Friday, May 12, 2006

Weekend Noticeboard

Not much information to share with you this weekend. Seems to have gone a bit quiet in the build up to Cannes and with the weather getting nicer.

There’s the update on the Screenwriters’ Festival regarding accommodation, how to get there and the New Writers’ Day (which takes place the day before the festival officially starts).

Mark Huckerby (who will be on a panel discussion at the festival) gave me this link which is an interesting article about how the film industry is looking to writers outside of the field of screenwriting to write future hits at the cinema because the “common screenwriting talent” (inverted commas my own) don’t seem to be quite up to scratch. I’m particularly annoyed in the article’s apparent assumption that TV writers aren’t screenwriters, or not as skilful as the writers who fill the wide and wonderful canvas of film.

Occasionally, the TV and film industry likes to lay the blame and point the finger at writers for the lack of quality projects available but sometimes when they get a brilliant script across their laps, they don’t know what to do with it, or seem incapable of raising the required budget to fund the project! (ahem, Aliens FC) And then the script goes to waste. I believe passionately that there are a lot of talented screenwriters out there (I’m including TV writers and myself, modesty aside).

While there is unarguably a lot of dross and poorly written scripts in circulation (one reader recently said to me: "there's only so long you can read scripts without developing the urge to axe someone"), the industry shouldn’t be so quick to lay the blame at the struggling writer’s door because the internal politics and stumbling machinations of the film industry can be just as prohibitive as having a bunch of mediocre scripts on your development slate.

Let’s go into the weekend on a positive note however. The sun’s out so I’m off down to the beach to read a few scripts that will provide me with a handy bit of cash for Cannes. (Am I the only person who goes to the beach and brings scripts to read?). It’s a glorious day on the south coast. Hope you enjoy a beer and a barbie wherever you are in the world.


Submissions are now open for the McLaren Award for New British Animation which continues to support animation produced at all levels of the British Industry. Information can be obtained at the Edinburgh Film Festival’s website.

Past winners include Tim Webb, Tim Hope, Phil Mulloy, David Anderson, Peter Peake and Elizabeth Hobbs. Winning films have included student work, first films, studio productions and music videos. As Britain's most prestigious animation award (ed: is this true? Surely not. Bafta. British Animation Awards etc), it carries a trophy and cash prize of £1000. Dedicated to the memory of Norman McLaren, the award aims to nurture a spirit of experimentation and innovation within British animation production.


Dominic Carver said...

I like to take an A4 pad and a pen down to the beach with me. While others read books or magazines I write. I develop and explore ideas for future work.

There's something about the sun, sea and sand on a gloriously sunny day that fires my creativity. And being able to top up your tan at the same time is a bonus.

You're gonna love Bournemouth in the summer, Danny.

Paul Campbell said...

Bah, humbug!

Bromley in the summer isn't quite the same.

Anonymous said...

Just read that article: "It makes sense to assume that people who know how to write can make the switch than gamble on people who have never written before" so with one illuminating little comment Mr. Kenworthy reveals all that is wrong with the British Film Industry and its attitudes to writers.
It begs the question, how do first time novelists get published? How do first time playwrights get their work produced? What makes screenwriters different? I had a meeting with a development exec last year who admitted to me that the industry is populated by people in positions of power who have no idea whether they're reading a good script or a bad script. They simply haven't a clue, so they bluff it.
I agree with your comment about the attitude to tv writers, when in fact it's probably a lot easier for a tv writer to write a screenplay than say a lowly hack piddling about in another genre (did I see Lana Citron on that list?). Oops.
Oh and for the comment "people who have never written before read "people I haven't gotten the balls to take a chance on cos I wouldn't recognise a decent script if it hopped up and tried to gouge my eyes out and besides I'd be afraid of losing my big shiny merc and having the opportunity to pose in the Guardian as I did so suavely last week."

Rant over.


Anonymous said...

Meant to leave my identity on that rant. Apologies.
(The Misanthrope)

Anonymous said...

And when will people (I use the word loosely, I am referring to film execs after all) when will they stop holding up Richard Curtis as the finest example of a British screenwriter? Fair enough he's amusing, but as an exemplar??

Okay, I'll stop now.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more misanthrope. It's a badly written article about a bad idea for yet another "scheme". Did you spot the glorious contradiction in the first paragraph?

"So, in a bid to create a new generation of Richard Curtises and expand the realm of British movies beyond the realms of Notting Hill..."

Hmm. I hate to think how much money Skillset is wasting on this. It's a silly gimic - the idea that writers from other media need to be "poached" somehow. If they want to write screenplays then they will - what does calling this disparate group a "Writers Circle" achieve? It would be more productive to find writers who are already plugging away on screenplays or teleplays and to ask them what support in terms of financing or access would be useful to help them get their stuff made. But of course that is harder to do and not as easy to package as a nice little scheme which they can present to the Guardian as another ground-breaking innovation.

Anonymous said...

They couldn't have a competition and mentor the writers of the eight best scripts over a year, could they?

I mean, that might let in some "undesirables" - new writers!

Oh, the horror!