Category Archives: independent film

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.


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…      


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.


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….


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


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


Why ‘write what you know’ is the best advice you’ll ever hear.

football. soccer, writing, screenwriting, author, indie, film, screenplay, hooligansIn terms of advice handed to potential scribes, be they of the book or screenplay variety, ’write what you know’ is fairly standard fare.

Ironically, it’s a piece of guidance which is often ignored by those starting out on the rocky road of penmanship but the reality is that there are very sound reasons why it should be at number one in the newbies ‘take on board’ list.

Not only does it save both time and money on research, it side-steps potentially catastrophic flaws of the kind which will not only undermine the credibility of the book or film, but which will come to haunt you forever. And yes, that’s the voice of experience talking.

But more importantly, if you have extensive experience of something it stands to reason that your intimate knowledge will impact on pretty much everything you commit to paper. Be it in the language used, the authenticity of locations or even basic detail of the kind which will turn a good read into a great read. Thus, with all this stuff coming naturally, all of your time and effort can go into learning about plotting and character development which is, to be fair, where they should be going. At least initially.

I, of course, have followed this nugget of wisdom religiously and continue to do so. I write about football, hooliganism and blokey things because I know about football, hooliganism and blokey things and whilst I’m fairly certain that my output won’t cause any ripples at either BAFTA or the Booker Prize, if people like what I’m doing enough to buy or watch it, that’ll more than do for me.

There is however, one other subject I have in depth knowledge and experience of and that’s the military. Indeed, I’m often asked why, having served eighteen years in the Royal Air Force, I’ve never written anything remotely connected to Her Majesties Armed Forces.

Well, I can finally announce that this glaring oversight has at long last been addressed for I currently have not one, but two military themed movies in development.

As is usual with these things, I can’t say too much about either project other than to tell you that both are very different in tone and subject matter and they are also way past the second draft script stage with one actually very close to receiving the famous green light. In fact, some of the feedback on this particular script has been without question, the best I’ve ever received so I’m obviously quite excited about it.

Anyway, if all goes to plan a deal to take it into pre-production will be concluded this week and then it’ll be all systems go. Literally!

All of my books and DVD’s are available from both Amazon and iTunes

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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.


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!


top gear, clarkson, football, independent film, author, screenwriting, bbc



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.

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

Why the film world doesn’t owe you a living.

writing, screenwriting, script, author, greenstreet, independent, sex, dolphin, It is, as many people who work in film and TV will be acutely aware, award season. Or to put it another way, the time of the year when backs are slapped (or stabbed in), careers forged (or destroyed) and fortunes made (or lost. Usually in a sea of creative accounting).

The BAFTA’s, Golden Globes and Oscars are the main ones of course, but the business is awash with them and long may it remain so.

There is however, another side to award season. For it’s the time of the year when the hard done by come out from their hovels and give vent to their offence. And by hard done by, I mean those who claim to have it tough.

The two groups currently whining loudest are female directors and black actors and actresses. Both on account of neither group being represented in the best director or best actor/actress categories at the Oscars. This apparently, is an indication of the sexism and racism which runs rife through the entire industry.

What a load of bollocks.

Here’s a newsflash for you. Working in film and TV is tough, really tough. Yes, there is an identikit stereotype who might well have it easier but the bottom line is that breaking into the industry is tough for everybody be they male, female, young, old, white, black, yellow, actor, actress, director or perish the thought, a 56 year old shaven headed writer.

And that leads onto another newsflash; no one makes you do it. You, as a free thinking individual, made the choice to move into the entertainment and creative industry so if it’s not working out for you, dig in, get better and start to create your own opportunities because that’s how you up your chances of things happening for you. That’s how it works, that’s how it’s always worked and to be honest, in an industry where talent and tenacity are kings, that’s how it has to work. If you don’t like that, get out and get out now.

Not just for the sake of your own sanity, but because if you haven’t got the balls to fight that fight or are dependent on either tokenism or a tax-payer funded scheme to get you a job, the industry probably doesn’t really need you anyway.


manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordSpeaking of awards, could I just remind everyone that Top Dog has been nominated in the Best Action Film category at the National Film Awards and that We Still Kill The Old Way is up for all kinds of awards, including Best Action Film, at The Action Elite Awards.

These awards are voted for by the public (that’s you) so if you’ve seen either movie and enjoyed them, please click on the links and do what needs doing!

I’m also not a little chuffed to tell you that Wings of a Sparrow has been optioned by Trebuchet Film Productions and moves are now underway to raise the finance to make it. All being well, that will happen sooner rather than later!

Finally, if all goes to plan I’ll have another film to announce within a couple of weeks. And it’s a real cracker!

oscar, bafta, emmy, film, independent, screenwriting, author, ebooks, kindle, green street, top dog, writing