Friday, 30 January 2009

Method Writing

I practice something that I pretentiously call "method writing".
If I know I'm going to write an action sequence, I'll excite myself (no sniggering at the back). If I'm writing something filled with pathos and poignancy, as I currently am, I get myself in that mood.

The way I do that is my iPod. If I'm going to be writing an action sequence, it's Rage Against The Machine or Nirvana through the day until I'm "in the zone". You get the idea.

So, I'm sat at work listening to "I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You" by Tom Waits and "Verdi Cries" by 10,000 Maniacs. This, unfortunately, also means that I'm reducing myself to a gibbering wreck, surrounded by blokes. I hope they don't notice.

But, personally, getting myself in this kind of state means that I produce thoughts and ideas that I wouldn't have if I was just sat at the laptop thinking "Right, I need to make this scene touching". I'm starting to feel the melancholy that my characters are feeling. And that's going to produce a more realistic scene, I think.

It also means that I'm going to be wistfully drifting around the house, full of ennui, all weekend and annoying the Better Half.

Does anyone else do this, or am I odd?

A Glimpse of the Future?

I had a dream of my perfect life last night. Just a glimpse. In it, I woke, had breakfast with my kids and took them to school/playgroup. I then stopped off at a small non-corporate coffee shop by my house and then went to a small office where I spent the morning writing. Bliss.

Then a 100 foot high Dr. Zoidberg from "Futurama" ate my car.

Bloody subconscious.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Our Survey Says...?

You'll continue to be pleased, I hope, that the pilot episode of "Four Horsemen" is progressing along nicely. I'm working on the beat sheet and it has a beginning, a middle and an end. There are character and story arcs forming and quite a good joke about V.D. in the Middle Ages.

But, the real reason for this post is to gauge opinion. As we know, I'm a stats-whore and people who find their way over here (and thank you, one and all for taking the time) are looking for the contests and opportunities.

So, I'm going to suggest this. Those who sign up for the RSS and email updates, I'll compile a weekly newsletter that will plop warmly into your inbox on a Monday morning? It'll give a list of all the items added to the Screenwriters' Diary within the last 7 days and a reminder for those opportunities with a deadline that week?

Whaddya think? I'd be very interested to know.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Screenwriters' Diary Update

You'll be pleased to know that I sat down last night and wrote the first scene of "Four Horsemen". Then watched "Battlestar Galactica", sulked over how my writing isn't as good and then re-wrote it.

But, anyway, like the fabled Ferrero Rocher ambassador (which country was he actually ambassador for?), the screen agencies are spoiling you Northern writers with the launch of Northern Laughs. The deadline is 18th March 2009 and prizes include mentoring from Jeremy Dyson and Armstrong & Miller. Brap!

But us soft southerners shouldn't feel left out with the 2 Days Laughter short comedy film competition. You have 48 hours to go out and shoot and edit a comedy or the D.A. takes your badge. Or something. Then sit back and watch the commissions from Channel 4 roll in...

UPDATE: As Piers has very kindly pointed out, Jeremy Dyson is the only confirmed mentor so far. Neither Armstrong nor Miller are involved and I obviously can't read properly....

Best. Letter. Ever.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Is It Just Me...

...Or is this the most niche episode of "Jeremy Kyle" ever?

Monday, 26 January 2009

Previously on "The Procrastination Station"...

...I mentioned that I believed the quality of a Bond theme tune was inversely proportional to the quality of the actual film. 

As you can see,  I have displayed this theory in a graph and so it is now a FACT. 

In order to compile these results, I listened to every Bond theme and watched all the films. I then ignored all the ones that didn't apply. I think my research methods will stand up to scrutiny.

Jesus, I'll REALLY have to do some work...

X-Men: The Last Straw

Which will be forever known as "Two Hours of My Life I'm Never Having Back". I could sit here for hours writing about the plot holes, characters disappearing and re-appearing, not enough Rogue in leather and the massive problem with the whole premise of the film. And WTF is going on with Sir Ian McKellan's ears? Is he Ferengi?

But I won't. I'll just ask this simple question. Why did they replace Hugh Jackman with Wayne Slob? "I'm avin' a fag, Magneto!!!"

Roll on "Watchmen"...

Friday, 23 January 2009

Soda Pictures: Building Audiences Online

If you're anything like me, you're the internet's bitch. Look at you, snuggled up to it's bosom RIGHT NOW. You'll probably be off to look at some pictures of cats after reading this, when you should be doing some work or using words like "synergistic". 

But, don't worry. The internet loves you back. It wants to make webby babies with you and distribute them throughout cyberspace:

"Building Audiences Online
Soda Pictures: Film Distribution Company Case Study
Friday 30th January 2009, 2 for 2.30 to 5.00pm, London

Soda Pictures is a UK independent film distribution company focusing on world cinema and independent films working across theatrical and DVD release ( This seminar, in the Digital Horizons 2012 programme series, will show how a small company with limited resources has used online social networking and viral marketing to integrate its business online and develop a highly synergistic relationship between its physical and virtual film distribution strategies.

Building on online audience is an integral part of film publicity and marketing. Looking beyond more traditional (often expensive) ‘above the line’ campaigns and to social media, online communities and open source tools, there are ways of: reaching niche and targeted audiences; creating a brand identity and audience communication channel; gathering and collating audience data; producing cost effective online campaigns; and, becoming part of a social media community and support network to chare ideas, tools, contacts and ideas.

Everyone welcome. Further information: and Digital Horizons 2012 or email or call SEMN, the programme lead partner, on 01753 639211. Pre-booking recommended."

If you found this post useful, why not sign up for daily updates via RSS or email by clicking on one of the "Subscribe" buttons on this blog?

A Nice Talk in Manchester

Good morning. It's Friday. Woo! - And Indeed - Yay!

Here's a little something for those of you Oop North. I attended a talk about distribution from the head of Sony last year. Learning about demographics and how cinemas decide on what films to show was very interesting from a screenwriter's perspective. And there were statistics. Oh yeah, statistics...

"Elizabeth Draper Distributes Advice to Northwest Filmmakers

Vision and Media are delighted to be hosting an evening master class with veteran film distributor, Elizabeth Draper.Well known throughout the film industry as a leading film Distribution and Marketing Consultant, Elizabeth has a vast amount of experience having worked as Head of Fox Searchlight, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Acquisitions at Pathe Film Distribution and General Manager at Icon. Elizabeth will be discussing how traditional distribution works, as well as exploring new opportunities and examine the challenge of finding an audience.Head of Film at Northwest Vision and Media, Tara Cook comments on the special event, “We are delighted to invite Elizabeth Draper back to the Northwest to share her extensive knowledge in film distribution. This is a fantastic opportunity for the region’s many talented filmmakers to benefit from her experience and to realise the possibilities available after their film has been created.”This exclusive event will take place on Monday 2nd February from 7pm at City Inn Hotel, Piccadilly, Manchester. Places are very limited, so a speedy response is advised. To reserve your place please email or call Hannah Salt on 0161 244 3749."

If you found this post useful, why not sign up for daily updates via RSS or email by clicking on one of the "Subscribe" buttons on this blog?

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Screenwriters wanted for children's TV Series

I hope that this gets through as Feedburner seems to have gone mental trying to deliver feeds to people. Oh well. Hopefully it'll sort itself out. Anyway...

"Screenwriters Wanted for Children's TV Series
Deadline: 21 February 2009
London based independent animation company Virtuocity are producing a children's computer animated TV series based on traditional European fairy tales. They are building a Bristol-based production team and are looking for writers in the area to apply for a position within a team of screenwriters to develop scripts for the series. If you wish to apply, please tell them in no more than 200 words why you want to work on an animated TV series for children. Please submit you answer and CV, via email to Darrel Butlin"

There. This diary's working out, isn't it?

Bueller...? Bueller...?

Some top level procrastination today. Have the day off work and it started off well. Got the Screenwriters' Diary finished and answered a few emails. I just need to think of a good way to publicise it. Any ideas gratefully received!

Then I remembered that I need to get an outfit for a fancy dress party next week. The brief is anything from the last 40 years, so punk it is!!! So the rest of the day has been spent trawling the charity and DIY shops (the padlocks, safety pins and chains don't grow on trees, you know!)

Anyway, I got to thinking about my teenage years, locked in my bedroom listening to the Clash (Is "(White Man) In the Hammersmith Palais?" the greatest song ever?) and the Sex Pistols. What's the best teen movie ever?

Personally, it's a Mexican standoff between "Quadrophenia", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Say Anything". Why? "Quadrophenia" captures perfectly the awkwardness, energy and the disillusionment that comes with youth. Though set in the 60's, it was made in '79 and fizzes with a speed-freak punk energy. Not even Sting can ruin it. Did the director Franc Roddam really go on and create "Masterchef"?

"Ferris Bueller..." is the ultimate teenage wish fulfillment. Hell, I'm 32 and I still want to sing "Twist and Shout" at the front of a carnival parade.  

And "Say Anything"? Three words. John Fuckin' Cusack. He is extremely cool. Wearing sandals in "Con Air'? Genius! 

I think it's safe to assume that I have a man crush on him. 

So, what's your favourite? And, while you're there, can you explain the attraction of "The Breakfast Club"? 


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

How Soon Is Now?

If you've ever been in front of me in a line, you'll know that I'm no good at waiting. In fact, while we're here, if you're an Easyjet employee, I apologise for Rome Airport 2006.

I might be British, but I lack the skill or patience required for queuing, in the same way that I'm missing the gene that makes men like the internal combustion engine. Which, in a roundabout way, gets me to my point. When you start this writing lark, nobody tells you how much waiting is involved. Surely, you finish a script on Monday, Spielberg likes it and you're on the DreamWorks lot by the next Friday?

Currently, I'm waiting for feedback for something at the BBC, something my agent passed to a production company and a treatment I gave to my agent. Not forgetting Red Planet, of course. I know a lot of you out there in the ether feel my pain on that one. Combined, that's several man months of waiting.

Perversely, the better the script, the longer you have to wait. If you've (and when I say "you", I mean "I") written a pile of crap, it'll come straight back at you without time for you to duck. But if someone likes it, they pass it to someone else, who passes it to someone else... No news is good news and all that.

So, while I wait for the big brown envelope of death from the Beeb, I'm going to have to stop procrastinating. That just makes it worse. I'm actually going to have to start writing something new. Yeah. It'll be big and have flying saucers and ghosts and witches in it. Yeah. Jim Carrey will star in it. Yeah.

Now, I'll just fire up Google and do some research...

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Script Frenzy! Raaaarrr!

My parents married on 12th December. I was born on the following 12th August. Exactly nine months since their wedding day. According to the more innocent members of my family, this is the first and only recorded time I ever made a deadline.

Which is why I think I'll be taking part in this year's Script Frenzy. In the spirit of the NaNoWriEenieMeenieMinieMo scheme, you are challenged to produce a screenplay of at least 100 pages between 1st and 30th April this year.

I think I'll take this opportunity to bash out a concept that's been on the back burner. Let me know if you'll be taking up the challenge as well. Let's get some morale boosting support and love going!

Monday, 19 January 2009

The Screenwriters' Diary Is Go!!!

When I started this blog, I wanted it to have a purpose or provide a service. I just couldn't think of one. Then, this weekend, thunderbolt city. And The Screenwriters' Diary was born.
So, I've been mucking around a bit with HTML and if you look to your right, you will see a diary of future events and competitions of interest to screenwriters. I'll update it as and when I discover more things.
Click on one of the links in the agenda and then "more details" and this will show you the link to the event's official website or, if it exists, the link back to my original blog post.
If you click on "Full Calendar" beneath the Diary, it'll launch the full searchable calendar. Also, if you have Google Calendar, you can import any of the entries into your calendar. I've also managed to link it up to iCal on my MacBook and you should be able to synch it to any desktop calendar so when I update the online calendar, yours gets updated too. Let me know if you have any problems with this.
I want to make this an interactive thing between me and you, the David Turner Conspiracy. You'll note that I've added an "Email Me!" link. If you come across anything that might be of interest (competition / schemes / maybe you're having a screening of a short film), drop me a line and I can update it. In the blog post I'll name you and, if you give the details, provide a link to your blog or website. Any feedback will also be gratefully received.
You'll note that there's only one American competition listed so far, the Bluecat contest. I've entered this in the past and had good feedback on my entry. Do we think that it would be beneficial to list the American contests? Let me know. If so, I'll update the diary with those as well.
The best way to keep up to date is to subscribe to the blog, either via RSS or email, by clicking on the "Subscribe" option just above the Diary. I'd also be grateful if you could forward this post onto any other writer friends you have. The more people we can get on board, the more indepth we can make it. Onwards with the Interweb 2.0!!!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

'Ten K' prize for Studio Pitching Competition

When you say "Pitching" and "Norwich", I hear "Alan Partridge" and "Monkey Tennis". Perhaps the following competition can change all that?

"TV Eden and EPIC (The East of England Production Innovation Centre) have launched their second annual studio pitching competition with the winner picking up £10,000 in cash and support to produce a pilot at EPIC's Norwich based HD broadcast television studios.

Producers, Directors and members of the production community from across the UK and Europe are again being invited to pitch ideas for light entertainment, quizzes and even studio drama productions. The best six ideas will go on to pitch in front of a live audience and an industry panel, with the winner receiving £10,000 in cash and support, including two days access to EPIC HD studios and post-production and cash towards developing a pilot or taster tape for broadcasters.

For details and entry forms contact Mark Wells The closing date for entries is Friday 27th February 2009. 

The Live pitching event will take place on Thursday 26th March."

Friday, 16 January 2009

Cod Psychology

True story:

Boy meets Girl. Boy falls in love with Girl but Girl is with someone else.

Heartbroken, Boy writes script in which a boy meets a girl and falls in love with her, but girl is with someone else.

A couple of years later, Boy and Girl get back in touch. Boy, because he is stupid, tells Girl about script. Girl reads script and, because she's smarter than Boy, realises that it is a 100 page love letter to her.

Boy and Girl now expecting third child.

The End.

That's a condensed version of how the Better Half and I got together. So, even before I've got my first Oscar, writing has changed my life in the most profound way.

Or, to put it another way, writing can get you laid, guys.

I was recounting this episode of my life to a friend. After he'd stopped retching, he said something quite interesting. "You seem to live your life vicariously through your writing."

I think he might have a point. I wrote that first proper script to create the happy ending that didn't exist in my life at that point. For all our sound and fury about "wanting to say something" or "making the world a better place", is it just about the control that writing gives us?

Just a thought. I have them from time to time.

I Am Graphic Design! Hear Me Roar!

Spent last night putting some lipstick on the pig that is this collection of ramblings. Apologies for showing my ankles in the profile picture. Hope it doesn't raise the blood pressure too much, ladies.

My four year old has a talent for creating abstract images with my camera. The title art is a section of a photograph entitled “Red Tablecloth With Something Yellow Sat On It”. Do you like it? I think he has a future. Look at me. Already a pushy parent.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Mmmmm.... Statistics....

My name is David Turner and I'm a stat junkie. I'm constantly jonesing for my next website hit. I'm addicted to Statcounter and Feedburner and they're huge code monkeys on my back.

I've been doing this for over a week now and I've got a few followers and subscribers. Hello, there! Thank you! You make me feel very warm and fuzzy. Feel free to say hello, if you haven't already.

Sorry the site isn't too pretty at the moment, but it's personality that counts, right? I shall try and make myself more beautiful for you when I get five minutes.

While I'm here, I'm going to lay down my plans for the year, in no particular order. That way, I have witnesses and will have the fear of the shame of failing to complete them by December.

1. Get the first draft of "In The Name of Light Entertainment" finished. The SWF launch showed there were too many holes in my knowledge of what goes on. And then I'll have a sitcom pilot, one hour comedy/drama pilot and feature script that I'll be happy with.

2. Finish the short film script that's been going around my head for the past few months, grab a camera and some actors and go off and shoot it.

3. Get the first drafts of the two ideas I've pitched to my agent finished.

4. Put myself "out there" more and get paid for something.

There. That doesn't look too difficult, does it?

Come In Number Six, Your Time Is Up...

I’m not going to be a grief athlete, but I thought I should quickly mark the passing of Patrick McGoohan and Ricardo Montalban.

In 1982, Montalbans’ hairstyle in “The Wrath of Khan” was a mullet before it’s time. Back then, we imagined that 1999 would herald a world of flying cars and hair that was long at the back and short on the sides. Ricardo helped make that dream a reality. Apart from the flying cars.

At university, I remember a library sit-in, protesting about something or other, where we had a huge party and watched episodes of “The Prisoner” back to back all night. I learnt how to open beer bottles with my teeth that night. We were fun socialists.

Adaddinsane has a link here to watch “The Prisoner” online. I might have to take him up on the offer. Cheers, Dad.

I’d Google to see how many other people thought up the unoriginal post title, but, y’know, the baby seals…

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Support Your Local Screenwriters' Festival

Margaret Thatcher famously survived on four hours sleep a night. Unlike her, I wasn’t sent to the planet Earth to destroy the human race, so I’m finding it harder to cope after a couple of late nights / early mornings.

Maybe future historians won’t judge her as harshly as we do now. “Maggie Thatcher: Not Evil. Just Needed A Nap.”

Anyway, the reason for my most recent late night was the 2009 Screenwriters' Festival launch shindig, held at the offices of Channel 4, where the great and the good of British screenwriting gathered to score some free wine.

After David Pearson, the festival’s grand fromage, welcomed us and the mighty Julian Fellowes provided some well-received randomness, David Thompson, producer of “Billy Elliot”, gave a fun talk touching on a range of topics from the difficulty of getting a film made to how a cat named Poppy nearly became the head of drama at the BBC (Insert your own bitter comment here).

Is it wrong that, when you have the producer of some of the most successful British films of the last twenty years stood in front of you, all you can think to ask is “You say you went to Charterhouse school. Did you get the opportunity to punch any members of Genesis in the face?”?

As one of the ten pitchers at the upcoming festival, I took a particular interest in David Pearson’s conversation with previous pitchers Simon Sayce and Elena Fuller and what has happened with their careers in the last six months. It was encouraging and terrifying in equal measure. I really must develop my idea more, rather than shrugging my shoulders and saying “I dunno,” when someone asks an intelligent question.

Olivia Hetreed (“Girl With A Pearl Earring”) then talked honestly about the sometimes uneasy relationship between the writer and director, which could be played out as a farce entitled “Whoops! Where’s My Per Diem?”

The highlight for me, though, was the bar afterwards where I ran into some people I hadn't seen in a while and got to meet fellow bloggers Stuart Perry, Phill Barron and David Lemon. Being new to the blogosphere, sometimes I wonder whether I’m gate-crashing a very nice party, but they are gentleman all. And it’s always great to see someone you recognise in three dimensions.

And that’s the beauty of the Screenwriters Festival, as far as I can see. Sometimes, tapping away at the MacBook, you start to worry that you’re some kind of delusional weirdo hermetically sealed from the rest of the world. Meeting and talking with other writers, you realise that you’re not. Or, at least, they don’t mind that you’re a delusional weirdo.

So, roll on October and the festival proper. Get your early bird ticket here. I’ll see you at the bar. Mine’s a Guinness.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Physicists Get All The Chicks

Being a wishy-washy, bleeding heart, guilt-ridden, Guardian-reading, liberal white male, I thought that I should bring the fact that your Google searches are killing pandas and baby seals to your attention. A physicist has calculated that two Google searches use as much energy as boiling a kettle. Bloody physicists. Always ruining it for everyone.

No, I don't mean that. I'm just angry no-one got me a Large Hadron Collider for Christmas.

Now, I had to google the above link. While making some coffee. But I think of it as one step backward to take two steps forward.

In order to reduce everyone's carbon footprint and save you from murdering dolphins, I've compiled the top 5 search results for the most Googled items ever.

1. Han shot first
2. No, I don't know why Han shooting first is important, either.
3. Your Mother!
4. Everything everywhere is a conspiracy, especially Han shooting first. Fact.
5. 98.9% of the internet is made up of pictures of people's cats.

I'm off to Channel 4 tonight for the Screenwriters Festival launch. Have to give my first ever interview (that didn't require legal representation) for their website. Looking forward to it and hopefully I'll bump into some other bloggers from out there in the ether.

I shall report back tomorrow!

Monday, 12 January 2009

British Comedy And My Part In It's Downfall Part 1.

Until someone makes "Kung Fu Cheerleaders Battle Zombie Elvis", "Lesbian Vampire Killers", James Corden and Matthew Horne's new flick, might be my perfect film title. I won't be rushing to the multiplex to see it, though, and I'll tell you for why.

Now, I always feel like I'm coming out of some comedic closet when I say this, but I don't get "Gavin & Stacey". There. I said it. Yes, it's a pleasant enough story and the characters aren't too punchable (those that aren't thinly sketched out cyphers, anyway), but they appear to have left out the jokes. I might be old fashioned, but I was always taught that jokes were a pre-requisite for a comedy.

Take one scene where four characters enter a house. They're singing the John Barnes rap from "World In Motion". That's it. The whole scene. It's not funny, doesn't advance the plot and you learn nothing about any of the characters. That probably took up a page and a half of script. A rough rule of thumb tells me that you could've got six jokes in there. Or maybe Ruth Jones and James Corden were ruthlessly applying the "Royle Family" formula of "Working Class People = Jovial Singing".

Still, the scene where Gavin & Stacey were having sex while everyone was having breakfast was fried comedy gold.

I'm very generous with my laughter, hell, even "Lab Rats" raised a couple of chuckles, but I turned over the television and then laughed more in the first twenty seconds of "The IT Crowd" than in the whole of "Gavin & Stacey".

In a post- "The Office" and "Peep Show" world, Graham Linehan deserves all the praise he gets for showing us that the studio based sitcom is not dead. Funny stuff acted out by funny people, that's what it's all about.

Am I wrong? Have I been unlucky with the episodes of G&S that I've caught? Let me know. I have to go now as, apparently, it's very important that I help complete an "In the Night Garden" jigsaw. Forget "Crooked House", that's a creepy show...

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Sunday Morning, Early Dawning

It's early Sunday morning and I can't sleep. The suburbs are quiet and still. I've never seen the full moon shine with such intensity before. It makes a mockery of man's phosphorous glow, the watery lamplight pooling on the frozen street corners.

I'm sat here listening to "Nobody Does It Better" by Carly Simon, working on a formula that proves that the quality of the Bond theme is inversely proportional to the quality of the actual movie. 

More coffee. Then writing.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Kill Your Television. Then Your Heroes.

I’m working from home today as I managed to ruin two of my tyres this morning, while driving to the office like a cock. I’m a terrible driver. Less Lewis Hamilton, more Christine.

Still, big shout out to the Real Men at “Get Motoring” in Princes Risborough who put on my spare tyre for free, after I singularly failed to manage it myself.

I remember reading an article several years ago how some males are Men and others will always be Boys. Sean Connery? Man. Brad Pitt? Boy. I’m firmly in the Boy camp.

That last one might be the most unintentionally gay sentence ever written.

As God is obviously not a fan of my bank balance, my television blew up this week as well. We’re reduced to watching stuff on the 15” portable. Which wouldn’t be a problem, other than my kids have abnormally large heads. They sit two feet away from the screen and obscure everything for my Better Half and I.

So my “research” (Or “watching endless re-runs of Futurama and the Simpsons on Sky” to be more accurate) has taken a knock. And “24” starts next week!

But no television is probably a good thing for one simple reason. Iggy Pop advertising insurance. There’s something depressing to reach 32 years of age and still have people you respect let you down.

Ron Asheton, the Stooges' guitarist, died this week. They authorities say it was natural causes. I reckon he flicked on the telly, saw his lead singer extolling the virtues of online applications and keeled over in shame.

Your heroes will only end up disappointing you, kids.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Bafta Newsletter

Thanks to Kenny over at the Screenwriters Festival for the link.

If you're not aware, BAFTA are launching a monthly newsletter it seems.

I'm not entirely sure if I'm allowed back in their headquarters after the last time I was there (Free wine. Woke up on the wrong train at the last stop about 40 miles away from my house. No idea how I got there.) but here's the link anyway.

Graham Linehan's Poo

The best, and most disgusting, summation of the writing process I've heard in a while came from Graham Linehan on Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe a few weeks ago.

"Writing is a bit like having a poo."

You can't just decide "I'm going to write a new sitcom", sit down and expect something to come out.

You have an idea. You have to let it brew. Wander round the kitchen, drinking coffee and muttering under your breath. Let your Better Half worry for your sanity. Let the characters find their voices. Make notes. Lots of notes.

Then, you'll reach a point when the story has to come out. You can't contain it any longer. You're ready to fire up the laptop and start typing. It's a great release.

I think I'm at that point with my concept for a sitcom about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. My agent didn't think the idea was too insane.

Normally, I'd write a treatment, run it past some people and see what they think. But, I hate writing treatments. Everything seems a bit lifeless. And, by the end, the script has taken off in so many different directions, the treatment has very little in common with what's on the page so I have to re-write it anyway.

Then I'd structure the story to within an inch of it's life. But I'm going to try something different. I'm going to take a more organic approach with this pilot. I know the characters. I know what's going to happen at the beginning, the middle and the end, but very little idea of how I'm going to get to those points. I'm excited.

Excuse me, but I have to go away and pinch an artistic loaf. So to speak.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Who The Hell Does He Think He Is?

I'm a screenwriter. I have some business cards that say that, so it must be true.

Writing for film and television has been the dream since I was six years old, watching "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and thinking "I want to do that!"

I realised, even then, I lacked the organisational skills to direct or produce, but loved writing. I reckon my spec script for an "Aliens" sequel written at the tender age of 10 showed promise and a healthy disregard for grammatical conventions. Couldn't get anyone to read it though. It's all politics.

It's been around seven years since I completed my first "proper" screenplay. They say it takes, on average, ten years to make it as a screenwriter, so I've still got three years to remain above average.

I have an agent. Score. More about how that happened later. He's happy now that I've provided him with a project he can actually sell and hopefully I can keep you informed as to how that goes.

Along with the rest of the blogosphere, it seems, I'm a finalist in this year's Red Planet Screenwriting contest and, in October, I'm off to sunny Cheltenham for the 4th annual Screenwriter's Festival as one of the ten "Son of the Pitch" finalists.

I hold down a full time job and have two kids, with a third on the way (any suggestions for boy's names would be gratefully received, as my Better Half believes that Agemenon and Zeus are "silly") and it's going to be interesting to see how this blog fits in with everything else. I think I've planned out a daily timetable to make this work...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

And So It Begins...

I always said I'd never start a blog.

I also once said that only three types of people needed mobile phones. Poseurs, drug dealers and poseurs who want to look like drug dealers. So, consistency isn't a strong point with me.

"Who are these vainglorious fools who write blogs?" I thought. Then, researching a project I was working on, I actually began reading screenwriting blogs.

And I liked them.

They made me laugh. They made me think. I was happy for the blogger when they had a success. I was happy for me when they had a setback. Not schadenfreude, I might add, but because I realised that I wasn't alone.

I began looking into blogging. For weeks. Then I realised that I was procrastinating about a displacement activity and if that carried on, the universe might implode.

So, here begins the David Turner Procrastination Station. My tuppence worth on film and television.

On more than one occassion, I've found myself talking with groups of fellow writers about a course, competition or scheme that has passed them by so I shall post any news that I hear as well.

More soon...