, every year for three, four or five years, that is where we have been weak," he said.

"Short series we are brilliant at, whether it's Commander or Wire in the Blood and so on, these are terrific series but they are not 16 weeks a year, that's where we are short and we are working very very hard on that. That will take some time to come through."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Freemantle launches comedy website

From Jessica Rogers for Broadcast Now:
Fremantle Media Enterprises has launched a comedy download website in a bid to make money out of classics such as George and Mildred and Love Thy Neighbour.

TVComedyClassics.com will be updated with content from Fremantle's archive on a regular basis. Visitors to the site will also have the opportunity to download additional content such as unseen episodes and interviews with talent.
Episodes of George And Mildred (written by Brian Cooke and Johnnie Mortimer), for example, can be downloaded for £0.99 each.

Ravenhill's play for each day

Playwright Mark Ravenhill has written a series of 20-minute plays to be read at the Edinburgh Festival, with three more to be written while the Festival is in progress. He explains how the commission came about, and how he's approaching it, in The Guardian.
What is emerging is a cycle of plays that I'm calling Shoot, Get Treasure, Repeat. Each 20-minute play is a stand-alone piece, but they are all in some way about the war on terror. Key images and phrases are repeated throughout the cycle. My aim was to create an epic out of a series of small encounters. It feels as if I'm getting there. The next few weeks in Edinburgh will be the test.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Animation writer website

For the Writers Guild of America, West, Elliot Feldman has produced a list of websites useful for animation writers.

The list includes (American) animation industry sites as well as personal sites by animation writers. (Top marks for style go to Jeffrey Scott.)

R.D. Wingfield 1928-2007

Novelist and radio dramatist, R.D. Wingfield, creator of the Inspector Frost series, has died at the age of 79.

There is an obituary in The Times and one by Mike Ripley in The Guardian.
Rodney was less than enthusiastic about the television adaptation of his work, though he always insisted: "I have nothing against David Jason as Frost at all, he just isn't my Frost." He liked Jason as a comedy actor in such vehicles as Only Fools and Horses, but felt that along with the choice of actor had gone a softening of the dark humour essential as a safety valve for policemen investigating horrendous cases.

While primetime television could accommodate exchanges such as this, with a doctor - "I'd guess from the obstruction in his throat that he probably choked on his own vomit"/ "Better than choking on someone else's vomit, I suppose" - the author regretted the loss of the tougher style of the books, as in this, addressed to a queasy young copper in A Touch of Frost: "Reminds me of the time when I was a bobby on the beat and I had to pull this stiff out of the canal. He'd been dead a bloody long time but had only just popped up to the surface. I grabbed his arms to pull him out and his bloody arms came off. I was left holding the damn things while he sank to the bottom again."

Friday, August 03, 2007

Poetry, Style and Verse

Speakers have been confirmed for the WGGB Poetry Style and Verse event on Tuesday, 4th September 2007.

The evening will be chaired by Guild member and poet Alan Brownjohn. A regular broadcaster, reviewer and contributor to journals including the Times Literary Supplement, Encounter and the Sunday Times, Alan was poetry critic for the New Statesman and was Chairman of the Poetry Society between 1982 and 1988. He has also served on the Arts Council literature panel, was a Labour councillor and a candidate for Parliament. His first collection of poetry, The Railings, was published in 1961. Alan’s most recent collection of poetry is The Men Around Her Bed (2004). A Collected Poems was published in 2006.

The other panellists will include, in alphabetical order:

Guild member, Leo Aylen has had three solo shows devoted to him as poet-performer on American nationwide TV (CBS), eight collections of poetry published, the latest Dancing the Impossible: New & Selected Poems; also published in about 100 anthologies. For more information about Leo, please go to: www.leoaylen.com

Poet, Jonzi D has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam and Channel 4's Faking It. He has worked with numerous artists including The Roots, Steve Williamson, Mannafest, MC Mell 'O' and toured with Gangstar. He also runs Jonzi D productions, an associate company of Sadlers Wells. For more information please go to: www.jonzi-d.co.uk

Guild member, David Morgan has travelled all over the northern hemisphere as a street musician and performance poet. He has won numerous slam poetry competitions, including the London Slam Championship, the UK Champions Slam and was voted the UK's best slam performer of 2004 by the 4,000 members of the Farrago Slam Poetry list.

Poet, OneNess was nominated for Best Black female poet of 2005 by Black Women in the Arts and was hailed in the New Nation Newspaper as being one of the top 5 poets of 2005. OneNess has appeared on BBC Radio 4 series Bespoken Word. As a member of London’s finest poetry collective the ‘Best Kept Secret’, OneNess became the first person out side of the USA to win a prize at The Toronto International Poetry Slam, whilst the collective were on tour in Canada. She was awarded third place.

Dr Peter Sansom, will join the panel on behalf of Bloodaxe books. Peter is author of Bloodaxe's handbook Writing Poems. He is a Carcanet poet, director of the Poetry Business and editor of The North and Smith/Doorstop Books in Huddersfield. Bloodaxe books is an independent literary publishing house, founded in Newcastle in 1978 by Neil Astley joined in 1982 by Chairman Simon Thirsk. For more information about Bloodaxe Publishers go to: www.bloodaxebooks.com/about.asp or for further info on the Poetry Business go to: www.poetrybusiness.co.uk

The event will be held at the Writers’ Guild Centre on Tuesday, 4th September 2007 from 7pm – 9:30pm. If you want to find out more about the different styles of poetry and are interested in becoming part of the poetry scene then come along. Poetry, Style and Verse will help demystify the new, emerging as well as traditional poetry forms. The evening will involve a panel discussion which will be followed by individual performances from the panel members.

Tickets will cost £5 for Guild members and £7.50 for non-members. Please join us afterwards for a complimentary glass of wine and a chance to mingle with fellow guests.

Places are limited so please book in advance If you would like to attend this exciting poetry event please send a cheque payable to the Writers' Guild, to ‘Poetry Event ’, Writers' Guild of Great Britain, 15-17 Britannia Street, London, WC1X 9JN

Sally Wainwright sued over Bonkers

From Matthew Hemley in The Stage:
At Home with the Braithwaites writer Sally Wainwright is being sued over claims she copied an existing stage play to create ITV1 series Bonkers.

The claim has been made by playwright Tricia Walsh-Smith, who alleges the characterisations, premise and title of the ITV1 series were copied from a stage play she wrote in 1987...

...The claims have been denied by ITV, Wainwright and Lime Pictures, which made the television production.

Crisis in the West End

In The Guardian, Michael Billington says the time has come for a revolution in the way West End theatres are run.
What the West End needs is a radical makeover, even a minor revolution, in the interests of both quality and variety. I'd like to see Sunday openings, lottery money for the rotting fabric, more imaginative use of the buildings themselves: in particular, pre-show talks, jazz and poetry recitals, stand-up comics in the dead hours before the 7.30pm opening. If the commercial theatre can't beat the subsidised sector, it should, in effect, join it: not only by adopting its practices but by employing its personnel. In the old days, the West End theatre relied on actor-managers to give it body and substance. Now what it needs are director-managers, or even dramatist-impresarios, of proven vision. Otherwise it is destined to become little more than a gaudy musical fairground based on sinking land and of scant relevance to the art of theatre or to life.

Teen poetry

In The Independent, Bill Hicks reports from the London Teenage Poetry Slam.
It's a Saturday afternoon, and seven teenagers take the stage of the Stratford Circus in east London. They're handed a trophy, and the crowd goes wild, stamping and chanting, "Lam-mas! Lam-mas!"

This is not a basketball match, but the finals of the London Teenage Poetry Slam, and these pupils from The Lammas School in Leyton have just won a cup for the quality of their poetry. Specifically, for writing and performing blistering poems about living in London E10, and their family roots in Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, Turkey – and Waltham Forest.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

BT scraps mobile TV

On Blogcast, Greg Brooks argues that BT's decision to scrap its wholesale mobile TV service BT Movio has highlighted some of the massive problems facing the mobile TV industry.
Mobile TV has tumbled a long way after being heralded as the future of TV. Predictions for global subscribers stand at 155.6m by the end of 2012, with 42.7m subscribers within five years in Europe, according to Datamonitor. But the lack of interest in BT Movio seems to contradict this prophecy.