The Appeal of Clarkson.

I’ve had a few people contact me this morning asking me to explain the appeal of Jeremy Clarkson.

Now it is indeed true that Jezza is something of a Marmite figure and to be honest, I’m not exactly his greatest fan. Indeed, a few years ago, in a glossary for my book, The Geezers Guide to Football, I wrote:

Clarkson (Jeremy): Motoring journalist and television presenter from the BBC show Top Gear. Likes to think he is a geezer but is merely a mouthy public-school twat. Doesn’t like football either, which also makes him a bit of a wanker as far as I’m concerned.

However, it is fair to say that since I wrote that, I’ve softened somewhat. Not because I particularly like Top Gear -as TV shows go, it’s as hit-and-miss as it gets- or because he makes brilliant documentaries about our forces (which he really does), but for one simple reason.

For the truth is that as a character who isn’t afraid to say what he thinks when he thinks it and who has the confidence to stand by (almost) every word he says, Clarkson has been the one presenter who has stood firm against the takeover of our national broadcaster by the Liberal Left.

That’s why they hate him with a passion because to them, he is the manifestation of the enemy. Right-wing, outspoken, vehement in his condemnation of political correctness and as patriotic as it gets, he is everything they despise. That’s why they’ve gone after him at every opportunity.

Their problem thus far of course, is that he’s also hugely popular and much of that has to do with the fact that he strikes a chord with people. And the chord he strikes is anarchy.

What Clarkson does isn’t simply to give voice to the kind of opinion that we, as a society, are supposed to keep suppressed. It’s the fact that he speaks, writes and behaves in a manner which refuses to conform. It’s a tactic Katy Hopkins and even Nigel Farage have adopted and look what’s happened there!

Sadly, it now appears that Jezza has finally handed them his head on a plate and no doubt publicly funded taxi’s are thrashing through the Manchester traffic toward BBC towers full of people desperate to hammer the final nail into the coffin of what remained of the non-politically correct BBC.

For those of us who recognise the damage this will do, the only saving grace is that the BBC’s loss will be another broadcasters gain.

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manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordJust a reminder that Top Dog has been nominated in the ‘Best Action’ category at the National Film Awards 2015. This is decided by the public and time is running out so please, click on the link and vote for us.

Could I also remind you that We Still Kill The Old Way is nominated for numerous awards at the Action Elite Awards Again, this is a public vote so please, click on the link and do it!

 

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acting, actor, writing, script, scriptwriting, screenpl

Actors: smart, mad or just plain stupid.

acting, actor, writing, script, scriptwriting, screenplay, author, independent film, top dog, green street, football, sex, premiership, chelsea, lawLast year, I wrote a blog about the issue of people expecting writers to work for free. The blog, entitled So you want to be a professional writer, attracted numerous comments including some from a number of actors who made the point that if I thought writers had it tough, I should try earning a living doing what they do.

This is, to be fair, true. I know numerous actors who routinely work for little or no money and one only has to look at the number of adverts asking for cast and crew to work for little more than a credit to see that as a profession, acting really is amongst the toughest there is.

Now having been on both sides of this particular coin, first as an extra and then as someone who’s asked people to work for free, I have nothing but admiration for those who want to act and understand only too well that often chances are taken purely to gain experience, exposure or simply to network. As a consequence, if someone comes to work for me for free, not only will I love them forever but I’ll do my utmost to ensure that they looked after to the best of my ability and, just as importantly, they have fun. That is the very least I can do and what they should expect. Sadly, this is not always the case as tales of exploitation bordering on slavery are hardly unusual. Which brings me nicely to the reason for this blog.

The other day I was exchanging tales of life on set with an old mate and he mentioned that on top of everything else, when he did get cast for paid roles it was becoming increasingly normal for him to have to fight for the payment he’d signed for. Sometimes, they didn’t materialise at all.

The fact that he was quite matter-of-fact about this was quite disconcerting but when I asked him what he ever did about being ripped off, his response was a shrug of the shoulders and ‘that’s how it is now’.

But he’s wrong. It’s not ‘how it is’ but ‘how it’s been allowed to become’. And it’s been allowed to become like that not just because of low-budget film making and the explosion of the short movie scene, but because people (and this applies equally to cast and crew) are willing to let themselves be stolen from. And that’s what we’re talking here, theft.

If someone steals your property, you report it to the police without hesitation so if someone refuses to pay you for your working time, why would you not report that to your union? That’s why Equity, the Writers Guild and The Society of Authors exist, to protect us and our working rights!

And if you’re not a member, why not take the guilty party to the small court?  It’s your fundamental right to take legal action and at worst, you’ll be £25 out of pocket. At best, you’ll get paid.

So if what I’ve written strikes a chord with you because you’re in the same situation as my mate, then start to treat your profession professionally and take action. Not just for yourself, but for everyone who’s ever been turned over. Because if you don’t, this exploitation will not only continue, it’ll get worse.

And no one in their right mind wants that.

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manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordJust a reminder that We Still Kill The Old Way has been nominated for numerous awards at the Action Elite Awards This is a public vote so please, click on the link and do it!

Ahead of that, Top Dog has been nominated in the ‘Best Action’ category at the National Film Awards 2015. Voting has now closed so hopefully, we’ll do OK. Fingers crossed!

 

acting, actor, writing, script, scriptwriting, screenplay, author, independent film, top dog, green street, football, sex, premiership, chelsea, law

Screenwriting: Is age discrimination an actual thing?

author, writing, screenwriting, ebook, indie filmIn my last blog (Why the film world doesn’t owe you a living) I made the point that as a 56 year old male, the chances of you ‘breaking through’ are almost certainly hindered by the fact that you are usually old enough to be the father of the person holding your future in their hands.

The reaction to this was, as expected, mixed. Some people claimed it was shameful of me to compare age to race or even sex as a barrier with others thanking me for saying something that they’d been thinking for for years.

Now in response to the former, I have no idea what it’s like to be anything other than a white male and given that I’m currently 56 and a writer, I think I’m fairly well placed to write about the impact being a 56 year old white male can have on a career as a writer. And since this is my blog… well, I’m sure you know where I’m going with that so please, fill in the blanks yourself.

As for those who agreed with me, which was to be fair, the majority, I’m obviously grateful for all of your comments and if in some small way I’ve inspired you to keep going, then I’m humbled.

Interestingly, the blog generated some extremely positive reaction in the US (someone even linked me with Madonna which is a bit random!) and actually led to a few interviews on the subject one of which was with the website ‘Screenwriting Staffing‘ which has just gone live.

Have a read and please, let me know what you think.

manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordJust a reminder that Top Dog has been nominated in the ‘Best Action’ category at the National Film Awards 2015. This is decided by the public so please, click on the link and vote for us.

Could I also remind you that We Still Kill The Old Way is nominated for numerous awards at the Action Elite Awards Again, this is a public vote so please, click on the link and do it!

 

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