Turning pro in less than 362 days!

Hopefully turning pro in less than six thousand three hundred and eighty nine days!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Cool People Don't Use Exclamation Marks

Have you ever written a pithy sentence and got to the end and thought "I want to leave it with a full stop, but I am not brave enough, I may piss people off, I'll end it with an exclamation mark, that way they will see the smile on my face?"!

Listen, if you want to get ahead in life and make as many friends as possible then the exclamation mark is your best friend - every time you make an inane announcement on facebook or twitter then you need to add at least five of those stiff little fucks to the end of it!!!!!

But it's the cowards way out. Do you think Tom Selleck, as Magnum P.I. would ever think of using a fucking exclamation mark? Which of these do you think Dirty Harry, if he were writing his autobiography, would write?

"Blew that dirty fuck's face off."

"Blew that dirty fuck's face off!!! LOL!"

If you write what's on your mind leave it as intended, with a fucking full stop at the end of it.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The Fun of Script Pitching Events

Good afternoon Gartholomites and random travellers of cyberspace!

As you know my challenge is nearly up - in a month and a half one word is going to be scrubbed from the heading of this blog. Either I'm not going to be aspiring any more, or I'm not going to be a screenwriter any more.
So, when I saw an opportunity to attend an industry pitching event at my local university I thought - this is it Garth - this is what you have been waiting for. They are going to hear your idea, and be so overcome all hands are going to migrate below their lofty panel table, launching an almighty wank fest.

Didn't quite go according to plan.

Firstly, the morning kicked off with a chat by a producer on the pitfalls of writing. Actually, the day didn't start like that, the day started with everyone piled into the uni cafe for networking teas and coffees. So, lots of us enjoyed that. There's nothing a group of writers enjoy more than being in a room with other writers who we don't know. I believe the collective noun is a fucking awkward silence of writers. Or a twitching collective of angles. That doesn't work because it doesn't include the word writer.Anyway -

Then we were treated to a couple of hours of chat by a couple of professional TV writers, who were lovely, but churning out the same old shit everyone had heard before on auto-pilot. I guess when you have a group of mixed abilities there are only so many truths you can spout and only so much wisdom you want to impart to potential competition.

Only my social awkwardness made it memorable. If someone mentions something taboo, or whatever, in a public space I act like I'm guilty. I remember being in school and the headmaster called a special assembly because someone shat themselves and smeared all the poo over the walls. Looking back I can admire the early pioneering spirit of the inventor of the dirty protest, but anyway, when we were all sat there and the headmaster said - who amongst you wiped defecant all over the toilet walls? - I went bright red - so much so he singled me out - was it you, Jenkins? I feverishly shook my head in denial, but by then I had pooed myself with fright and anxiety, which wasn't really the best defense. In a similar vein, the TV writers said 'write about what you know - unless you're really perverted', at which point everyone laughed, except me -my arm twitched moronically, slapping myself in the face. That's everyone behind me now alienated.

Then we all put our names into a hat with three to be chosen to pitch an idea at the industry panel, boasting film-makers, writers, commissioning editors etc.

Three? Just three? That's a bit shit, isn't it?

So we're all told to network again for half an hour and meet in a lecture theatre for the pitch event. I grab a tea and run outside for a smoke.

Back in the pitching room and we're all expectant, with the panel sat on a long table at the front, like the head table of the British royal wedding.

The host grabs the hat 'so who's it going to be?' I feel like it's time to pick teams at school P.E. again.

First name gets called - it's not mine. Doesn't matter - two to go.

Next one - some student - what's the fucking point of that?

Last name called out - not mine again. Shit! I want to get up, stamp my feet and call the person a cunt - but she's a wheelchaired lady to my right and, as it turns out, she was the best pitcher.

The first couple get up to pitch and I'm feeling forsaken. They start to talk- it's about child abuse- great - my fucking syndrome kicks in again and I've jerked my cup of tea all over myself. That's the rest of the room alienated.

And their idea was shit, as was the other one. I had to sit there, with what I knew was a great idea, watching a couple of bozos fumbling around like disaffected teenagers at a Playboy party. Everyone in the room knew they didn't have a sniff of a chance. In another fucking universe I could be making a pitch that changes my life, but not in this one, oh no. This is not my universe, this is some cunt's universe, who doesn't even know my name. There's no-one looking out for me - I'm on my own, we all are.

So I'm not leaving it to chance any more, waiting for my name to randomly get picked out of a hat, because it fucking ain't - I'm taking taking charge of my destiny - it's the only way.

I'm off to kidnap the head of Channel 4, whoever the fuck that is.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Life's Too Short - a Real Time Review (may contain a shitload of spoilers)

Ok, I know it's a bit on the late side, but I'm finally get round to watching the latest offering from everyone's favourite cunt, Ricky Gervais.

To celebrate I thought I would do a real time, stream of consciousness review of episode one.

What am I expecting? Well, we all know that Gervais has based his entire career on the scene from Spinal Tap containing the immortal line-

"It's such a fine line between stupid and... clever".

Remorselessly mined with the interpretation 'do what you like, as long as you angle the presentation so that the joke aimed at the disadvantaged is thrust back on to the audience in an ironic act of genius'. Oh yes Gervais, we fucking sussed you long ago, matey boy.

Therefore, I'm expecting scenes such as this one, set at the circus. A convicted pedophile is in the audience - Stephen Merchant recognizes him from the paper and gets a good view, owing to his hilarious height, and calls out to the police, who charge over, hoping to nab him before he can get his mittens on. But there's no way - he's practically out the door.

It's over to Warwick Davis - the only man who can save the day. He selflessly and hilariously climbs his diminutive frame into a cannon and fires himself across the stage, aiming to bring down the molesting bastard.

Or maybe I'm doing Ricky a disservice, and I should stress at this point that everything he has ever done I have found fucking hilarious. Anyway, enough bollocks, let's watch this bitch!

Starts out with Warwick walking through a city centre, with some cuts of films he's been in - a cut out ewok - quick flash of a Princess Leia poster - my God, I forgot how good those bangers were. Back in a minute.

Ah, Warwick is playing an arrogant son of a bitch version of himself - what a fantastic switch! The wee guy with the big ego - let's knock him down a peg or two using visually humiliating imagery- shouldn't be too hard, he's already most of the way there, eh Ricky! BAAAAM! If you want me on your writing team, I am currently available. Unless I'm working the checkout, of course.

Two and a half minutes in and he's still introducing himself-  man, he must be sooooo conceited - oh hang on - he's getting out of his massive Range Rover - yep - he's fallen out HA HA HA HA!! Fuckin' brilliant! He deserved that, the tiny arrogant prick!

Five minutes in, and Warwick mentions being fired out of a cannon - can it be? Is that telegraphing a later scene?

Warwick is good, very good. He's in his big swanky house, still introducing himself. Points out the heels in the hall are not his, good one, points out his wedding photo - "Sue had to lose a lot of weight to wear that dress. Not as much as I'd have liked, but enough to get into her dead mum's dress". Fuck me, I bet that scene took three days - they must've been dying on set.

In the kitchen, even his dog, Chewbacca ignores him, oh no! His wife comes in - oh no they're separated - he shouldn't even be in the house! She claims he left her, thinking he could do better in Hollywood, he denies it, whilst stressing that he could have done better if he had wanted to. His character is starting to sound quite familiar...

Blah, blah, wife gags, he's Manning Lite now. CUT TO:

He's outside some flats or something, walking up some steps. Oh no! He can't reach the buzzers! A ha ha ha! He gets a passer by to buzz it for him. Oh, it's Ricky Gervais's flat - and he can't hear him down there - he thinks there's nobody there - Warwick laughs it off. Glad someone can. He gets a passer-by, who happens to be black, to speak into the intercom for him. But he's unsympathetic -he's never heard of him - that's not right - they are both minorities aren't they - good one Ricky, keeping it real and totally counter expectation there. Some comedy gold here, culminating with the passer by announcing Warwick as Warren Davis - fuckin' A!

Inside the flat and Ricky Gervais is sat at a swanky glass table with his comedy sidekick Stephen Merchandise (see how funny it is when you get the name slightly wrong - it implies a total lack of respect on my part towards Mr Merchant!) Curiously, Ricky comes across as a right cunt - he doesn't think much of Warwick - thought he made the buzzer high enough to put him off coming round. Warwick has a thick enough skin to brush it off. He comes clean - he needs work - have they got any? No. Talk about the impending divorce and Warwick starts discussing their sex life - how he always saw to her needs - TooMuchInformation Warwick - who would want that image in their heads - there's only one thing worse than an image of a dwarf fucking a respectably attractive normally sized woman - and that's a thousand Miss World winners eating shit out of a single, gigantic cup.

Oh, he bumps into that cunt from Eastenders who was in Extras - awesome! Is he going to sing? Not yet, no.But he is doing Ricky and Steve's laundry. Very good. Moving on.

Hires an assistant or something. Has no choice -she's the only candidate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next, and to his accountant's office. Jesus, this guy is a cunt, too! Who would've thought it - he is a shit, apathetic anus - didn't see that coming, fuck! He can't even do simple math - bloody brilliant! Absolutely disingenuous, predictable, forced, humourless crap.

Back at Ricky and Steve's office, to more resistance. Oh, hang on - here comes Liam Neeson for a cameo - he wants to be a stand up and he needs their help. He's anal in this universe and he's made a list of things he wants to cover - he claims that's why he was cast in Schindler's List: -
"Steven, I love making lists"
"That's exactly what I'm looking for" replies Spielberg.

HAA! That is a genuine laugh, by the way - that is a bloody good gag, and Neeson's dead pan delivery is spot on. They run through some improvised comedy - each time Neeson brings it back to AIDS, contracting it from an African prostitute, or T*& C$%^&* a bleeped out Hollywood actor. This is a very funny scene - but Warwick is marginalised and it feels like an aside.

Now we're back to Warwick, packing his suitcase, preparing for single life, or something, and we're expected to laugh at him using the expression dipping my wick. In women, he makes clear - he is not a homosexual.

He leaves the house, dragging his suitcase along the driveway and we're done.

Almost certainly.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Movember - Christmas Come Early

Am I the only one who's a little suspicious about the true motivations of the moustachiooed Movemberons?

For those who don't know, Movember is an annual event wherein normally clean shaven, or unimaginatively bearded men grow a moustache for the duration of the month of November to raise money for male related health causes, chiefly testicular and prostrate cancer funds.

Which, in itself is admirable, and I'm certainly not going to slate. However...

Don't expect me to buy the "oh no, I've going to look like a nobhead for a month, but not to worry, it's for a good cause" - you all fucking love it.

For a start we can right off 85-92% of entrants, as they are going to grow handlebar moustaches, which are a bit of a cop out, and not really the point of the exercise, which is surely to look a complete tool.

If you are going to do it, do it properly, do not grow anything that could be construed as something someone would legitimately want on their face. Grow a moustache that you would only ever see on the face of a felcher or train spotter.

But even this belies the real, underlying truth.

Moustaches are cool. That's right, moustaches are cool. They are the ultimate symbol of manhood. Every man secretly knows this. His heart yearns to grow one every day of his fucking life. He dreams of sporting a Selleck and going into the bookies, putting down a disastrous bet and fighting an Irishman. Why can't I? Who the fuck decided that they are shit? Fuck you all, I want one! But the pressure is too much. I can't goddam it, I'm not powerful enough.

Because nothing shows your lack of strength like a moustache. You can cover a troubling torso with a baggy shirt, but a moustache reveals the true properties of a man.

Who is that guy over there with the moustache? I don't know, but I fear him, with his piercing eyes, and jawline that could plough fields and plunder the seven seas. What about that weasel over there, with the fungalised caterpiller on his top lip? He makes a mockery of the tache - look how it accentuates his massively over large top lip, lack of male hormones such as testosterone and weak, milky chin. He is a human hoverfly, wearing the colours of the wasp, when all know he is nothing but a gnat.

But we all do it, fantasise about being B.L. Stryker, jumping around the house at dawn, whilst the missus is still asleep, knowing it will have to come off before you take in her cup of tea.

But then suddenly someone, a person who has yearned more than any other to grow the noble lip cover, invented the idea of Movember and men the world over rejoiced that, even if it is only for one month of the year, they can grow their moustache and feel like a man. That's all they ever wanted, validation.

So don't feel there is any self-sacrifice involved in Movember - there isn't. Asking a man to sport a moustache for a month is as much a hardship as asking a woman to wear a padded bra.

He's never felt more alive.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Essential Screenwriting Tips - Nailing the Story Arc

Hola Gartholomites!

As 5 of you will know, last week I tried to write a drama script in eight days, to enter Channel 4's drama writing competition.

As anyone who has ever read this blog will know I didn't make the deadline. I got fifteen pages in and then didn't know what the fuck was going to happen until I got to the end. That's because I went out the night I was supposed to write the story outline, and tried to write it on the wing.

And it taught me a very important lesson. There are two types of writers - those that have an intrinsic sense of story, otherwise known as fairies, elves and creationists, and the rest of us.

Before you write any scenes always make sure you have cracked the story by writing the whole idea as a short story first. This way you can tell if you truly have a beginning, middle and end, with character development. 

Earlier in the year I sent a script in to the bbc's writersroom and just got a standard response - thanks, but no thanks A.K.A. thanks for wasting your time and ours, fuck off.  How dare they - it was genius! So, after my latest failure I went over this past project and got it.

Each scene on its own had something intelligent and well written about it, but when I tried to write the whole thing out as a short story I had to skip the first forty pages! It was all just disparate, waffly bum gas and bile, without any solid stool. I'd spent page after page skirting around the story and putting off an confrontation A.K.A. a literary form of my life, wherein it takes me two hours to decide what jam to buy, even though there are seven empty jars of economy raspberry jam sitting on my bedroom shelf, containing numerous alchemical potions, derived from bodily secretions.

By all means deviate from the narrative of your short story, once you come to sit down and write your script, just make sure that you have the short story outline to deviate from, otherwise you'll spend hours in the john farting and getting backed up, when all you really want is to have a good dump.