Sunday, 29 June 2008

Writing Short Animations. Pt3.

It's strange looking back to before starting on these because at the time my attitude was 'it's never gonna happen' and 'I'm never gonna think of any good ideas lets alone write them.' But I feel like the creative door is most definitely open and I'm constantly thinking and seeing things in terms of animations and possibilities in everything. It's surreal because it feels natural and like its always been that way.

George Mcfly said it right: 'If you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything.'

Where I'm at now is in rewrites of Book, Salesman, Vampire and Deadline. The two with the most potential and are in the best shape at the moment are Book and Vampire. Book's potential is with a company like Ardman who are a little leftfield and would appreciate the story's twisted irony. Vampire has big potential within a short or feature animation with a company who produce Pixar/Blue Sky-esque animations.

An animation lecturer at the university read Vampire and recommended it as a good and achievable short for the first year animators. I was surprised with his response and will definitely follow it up. That would be the internal monologue version as I think characters talking/lip syncing would be too advanced at that stage. Plus I've yet to replace the internal monologue with real time dialogue. So that's something to aim and look forward to.

Otherwise, the future is in getting those current four scripts written to their best and developing the new batch. Not to mention thinking more in terms of smaller and simpler situations for future ideas.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Back Home. The Summer. Pt.1

I've been home for two weeks now and things aren't progressing as well as I thought they would. I have lots to do and can't wait to do it all. But i'm in a weird limbo due to still not having the full six weeks for the placement.

Plus we still don't have our last assignment results and I'm waiting for four assignment marks. Two, I know are going to be pretty low (worringly low), which are essays and the the other two I think will be high, which are my one hour drama and professional studies. The one hour drama mark is the only one really i'm waiting for. It's the best script i've written and whatever the mark is destined to have a big impact.

I'm still applying to companies for placements. It's insane how many companies there actually are especially the smaller and obscure ones that you can only find on certain searches. Some of them are very impressive for their quality and output and some of them are about thirty-minutes from where i live. Most of them are factual production companies but work experience is work experience and i'd be happy to work there. So fingers are crossed for one of those.

I have about ten different covering letters which include general, script reading, runner, animation studios, factual and company specific ones and i'm beginning to lose track of them. It's also annoying how every time after I send a CV and Covering Letter out I get an idea on how to improve it.

I also need to sort out some system of getting a hold on motivation and getting things done throughout the summer and to regular deadlines. The plan, workwise for the summer is to make progress with the third year work. But mainly completing WWII Drama and Dark Comedy treatments. Continuing with the production log for WWII Drama plus research for it going to the location and all that. I aim to have a good draft of Steph's minor project also. Plus other scripts and animations that were started awhile ago.

I think the main thing is to try and not to do too much like last summer. I planned to do a whole lot at the beginning and it all seemed like it was going to happen. But like i mentioned before; mood, lack of motivation and external factors got in the way. Although, a nice pilot script was written so some good did come out of it. But hopefully this summer i can keep the momentum and confidence going through to the new term so I can get everything done.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

The Looking Glass.

At some point in the first year, I realised I needed to let go of those big dreams of feature films and Hollywood and be realistic. So they went. Even television is ridiculously difficult to break into and has a lot more to do with luck than talent. It's a much closer dreamland and more possible than film. But something that concerns me is that i don't know if i'm being realistic enough. After all, part of being a writer is being a dreamer.

Through this year I've tried to be as realistic as possible and by the last term felt like my feet where on the ground. But even now i don't think they really are. Clearly it helps to have that dream horizon in your minds eye but how much is it really clouding my vision? That's what worries me. It is a extremely competitive industry and is 'survival of the fittest.' I'm not optimistic by nature, so this is a new thing for me and I know adapting isn't going to be easy.

I see two areas where my near future lies within television; realistically and where I want to be. They are still a giant leap to a very, very far away place but it does help to look at it in a different way and by breaking it down into achievable steps. The best thing I can do now and aim for, is the next step from my current position.

The two areas of interest and where my near future (and hopefully future will contain) lies in: (order)

Television; soaps, one-off dramas, high-concept genre series, and Animation; shorts and serial.

The second is more competitive and difficult to get into. Its a very specific market and therefore is more closed off to newcomers. So that will naturally take a backseat.

The third interest, independent UK feature films is a much larger step and one that will be more achievable after being established in the industry and supporting various credits and contacts.

The mode of approach is to target the main area; television and the sub-areas (companies/genres) within that:


1. Find out who is producing what, what have they done, companies and producers attitudes and ethics, how they commission projects, what they're looking to make, who has the power, who to approach etc.

2. Find out the history/conventions of your chosen subjects/genre and know them inside out.

3. Find potential ways into the market i.e Graduate schemes, BBC Talent and C4 Talent etc. Shows open to submissions i.e Doctors. Voluntary/low paid work i.e. runner.

4. Keep writing and regularly as possible (with strict personal deadlines).

5. Keep watching television - analyze shows and past/current trends. Looking for and spotting an unexplored niche or new way of doing something.

5. Enter scriptwriting competitions and gain recognition for your writing.

6. Keep in touch with television student contacts and offer your services for any potential short student films they may make.

It does seems simple and straightforward when spelt out. But at times it'll be akin to hell i'm sure and that's when the so-called virtues will come into play.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Placement. Update.

There's still no word on the placements from Goodfilms or Carnival Figures. I've rang them and left messages. Alex at Carnival Figures has said he will get back to me but is still really busy.

I asked our a contact our group used for professional studies about possible script reading work experience and he said he'd get back to me, which his cool.

And another hope.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Non-Linear Narratives Essay. A Postscript.

This essay was different to my previous ones as I took the proper approach and started reading and gathering quotes before starting the essay, instead looking for quotes to fit what I‘ve written.

Another good thing, is that whilst researching I think I’ve found my dissertation topic and question, which is really cool. I did far more reading than I‘ve done before, which is an improvement from last year. I also gathered more quotes than needed for the actual essay, which will form as material for my the dissertation. I gathered thirty pages of quotes and used about two for my essay, which I'm really pleased with.

But now I'm thinking maybe it wasn't such a great idea as the main problem with the essay, was that I didn’t actually start it until close to the deadline. So there wasn’t any time for revisions and I'm sure it will affect my mark. It's a shame because I put so much into the research and gathered great material for a well structured argument.

But part of the skill of writing essays is finding that balance between research and writing. So that's something I need to work on in the future.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

The Post-Uni Book?

This may just be another dream or something that I've yet to realise isn't a good idea or won't work. But at the moment, I'm liking it.

I have this concept idea for a humorous self-help book, which could potentially lead into a tangent series. I've checked the market and it hasn't already been done, which is a good sign and encouraging. I've yet to check what's on the way in terms of the genre, if there's a way to do that.

I hope to start writing and researching as soon as possible and keep it in the background like a diary. So hopefully when I finish university, I'll have enough to sort out the beginnings of and put together some kind of book.

Its catered for a specific type of reader and most definitely not for all. A sense of humour would help but a slanted one would be even better. I'm not even sure what a slanted sense of humour means!! Just not your cliched generic type. Its a 'glass is half-empty, laugh-at-ourselves-at-an-attempt-to-make-it-half-full' kind of book.

Its pretty exciting because its something I never thought i'd be interested in doing and I think its a great opportunity. But to be truthful, it's going to take awhile to pluck up the courage to actually tell anyone about it. :)

So in the meantime, I'll keep praying that my sense of humour isn't so unique that its truly one-of-a-kind.

I know someone up there is watching me. I just hope its the big man and not paranoia.