Category Archives: independent film

Screenwriting: Is age discrimination an actual thing?

writing, writer, screenwritingIn my last blog (Why the film world doesn’t owe you a living) I made the point that as a 59-year-old male screenwriter, the chances of you ‘breaking through’ into the big leagues of the movie world 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 gender as a barrier with others thanking me for saying something that they’d been thinking for years.

Now in response to the former, I have no idea what it’s like to be anything other than a white heterosexual male and given that I’m currently 59 and a writer who has enjoyed a degree of success both in print and on screen, I think I’m fairly well placed to write about the impact being a 59-year-old white heterosexual 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.

@dougiebrimson

,sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fart Just in case you didn’t know already, my numerous books and DVD’s are all available via both Amazon and iTunes

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The joy of a shit list. And a bit of karma.

writing, amwriting, screenwriting, prompt, tipsGiven my youthful good looks (sic) it might shock you to discover that I’ve been around for a long time. Truth is, I’ve made so many trips around the block that I frequently navigate it in my sleep.

Along the way, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some incredible people but inevitably, I have also encountered some who are, shall we say, less than incredible.

That’s life of course. It would be a bizarre world indeed if we liked everyone we met just as it would be extremely odd if everyone who met us were dazzled by our individual charms. I’ve certainly met plenty of people who have come to regard me as an arsehole. Or worse.

But I can live with that. Life’s too short to work with people you don’t like and that obviously works both ways.

However, whilst normally I consign these individuals to the ‘bad experiences’ folder of my meagre brain, there will occasionally be someone who irks me to such an extent that they make it onto my s**t list. And if you make it onto that, watch out. Because I know it’s petty and it’s childish, but trust me when I say that at some point I will repay you in kind. 

Oh yes, I carry a grudge.

I mention it here simply because I was recently given the opportunity to dust off said list and cross two people off it. Not because I had forgiven them for their transgressions, but because the opportunity had arisen for the delivery of some payback. Obviously, it was an opportunity I grabbed it with both hands.

Yes, I know that at my age I should be above such things, but when I’m looking at a potential cast list and see that two of the actors on it also feature on my s**t list, there is no way on earth that either is ever going to get a sniff.

The only sad thing, as I sit here basking in a warm glow of revenge, is that I doubt either of them will ever know that karma paid them a visit on my behalf. 

But I know. And ultimately, that’s all that matters.

@dougiebrimson

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


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

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From the writer of Green Street….

wordcount, writing, writer, greenstreetThis isn’t something I would normally do, but with three projects currently in development and taking the bulk of my time, I have a number of additional scripts in work so thought I would offer a few out via my blog. All are at the second draft stage so if any are of interest to anyone in the industry, please drop me an email via dougiebrimson@me.com

Boots on the Ground:  Drama (feature or TV): A soldier loses his legs after an ambush in Afghanistan and returns home to the brutal realisation that his real war has only just begun.

Wings of a Sparrow: Comedy (feature or TV): A fanatical football fan inherits a multi-million pound fortune and thinks that all of his dreams have come true. However, his dreams soon turn to nightmares when he learns that the money comes with some very unsavoury strings attached!

First Parallel: Supernatural Drama (returnable TV): A shy, unassuming woman girl discovers that she is the only hope for mankind in a supernatural war being fought against an army of evil led by the malevolent spirit of her dead mother.

@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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Dear Doug, I’ve written this amazing script….

brimson, screenwriting, writer, script, authorAs someone who has pulled it off more than once, I’m often asked how to go about selling a script.

Whilst an obvious question, it is actually the wrong question. For the truth is that anyone can sell a script just as anyone can buy one. So what people should be asking is what are the chances of selling a script into the industry. Be it to a producer, a studio or even to an agent.

The answer, for a first time writer is slim, very slim. In fact the odds are stacked firmly against you. Not because  the film industry is some kind of closed shop -although in many respects it is exactly that- but because of simple mathematics.

You may well have written an awesome script, maybe even a potential Oscar winner, but the second you send it out into the world you’re entering a competition for attention and that competition is fierce. Not merely in terms of quality, but because of pure numbers.

The Writers Guild of America register anywhere between 30 and 50 thousand scripts every year. A number that can probably be doubled if you factor in screenplays written by writers who don’t register their work but still punt it out. That’s EVERY year, and the average screenplay floats around for at least 5 years, usually longer. So even using conservative figures, that’s 250,000 spec scripts floating around waiting to be picked up at any one time.

Since the vast majority of movies which actually get made are written by writers with some kind of track record, as a first time writer the chances of anyone even reading your script let alone buying it are reduced even further. Indeed it is estimated that even in a good year, only 50 spec scripts are actually sold into the business.

In real terms, that’s 1 per 5000 or 5000 to one. Or, to put it in more realistic terms, you’re twice as likely to die by falling in the shower as you are of someone buying your script.

Simple as that.

(It’s also important to remember that selling a script, whilst a great achievement in itself, does not guarantee that it will ever get anywhere near actually being filmed. And before anyone asks, it’s also worth noting that many spec scripts are sold for nominal fees, sometimes as low as £1!)

@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

self-publishing, author, writing, amazon, kindle, independent film, ebooks, screenwriting, writing, writingtips, amwriting, screenwriter, green street, 

 

I wish to announce my retirement.

author, screenwriting, writing, veteran, publishing, football A couple of weeks ago, whist sitting at my computer as I do most days, I had one of those gut-wrenching writing related moments when I begrudgingly accepted that what I was working on wasn’t working.

These, as you can imagine, are painful times for a writer because not only do they signify wasted creative effort, but wasted time. Worse than that, they inevitably kick off feelings of frustration and anger and can even signal the start of what some people refer to as writers block (and my feelings on that are well documented).

Anyway, when such a moments occur in Brimson Towers, any one of a number of things will happen:

1. I will make tea before simply dumping everything I’ve written and starting again.

2. I will make tea and settle into a few hours of quiet reflection (sulking) before going back and finding a way to make it work.

3. I will make tea, curse my life and lack of talent and settle into a few days of quiet reflection (sulking) before going back and finding a way to make it work.

4. i will switch on the internet and waste hours of time arguing with someone in the name of research and/or spend loads of money on eBay before going back and finding a way to make it work.

5. I will go out on a motorbike for a few hours and return with not only a way to make it work, but a way to make it better.

Sadly, due to the ravages of time on my knackered back, number 5 is no longer an option which left me with only four choices, or so I thought. Because as I switched on the obligatory kettle, it suddenly struck me that I wasn’t actually enjoying writing. Not just the project I was actually working on, but at all. This light-bulb moment instantly presented me with a fifth option and it was one which, as someone who lists ‘laziness’ as a personal attribute, had an obvious appeal. So much so that right then and there, I grabbed it with both hands. It was retirement.

Yes, that’s right. I didn’t tell anyone about it but early on in November I made the conscious decision to retire from writing altogether. It was bliss, and it lasted approximately two days.

But what dragged me back to my keyboard wasn’t boredom, it was a series of phone calls informing me that two scripts I’d written had taken major steps forward along the development path whilst another idea I’d thrown into the mix had begun to generate some serious excitement.

As motivational tools go, mentions of A-List actors and doubled budgets sit pretty high on the list and so I am happy to announce that my short-lived retirement is now at an end. In fact my writing life is more hectic than it has been in ages. 

Watch this space.

@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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The film pitching process (and 6 reasons why it sucks).

football, soccer, comedy, cost of football, manchester united, liverpool, derby, watfordA lot of people have been contacting me recently to ask if my football comedy novel, Wings of a Sparrow is ever going to make the leap from book to screen. My response is always the same, I’m working on it. However, the truth is that whilst I continue to push it as much as I can, the next step isn’t really up to me. I wish it were.

In an ideal world, I would write a script, show it to someone and they would hand me a few million pounds to get it made. Better still, they’d buy it off me and I could sit back while they did all the hard work. However, it doesn’t work like that, not for me anyway. Instead, like hundreds if not thousands of other scripts, Wings is having to go through what is called ‘the pitching process’ and since I suspect that many of you don’t understand how that works, I thought I’d put together a layman’s guide and tell you where my baby is currently sitting.

1. You write a script. – Done. Both film and TV versions have been written together with various outlines ranging from two sentences to 15 pages. Plus there’s the best-selling novel of course.

2. You send it all to your agent who identifies those production companies who might be interested and sends it out to them. – Done.

3. You wait. And wait. And wait. In the meantime, you network the shit out of it and maybe attach potential cast members or even a director. If you can add a well known name, this is a huge plus. – Doing.

4. If you’re lucky, one or two (from up to ten or even more of the companies it will have been sent to) will actually come back to you and say that whilst they like it, it’s not for them. This is normal as many production companies will only be looking for certain types of films although in many cases, some of the reasoning for the rejection is questionable (but never open for discussion). ’Football films don’t ever work’ being the most irritating response we’ve had to Wings. – Done.

5. You wait some more, and possibly follow up with those who haven’t responded. You also send it out to more potential producers and maybe a director or two. Then you wait, again. – Done/doing.

6. You give up pitching it and go onto the next project in the hope that one day, someone will possibly stumble across it and like it enough to show interest. – Pretty much done.

And unless someone actually comes in with an offer to either option or make it, which can be at any point in the process or the future, that’s the brutal and frustrating reality of how it works for most of us. It’s even harder for those writers who have never had anything produced because you have no track record to back you up. However, we all know that and as I’ve said many times, if you don’t like it, don’t do it.

Do I think that Wings would make an awesome and very funny low-budget movie? Of course! Do I think it would work on TV as either a two part comedy drama or even a sit-com? Too right!  But what I think doesn’t matter. It’s all down to what a person sitting behind a desk at a production company or studio thinks and more importantly, what they are looking for at that moment in time.

For whatever reason, Wings of a Sparrow isn’t it. Yet.

PS: If anyone in the business would like to have a read of the script, please drop me a line at dougiebrimson@me.com

@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

How to write: Motivation.

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fartAs someone who earns their living by writing, I am often asked what motivates me. Is it for example, a burning desire to create or is it a desperate need to put my thoughts into print? Or is it a hope that I can somehow make a difference or possibly even a yearning to leave behind a legacy of some kind?

Truth is it’s none of those things. I might have written 15 books and a few movies but there are three simple reasons why I write.

  1. I’m a lazy bastard who likes sitting down all day.
  2. I need to make money to facilitate item 1.
  3. I live in desperate hope that one day soon numbers 1 & 2 will combine so successfully that I’ll be able to retire and live out my remaining days watching sport and riding motorbikes.

And to be fair, I reckon that retirement will be well earned. Growing up the son of a comedian was certainly an education but it was hard work and being one of 6 kids (with four brothers!) was certainly instrumental in my leaving home at 16 to begin what turned out to be 18 years as an engineer in the Royal Air Force.

As anyone who has served will know, military life isn’t suited to everyone but I loved every single day of it. Not just for the places it took me to and the people I met, but for the myriad of experiences I enjoyed. From going to war to swearing at royalty and all points in between.

Thankfully, my subsequent career as a writer has added considerably to those experiences but it has also provided me with an excellent way of cleansing my soul. Or to put it another way, telling everyone else. Not just about my life as a football fan but as an average bloke. 

Indeed, of all my books, my comedy novel Billy’s Log is the one of which I’m most proud chiefly because it’s the closest to my own persona. It could even be called semi-autobiographical given that so many of my own experiences are included which is one of the reasons why, as my 60th looms ever closer, I have decided to revisit it. In fact the preparation is already underway as I’m gathering anecdotes whilst also working on In The Know and another movie or to. 

The plan is to have both books out by the end of the year however I am not walking away from the world of film just yet. In fact the project I’m currently working on will be my biggest to date. Watch this space.

PS: I’ve given a few interviews recently and on a variety of subjects but one I really enjoyed allowed me to vent on the subject of publishing an ‘lad-lit’. Click here to take a look…      

@dougiebrimson

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

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.