Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Nicholl for your thoughts (or script)

Did I read somewhere that this year’s Oscar Moore screenwriting prize (run by Screen International) has been unable to choose a winner because the scripts entered weren’t up to the judges’ standards? The genre for this year was ‘comedy’. I didn’t enter but it’s the UK’s highest profile screenwriting competition and it really is a great contest with a nice cash prize and huge industry exposure, so it'd be interesting to know what's going on.

For those of you who wish to extend your career beyond these shores, then you should check out the Nicholl Fellowship straight away. It’s an international competition, very high profile. Read about its history and background here if you’re unfamiliar.

My subscription to Shooting People is going to expire soon and with every waning subscription, it has to be reassessed on merit and cost. Normally, I would re-subscribe to SP as they provide a great service but my time and money is focused elsewhere at the moment, so I’m going to leave it go for a while.

However, I’ve decided to throw in a ‘pitch’ before my subscription expires, just to see what happens when you put one of your stories in for their pitch bulletin. Below is my pitch and naturally, all reaction and progress, or non-response, will be duly noted in the blog.

The Devil's Punchbowl

Low-mid budget horror.

Three thieves unravel the murderous myth of The Devil’s Punchbowl in Hindhead, Surrey, but unearth something far more sinister than they could have imagined.

Desire. Avarice. Murder.

On Sunday 24th September, 1786, an innocent sailor was viciously murdered by three assailants after a night’s drinking at a local inn. They flogged and whipped him to death with branches, almost severing his head from his body. On 17th April, 1787, the three murderers were hanged in Hindhead and their bodies were suspended from a wooden gibbet. A memorial stone now lies at the site of the murder in The Devil’s Punchbowl, a vast hollow in the area.

Since that fateful night in 1786, it is said that the ghosts of the three murderers roam the area, forced to return to the Earth on dark nights as punishment for their crimes. And now, in the present day, three thieves on the search for lost loot are going to find out the secret to The Devil’s Punchbowl for themselves.

Full outline available.

First act of screenplay available.


Anonymous said...

Yes you did my friend, if only in the comments section of one of my blog articles... According to the mysterious Bumbawumba (who entered his/herself), no prize awarded this year! Charming, hey?

Have you entered any comps this year or are you still embroiled in the Beeb's Evening Play thing?

Danny Stack said...

No, haven't entered any comps this year and have been rejected for the Evening Play...

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny and thanks for a great blog.

I assume the script is based on actual events that took place in 1787. To my mind all the dates and place names only provide clutter. It doesn't really matter that the story is based on real events and the fact that you sort of emphasize it makes this sound like a low-mid budget horror story with cultural pretensions.

That's my main objection.

The double 3's sort of grabbed my attention. What leapt to mind was that this was a really weird re-incarnation story in an East meets West vein: The three assailants are reincarnated (as thugs naturally) and then they end up in a lethal confrontation with their own ghosts!

(Imagine: Three actors playing 2 roles each. It'd probably save money)

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean lethal, I meant mortally dangerous.

Not that it matters a lot, this was a jokey comment.

Paul Campbell said...

But it's just such a "nice" part of the world. Nothing unpleasant could happen there, surely?

Actually, I do agree with him up there that the historical details get in the way. And there's nothing in the pitch to tell me that you've got any more idea than I have what happens to these poor sods.

Sorry! Just a quick reaction to the pitch.

Oh, and the Oscar Moore prize is definitely not being awarded this year. let's hope for a rollover prize of £20k next year. Better get my thriller ideas polished up.

Anonymous said...

EVERYONE was bloody rejected for the Evening Play as far as I can see...It's a conspiracy I tell you!

Oh and for the record: like the dark history and sailors, so I LOVE your pitch. Though this could be 'cos my heart is filled with lurve for everything at the mo (except maybe anchovies). Just warning you.

Dominic Carver said...

Murder, flogging, decapitation.... it's not a comedy then?

James Moran said...

The historical details should be fine, you can always trim it back a bit though - keep the first date, then remove the next two, starting the third sentence with just "The three murderers...", and the second para goes "Since that fateful night, it is said..." Definitely keep the details though, it's a great setup when Terrible Things happened somewhere long ago...