Saturday, July 30, 2011

Interim blog

I've been very busy mostly not writing screenplays or any of that sort of creative.

Instead I've been doing a different sort of creative, working on a website that will hopefully generate some cash for me (sorry Chris not Voidships) it's a web developer - or indeed any programmer - kind of thing, of absolutely no use to any writer - except (weirdly) it just might be.

I shall explain:

Sometimes programmers have to write code that can import files from other places, but a major probklem can be not actually having a sample file to import - a lack of test data. Well there are tools that can create these kinds of files but most of them are too powerful and too expensive for your mid-range developer. And I did find one online generator that will do this sort of thing but it's not as flexible as I wanted.

So I've been building this thing, and yes it does have relevance to writers because one of the things it does is create character names. Like this:
Mr Jacob Collingwood, Mr Kurt Fisher, Dr Kira Drury, Mrs Brianna Underwood, Mrs Georgina Blake, Mr John Hubbard, Mrs Beryl Smith, Mr Lesley Dahl, Dr Alexander Hubbard, Ms Eliza Moffat
I don't have a huge selection of names yet. And it'll do addresses, social security numbers, email addresses, date of birth, and not just UK - you can select the country (initially just a few). Ultimately there'll be an ethnicity selection for names as well but probably not in the first released version.

Anyway I thought the name generator might come in handy. (Of course you could just use this: )

More writer-relevant stuff to come soon, I hope.

What's on the turntable? Screenwriter UK podcast by Danny Stack and Tim Clague (whoo-hoo) at 

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Quick Guide to Webseries

This week I have mostly been watching webseries.

I have observed that, with (very) few exceptions, webseries have the following qualities, in order of frequency:
  1. Bad scripts.
  2. Bad acting.
  3. Bad production values.
  4. Bad music.
Any combination of the above, but the first two are the winners by a huge margin and generally go together.

I have been doing this as research since I'm writing one.

The exceptions are created by people who already in the industry.

Comedy helps but only if it's actually funny.

What's on the turntable? "Man in the Moon" by Yes from "Open Your Eyes"

Monday, July 04, 2011

Busy week

The day job continues unabated. I have the rest of the month to complete it then, who knows, I might have to get a new contract or this one may get extended.

Had a good conference with Chris the Director about our Steampunk project - all about promotion, marketing and the direction we're going with it. Plus talking about the first actual film project associated with it, Winter. A real business meeting - hardly talked creative at all.

I've been working on the back story of the characters in Winter in lots of loving detail - I came to the conclusion that I didn't know enough about them so they came out a bit flat, and the story did not come from them, they were merely fitting into the story.

This is where the big lie comes in: Story is Character. Which is quite true, of course, no doubt about it. But it's just as valid creating the characters to make the story, as the other way around.

Tomorrow the Daughter heads off to Bolivia for 6 weeks. Coincidentally a new talent agency has contacted her to see if she'd like representation (don't worry people, I have thoroughly checked them, they are kosher). When she returns from looking after dangerous animals she will meet with us at the Edinburgh Festival - my first time there, though the rest of the family has been before. I shall be using this trip as research for my script Running.

The TV Drama - Writer's Festival is taking place in Leeds on Wednesday and Thursday, and I shall be there along with many from the scribosphere. I've ordered new business cards which should arrive today - my only business cards were too "production" oriented as opposed to "writer" oriented.

I can only say good things about Vistaprint's business card service, their online design-your-card system is excellent, especially if you have a clue about design (and though I'm no designer, I do understand what I'm doing). And even if you don't it's still easy to use and hand-holds all the way through.

Being a smart-ass I put a QR-code on the back of the business card which links directly through to the scripts on the blog here. This one. (Where did I get it from? - more on that another time.)

Also, on Thursday, it's the Boy's appearance in Bugsy Malone. As previously mentioned he doesn't have a big part but he's also playing saxophone in the band. And now has been given several solos - because he's cool. I've not previously mentioned but, when it comes to clothes, he's one of those people that has a natural knack for picking the right combinations and looks good in almost anything. (Jealous, moi?) In a 30s suit complete with trilby and a saxophone, he looks perfect - hopefully we'll have a picture.

Friday? Just work, catching up on the day job with the time I've lost.

What's on the turntable? "And the Mouse Police never sleeps" by Jethro Tull from "Heavy Horses"