Sunday, 24 November 2013

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Story - Shadows in the Forest

Being a huge Doctor Who fan I'm really happy to play a role, no matter how small, in the 50th Anniversary celebrations. So when I received an e mail asking for a story to submit to Cosmic Masque I was chuffed. I had just the idea.

Cosmic Masque can be downloaded here:

My story is called Shadows in the Forest, it features the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory and a few surprises for fans. Old monsters, some that have never featured in the TV series, and maybe other stuff.
Please let me know what you think if you read it. I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

London Screenwriters Festival - 7 days after and 7 points.

This year was my first year I've been to London Screenwriters Festival, it was a great experience, a learning experience, and rather than a long winded blog about every nano second of it, which I could easily self indulge in, here instead are some bullet points.

  • Pitch - Why not? You have the industry there. I was nervous about pitching, but loved it. Got caught up in the excitement. Even when who you're pitching to isn't after what you write you can still chat and find out what they want exactly. and when it goes well, it's a buzz.
  • Great advice from Reece Shearsmith & Steve Pemberton whose new ANTHOLOGY show sounds amazing. Room for more of those I think :) Anyway to their advice - "Human element will make people empathise with even the most monstrous of characters" and also "Don't put the audience in charge, they don't know what they want."
  • Some more good advice which I've heard before but always worth remembering from Henry Swindell, BBC Writersroom, "Put your strongest arguments in the mouths of your antagonist".
  • From Julie Gray's session I saw the light in regards to Mini Sluglines. Never used them before, but they speed up a script brilliantly, and read so much better. I'm a new convert.
  • Write more than you ever think you need to. 
  • So many great dialogue tips from Pilar Alessandra - Use verbal strategies, ban key words to avoid being on the nose, dream cast your role to find distinctive character voice.
  • Finally; chat, be open, make friends. Writers spend so much time inside our own heads, and aren't used to scripted conversation, but with our fellow kind there is nothing better than soaking up writing stories, TV & film chat and laughing a hell of a lot.
The comedown from it has been strange but I enter this week 10 pages away from finishing a new draft zero with two rewrites waiting and a TV idea as well as a film idea waiting to be planned. And my mind keeps thinking about a pitch that from my point of view went exceptionally well, and all the great friends I made.

Friday, 20 September 2013

BBC radio 4 writer

I can now legitimately say I'm a BBC writer. Last night a one liner I wrote appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Extra show Newsjack.

You can download the episode here.

My one liners concerns GTA fans.


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Write Every Day?

Yesterday, on twitter, I mentioned about writing every day, and received lots of replies, all very different, which made me realise that everyone has their own method of writing. This is why I distrust anyone who tells you how to write.

That isn't what this is.

What is it then?

Well, I hope to explain why writing every day works for me, who knows maybe it might light up something you'd not considered and help you in some way, if not it's an insight into my method, and I'm a writing nerd and love to know how other people write so it might interest likeminded writing nerds out there.

So, why do I write every day? 

Well, I didn't always. I used to just fit it in whenever. When work became too much I'd put writing to the side. Stare at the laptop, miss it, fill my head with stories, characters, dialogue, but write none of it down. I became frustrated. I started trying to fit writing into each day, even if it was just on scriptwriting software on my phone, I'd do a bit. Then I started assigning time to do a bit each day, an allotted time slot, even if it was just half hour in the morning or last thing at night, I was going to do that half hour and here's where I realised the benefits.

Writing every day freed up those thoughts and ideas rattling around my head. It moved them along a touch, gave them a new angle to be looked upon tomorrow. A lot of the time, it gave me a fresh scripting problem, something to work on. Sometimes it allowed more importance to individual scenes as i only had time to work on one per day.
Suddenly, everything just started to flow. Not flow as in, “Wow this scriptwriting malarkey is easy”, there is no miracle cure, it flowed as in, slowly but surely pages were being done. I was finishing first drafts, re writes, short films for Twisted Showcase, treatments, outlines. I was working through ideas. Something I realised last year, I’m not the quickest to catch on, was that I'm not going to live long enough to write everything I want to write. It's why I love Twisted Showcase, being an anthology, it lets me get a lot of ideas out there. Writing every day helps tick everything along so I get more done.

How else does it help me?

If you know me you probably know I'm an impatient person. As soon as I get ideas I'm developing them, I'm dying to write them. I have to hold myself back a bit. I try to never write two scripts at the same time, although I usually fit in a short film whilst writing a longer script. What I will do is write a first draft, whilst waiting a few weeks to get to a rewrite, and while I'm rewriting I’ll be developing my next script, it’s a never ending cycle. So, writing every day always makes sure I'm never in writing downtime. I'm hell to be around when not writing. 

This is the awful truth, the main reason I write every day is because I have to. It makes no sense to me not too. It's a way of pushing myself to be a better writer, and to tell all the stories I want to tell. If I stopped writing every day, I'd miss it, and I'd think I was slacking. I'm pretty hard on myself and I wouldn't like to see the consequences.

Now for the twist, there have been days when I have not written this year. The BBC TV Writers Festival was one, my laptop is a heap of junk and wouldn't survive the travel so I went a few days without writing. I didn't feel the break refreshed me, helped me and all I wanted to do was write, especially at the writers fest as I was so inspired. 

So this is what works for me, feel free to comment on what works for you below, label me a weirdo or whatever you'd like to comment upon. 


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Series 3 update

We started showcase to learn and to collaborate. Then it took off more than we could imagine when we firstly got Gareth involved and then got listed in the Guardian. It's been a steep learning curve, and along the way we've worked with new writers, directors and acting talent. There is so much talent about in genre writing but not many chances for it to breakthrough, we want to be a place where this talent is showcased, hence our upcoming Twisted showcase Presents series. And, of course, series 3 of our web show.

After series 2 we realised to keep this going we needed to expand. It still has to be about new talent but also big names to bring people in. The mixture of those two is always scintillating. So series 3 has Norman Lovett and Gareth David Lloyd. You should know this by now I've been tweeting about it A LOT. But let's tell you a bit more about the episodes.


This one stars Gareth as a man who enters a Faustian pact and ends up with less than he started. I wrote it in a bit of an angry mood, fingers slamming the keyboard. It was in a stage of writing s few shorts, one called Lock in I wrote before it which was horrible extreme and this one which has some truly horrible elements which require special effects. Without giving too much away let me just say you'll see Gareth as never before.


Norman Lovett plays a toilet attendant with a difference in this script written by Rhys Jones. Whilst drafting this I think I pushed Rhys to the brink of sanity to make this script as good as it can be, purely because it was a great idea. Also we had who we wanted to play the lead character in mind all along so we knew it had to be firing on all cylinders. We asked Norman what appealed to him about it and he replied that 'at first it was the title'. It is a bit unignorable. Secondly it was the message behind the film, which maybe I'll make you wait until you've watched it to make up your own mind about.

There are other episodes planned for the series which I'll go into at another time and we're hoping to secure cast for them really soon. But, before I go I'd just like to mention some things we've got coming up.

1. We've promised on twitter a Gareth David Lloyd quiz, where the winner will receive something special from the set of payback. There will be a series of questions appearing all over the place over the next week or two. If you can answer them all you'll be in with a chance of winning. To get you started here's question 1

What is the name of Gareth's band?

2. On Friday at midday we will be doing a #reddwarf tweetalong on the Twisted Showcase twitter account to some of our favourite Red Dwarf episodes to feature Norman Lovett. Be there for that.

3. There should be an interview with Gareth David Lloyd appearing on one of my favourite websites very soon.

4. And an interview with Rhys Jones about series 3 appearing somewhere also.

Finally some links,

Here's a piece of funny fan art in regards to our first episode of Twisted Showcase

And don't forget to help our SERIES 3 CAMPAIGN

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Twisted Showcase Showcase Series 3 starring Norman Lovett & Gareth David Lloyd

Can you believe we're on the third series of Twisted Showcase. It's been a whirlwind from out first episode starring Gareth David Lloyd, through the success of Fear of Living, and both of those films appearing at the Roma Fiction Festival. Then the Guardian naming us in the top 25 web TV show list and then bringing attention to our episode Press Play. To now...
Where we're at now is a place where we've realised we need to reach higher. Series 2 saw us try some new things, some worked, some didn't. That's for another blog post or maybe podcast. For series 3 we wrote two scripts specifically for two actors who if you follow us on twitter, or read Blogtor Who, or indeed read the headline here, you will know.

Twisted Showcase so far has been  no budget. We have managed to pay expenses here and there but that's it. It's not fair on anyone to continue in that way, and if we wanted to make series 3 the way it should be made (and you won't believe some of the moments planned) we knew we had to do something outside our comfort zone. Reach out to you for some crowdfunding.

You can see all the details over at our Sponsume page. But, to go over briefly, if you want exclusive access to the episodes the series pass is £10. If you want our Gareth bundle, there's only 20 available, and they are £50.
We're offering script reads for £60, we get hundreds of short scripts in per year and have read our fair share of longer stuff too. Plus it's two people's eyes cast over it, so it works out as £30 per read. Bargain!
But, you can contribute for as little as £2. If enough people just throw us that, the equivalent of buying us a very cheap pint, we'll be able to make series 3. And that's what this is about, getting these amazing stories, with amazing actors, and a few great effects thrown in this time too.

This introduces why this is happening and what you can do to join in. Further blog posts will look at the episodes in a bit more depth and how we decided to cast this series. Keep tuned for the updates, and in the meantime do what you can to help.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Wrexham FC film

Think I've mentioned before on my blog that I was writing a film for Pillay Evans Productions, I may have even mentioned it was going under the name of Goliath. I can't remember what's already been mentioned and my computer is running so slow it would take me an age to check.

Anyway, now I can mention that film is a romantic comedy that revolves, in my local area, around Wrexham football club. But you can get this information from the front page of the Flintshire edition of Fridays Evening Leader.
No, not the bit about travellers camping at the leisure centre, or the man jailed for assaults. The bit about me is obviously the teacher's film comedy of an FA cup classic. I should have cropped that down really, but as I said my computer is running tremendously slow, it would have took me ages.

Back to the film.

It's  to be set in 1991/92, culminating in Wrexham's 3rd round FA cup tie against Arsenal. I'm currently doing some final tweaks to the script, and I better get back to it, because my computer is really slow, oh you get the picture.

Here's the article from the Evening Leader

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Interview with British Web Series

I posted a while back about meetings, the excitement of Media City, and I can now add Granada Studios to that. A place full of memories for me, when I was a kid I remember pulling in at the car park across the road with the magic of TV awaiting me. There was a set tour of Coronation Street and I'm sure there was a few rides and stuff but can't really remember. Was this the place where you could walk on The Borrowers set? Might be getting confused there.

Anyway I went for a meeting with RED productions there and was gutted to discover it's being knocked down. I'm always really nervous before meetings but seem to relax once they are underway, but recently catching an interview myself and Rhys Jones did with British Web Series for Twisted Showcase I'm now extremely worried with how I come across. But this was our first interview, it's enclosed below if you want to take a look, I don't think I can because of acute embarrassment.

There's also a brief interview with Gareth David Lloyd at the end of the interview from Blogtor Who, really good to see as I'm a frequent visitor to that site.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Addicted to crisps

This morning I woke up and playing on repeat in my mind was an angry rant. Usually I only blog about writing and stuff I'm working on, have done etc, but today I thought I'm going to write this angry blog.

The rant concerned how TV programmes, that in my opinion have little to no value like The X Factor or Jeremy Kyle's show, demonise the poor, or even worse, people with special needs. Making them the target for our scorn, so we can laugh and point at the screen and say "Look at that Chav, ha ha ha, looks like a right druggy, look at her,what a slapper" or "Oh my God he can't sing, he sounds like he's deaf and looks like a mix between Shaggy off Scooby Doo and Arnold Scwarznegger's haemorrhoid's." And we can act like we're all superior and better than them, and think of them as lesser people who need to stop scrounging for benefits. Basically, have the same opinion the government have of these people.

I was going to write that blog, then Roland Moore mentioned on Twitter that he was going to give up crisps for lent. My brain went into a tailspin. A world without crisps? I felt sick. That couldn't be, it wouldn't work. I bloody love crisps. I must eat a pack a day, if not more. I have to make sure I don't buy them from the supermarket because having them in the house is lethal. I could eat a six pack of them during the opening credits of most TV shows. Whenever I'm in a newsagents or any shop that sells crisps it's always the first aisle I go to. I was horrified. I couldn't do without them, no siree. Just thinking about a world without them made me want a packet of crisps right now, any flavour or shape. I'd suck a Skip, crunch a McCoy's, lick a Worcester Sauce French Fries, I just wanted crisps.

Now, I know they're bad for me; covered in salt, lacquered in oil and bursting with fat. But I must consume them. If I had to ring up a costly phone vote line after each bag and rate it, I would. As I eat them I'd laugh as my stomach struggled to digest, as the salt bubbled my heart like a salted slug. "Ha ha ha looks at those internal organs struggling with this unhealthy snack that I'm blindly consuming day after day."

I know crisps are bad for me yet still I eat them. I try and eat less, an ongoing battle which I am probably failing. But at least I know the risks. If you blindly consume, not knowing that it's filling you with hate and distorting your worldview, then  there's a problem.

And if you try and go cold turkey on crisps and you end up writing blogs like this, then there's a problem.

P.S Crisps do not fill you with hate and distort your worldview.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

New Project Excitement

January started weirdly but well on the writing front. I had a meeting with SJ Evans from Pillay Evans Productions.
The meeting was going great, a couple of coffees and discussion of what we've both done, what we're upto and a project we'd discussed over twitter which for now I won't reveal too much about. It's in a different genre from the Twisted Showcase stuff, it's something I've always wanted to write, and it is incredibly exciting, and I'm afraid that's a vague as I'm going to have to be for now.

Back to the meeting anyway, which as you may remember was going really well, then a woman approached our table asking is she could sit with us to avoid someone else, we were in Wrexham, weird things happen there.
She bought us drinks so we didn't mind, and what followed covered many topics and I'm sure was the strangest first meeting on a new film project thats probably taken place.

I look forward to meeting SJ again just to see in what direction the next meeting can go in, and also because he's a producer that gets things done. As can be seen in the trailer for his new film Dead of the Nite. Check that out below and come back here for more news on our project which I'll tell you more about when I can.