Category Archives: Uncategorised

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.

 

Why this photo haunts my writing life. 

Harrier, author, writing, football, filmOn Dec 31st 1975, a week short of my 17th birthday, I left the confines of my happy, if chaotic, family home and headed off for an adventure. Or to put it another way, I headed off to begin my basic training in the Royal Air Force.

I have written about my time in the military many times and no doubt, will do so again as I become more and more involved in all things veteran. However, the more I think back to those days, the more I have one very specific regret; I never kept a diary. As a consequence, I’ve forgotten far more than I can remember.

Take the photo at the top of this blog. Yes, that fresh faced lad on the left is me, standing alongside a gentleman (and I use that term loosely) named Pete Cutler. It was taken in approximately 1980/81 and the fact that we were on deployment with the Harrier Force and flying out of a forest somewhere in Germany are about the only details I can remember with any degree of accuracy.

On the face of it, that would be enough. It is after all, a relatively simple picture. However, that single photograph serves as a portal into a unique world that very few people ever got to experience. I’m not talking about being at the sharp end of the West’s response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union or the fact that we were working with what was possibly the greatest military aircraft of all time. I’m taking about what went on when the flying stopped and we were free to relax. And when I say relax, I mean get up to mischief.  

Indeed, it’s safe to say that were I ever to write my autobiography, life out in the field with 4 Squadron RAF (and Mister Cutler for that matter) provided that young fresh faced lad on the left with enough anecdotes to fill more than a chapter or two.

Blagging a flight in the rear seat of a T2 Harrier, living in an abandoned Nazi Hospital, swearing at Fergie (the Princess, not the manager), waking up in a lake (literally), encounters with the SAS, getting shot at and even late night visits to live sex shows are amongst numerous tales I have rattling around my head from those days but sadly, thanks to the obligatory intake of vast amounts of duty-free alcohol coupled with the passing of far too many years, the details of most are at best sketchy and at worst, vague. Yet had I kept even a simple diary, all of this history and more would be at my fingertips ready to be transcribed.

The fact that I didn’t is one of my greatest regrets and not just as a writer or even as a veteran, but as someone who has lived and enjoyed their life. Then again, if I were able to put it all on paper, it’s fairly safe to say that it would be quite a read!

So please, whoever you are and whatever you do, keep a diary, even a basic one. And urge your kids to do the same. You never know when it might come in handy.

@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.

 

Harry the Hornet: football’s perfect response to Paris.

Harry1In the wake of the horrific events in Paris, English football was quick to show it’s solidarity with the French capital. First at Wembley and then on Saturday, when every game in the English Premier League was preceded by the singing of La Marseillaise.

Now as a fan of a Premier League club (ahem) I was happy to stand in silence whilst the French national anthem was played (well I’m hardly likely to sing it) and I also understood why the Manchester United fans saw fit to interrupt it with a chant about Eric Cantona. He is after all, the greatest living Frenchman and closely allied with the club. However, little was I to know that even as the game began, a social media storm was brewing. A yellow and black hornet shaped storm.

The reason for this angst can be found toward the right of the photograph at the beginning of this blog. For people watching at home began to accuse Watford of being disrespectful by allowing the club mascot to line up with the players. But they are wrong. In fact, the exact opposite is true for one very important reason.

I know most football fans say this about their clubs, but Watford Football Club really are unique. I may have spent decades bemoaning the ‘Family Club’ tag and spend a good portion of most Saturdays ridiculing the ‘clap your hands, stamp your feet’ brigade but the fact remains that they are, and always will be, a genuine family club. Our club mascot, Harry the Hornet, is an integral part of that family and to me, to most, when he stands with the players, as he does so before every home game, he does so to represent us, the fans.

Therefore, for him to stand with the team and join them to show solidarity with the people of Paris was not simply right, it was absolutely right.

And if you still have an issue with that, you don’t understand my football club at all. But that’s your  problem, not ours.

Come on you ‘Orns.

@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.

Here it is. The most useful book I’ve ever read on the writing process.

Brad1As someone who has written in pretty much every type of genre and format possible, I’m often asked for advice by others keen to follow in my blood and sweat stained footsteps.

Whilst such requests are flattering, suggesting as they do that I know what I’m talking about, I tend to avoid questions of this nature because the truth is that there is no real mystery to writing. In fact, be it novel, non-fiction book or even screenplay, there are only really two things you need and if you have both, you’re already well over halfway there. However, if you have only one, you’ve got nothing. 

What are those two magic elements? They are, quite simply, a decent story and motivation. 

Decent stories are, to be fair, reasonably easy to come by. Motivation isn’t. indeed, of all the things a writer needs, motivation is often the most difficult thing of all to source and retain. For that’s what will drive you on to write, learn, develop and finally, to finish. 

So, with that in mind, I want to do something I never thought I would ever do. I want to recommend a book to anyone looking to write for either publication or screen. It was written by a chap named Brad Burton and is called Life. Business: Just Got Easier.

Yes that’s right, it’s a business book.

I won’t go too deeply into what Brad says or how he says it but what I can tell you is that whilst it might not teach you anything about the craft or technicalities of writing, it certainly will teach you everything you need to know and more about the process of keeping yourself motivated from blank page to ‘the end’ and beyond. Just as importantly, if you treat each individual project as a small business in its own right (which is exactly what each is if you think about it) it will show you how to manage them and your time more effectively.

It’s amazing stuff and it has certainly worked for me. I can’t see how I can give it a higher compliment or recommendation than that.

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.

It’s not shoot to Kill, it’s shoot to stop.

armed police,paris,ISIS,terrorism,londonThere has been a lot of talk today about the idea of a shoot to kill policy, much of which is clearly coming from people who have probably never even held a weapon let along fired one in anger.

Central to their opinion is the idea that if an armed policeman finds themselves in a situation where they have to discharge a round, they should employ a shoot to wound policy. This would allow the assailant to be questioned and/or face justice at a later date.

Now whilst I am certainly no expert, I have let off more than a few rounds in my time and so with that in mind, I can state with some degree of authority that the idea of a shoot to wound policy is bollocks.

This is real life, not a playstation game or a Hollywood movie. You don’t shoot to wound, you don’t even shoot to kill, you shoot to stop. As such, those trained to use a firearm in the execution of their duty, be they soldier or copper, are taught to aim at the central mass because if you take a round in the chest, you are almost certainly going to be in serious trouble. At best you’ll have been  stopped, at worst, you’ll be dead. And in all honesty, in either case you’ll only have yourself to blame because you’ll have been doing something you really shouldn’t have been.

Shoot to wound isn’t even practical anyway. These are marksmen, not medics. And leaving aside the difficulties of trying to hit an almost certainly moving target whilst under the intense pressure of a firearms situation, what about the implications for the officer if they fired a shot and missed? What offence would they be guilty of if the assailant went on to blow themselves up, kill a member of the public or a fellow officer? Or what if their shot hit an innocent passerby? And how about if they took the shot to wound but killed their target instead? The lawyers would have a bloody field day.

We owe the security forces in this country a huge debt and over the coming months we will need them more than ever. If the police are in a position where they are forced to take fire at a target it will be as the very last resort and at that point, we need them to be 100% focussed on what they have to do.

The idea of placing an additional pressure on them is not only ludicrous, it is downright dangerous.

@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.

police,terrorism,armed,ISIS,ISIL,Islam,war,military


Paris: Why we must stand united. 

paris, islam, terroristIt would be folly to even suggest, let alone believe, that all Muslims are terrorists or that all British Muslims support terrorism. The facts obviously don’t support that and if you think they do, you should take a long hard look around. And then at yourself.

However, to deny that there is a  problem on our shores is not simply naive, but foolhardy. It’s only a matter of time before what happened in Paris last night is replicated here.

That’s why the time has surely come for the British government to stop pissing around and let the security services off the leash. If that means internment for those they are most concerned about, so be it. But equally, we need to be far more aggressive in the control of our borders and the removal of those who have no right to be here irrespective of where they have come from or what religion they follow.

Furthermore, we need to let those who want to settle here that if they want to be welcomed, it is they who need to adapt, not the other way round. That means accepting our customs, our laws and our way of life as the will of the majority. If you want to wear a Burkha, practice Sharia Law, treat women as second class citizens, consider rape is your right as a male, subject your poor children to beatings or even FGM or even drive on the right, there are plenty of places where you can go where those things are acceptable. They aren’t here.

That might not sit well with the liberal left, but that’s too bad. Will it take the slaughter of 120 in the West End before they admit that appeasement and an open border policy are fundamentally wrong? Or will it take another series of explosions on the underground before Cameron grows some balls and actually starts to lead from the front?

But most importantly, as a collective nation we have to stand together and defend the way of life we have in this green and pleasant land. That means Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist, and even Klingon. ISIS want division and if we let them have it, not only do we let them win but this nation will never be the same again.

For the sake of our future, all our future’s, we cannot and must not allow that to happen.

The art of killing for fun.

I kill a lot of people, I hurt a lot more. And believe me, it’s great fun.

I am of course, talking in the purely literary sense (officer) but it is fair to say that there is something extremely satisfying about inflicting pain on someone even if it is only in my warped brain. And since I’m currently working on something which involves doing it to an awful lot of people in all kinds of settings, I thought I’d write a quick blog about how I go about it.

There are actually two elements to scenes of this kind, the actual mechanics and the set up and execution (pun intended).

To deal with the latter first, there is obviously a huge difference between screen and book given that most film tends to remove the element of imagination. So as a screenwriter, what you’re looking to develop is a scene that will stick firmly in the viewers mind. Primarily because those ‘Holy Fuck, did you see…’ moments are marketing gold. Both for the film and, just as importantly, for the writer.

But generally speaking, for me they come not from what is being done but how it’s being done. The electric drill scene in We Still Kill The Old Way is a good example as this is the one most people ask me about when talking about that film. However, I’d had that specific idea in my head for years and in truth, whilst it’s not very nice, it’s hardly anything spectacular. What actually makes it memorable is the dialogue and in particular, the almost comedic matter-o-fact way in which Butch goes about his gruesome work.

The printed word requires an entirely different approach because as an author, you have to effectively outline the picture in the readers head and give them the space to colour it in. The key to doing that is to be both inventive and realistic in the setting and totally honest with your characters and their motivation. If you can take a reader to the point where they can imagine what they’re reading being done to them (or by them in certain cases!) you’ve cracked it. 

Central to it all of course, is the mechanics of the infliction and to be fair, this is where the writers imagination comes to the fore because if there are a lot of incidents, each one needs to be different from the last. But, and this is quite important, I never plan those when I’m actually writing. By the time I’m putting pen to paper, I’ll already have them firmly fixed in my head because I want to put all my development time into characters and plot rather than detail. 

Indeed, it’s fair to say that I’ve whiled away many an hour between projects thinking about ways to inflict pain on people with everything from cable ties to hot exhaust pipes and all points in between!

Doing it like this has other benefits. Not only is it a great way to pass the time when driving but if someone has pissed you off, you have a ready made victim which believe me, is often a great incentive to be extra brutal! 

In fact, if you ever read or see anything of mine which really makes you wince, pound to a pinch of poo that when I came up with the idea, I had a very specific individual in mind.

Who knows, it might even have been you!

@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.

The picture that shames a nation.

shame1A photograph appeared this week which shamed this nation.

No, it’s not the one you are thinking about, horrific though that was, it’s another one.

This one.

soldier1
I know something of the background to this and I’m glad to say that thanks largely to the veteran community on social media but primarily to some of the excellent charities who support homeless veterans,  the guy and his family are now receiving the help he needed. But that’s not the point, the point is that he ended up in this desperate situation in the first place.

That he did so is a source of shame to us all.

A nation is defined in many ways but to me, a key reflection of a country is the way it looks after those who have served to defend and protect it. One only has to look toward the US to see the reverence with which it treats its military veterans to see that and the same can be said of many countries across the world. So why is it not the same here?

For sure, things are much better than they were 20 years ago when telling someone you were an ex-serviceman was akin to an admission of leprosy, but even now, veterans are frequently regarded as second class citizens. That’s especially true when it comes to the issue of social housing which goes some to explaining why there are in the region of 4500 veterans currently living on the streets of Britain.

Yes, that’s right. Four thousand five hundred.

That isn’t right, it isn’t fair and it’s actually contrary to the Armed Forces Covenant which states that local authorities in England give additional priority to members of the armed forces community with urgent housing needs. Well if being homeless isn’t urgent, I don’t know what is yet all too often, and for all kinds of reasons, elected officials are allowed to duck their duty of care and instead, abdicate their responsibility toward veterans to charity.

But at a time when this country is once again on the verge of asking our men and women in uniform to place their lives in danger to protect our way of life, should we, and especially our elected officials, not be doing better for their comrades? Of course we should. Not just for their sakes, but for the sake of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Be it on The Somme, Normandy, Burma, Korea, Northern Ireland, The Falklands, Kuwait, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan or any one of a thousand conflicts in which the British military have been involved.

One homeless veteran is one too many. It always will be.

If you would like to know more, please visit Homes4HomelessVeterans or Soldiers Off The Streets.