Tag Archives: film

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And d’you know what, I bloody am.

.

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

@dougiebrimson

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

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

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@dougiebrimson

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


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

2015. Another year in a hack writers life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whatever it is, make it count!

.

@dougiebrimson

My numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.


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

Read this. Just read it.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 09.48.28

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

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

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

So don’t fucking do it.

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

 

The greatest films of all time. According to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vive la différence!

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

There you go. Over to you….

@dougiebrimson

football, comedy, humour, rivals, derby, soccer, premier league, championship, manchester united, chelsea, liverpoolMy numerous books including the football comedy Wings of a Sparrow and the #1 thrillers,The Crew and Top Dog are available from both Amazon and iTunes.  

Please click on the relevant link for more information.

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

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

Writers: Are we our own worst enemies?

gangster, violence, gangs, independent film, rape, murder, sex As you may or may not have noticed, my third feature, We Still Kill The Old Way, was released over Christmas.

For reasons I won’t go into here, I haven’t seen it yet but friends and family who have were certainly impressed and reviews thus far have been generally excellent.

As co-writer of said movie, I’m obviously pleased for all involved yet there is one thing that’s becoming increasingly irritating to me. So much so in fact, that the other day I actually did something I said I’d never do. I complained about a review. In fact, I’ve subsequently complained about three. 

It would be obvious to assume that these were negative reviews but in fact the opposite is true. Each was full of praise for the film and the performances with none giving it less than four stars.  However, all three (and others to be fair) neglected to mention one specific thing, the writers.

Now to be clear, this is not a moan about me. As I’ve written many times, screenwriting is very much a hobby for me (albeit one that takes up most of my time!) as I consider myself first and foremost to be an author (and even that’s pushing it!). Furthermore, as I’ve also written many times, I’m never precious about scripts and am more than happy to hand them over to a director and let them take over. As long as they pay me of course!

However, whilst I’m always delighted to read the compliments paid to actors and directors, the fact remains that the starting point of any film or TV show is a writer with an idea sitting in front of a blank screen. Without them, there would be no film to talk of so is it not right and proper that their role should, at the very least, be afforded the courtesy of a name check rather than a cursory mention of the script they churned out?

What annoys me most about this is that the people writing reviews are my peers and as fellow writers, I’d argue that they actually have a duty to talk up both their fellow scribes and the work that they do. For by not doing so they surely underpin the notion that writers are the least important people in the creative process when the reality is that the opposite is closer to the truth.

After all, do you really think Arnie came up with the line ‘I’ll be back!’ all by himself? Or that Jack Nicholson just threw together the ‘you can’t handle the truth’ speech from A Few Good Men as they were sitting on set? Of course not. They came from the imagination of some poor caffeine, alcohol and/or nicotine fuelled hack sitting in front of a computer in the middle of the night. 

So film critics of the world, the next time you heap praise on a movie, why not remember the individual who put it all together and give them a mention.

Not least because one day, that might be you.

Thanks to all those I’ve spoken to over the holidays (and at Chelsea yesterday) asking about my next project.

I can’t say anything at the moment other than talks are well advanced for a new film and I’m hoping to pen to paper on that within the next few weeks. In the meantime, I’m working on a new script and will then start work on another book as I am determined to add to my list by the end of the year. On which note, thanks to everyone who brought The Crew, Top Dog, Billy’s Log and Wings of a Sparrow over the holidays.

I hope you enjoy them!

screenwriting, screenplay. script, author, ebook, gangster, indie film, british film, green street, social media, twitter, facebook

My year in film: 2014.

film, cinema, screenwriting, writer, script, indie, hooligan, war, Kajaki, Brad Pitt, streep, I forgot to do this in my blog yesterday so, since I’ve no intention of doing anything today other than watching movies, I thought I’d do a quick resume of some of the best and worst movies I saw last year.

Obviously, I’ve not included my own films (primarily because I’ve only watched two-thirds of one and haven’t seen the other at all) but have instead, covered my five from the top and five from the bottom. Feel free to let me know what you think.

My movie of the year was without a doubt, The Grand Budapest Hotel. What I can only describe as a visual and comedy masterpiece, it is Wes Anderson at his absolute finest. I can’t speak highly enough of it other than to say it’s one of those films I’ll happily watch for the rest of my life.

Close behind was a movie released in 2013 but which I saw in the US in February so I’m counting it. If you’re a fan of great acting, then August, Orange County is a must watch. Meryl Streep gives a performance which is quite simply staggering but she’s matched in every scene by the rest of the cast. I watched it again last night and it was just as breathtaking as the first time I saw it.

Another movie I saw whilst in the US at the same time was Inside Llewyn Davies. It’s one of those films where nothing much actually happens but it just swallows you up and is gone before you know it. Loved it.

Two war movies blew me away this year (no pun intended) but for different reasons. Whilst the story was a bit lacking in parts, I have to say that I thought Fury was stunning. However, for sheer tension and realism, Kajaki beats it hands down. The fact that it’s based on a true story makes it even more amazing and if you haven’t seen it, you must.

A number of films promised much but ultimately disappointed me last year. Northern Soul was perhaps the biggest let down because I so wanted to love it to bits and all the hype promised great things. Don’t get me wrong, the music was brilliant and it looked amazing but the story was way off to me.

Another film I really wanted to love was The Hooligan Factory and to be fair, I almost did. The idea of a film which takes the piss out of the whole hoolie-genre was pure genius and all credit to the hugely talented Nick Nevern for getting it to the screen because it almost worked perfectly. But almost is the word which springs to mind whenever I think of it because it could have been Airplane funny and it wasn’t. I actually saw this with Gary Lawrence, my co-writer on We Still Kill The Old Way, and we both made exactly the same comments. I mean, how can you parody Green Street and not include a single hobbit joke?

On the subject of hobbits, as a huge fan of Tolkien, I’ve wallowed in the film adaptations but whilst it remains my favourite all time book, The Hobbit has really disappointed on screen and The Battle of the Five Armies is certainly the worst of the three. If I want to watch a dragged out computer game, I’ll do that. I certainly don’t want to go to the cinema to do it.

Finally, the worst film I saw in 2014 was without doubt, The Other Woman. I don’t even know where to start with the things I hated about this film other than to say if anyone ever wants to torture me, just sit me in front of a DVD player and put it on a loop. I’ll tell you everything you want to know inside 15 minutes.

 script, screenwriting, author, writing, film, cinema, streep, brad pitt, hooligan, gangster, dyer