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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, 

 

Why we write: The screenwriter.

ebooks,selfpublishing,screenwriter,screenwriting,author,indiefilm,green street,actor,script,sex, When people ask you what you do for a living and you say ‘I’m a screenwriter’ one of two things will happen.

Either they will look at you as if you’re some kind of head case or they will say something along the lines of ‘that must be awesome’.

Both of these things are true of course, at least occasionally, but the reality sits somewhere in the middle. Or to be more precise, closer to the former. For the norm for most of us who follow this path is a life spent in solitude, wallowing in self-doubt or waiting for either inspiration, feedback or decisions.

This obviously begs the question as to why we do it and the answer to that is simple. At least it is for me. In fact it can be encapsulated into one single word. It’s a word that comes rarely but it’s arrival is greeted with every kind of emotion from relief to pure joy. But equally, it provides justification for the hours, days and weeks spent toiling away on something you have the utmost faith and belief in.

That word is ‘yes’.

I’ve heard that word twice in recent months. Once for a movie called Three Greens which is currently in pre-production with a truly massive budget and the second time was for a project that we should be able to announce fairly soon but which I already know is going to be a cracking movie to work on.

As a consequence, features number four and five are on their way which makes me a happy writer at the moment. And it’s not often you’ll hear me say that.

@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


Why we must do more than ‘Keep calm and carry on’ to win the war on terror.

family, terrorist, parliament, veteran, warThis is a picture of my late granddad. He was an ARP warden during the war and his beat was the East End of London which, for those that don’t know, was bombed pretty much constantly by the Germans during the second world war.

Almost every night, he would go out walking the streets making sure people were safe and reporting on bomb damage, sometimes even as the bombs were falling. After that he would go home, not knowing if his own house was still standing or his family still alive, before heading off to do a full-time shift as a porter at one of the big London markets. That went on right through the blitz.

I mention him now because in the wake of the terrorist attack in London yesterday, much is being made of the fact that we, as a nation, have a spirit which means that we will never be defeated by these cowards who are now seemingly hiding in our midst. And of course we won’t, just as we weren’t by the Nazi’s or the loathsome IRA.

Some call it the Dunkirk spirit, others refer to the ‘Keep calm and Carry On’ mantra which has become synonymous with our nation in recent years but whatever it is, we have it, in spades. And it will see us through these worrying sad times just as it always has.

However, there is a huge difference between the Britain we knew in the blitz and even during the reign of terror imposed on us by the likes of Martin McGuinness in the 70’s and 80’s and it is becoming an increasing concern to me. It’s nothing to do with government, immigrants or even religion, it is to do with our individual selves. Or more specifically, what kind of Brits we are.

Much is being made of the selfish acts carried out on Westminster Bridge yesterday, and quite rightly so, but how many simply people walked by? How many were so obsessed with taking photo’s of the carnage lying on the road in front of them that they failed to offer a single ounce of compassion let alone help? The answer is too many. Far too many.

OK, I know there will be those who in moments of panic, default to their phones and others who, handcuffed by fear or even language, will have simply stood transfixed. But there were others who actively moved around taking pictures or film to upload onto social media or better still, sell for cold hard cash.

I won’t even ask how those people sleep at night because chances are, they will sleep just as they always sleep. But the fact that this mentality exists at all saddens me greatly because this isn’t the country that my granddad put his life at risk to protect.

Instead, we have become a nation which has a cancer running through it. And that cancer takes the form of selfishness. Far too many people these days have little or no concept of either personal responsibility, duty or even basic courtesy whilst both the law and authority have come to be regarded almost universally as some kind of enemy (until they need them of course).

Policemen, medics and even firemen are all too frequently abused and even attacked whilst simply trying to do their jobs whilst our servicemen and women, both serving and veterans, are regarded in some quarters as a cross between vermin and lepers. Marine A being a case in point.

Yet these are public servants. Their job, vocation even, is to protect, defend and aid society, our society. And the fact that they do that, by choice, should be applauded, not ignored. After all, can you, hand on heart, say that you would walk toward danger rather than run away from it? Yet that is what they do, some of them do it every single working day.

But we should not simply respect these people, we should aspire to be like them. For the way to defeat terrorism isn’t simply to ‘keep calm and carry on, because all that does is invite more of the same. The way to win the war on terror is to be better than those who wish to harm us.  And that’s what we have to do, all of us, be better. Better at caring, better at helping and most of all, be better at being citizens.

Do that, we don’t just win, we win big. 

@dougiebrimson

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fartMy 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.


Tales from my father. Volume One

Derek Brimstone, father, folk singer, comedianMy father died recently, he was 84.

I won’t go into the medical details other than to say that whilst it wasn’t exactly unexpected, his ultimate demise was quite sudden but it was also very peaceful. I know that, because I was with him when he died.

He was a great man my dad, a legend in fact. I know many people says that about their fathers but in his case, it was true. Indeed, he is cited by many of his peers, including Billy Connolly and Jasper Carrott, as being one of the most influential figures on the British folk scene that exploded in the 60’s and 70’s.

However, it wasn’t simply his undoubted abilities as a musician that earned him that accolade, it was as much his skills as a story teller. Oh yes, the old boy could certainly tell a tale. Indeed, a quick search of Facebook will reveal numerous threads containing ‘my favourite Derek Brimstone’ joke.

I mention this now because one of the questions frequently thrown at me is how, and indeed why, I made the transition from humble serviceman to best-selling author and screenwriter.

Usually, my answer is something along the lines of ‘it was the only way I could think of to earn a living sitting at home watching football’ but the truth is, it was because of my father. For he was the one who taught me not only how to to weave a tale, but to construct humour. Be it as a simple one-liner or in a full length novel such as Billy’s Log.

Sadly, I never really acknowledged that until recently and I certainly never thanked him for it. But the truth is that every book and film I’ve ever written has the DNA of my dad running through it and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

RIP old man. Thanks for everything but especially the laughs. On which note…  Derek Brimstone at his finest. 

@dougiebrimson

Dad’s funeral will be on the 24th March. If you would like details, please drop me a line at dougiebrimson@me.com

derek brimstone, folk singer, banjo, guitar, musician, comedian, cockney, cambridge folk festival

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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Never mind FIFA, Theresa May’s the wrong ‘un when it comes to Poppygate.

remembrance sunday,poppy,football,fifa,faLike many people, I’ve been somewhat irritated today by the news that FIFA, that most honourable of institutions, has refused permission for the teams to display Poppies on their shirts during the World Cup Qualifier at Wembley on Armistice Day.

Inevitably, a sizeable chunk of the nation went ballistic at this news whilst the British press, another honourable institution, have been almost rabid in their condemnation of football’s governing body. And to be fair, I had my say as well.

However, as the day has gone on I have mellowed somewhat on the subject of Poppygate and to be fair to FIFA, I have actually been able to see their point. After all, we are brought up with the poppy and understand exactly what it represents but not everyone overseas is familiar with it as anyone who has ever spent Nov 11th in either America or Russia (for example) will know only too well. 

Therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that whoever received the request from the FA simply responded as they would to the potential use of any symbol (OK, I’m being generous but let’s be honest, someone screwed up somewhere). It’s also not unreasonable to assume that inevitably, some kind of compromise will be reached and that this most special and poignant of days will be suitably marked. As of course, it must be.

The result of course, is that Poppygate will simply fade into the background and become yet another non-story of the kind which the British press are prone to create these days in a desperate effort to deflect attention away from something else.

But, there was one comment today which really got my goat and as the day has gone on, I have become more and more angry about it. It was made by Theresa May during Prime Ministers Questions today and was this:

poppygate,poppy,FIFA,football

Now I am a big fan of our PM but in this instance she is out of order. Bang out of order in fact. Because to use a phrase from the good book, ‘let those without sin cast the first stone.’

If we didn’t have veterans living on the streets, if we didn’t have veterans committing suicide because their mental health issues aren’t being addressed, if we didn’t have veterans scrabbling around for help from the NHS and if we didn’t have a Marine languishing in prison after being unjustly convicted of murder, then she would have a right to say what she did. But we do, so she doesn’t.

So here’s a message for Ms May from one veteran speaking on behalf of many veterans: If you’re going to tell someone to get their own house in order, especially when it’s made in the context of the military and veteran community, make sure that yours is squeaky clean first. Because I’ve got news for you, you have some serious tidying up to do before the UK is going to pass that particular inspection. 

@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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Why I support ‘Free Marine A’.

marine, army, Afghanistan, Iraq, This morning, suited and booted, I will be joining the ranks of the masses commuting into London.

This in itself, is hardly a big deal. After all, there are millions of people who do the same thing every single day but for me, it’s a very rare occasion. Normally, I avoid the rush hour like the proverbial plague.

Today however, isn’t a normal day. It’s actually a very special day. For at 11.30, a large group of military veterans led by a sizeable contingent of former Royal Marines, will gather in Parliament Square in a silent show of support for Sergeant Al Blackman who is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of a Taliban insurgent. And I will be one of them.

Don’t get me wrong, Sgt Blackman served in a very different military from the one I did. His career as a member of one of the worlds elite military fighting units involved front line combat in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan amongst other places. Mine, as a ground engineer in the Royal Air Force, generally involved avoiding work where possible and trying to squeeze as much money as possible from the RAF Motorsports Association.

However, we have one thing in common: we wore a British military uniform and whilst the colour of our beret’s was, and is, vastly different, it gives us a common bond. Which is why, like all the veterans in attendance tomorrow as well as the many thousands who cannot make it, I will be doing my utmost to show my disgust at the fact that a brave man languishes in prison simply because he was hung out to dry by the very people who were, and are, supposed to protect him.

So if you’re in London todayand you see anyone wearing anything which marks them out as ex-military, you know where they’re either going or have been.

I know they would appreciate your support.

If you would like to know more about the background to the case of Marine A, please read this article by the author Frederick Forsyth.  

@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 joy of a s**t list.

karma,revenge,writing,film,indiefilmGiven 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 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 and I’d grabbed it with both hands.

Yes, I know it’s childish and yes, 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 bothAmazon and iTunes

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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 business of public speaking.

public speaking,author,writer, screenwriterAs anyone who knows me well will know, I am by nature, quite shy.

Yes, it’s true. Behind this gruff exterior beats the heart of someone who abhors networking and dreads having to indulge in small talk. Especially if it means having to talk about myself or my work.

This is actually one of the reasons why I write for a living because being tied to a computer means that I spend most of my time in my own company. Although given that I’m possibly the most interesting person I know, this isn’t exactly a trial.

Having told you that, it may surprise you to know that I have never had a problem speaking in public. Indeed, although they arrive infrequently, I don’t think I’ve ever turned down an invitation to speak at an event no matter how large or small the potential audience.

However, whilst I’ve always tried to entertain, inform and motivate, it has always bugged me a little that I’ve been cheating people in the sense that I’ve never really treated public speaking seriously and certainly not professionally.

So with that in mind, last week I attended a course run by an amazing bloke called Brad Burton, the UK’s #1 motivational business speaker and to say that ‘Be A Better Speaker’ was an eye opener would be an understatement. It’s safe to say that there wasn’t a single element of my speaking performance that didn’t warrant either comment or attention. In the majority of cases, both.

Brad1I certainly ended the day a better and more confident speaker and if standing up in front of people is a part and parcel of your job or indeed, if you want to earn money from telling your story, then I cannot recommend this course highly enough. It genuinely will help you.

Oh, and if you ever need a speaker, give me a shout.

@dougiebrimson

football, self publishing, soccer, money, inheritance, premiership, england, watford, zola, football, soccer, brimson, wembley, crystal palace, top dog, green street

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

author,writing,screenwriting,indie film,public speaking.hooliganism,gangs,veteran,RAF,military