Category Archives: british film

How movies happen. Part One.

film, screenwriting, script, CannesFirst off, I must apologise for the title of this blog.

The truth is, as a simple writer I am but a tiny cog in the movie making machine and if I did know how they happened, I would have bottled it, patented it, franchised the shit out of it and be long gone by now.

What I do know however, is how mine happen although to be fair, my experience is hardly standard. After all, my first feature came about as a result of a conversation on a dodgy internet forum and my next one (that will  be #4) is the product of a simple one line pitch thrown in at the end of a meeting about another film. A film which remains as yet, unmade.

This proves to me, and should do to you, that there is no actual ‘way’ for a movie to happen but there are instead, a myriad of ‘ways’. And for the average writer, most of those will be entirely out of your control and more often than not dependent on huge amounts of luck. Sad, but undoubtedly true. 

That said, there are plenty of ways to heighten your chances of escaping the anonymity of the slush pile although in truth, none will ever guarantee success.

For a start, turning in a script which is both properly formatted and free of either spelling or grammatical errors should be a given (and if you don’t do that anyway, then you don’t deserve to have your script read let alone produced) whilst having a decent title certainly helps. Attaching a star is also a great way to gain attention but all of this should be the territory of your agent or manager if you have one. On which note, if you don’t, then get one. They are effectively filters who keep crap away from script readers and so a pile of paper coming from an agent is going to have far more of a chance of being looked at and taken seriously than one that doesn’t.

If you’re not adverse to networking (and I am, I hate it) then get out there and sell yourself as often and as hard as you can. In the film industry, people buy people as much as they buy what they can actually do. If you can’t or won’t do that and aren’t getting anywhere via any other means, then entering and hopefully winning one of the numerous screenwriting competitions will at least get your work in front of the right people.

And that’s what all of the above is designed to do; get your work in the hands of someone who will hopefully read your script. That’s when it’s all turns back around and you really do influence what happens next.

Because aside from your screenplay looking professional, the single most important thing to do with a script is the one thing you have the most control over. It’s the story. Because whilst a great story will sell a crap script, a crap story won’t sell a great script.

So nail your story from day one and if you do the work and get it right, it’ll happen. 

On which note, if all goes to plan, details of my next movie will be announced at the Cannes Film Festival which begins a week today.

For reasons which will become obvious in the fullness of time, details of this project are being kept a closely guarded secret for the time being but rest assured, I will pass them on as soon as I’m allowed.

What I can tell you is that it’s going to be a cracker and is certain to shock a few people. More than a few hopefully.

And that’s all you’re getting for now.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

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Why we write movies. (The Curse of Bovver).

bovver,greenstreet,hooligans,indiefilmAs anyone who knows me will know, I rarely describe myself as either a screenwriter or an author. Not out of any kind of false modesty, but because I’ve never felt that I’ve earned that right.

Yes, I know I’ve written a few books and a number of movies but I’ve always considered the ’S’ and ‘A’ words to be far too grandiose for the likes of someone like me who basically got lucky. And let’s face it, given the lack of acknowledgment or recognition from either industry over the years, I have a feeling I’m not alone in that thinking although that’s another debate.

However, the other day I had an experience which has actually made me rethink things and consider the fact that I haven’t actually done that bad. It happened, ironically, in a pub where I was having a late afternoon drink with the actor Leo Gregory who starred in both Green Street and Top Dog.

As we were chatting, the door burst open and in came a group of Man City fans on their way to their FA Cup tie at West Ham. Within seconds, they’d recognised Leo and as the cries of ‘fuck me, it’s Bovver’ went up they came across and surrounded us. As gracious as ever, Leo took the time to shake hands and pose for selfies and fairly soon, the pub settled back into normality.

Now this is a fairly routine occurrence when you’re with Leo and god only knows what it must be like to have the shadow of Bovver follow you around all the time as it surely must. But as I reflected on it later, it struck me that whilst that’s my fault for creating that role, I have every right to feel pretty pleased with myself.

After all, Green Street was released in 2005 and whilst huge credit must go to Leo for what he did with him, to have created a character that people still recognise in the street 12 years later is an achievement to be proud of.

And d’you know what, I bloody am.

.

Talking of movies, thanks for all the messages about my next project, Three Greens. As is the way with these things, there’s not much I can say at the moment but I’ll release more details as soon as I can.

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordJust in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

screenwriting, author, ebooks, kindle, green street, writing

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Five reasons why writing a novel is better than writing a screenplay.

author,screenwriter,ebook,self publishing,indie filmThe other day, someone pointed out that I am one of a very few writers who have enjoyed a degree of success with both books and screenplays. Not only that, but according to them I also hold the dubious honour of covering a range of genre which very few writers anywhere can match.

Whilst I’m not sure about any of that, it is fair to say that in a writing sense I have certainly been about a bit. Mostly, it has to be said, because I get bored easily.

However, whenever the subject of my work comes up it inevitably leads to one particular question and that is ‘which one do you enjoy the most?’

Whilst both have their merits, and leaving aside the simple truth that I’ll write anything for anyone who pays me, the answer is always the same. Because if I have a blank page and am left to my own devices, I will start writing a book. All day, every day. And for five very specific reasons.

It’s easier to write – That might shock a few people but the truth is that I can have far more creative fun constructing a 75,000 word novel than I can working on a 110 pages script. And if I’m having fun, I can promise you that the words will be pouring out of me as opposed to having to be dragged out. Something which not only makes it easy for me to write but which will almost certainly make for a better read once it’s finished. 

It’s easier to produce – Working with publishers can be hard work sometimes but if all else fails, I always have the option of self-publishing. It might not see the shelves of Waterstone’s or WH Smiths but let’s face it, it will certainly see Amazon and if it sells and is earning, who cares? Certainly not me.

With a film, the whole process is a nightmare which can fall apart at any moment. That’s if it gets anywhere at all which to be frank, it often doesn’t.

Control – With a book, I have no restrictions on subject matter, genre or even length. Being able to write what I want, when I want and just as importantly, say what I want, is not only liberating, it makes the whole thing both more interesting and enjoyable for me. If you need any more proof of that, have a look at my backlist and you’ll see a book about farting. Case rested. 

With a screenplay, once I hand it over I have no control over anything. At all.

The End Result – A book is mine. All mine. Praise or criticism are therefore personal and either enjoyed or dealt with as appropriate and I’m fine with that. A film however, is only mine if someone slags off the script even though by the time the camera’s roll, my input into the development process will have ended ages ago. 

The people – For an author, publishing is a relatively solitary game and as someone who prefers his own company, that’s exactly how I like it. For a screenwriter, the writing process is part solitude, part collaboration, part chaos. This would be great if it were an industry inhabited solely by nice hard-working honest people but sadly, it isn’t. Instead, amongst the many awesome individuals I’ve worked with are far too many arseholes who, if they aren’t simple crooks, are either bullshitters or incapable of making a decision. Or both.

So there you have it. Five reasons why I’d write a book over a movie any day of the week. And with that in mind, I’m happy if not delighted to announce that work is currently well underway on the sequel to my novel Billy’s Log. Indeed, starting work on this has underlined everything I’ve written above and more because I’m loving it.

All being well, it’ll be finished by the time we start moaning about the cold but more as and when. I might even post a teaser or two!

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart


Just in case you didn’t already know, all my books and DVD’s are available from bothAmazon and iTunes

The saga of ‘Carry On Sothcott’.

sothcott,Carry On,indiefilm,HMRC,tax,top dog,wsktowAs some of you may be aware, Top Dog and We Still Kill The Old Way producer Jonathan Sothcott has been spread across various media outlets lately amid allegations of financial impropriety.

The response from the man who most recently announced that he was going to reboot the Carry On franchise, was, somewhat predictably, to claim that it was all the work of one crazed stalker and that no one was investigating him. Least of all the police or HMRC. Furthermore, there were/are legitimate explanations for each of the nine or so companies he’s had shut down over the last few years.

Thankfully, more by luck than judgement, The Hollywood Reporter picked up on this story, smelt a rat or two and began to dig in search of the truth. The result of their hard work can be found here and it makes for interesting reading. Not least because one of the names mentioned is mine.

I won’t go into all of the reasons why I first got involved as the investigations are still ongoing but what I will say is that it wasn’t for financial gain as I am not actually owed any money. However, I do take offence at being associated with something that ripped people off and in my opinion, that’s exactly what was happening here so I stepped in and tried to do something about it.

As for the Hollywood Reporter article, I’ll leave you to form your own opinions on the content but suffice to say that whilst it answers a lot of questions, it leaves many more unanswered. The primary one for me being why, when much of this was an open secret within the industry, did so many people continue to ignore what he was up to and carry on working with him?

That of course, is a question only they and there conscience can answer. However, whilst the majority are of little interest to me personally, there are a few involved in this sordid episode who should be called to account, if not named and shamed.

They know who they are (and if you’re curious, a quick trawl of his IMDB page will reveal which names frequently pop up) and they are the people who were more than happy to profit from his exploits in the belief that he, and they, would never get caught. They were wrong.

Jonathan Sothcott may well be the first name to hit the headlines, but it won’t be the last.

@dougiebrimson

Just in case you didn’t already know, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

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.

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2015. Another year in a hack writers life.

writing, author, screenwriter, hollywoodGiven that the working year starts proper tomorrow, I thought it might be a good idea to let people know what to expect from me in terms of output in 2016. For as has been remarked more than once recently, I apparently did f**k all last year.

This is of course, not strictly true. Writing, much like my time management and adherence to self-imposed deadlines, is never an exact science and the truth is, I actually wrote a reasonable amount last year.

In fact, amongst other things, I have three fresh scripts at various stages of development together with a couple of others in the pipeline. In addition, a great deal of time was spent trying to get my Afghan war film into production although ultimately, much of that was wasted waiting for people who just didn’t deliver.

Sadly, this isn’t exactly unusual in the world of film although it is fair to say that in this instance, given the people involved, I was both surprised and disappointed. However, of all the projects I’ve ever worked on, I’ve never been more determined to bring something through to the screen as I am with this one and with a decent and experienced team now in place, not to mention support from a number of others, all I can say is watch this space.

In amongst all that, work continued on the sequel to Top Dog which is now fast approaching completion and if time allows, I will finally write the sequel to Billy’s Log next.

That should, I hope, keep me busy throughout the coming 12 months although I still have a few other things to work on. Not least the lingering issue of Top Dog although thankfully that’s pretty much a matter for the boys in blue now.

So, that’s what 2016 holds for me. What about you?

Whatever it is, make it count!

.

@dougiebrimson

My 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.


Love film? Then this is the most important post you’ll read this year

Read this. Just read it.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 09.48.28

Now, the next time you’re thinking about buying or downloading a moody copy of an independent film, remember this post. Then think about everyone who worked on that film (often for free, because the budget was so tight) or the people who sweated blood to raise the money to make it or who went begging and called in favours to put a crew together or any one of the thousand and one things that were involved in getting that DVD into your hands. 

Then think about what you are doing. Because you are stealing. Not from Hollywood, or some anonymous producer, but from guys like Ricci who are out there busting their balls trying to make movies. 

But just as importantly, you are involving yourself in murder because have no doubts, piracy is killing the industry. And in ten years time, when there are no independent films being made, you’ll be the one to blame. 

So don’t fucking do it.

@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.

 

The greatest films of all time. According to me.

film, screenwriting,brimson,UP,hollywoodThe other day, whilst sitting in my office trying to find legitimate ways of avoiding work as opposed to just avoiding it in the ‘can’t be arsed’ sense, I tweeted that in my opinion, Toy Story 2 is as close to the perfect movie as it is possible to get.

Inevitably, this generated a great deal of discussion but in spite numerous suggestions to the contrary, the only one that came anywhere  near changing my opinion was the idea that Monsters Inc. might actually be better.

Hopefully, I don’t need to explain why these two films hold such elevated positions in my thinking although I should make it clear that whilst I am a big kid in most senses, my choice was made purely on the basis that I’ve written a bit and watch a lot of films as opposed to anything else.

Of course ‘best’ is very different from ‘favourite’ and whilst Toy Story 2 (and Monsters Inc. for that matter) are certainly in my top 20 films, they are both in the lower half of my personal chart. 

They may be great films and be technically perfect in pretty much every sense from storyline to score but they are usurped by films which have something else. That special something which elevates a film from great to favourite.

With that in mind, and since a number of people have asked me about it this week, I thought it might be useful to list my top ten movies. I should explain however, that this is very much MY list. Most people will look at it and shake their heads with wonder at why X or Y isn’t included or wonder how I could possibly have two black and white films as my top 2. Especially as both of those are so different from each other.

Yet that in essence, is the beauty of film.  It might well be that not a single film on this list would make your top 10, there might even be one or two that you’ve never heard of. Yet every one of them has somehow burrowed its way into my psyche to the extent that if it comes on TV, everything will stop whilst I watch it or if I’m bored, I’ll take it down from my DVD shelf and bang it on. And I won’t get bored at a single point.  And with that in mind, here we go!

Vive la différence!

1. The Cruel Sea (1953)
2. School For Scoundrels (1960)
3. The Shawshank Redemption
4. The Bourne Trilogy (forget the fourth one)
5. Singing In The Rain
6. Fight Club
7. A Few Good Men
8. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
9. Psycho
10. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

There you go. Over to you….

@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.

A trip to the Lions Den.

police,football,independent film,writingI spent some time in the lion’s den this week. Or to be more specific, I had to attend a police interview at Wimbledon nick.

I won’t go into the circumstances behind my visit here other than to say that those who need to know why I was there already know. However, for those who don’t, I should say that my trip to South-West London was very much by choice as opposed to request and whilst I walked up those steps with a sense of foreboding derived from both inbred guilt and the fact that I’ve slagged them off on numerous occasions, it was for once, an enlightening experience.

In many ways, it reminded me of the series currently running on Channel 4 called 24 Hours in Police Custody which, if you haven’t seen it, follows a group of detectives as they gather evidence against a steady stream of scum bags they have languishing in their cells. It’s remarkable television primarily because it reveals just how passionate they are about securing convictions and taking villains off the streets. Albeit the streets of L*t*n.

Not surprisingly, there have been accusations that what’s screened is a distortion of reality and is edited to provide the police with some much-needed PR. However, having spent some time in the company of a detective this week and listened to him talking about his desire to get to the heart of what is an extremely complicated case, I can tell you with some confidence that it’s the real deal.

Tick tock.

Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes


author, screenwriting, writer, script, football, soccer, sport, independent, film, self publishing, hooligan, gangs

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The fight to write: finding motivation.

write,writing,screenwriting,screenplay,author,hooligan,football,soccer,independent film,When asked about writing, author Neil Gaiman once famously said, “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

He is of course, spot on, well, almost. You see for me the hardest part of the writing process isn’t the actual creativity element, it’s the physical one. Or to be more specific, the act of dragging myself to my desk and actually sitting down at my computer. This is a torture I have to endure on an almost daily basis.

I blame my father, and the military. You see my dad was, and remains, staggeringly lazy and this is one of the many bad habits I’ve inherited from him. But in addition, much of my time in the Royal Air Force was spent employing the ‘minimum input, maximum output’ approach to service life and to be fair, I was bloody good at it. Just ask anyone who worked with me.

But as a writer, I don’t have the luxury of this lifestyle. If I don’t write it, it doesn’t get written and if it doesn’t get written, I don’t eat or get to go to *football/stock car racing/cinema/restaurants *delete as appropriate.

As a consequence, most mornings I have to force myself away from the sofa and the delights of breakfast television and go through what is an increasingly defined ritual to begin my working day. I won’t go into it all as it’s starting to get a bit OCD like, but it is safe to say that both coffee and Solar Radio feature as prominent kick starters in my motivational process!

Occasionally however, I don’t have any trouble getting to my desk. Indeed, sometimes I can’t actually wait to get started and when I hit that point, I know I’m onto something solid. Thankfully, I am there right now. Not with a screenplay, but with the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy.

I’m not going to say too much about the plot at the moment as I want to keep the details quite close to my chest but what I will say is that my favourite anti- hero is coming back with a vengeance.

If all goes to plan, In The Know should be ready for release in a couple of months.

I have not however, forsaken the world of film just yet and in fact, have a new project almost ready to announce. As is the way with such things, the timing of that is down to others with far more power and influence than I have so I will leave that down to them but I can tell you that we have a household name attached to direct and some world-renowned producers holding the reins.

Oh, and it’s going to shock a few people.

Watch this space. 😉

Just in case you didn’t know already, all of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes


author, screenwriting, writer, script, football, soccer, sport, independent, film, self publishing, hooligan, gangs

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