Tag Archives: independent film

5 ways for authors to handle bad reviews.

author,writing,review,amazon,ebook,self publishingFor any writer, be it of book, script, article or blog, reviews are not just important, they are vital.

This is especially true of those just setting out along the rocky path of penmanship and who have followed the self-published author route.

However, as much as we’d like every review to be a glowing endorsement of our creativity, the reality is that not everyone is going to like what we produce. Sadly, those readers are increasingly happy to hit the internet and slaughter both a book and its author if they feel disappointed or worse, cheated.

That is their right of course, they are customers after all, but make no mistake, when this happens to you (and it will happen) it hurts. Bad. After all, if you’ve put your heart and soul into a book, having the former ripped from your chest and publicly stamped on is not exactly a barrel of laughs.

review,author,selfpublishing,amazon,writing,ebook
Just one of many I’ve had over the years.

Yet the sad fact is that no matter how good a writer you are, bad reviews are an inevitability and dealing with them goes with the territory. 

So how do you do it?
  1. Accept them for what they are: an individual opinion. Yes, they’re tough to accept and trust me when I tell you that a bad review can eat away at you forever. However, if you’re happy to wallow in the affirmation of a 5* review, you’re got to learn to take the 1* criticism. 
  2. Never respond. Whilst it’s always tempting to rip into a bad reviewer like a rabid dog, leaving aside the fact that it’s bad manners, it’s also inviting trouble. Trolls love a good author spat and if they get hold of you they can do more damage to both your book and your career than you can ever imagine so don’t give them that opening.
  3. Develop a thick skin, and fast. The more books you produce, the more negative reviews you’re going to get. Conversely, you’re also going to get more positive reviews so keep re-reading those to balance things out.
  4. Be honest. Reviews aren’t just feedback, they’re market research so if you’re getting more bad than good, it might well be that there is actually some truth in what’s being said. So whereas good reviews will always tell you what works, bad ones will often tell you the rest. Use both as learning tools and use that information to help you make your next book better.
  5. Enjoy them. Even a bad review means that someone has read your book, YOUR book! Be proud of that and remember, not only does each and every review push your book up the amazon rankings, it also means income. Why do you think authors are so desperate for them? Even bad ones.

Away from books, my next movie, the thriller Three Greens, is moving swiftly toward production with casting of the major roles currently underway. In addition, I am thrilled to announce that another script has been given the green light and with finance in place, is also heading toward casting.

I can’t say much about this new project, but I can guarantee that it’s going to cause quite a stir!

@dougiebrimson

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

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

Further information at dougiebrimson.com

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The saga of ‘Carry On Sothcott’.

sothcott,Carry On,indiefilm,HMRC,tax,top dog,wsktowAs some of you may be aware, Top Dog and We Still Kill The Old Way producer Jonathan Sothcott has been spread across various media outlets lately amid allegations of financial impropriety.

The response from the man who most recently announced that he was going to reboot the Carry On franchise, was, somewhat predictably, to claim that it was all the work of one crazed stalker and that no one was investigating him. Least of all the police or HMRC. Furthermore, there were/are legitimate explanations for each of the nine or so companies he’s had shut down over the last few years.

Thankfully, more by luck than judgement, The Hollywood Reporter picked up on this story, smelt a rat or two and began to dig in search of the truth. The result of their hard work can be found here and it makes for interesting reading. Not least because one of the names mentioned is mine.

I won’t go into all of the reasons why I first got involved as the investigations are still ongoing but what I will say is that it wasn’t for financial gain as I am not actually owed any money. However, I do take offence at being associated with something that ripped people off and in my opinion, that’s exactly what was happening here so I stepped in and tried to do something about it.

As for the Hollywood Reporter article, I’ll leave you to form your own opinions on the content but suffice to say that whilst it answers a lot of questions, it leaves many more unanswered. The primary one for me being why, when much of this was an open secret within the industry, did so many people continue to ignore what he was up to and carry on working with him?

That of course, is a question only they and there conscience can answer. However, whilst the majority are of little interest to me personally, there are a few involved in this sordid episode who should be called to account, if not named and shamed.

They know who they are (and if you’re curious, a quick trawl of his IMDB page will reveal which names frequently pop up) and they are the people who were more than happy to profit from his exploits in the belief that he, and they, would never get caught. They were wrong.

Jonathan Sothcott may well be the first name to hit the headlines, but it won’t be the last.

@dougiebrimson

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

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.

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

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Screenwriting and the art of the opportunity.

writing, screenwriting, author, ebooks, independent film, self publishing, amazon, kindle, sex, pervert, writer, horror, hooligan, gangster, thrillerA couple of weeks ago, whilst trawling through my hard drive searching for something I’d written an age ago, I stumbled across a folder which contained the first draft of a script I wrote earlier this year.

I actually wrote it on a bit of a whim and whilst it has a football theme, it’s as far removed from my normal stuff as it is possible to get. However, whilst it received decent feedback as well as some quality notes and even a glimmer of interest from a very well known producer, the demands placed on my time by other projects had seen it slide slowly down the pecking order. So much so that it had reached the point where the chances of my ever picking it up and doing the work it required had become negligible to zero. At least in the short term.

As I pondered this later on, the more I began to think this was a bit of a waste. Not simply in terms of the time I’d already put into it, but in the sense that it’s a good premise and would actually make a decent little movie.

Then the thought struck me that if I didn’t have the time to do the work, why not find someone who did? After all, as things stood it was just sitting there on my hard drive and with things as they are, that’s where it was likely to remain. 

But then the thought struck me that rather than simply pay an established writer with a few IMDB credits to their name, I could give it to a relatively unknown and provide them with an opportunity. After all, I have a very good agent, links to a number of producers and a decent track record so this was potentially a chance for someone to get their name and work out and about.

The more I thought about this idea, the more it excited me and eventually, I decided that it was certainly worth asking around to gauge interest.

So, later that day I posted messages on Stage 32 as well as on a couple of the Facebook screenwriting groups outlining my idea and asking what people thought of it. The response was astounding and ranged from outright hostility (why would I want to do it when you couldn’t be bothered/arsed?) to genuine excitement of the ‘me, me, me’ kind.

However, whilst I was bemused by some of the negative comments I received, some of which were downright hostile in tone, it was clear to me that I was certainly on to something and I soon found myself with a short list of extremely talented writers willing to get involved. But the more I went through them, the more I kept coming back to one name; John Bale.

An actor and film maker, John is also a talented writer and was in fact, the winner of the extremely prestigious BBC Writers Room competition in 2013 which already marks him out as a much better writer than I given that I got elbowed from the same competition early on. So quite how or why he jumped on this escapes me but I’m thrilled to bits that he did. For once we had agreed the deal, not only did he completely rewrite the original script at lightning speed, in response to notes from a director we’ve attached to the project, he’s since come up with three alternative endings!

As an example of both recognising and jumping on an opportunity, that has to be as good as it gets because from nowhere, thanks entirely to his efforts, John has taken a script that not so long ago was gathering dust, to the point where in a very short space of time it will be ready to send out to producers and financiers.

Just as importantly for me, so successful has this been as an exercise that I may well take the same path with another script I have which is also lying dormant. Albeit for an entirely different reason.

Exciting times.
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I’m currently working flat out on the third (and final) novel in the The Crew/Top Dog series and all being well, that will be released toward the end of the summer. In the meantime, I’m delighted to tell you that my non-fiction book Rebellion is now available as an ebook.

football, protest, manchester united, norwich, bournemouth, wimbledon, tory, politics, FSAFirst published in 2006, it tells the background to some of the more infamous fan protests including those at Charlton, Wimbledon, Manchester United, Manchester City, Norwich and Bournemouth amongst many others.

And on much the same subject, my last novel, Wings of a Sparrow, may well be heading for TV as a four part comedy drama so watch this space!

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

cass pennant, leo gregory, football, soccer, premier league, watford, manchester united, chelsea, hooligan, russia 2018, racism, racist, UKIP, top dog, we still kill the old way, independent film, self publishing, acting, author, screenwriter, screenwriting, gangster, krays

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.

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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

Screenwriting: Is age discrimination an actual thing?

author, writing, screenwriting, ebook, indie filmIn my last blog (Why the film world doesn’t owe you a living) I made the point that as a 56 year old male, the chances of you ‘breaking through’ are almost certainly hindered by the fact that you are usually old enough to be the father of the person holding your future in their hands.

The reaction to this was, as expected, mixed. Some people claimed it was shameful of me to compare age to race or even sex as a barrier with others thanking me for saying something that they’d been thinking for for years.

Now in response to the former, I have no idea what it’s like to be anything other than a white male and given that I’m currently 56 and a writer, I think I’m fairly well placed to write about the impact being a 56 year old white male can have on a career as a writer. And since this is my blog… well, I’m sure you know where I’m going with that so please, fill in the blanks yourself.

As for those who agreed with me, which was to be fair, the majority, I’m obviously grateful for all of your comments and if in some small way I’ve inspired you to keep going, then I’m humbled.

Interestingly, the blog generated some extremely positive reaction in the US (someone even linked me with Madonna which is a bit random!) and actually led to a few interviews on the subject one of which was with the website ‘Screenwriting Staffing‘ which has just gone live.

Have a read and please, let me know what you think.

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 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!

 

author, screenwriting, screenplay, green street, elijah wood, fart, farting, gangster, sex, oral, football, soccer, hooligans, author, indie, independent, self publishing, ebook

 

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.

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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