And the Oscar for best screenplay by an old fat white disabled male goes to…

With Oscar night almost upon us, it is sadly inevitable that the thorny issue of diversity will once again poke its head above the parapet. Or, as is more likely, be rammed down the throats of the millions watching around the world.

Now whilst I have every sympathy with many of the issues which taint the film industry on both sides of the pond, in particular the appalling lack of roles being written for older women, I have to say something about the notion that we need to implement a quota system to support those from minority groups. Because speaking as a member of a minority group, I am all for it.

Oh yes, in the business that we call film, when it comes to both minorities and the discriminated, I tick more than my fair share of boxes. What? You think I have it easier because I’m a white male? Seriously? OK, point me in the direction of the schemes that encourage writing from the white community? Or the over 50’s. Or the disabled. Or for that matter, men. Good luck with that.

I am of course, being sarcastic, but there are some serious points to be made here. Not least, if you’re going to start to impose quota’s on the creative process, where do you begin? Or for that matter, end? After all, how many races are there? Or religions, or disabilities? Will producers have to include one of each? Or will there be a quota of the quota? Will some groups be regarded as more ‘minority’ than others?

 The questions go on and on but there is one which is far more important than all of the others and it’s one which thus far, I haven’t seen asked let alone answered. How would you address the small matter of talent?

Because ultimately, any enforced quota system can only have a negative impact on the talent that appears on-screen and that can only be to the detriment of the finished product. Why on earth would anyone want that? Least of all those who may or may not end up winning some token statue.

Yes, of course there is potential for change, but we must never lose sight of the fact that the thing that sits at the very heart of the movie industry, both in front and behind the camera and irrespective of colour, creed, gender or anything else, is talent.

People even win Oscars for it.

@dougiebrimson

Apologies for repeating myself, but as some people are aware, I am one of a number of people involved in a legal dispute with film producer, Jonathan Sothcott.

I won’t go into details here as it’s now a matter for HMRC and the police who have already interviewed him in connection with our allegations. However, both Top Dog Films Ltd and We Still Kill The Old Way Ltd, have recently been wound up on account of unpaid invoices and as a consequence, the investigator for the Official Receiver has contacted me and requested that anyone remaining unpaid for work on Top Dog, We Still Kill or for that matter, any film made by one of Jonathan Sothcott’s companies, contact him direct as a matter of urgency.

His details are: Andrew Beckett, Official Receivers Office, The Insolvency Service (London), 2nd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT .

Tel: 0207 637 6337 email: andrew.beckett@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

Alternatively, contact the Metropolitan Police at Merton Police station quoting crime reference:  1404781/15

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers, The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Oscar, Bafta, diversity, author, screenwriter, racism, racist, hollywood

 

And so it begins. Brexit or Bullsh*t?

brexit, leaveEU, EUAs expected the ‘in or out’ question has rapidly descended into the type of mud slinging and misinformation which wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of The Thick Of It.

From banner headlines screaming ‘A third of the FTSE 100 companies have signed a letter urging us to stay in the EU’ (missing the point that 2/3rds obviously didn’t) to threats that we are more at risk of a Paris style terrorist attack if we leave (laughable), it’s safe to say that the ‘Safer In’ lobby have been the more guilty although the Brexit campaign have certainly had their moments. Indeed, one can only marvel at the stupidity of inviting the poisonous George Galloway into their fold.

What this underlines of course, is that those at the sharp end of this issue, and by that I mean those who would normally be considered in a position to actually shape public opinion, think that we are stupid. They genuinely don’t accept that the average Brit has the mental capacity to make a considered opinion based on facts and reasoned debate and so instead, they scare, bully and bullshit in the hope that we will fall for that.

The problem of course, is that they are wrong. And they are wrong because almost everyone realises that this isn’t like a general election where the suspicion is that no matter what we vote, all we are really doing is handing some posh boy (or girl) a huge salary and open ended expense account, it’s a referendum where everything really could change for everyone. Including ourselves. 

More importantly, if what I’m seeing and hearing is correct, despite what the doomsayers and bullies in the ‘Stronger In’ camp might believe, the outcome of this referendum will be based not on what people think might or might not happen, but on what has already happened.  And whilst it would obviously be folly to blame all our nations ills on membership of the increasingly disjointed EU, it would be madness to think that many of the problems we face domestically wouldn’t be a lot easier to deal with were we not handcuffed to (and by) Brussels or handing over £33,000,000 (net) every single day. And ultimately, that’s what this boils down to; control.

Control of where our taxes are spent, control of who we trade with, control of who enters our country, control of who works here and control of who benefits from our generosity. Because those are the things that directly impact on the average Brit on a daily basis and whilst leaving the EU might well be a leap into the dark, is the right to determine our own destiny really too much to ask for? Or expect? Not for me.

But equally, I look at Europe and see nothing but failure. The Euro, Greece, Italy, Spain…. where does it end? Where will it end? More importantly, how can it possibly get any better? Indeed, one has to ask why anyone would want to remain a part of something which can only drag us downwards. Do we really want that for our kids and our grandkids? Of course not. Only a madman would.

My faith in my country has wavered in recent years but I remain convinced that all is not lost and that we have an opportunity to stagger back onto our own two feet and become great again. That opportunity is the EU referendum and it’s an opportunity I hope to goodness that we seize with both hands.

I know I will.

@dougiebrimson

Apologies for repeating myself, but as some people are aware, I am one of a number of people involved in a legal dispute with film producer, Jonathan Sothcott.

I won’t go into details here as it’s now a matter for HMRC and the police who have already interviewed him in connection with our allegations. However, both Top Dog Films Ltd and We Still Kill The Old Way Ltd, have recently been wound up on account of unpaid invoices and as a consequence, the investigator for the Official Receiver has contacted me and requested that anyone remaining unpaid for work on Top Dog, We Still Kill or for that matter, any film made by one of Jonathan Sothcott’s companies, contact him direct as a matter of urgency.

His details are: Andrew Beckett, Official Receivers Office, The Insolvency Service (London), 2nd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT .

Tel: 0207 637 6337 email: andrew.beckett@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

Alternatively, contact the Metropolitan Police at Merton Police station quoting crime reference:  1404781/15

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers, The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Georgina, refugee, brexit, politics, author, screenwriter, racism, racist, hooligans, blogger, UKIP, Farage, Sothcott

 

Brexit? It’s a no brainer.

brext, europe, britain, politics, referendumThe other day, I employed the power of Facebook to ask for a single sensible reason why we should remain as members of the EU.

Amongst the deluge of responses providing me with reasons to the contrary, I received only a single pro-Europe voice which made the claim that were we to vote to leave, the banking industry would flee our little island in droves and as a consequence, the banking industry would suffer.

Well with the utmost respect to those at the coal face of the industry, in terms of eliciting sympathy, bankers rate fairly highly on the ‘fuck off’ scale and indeed, the majority of people who responded to me would seemingly be delighted to see them getting a taste of the medicine they’ve spent years creating. (Go and see The Big Short. Honestly… go see it!)

This reaction didn’t exactly come as a surprise. I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I’m English first, British second and European never and for decades I’ve watched helplessly as my country slipped ever deeper into the cesspool that is the EU. As a consequence, the opportunity to leave genuinely excites me, and for two particular reasons.

Firstly, I think it’s fairly obvious to anyone who lives in the real world, as opposed to an ivory tower or the wilds of Cumbria, that our housing and public services are at breaking point. And despite the liberal-left screaming that this is all due to a lack of investment by the Tory government (whilst conveniently forgetting the 15 years we endured under Blair and Co) the stark reality is that we are in this situation because our population has risen by around 10% since 2000. We might not be full, but it certainly feels and looks that way in parts of the country. It is therefore imperative that we gain proper control of our borders which is something we simply do not have at the moment and nor will we have whilst a member of this mess.

Secondly, membership of the EU costs us £55,000,000 per day. Think about that for a second. Yes, we get chunks back in subsidies but official figures still put the cost to us, the British tax payer, at between £33,000,000 and £20,000,000  per day. Do I really need to say any more on why that is utter madness?

Inevitably, having finally woken up to the fact that the majority of the population want out, the ‘stay’ campaign have begun a policy of scaremongering (‘jungles’ in Kent’… seriously?) whilst even that well known lover of all things British, the joyous Ms Merkel, has begun pleading with us to remain. Of course she has, she’s suddenly realised that fairly soon she’s going to be looking into a daily black hole where our £33,000,000 should have been as well as having to deal with a refugee crisis which could not have been handled any more appallingly if she’d tried.

Well those are her problems, not ours. And whilst I’m not daft enough to accept that it won’t be a bed of roses from day one, I fail to see how in the long term, the UK can fail to prosper away from an organisation which is absolutely nothing like the one we originally signed up for back in 1973. We might even start putting the Great back into Great Britain.

It’s a no brainer for me, Brexit all the way. The sooner the bloody better.

PS: I must reluctantly make reference to this, if only because it’s one of the sticks being used to beat the ‘Leave’ lobby. If you’re reason for voting to remain in the EU has anything to do with UKIP, I would urge you to think again. Don’t vote to stay because you don’t like Nigel Farage, vote to leave because it’s the right thing for the country, and ultimately, for you.

Speaking of Facebook, and apologies for repeating myself, but as some people are aware, I am one of a number of people involved in a legal dispute with Jonathan Sothcott, the producer of Top Dog.

I won’t go into details here as it’s now a matter for HMRC and the police who have already interviewed him in connection with our allegations. However, both Top Dog Films Ltd and We Still Kill The Old Way Ltd, have recently been wound up on account of unpaid invoices and as a consequence, the investigator for the Official Receiver has contacted me and requested that anyone remaining unpaid for work on Top Dog, We Still Kill or for that matter, any film made by one of Jonathan Sothcott’s companies, contact him direct as a matter of urgency.

His details are: Andrew Beckett, Official Receivers Office, The Insolvency Service (London), 2nd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT .

Tel: 0207 637 6337 email: andrew.beckett@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers, The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Georgina, refugee, brexit, politics, author, screenwriter, racism, racist, hooligans, blogger, UKIP, Farage, Sothcott

Meet Georgina, my latest troll. (plus news of Mr. Sothcott).

I awoke this morning to discover that I had a new troll. Her name is Georgina Arapi and she’d apparently taken exception to my recent blog, It’s time for charity to genuinely begin at home.

Now I have no problem with people holding different opinions to mine and indeed, have been called many things in my time and been accused of holding all kinds of beliefs. However, I learnt long ago that the second you start trying to defend yourself against such accusations, you’ve lost. Conversely, if you stand your ground and come from a position of confidence in your own beliefs, you usually disarm the accuser leaving them with nowhere to go except into the world of reasoned debate or onto the other side of a ‘blocked’ button. Or so I thought.

For what Georgina did was to avoid any direct contact with me and instead, began to trawl through my Facebook friends list and send people the following message:

troll, politics, europe,refugeesThat, I do have a problem with. 

Thankfully, someone did the decent thing and let me know what she was up to but given the nature of the attack, I decided that rather than deal with it privately as I would normally, I would fight fire with fire and expose Ms Arapi as the cowardly troll she obviously is. So I posted details of her activities on my Facebook page together with the screengrab you will see at the top of this page.

To say she wasn’t happy at being publicly outed is an understatement -not least because the response to her was far from complimentary and within a few hours, obviously in response to complaints from her, Facebook deleted my original post meaning that everything vanished into the ether. However, it proved two things to me.

First, my Facebook friends list is inhabited with all kinds of awesome people and secondly, I hit the nail pretty much on the head with the original post. Because if people on the left are being forced to resort to such a pathetic tactic as sweeping through Facebook in an effort to try to undermine those who don’t follow the same fanatical beliefs as they hold, it’s pretty obvious that they’re running scared. As of course, they should be.

For despite what they believe, caring for veterans and wanting our taxes spent on our elderly, our schools, our public services and especially the NHS isn’t racist, nor is it bigoted. It’s common sense, it’s fair and it’s the right thing to do.

Speaking of Facebook, as some people are well aware, I am one of a number of people involved in a legal dispute with Jonathan Sothcott, the producer of Top Dog.

I won’t go into details here as it’s now a matter for HMRC and the police who have already interviewed him in connection with our allegations. However, both Top Dog Films Ltd and We Still Kill The Old Way Ltd, have recently been wound up on account of unpaid invoices and as a consequence, the investigator for the Official Receiver has contacted me and requested that anyone remaining unpaid for work on Top Dog, We Still Kill or for that matter, any film made by one of Jonathan Sothcott’s companies, contact him direct as a matter of urgency.

His details are: Andrew Beckett, Official Receivers Office, The Insolvency Service (London), 2nd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT .

Tel: 0207 637 6337 email: andrew.beckett@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers, The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

Georgina Arapi, refugee, brexit, politics, author, screenwriter, racism, racist, hooligans, blogger


Enough is enough. It’s time for football fans to get organised.

liverpool, ticket, premier league, twenty's plentyIf you’ve ever read any of my books, you’ll know that I have very strong views on the issue of fan involvement in football and in particular the failure of the various fan groups to secure any significant presence at club level.  And so, with Liverpool FC having bowed to pressure from its supporters and scrapped the idea of a £77 ticket, I thought it might be a good idea to publish an extract from my book, Barmy Army which outlines an idea which continues to excite people.

The fact it was first published 16 years ago yet is as relevant now as it was back then is a shameful reflection not just on the sport we follow, but on ourselves. For the professional game without us is nothing. We know that, they know that.

So why do we continue to let them take the piss? Read on.

Extract from Barmy Army (2000)

The difficulty here is how you involve the rank-and- file fans in the first place. For in the current climate, most football supporters feel a greater sense of alienation than ever before. Very few of us have any kind of coherent representation at our clubs and none of us have a voice at either the FA or within government, despite the fact that the game is totally reliant on us for its very survival.

We cannot rely on either the clubs or the FA to change their position with regard to customer relations of their own accord, and therefore pressure must be put on them to do so. We have two very powerful weapons at our disposal, but one of them we will never use and the other, for the moment at least, we cannot.

The first thing we could do is to hit the clubs where it hurts and boycott games. We could do that, but we never will. Like all addicts, we need our fix and to miss out on that, even on a point of principle, doesn’t bear thinking about. The alternative to boycotting the games altogether is to boycott the catering or even to get ourselves organised and follow the lead of the various Ultra groups in Italy, which we discussed earlier. That would send a clear message to the clubs that we were unhappy. If it went on for long enough, they might even be forced into action to resolve it – ‘might’ being the operative word. For football is a stubborn beast and even if a club’s supporters were able to organise themselves, there is no guarantee that the directors would listen. Indeed, judging by some of the examples we have seen in recent years, at the first sign of supporter solidarity the average board simply digs in and does nothing.

So if we are to force action, then it must be done in a way which the clubs are unable to ignore. And in this country, every football fan over the age of 18 has something which those in authority have to take notice of. It’s called a vote.

A few years ago, I suggested the formation of a single issue political lobby group called the Football Party. Initially, the suggestion was that people would stand for their local council to give fans a say in issues that directly affected their local club. It was an approach that proved astonishingly successful in 1990 when supporters of Charlton Athletic FC formed The Valley Party in an ultimately successful campaign to get the club back to their spiritual home.

Such was the response, it quickly became apparent that many supporters believed that this local angle was an idea worth developing. But many people wrote to me and said we had to think big and aim higher. The more I thought about that, the more plausible the whole thing sounded. What finally convinced me that the concept of a national Football Party was a sound one was when I realised that the average local election generates a turnout of less that 40 per cent and that while over 12 million people voted for the Tories in the 1992 general election, approximately 25 million watched the England v Germany semi-final in Italia ’90. What this proved to me once and for all was that if you went canvassing around every pub, club, house and factory, and told the electorate that you were standing to give them a say within the football world, there’d undoubtedly be good support, and as soon as the established parties saw there were votes in it, their policies and actions would change so as to give football a kick up the arse.

As a result, I sat down and wrote out a manifesto, one aimed not just at local councils but also at general and European elections. It included four main points. First, the formation of an independent, credible and properly funded body to represent the views and opinions of football supporters from every level of the game; second, the appointment of supporters’ representatives to the committees of both the Football Association and the Football Trust; third, the appointment of an elected supporters’ representative to the board of every professional football club; and finally, the appointment of an ombudsman or regulator to oversee the activities of the Football Association, the Football Trust, the Premier League and its members, the Football League and its members and supporters’ groups.

In August 1998, when it was first released to the press and various supporters’ groups, the response was amazing. Yet sadly, the people I wanted to react, the football authorities and the government, paid it little heed. Undaunted, I carried on. More support poured in and the manifesto began to appear all over the Internet. I had enquiries about it from all over Europe and as far afield as Australia. It had certainly captured the imagination of supporters. However, the campaign eventually began to take its toll on me, both in terms of time and finances and I was forced to put it onto the back burner. But the idea is still very much alive and the very fact that so many people continue to respond to it proves that it is sound. It sure would rock the boat were it ever to come off.

The mere idea that football fans throughout the country could even consider voting for a fat git like me proves how desperate they are to be involved in the game they love. Every supporter has a role to play in the future of the game, and that doesn’t just apply to the hooligan issue but to every single aspect of football. Every major political party recognises that fact – which is, after all, why Tony Blair does so many stupid photo-calls – but still they do nothing about it. That is not good enough. If football will not provide us with a properly funded platform through which we can be heard and demand answers, then the government must make sure they do. And if they don’t, that’s when we should use our vote, because that is the one thing all politicians are truly scared of. All we need to do is to get organised; but how we actually do that is anyone’s guess.

Yet it has to happen. For only by wielding the immense power we as football fans have at our disposal will we ever see an end to the problems facing football, from the hooliganism issue and the asset-stripping to the financial incompetence, greed and sheer hypocrisy of those who supposedly run our game on our behalf. For too long now they have got away with shafting us. They have placed us in danger, sold our very game from under our feet and in far too many cases to note here, have walked away with bank accounts bursting at the seams with money that came out of our pockets. It’s not right and the time has come to do something about it.

If you want to read more on this, Barmy Army is available to download via this link. There is also more on the subject of football protest movement in my book, Rebellion which is available here.

@dougiebrimson

The Crew. A thriller by Dougie Brimson
The Crew

Two additional plugs, I’m currently giving away ebooks versions two of my best-selling books The Crew and Everywhere We Go. Further details can be found by clicking on the links or here Free Books where you will also find details of all my other publications.

Aside from all that, work continues apace on developing the film version of Wings of a Sparrow and I’m also pushing forward with another film which for now, must remain a secret for reasons which will hopefully become clear in the fullness of time!

Finally, my recent rant/blog It’s time for charity to genuinely begin at home attracted a huge response so I may well do part two over the next couple of days!

green street, top dog, football, soccer, politics, screenwriting, film, author, writing, hooliganism, England, world cup, hillsborough, twitter, social media, facebook, 

It’s time for charity to genuinely begin at home.

England, charity, great britain, syria, islam, religion, brazil, europe, afghanstan, india, pakistan, africa, calais, footballI know this might well offend some people but that’s too bad because this rant has been a long time coming. You see whilst I’m sure they’re having a horrific time and I have every sympathy with them, the truth is that I don’t care about Syrians, starving Africans or for that matter, any of the myriad of people suffering around the world.

What I do care about, and passionately, is what’s happening here, in my country.

I care about veterans being forced to live on the streets or not being given the help and support they desperately need. I care about the elderly having to be kept in hospital because there is nowhere else for them to go and be looked after. I care about people who work their bollocks off but are forced to use food banks because they have to pay fortunes in rent to private scumbag landlords because all the social housing is being handed to the lazy, the workshy and immigrants who contribute little or nothing to the pot but see nothing wrong in taking everything from it.

I care about people who feel fearful in their own homes because not only are the police being cut to the bone but the rights of criminals are seemingly more important than those of their victims. I care about those who can’t even get to see a doctor in A&E because the departments are swamped with people who in many cases, are only there because they can’t be arsed to wait to see their GP, and I care about people who are being forced to wait for life changing or even life saving operations because the NHS is swamped.

And those people I care about, and many more who endure hardships as a result of budget cuts and decisions driven by political correctness rather than common sense, are the people I want my taxes spent on. Not the inhabitants of some third world country who are either hell-bent on destroying themselves or who can’t be arsed to drag themselves out of the dark ages and be part of the human race yet are happy to keep taking our money whilst stabbing us in the back. Or worse still, simply migrate here and then set out to recreate the hell hole they came from because they so despise our way of life, at our expense naturally. Well fuck that and fuck them. It’s not right, it’s not fair and this one way street of compassion has gone on for far too long.

We as a nation have a duty of care to the people who built us, the people who have defended us, the people who protect us and the people who work hard to pay their taxes and do the right thing and the time has come to stop throwing money at the rest of the world and start putting that debt first. Or to put it another way, stop being the worlds whipping boys, take our country back from the self-serving hypocrites and start putting the great back into Great Britain.

Because if we don’t, if we carry on as we are, we are going to lose ourselves forever.

Rant over.

*I posted this rant on a private Facebook group on Friday and the response was huge. So much so in fact, that I posted it on my own page where it exploded.

Out of almost a thousand people who have commented on it, there was only one negative reference which proves to me that more and more people are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry at what is happening to our country.

But one other thing came though loud and clear and it was the fact that so many people said ‘at least someone has had the balls to say it’. For that, to me, underlines where and why it has all gone wrong. We have allowed this situation to develop purely because as citizens, we have fallen for the ‘he who shouts loudest gets heard’ process of government and as a consequence, we fail to stand up and say what we actually believe.

That in essence, is why I’ve transferred this rant to my blog. Because I for one am not going to fall into that trap any more. Not when there is so much at stake.

So please, if what I say strikes a chord then tell me. Be it by commenting or simply sharing. Likewise, if you disagree, feel free to let me know. It’s a free country, you have that right.

And despite the fanatics who wish otherwise, it will always remain so.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

 

10 things all writers should know before signing a contract.

author, writing, screenwriter, screenwriting, amazon, ebooks, epublishing, publishing For some reason I’ve never been able to fathom, I receive a lot of mails asking me for advice about contracts, both publishing and screen.

Now to be clear, whilst I have done a lot of deals during my agent free days, I am certainly no expert in this field and should not be considered as such. In fact, what knowledge I have accrued is generally a result of my own mistakes and trust me, I have made some corkers over the years. However, as someone who’s always happy to help if I can (and as long as you don’t hold me accountable in any way should you choose to follow my advice and it all goes wrong) here are my top 10 tips. Take ’em or leave ’em.

1.  Arguing with editors or producers over terms can cause some serious rifts in a working relationship which is obviously best avoided. Therefore, if you have an agent you should leave everything, and I mean everything, to them.

It stands to reason that their job is to get you a great deal because whilst they might be fabulous people who you adore with a passion, the stark reality is that the more you earn, the more they earn. So if they are happy with the deal they put in front of you, you certainly should be.

2.  If you don’t have an agent, then you are in a weakened position because the people you are negotiating with will inevitably assume that you are either naive and/or desperate which gives them the upper hand. Therefore, you should write the following three words down and stick them somewhere which places them in your eye line at all times: TRUST NO ONE.

Believe me, no matter what anyone else might tell you, when it comes to deals there is only one person who has your interests at heart and if you don’t have an agent, that person is you.

Remember, it’s not personal, it’s business. The film BUSINESS, the publishing BUSINESS. As such, everyone you negotiate with might well come across as your best mate but the truth is that they are desperate to give you as little as possible or better still, strike a deal which means they don’t actually have to give you anything at all. This is because the less they give you, the more they keep for themselves or their employer. So read everything as many times as you have to and question anything you are unsure of. When it comes to contracts, there is no such thing as a stupid question, there are however, plenty of stupid writers who didn’t ask the questions they should have.

3.  It’s human nature to avoid asking for what we think we are worth and since most negotiators know this, their first words will be ‘so what do you want?’ thus putting you on the back foot from the off. Therefore to avoid this, it is vital that before a deal is even discussed, you take the time to work out what you have and how much will get it from you.

Remember, everything has a value be it your finished manuscript, your experience, your time, your backlist or even ‘From the writer of Green Street’. So be professional, quantify everything and work out both a starting point and a bottom line because pound to a pinch, the person asking you the question you will have.

4.  Publishing royalties should be on a sliding scale. For example, 7.5% for the first 10 thousand sales, 10% for the following 40 thousand and anything over 50 thousand should earn you 12.5%. All publishers will baulk at that but the reality is that most novels won’t get anywhere near sales of 10 thousand anyway so what have they got to lose? 

Should your novel be a success however, you’ll be quids in. As of course, will they.

5.  Unless you are knowingly going into an agreement for a film which is designed to kick start a career or you are willing to work on some kind of profit share, a contract for a screenplay with a production company should always include a fee on signature for one very specific reason; commitment.

If someone is prepared to put their money where their mouth is, it’s fairly obvious that they will be a lot more enthusiastic about taking your script through to the day the camera’s roll than someone who has nothing invested save a couple of lunches (if you’re lucky). Indeed, if someone is asking you to sign something but are not prepared to invest in you, you should be asking them (or yourself) why.

The remainder of the total fee will be staggered anyway so make sure you know what will be due to you and when.

6.  Unless a major star or studio is involved, back end payments are generally worthless so take whatever is offered with a pinch of salt and laugh at any offers of increased back end payments in lieu of a smaller front end fee. This is generally a simple tactic to save money so you should always squeeze every penny you can from the front end.

However, always make sure that a back end payment is included just in case it’s a smash and the creative accountants can’t cover it up.

7.  Watch the clauses! You want invites to premieres, involvement in promotions (at their expense), a cut of any soundtrack profits and if there’s a sequel, you want to be the one to write it. If not, you want a slice of the action including payment for the use of any characters you have created.

If there’s a chance of a novelisation, you want to write it but if you don’t, you want a cut of any profits, etc, etc.

If it’s for a book, you want details of the marketing publicity budget as well as an approximate publication date if at all possible.

Seriously, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

8. If the deal is for a screenplay, always ensure that there is a clause in the contract whereby if the film isn’t made, the rights to your work revert to you (for free) after a reasonable period. That way, if nothing comes of it, you will at least have a script you can try to sell somewhere else.

9.  Always, always, always get everything read by either a lawyer, the Writers Guild or the Society of Authors before you sign it. That’s what they are there for so use them.

If a lawyer comes back with some concerns about a contract, act on their advice and fight your corner. Producers are used to brinkmanship so take them all the way if need be and always be prepared to walk away if need be.

You might well come under pressure to avoid this step and just sign on trust or good faith and this will come in many forms from threats that the financiers are about to pull out if you don’t sign to female directors sobbing on the phone in the middle of the night. You should treat all such tactics as bullshit.

If someone doesn’t want a lawyer to see a contract they’ve put in front of you it’s almost certainly because they have something to hide (see point 2 above). Therefore, resist this pressure, stay cool and make them wait until you are ready to sign on the line. It’s your time, your money and your future income.

10.  Believe me, signing a dodgy deal is an awful experience so only sign on the line when you are sure that it’s as good as it can be for all sides, but especially you!

And finally, always trust your gut because if something feels wrong, it usually is.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

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