Tag Archives: screenwriting

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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So you want to write a book?

writer,writing,screenwriting,screenwriter,author,amazon,kindleI’ve received a number of mails recently from people who are keen to write books and need advice on how to go about it.

Invariably, these mails ask about finding an agent and/or a publisher as well as any one of twenty questions relating to the actual process of getting a book from brain to bookshelf. However, whilst I’m always keen to encourage new writers, it’s fair to say that most of the people who contact me need (and receive) a reality check.

The truth is that when you’re starting out on the rocky road of penmanship, you don’t need an agent and unless you are incredibly famous or staggeringly lucky, the chances of you securing a publishing deal are pretty much zero. What you do need however, are words on pages. Lots of them.

So if you want to write a book, the best way to start is to simply sit down and get writing. And once you have a few thousand words on your hard drive, you’ll soon realise any number of things. Not least if you have the imagination and drive to actually see it through. Most don’t, but if you actually reach the point where you can say ‘yes’ to both of those questions, that’s when you need to start thinking about the next stage in the process.

Until then, it’s all about actually doing the graft. And you do know it’s hard graft right?

@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 both Amazon and iTunes.

Further information can be found 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

How to write: Motivation.

sex, lads romance, love, vibrator, george clooney, fartAs someone who earns their living by writing, I am often asked what motivates me. Is it for example, a burning desire to create or is it a desperate need to put my thoughts into print? Or is it a hope that I can somehow make a difference or possibly even a yearning to leave behind a legacy of some kind?

Truth is it’s none of those things. I might have written 15 books and a few movies but there are three simple reasons why I write.

  1. I’m a lazy bastard who likes sitting down all day.
  2. I need to make money to facilitate item 1.
  3. I live in desperate hope that one day soon numbers 1 & 2 will combine so successfully that I’ll be able to retire and live out my remaining days watching sport and riding motorbikes.

And to be fair, I reckon that retirement will be well earned. Growing up the son of a comedian was certainly an education but it was hard work and being one of 6 kids (with four brothers!) was certainly instrumental in my leaving home at 16 to begin what turned out to be 18 years as an engineer in the Royal Air Force.

As anyone who has served will know, military life isn’t suited to everyone but I loved every single day of it. Not just for the places it took me to and the people I met, but for the myriad of experiences I enjoyed. From going to war to swearing at royalty and all points in between.

Thankfully, my subsequent career as a writer has added considerably to those experiences but it has also provided me with an excellent way of cleansing my soul. Or to put it another way, telling everyone else. Not just about my life as a football fan but as an average bloke. 

Indeed, of all my books, my comedy novel Billy’s Log is the one of which I’m most proud chiefly because it’s the closest to my own persona. It could even be called semi-autobiographical given that so many of my own experiences are included which is one of the reasons why, as my 60th looms ever closer, I have decided to revisit it. In fact the preparation is already underway as I’m gathering anecdotes whilst also working on In The Know and another movie or to. 

The plan is to have both books out by the end of the year however I am not walking away from the world of film just yet. In fact the project I’m currently working on will be my biggest to date. Watch this space.

PS: I’ve given a few interviews recently and on a variety of subjects but one I really enjoyed allowed me to vent on the subject of publishing an ‘lad-lit’. Click here to take a look…      

@dougiebrimson

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

Decisions, decisions. The joy of writing professionally.

ebooks, self publishing, veteran, writer, screenwriting, author, indie, film, green street, football, soccer, actor, script, sex, men, women, sexism, racism, homophobia,As anyone who does it regularly will tell you, writing is a curious business. It is after all, one of the few activities where you can spend weeks, months or even years baring  your soul only to then throw it out into the public domain where people you don’t know will quite possibly, and often happily, tear you to shreds.

Unattractive a prospect as this might be, writing professionally is even worse. For in addition to the above, you also face the joyous prospect of starving.

Having been doing it for over 20 years now and with a girth which suggests that it might actually do me good to miss a meal or two (OK, three or four), I think it’s safe to say that malnutrition is not something I need worry about any more but that does not mean I don’t face other concerns. Indeed, I have one right now and it’s one I need to address, and fast. It is, quite simply, what book to write next.

The problem is compounded by the fact that whatever decision I take will not be driven by a deadline but will in fact, be a spec project. As such, I get to choose it for myself which is fine until you consider the stark truth that not only do I have to ensure that I’m going to enjoy writing it, but that there is going to be a market for it. Trust me, the two are not necessarily the same thing.

I also face the problem of having three, possibly four distinct projects in mind all of which are totally different from the other. Two of those being sequels which have already been started but which fell victim to the demands of scripts which required urgent attention.

So do I, for example, finish the third book in the The Crew/Top Dog trilogy or do I carry on with the follow on from Billy’s Log?? Or do I venture into new genre, possibly with the supernatural thriller which has recently taken root in my increasingly confused brain?

Whatever it is, I need to make a decision and fast or I face the very real prospect of doing pretty much nothing. Which has its merits, but doesn’t pay the bills.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a tough job being a professional writer. But it’s even tougher being me.

@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.

And the Oscar for best screenplay by an old fat white disabled male goes to…

With Oscar night almost upon us, it is sadly inevitable that the thorny issue of diversity will once again poke its head above the parapet. Or, as is more likely, be rammed down the throats of the millions watching around the world.

Now whilst I have every sympathy with many of the issues which taint the film industry on both sides of the pond, in particular the appalling lack of roles being written for older women, I have to say something about the notion that we need to implement a quota system to support those from minority groups. Because speaking as a member of a minority group, I am all for it.

Oh yes, in the business that we call film, when it comes to both minorities and the discriminated, I tick more than my fair share of boxes. What? You think I have it easier because I’m a white male? Seriously? OK, point me in the direction of the schemes that encourage writing from the white community? Or the over 50’s. Or the disabled. Or for that matter, men. Good luck with that.

I am of course, being sarcastic, but there are some serious points to be made here. Not least, if you’re going to start to impose quota’s on the creative process, where do you begin? Or for that matter, end? After all, how many races are there? Or religions, or disabilities? Will producers have to include one of each? Or will there be a quota of the quota? Will some groups be regarded as more ‘minority’ than others?

 The questions go on and on but there is one which is far more important than all of the others and it’s one which thus far, I haven’t seen asked let alone answered. How would you address the small matter of talent?

Because ultimately, any enforced quota system can only have a negative impact on the talent that appears on-screen and that can only be to the detriment of the finished product. Why on earth would anyone want that? Least of all those who may or may not end up winning some token statue.

Yes, of course there is potential for change, but we must never lose sight of the fact that the thing that sits at the very heart of the movie industry, both in front and behind the camera and irrespective of colour, creed, gender or anything else, is talent.

People even win Oscars for it.

@dougiebrimson

Apologies for repeating myself, but as some people are aware, I am one of a number of people involved in a legal dispute with film producer, Jonathan Sothcott.

I won’t go into details here as it’s now a matter for HMRC and the police who have already interviewed him in connection with our allegations. However, both Top Dog Films Ltd and We Still Kill The Old Way Ltd, have recently been wound up on account of unpaid invoices and as a consequence, the investigator for the Official Receiver has contacted me and requested that anyone remaining unpaid for work on Top Dog, We Still Kill or for that matter, any film made by one of Jonathan Sothcott’s companies, contact him direct as a matter of urgency.

His details are: Andrew Beckett, Official Receivers Office, The Insolvency Service (London), 2nd Floor, Abbey Orchard Street, London, SW1P 2HT .

Tel: 0207 637 6337 email: andrew.beckett@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk

Alternatively, contact the Metropolitan Police at Merton Police station quoting crime reference:  1404781/15

@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.

Oscar, Bafta, diversity, author, screenwriter, racism, racist, hollywood

 

A writers life: The joy of people.

I doubt this will come of much of a surprise to anyone who has ever met me but the truth is that I am not exactly a ‘people’ person.

It’s not that I don’t like people, I really do. It’s just that far too many of them seem to do or say things which annoy me. Admittedly most probably don’t set out with the intention of winding me up me personally but that doesn’t excuse it. Indeed if anything, it actually makes it even worse because if they’re unwittingly annoying me then chances are they are unwittingly annoying lots of other people as well. Thus, they are clearly either stupid or worse, ignorant. And why should I or anyone else put up with that?

The problem for me of course, is that if I take the trouble to point out to a woman the simple fact that when I go into Starbucks for some peace and quiet, I do not expect nor want it to be disturbed by her screaming brat, I’m the one perceived to be in the wrong! How does that work? Surely it’s only by pointing out the error of people’s ways that they will ever remedy their social inadequacies!

Similarly, whenever I’m out and about with someone, I have a habit of commenting on what people are wearing –and yes, I am aware of the irony in that statement! Mostly, this is for my own amusement but I do wonder why it isn’t socially acceptable to walk up to someone and point out that they look a mess or that they would be better served either dressing to suit their age or simply stopping at home. After all, would it not be better to know? And if someone like me, who’s getting on a bit and has seen a bit of life can’t tell them, who can?

To be perfectly honest, the older I get the more difficult it is to keep silent and things become even harder when I am directly involved because adding the element of ‘personal’ into the equation takes it into a whole new dimension. Largely because there are certain things which drive me up the fucking wall –ignorance, rudeness, simple lack of manners and arrogance being the big hitters- and I do seem to encounter them a lot these days. As a consequence, there have inevitably been the odd occasions where keeping my own counsel has not been an option. For example, my one and only visit to the Cannes Film Festival resulted in my throwing some smug little shit into a swimming pool because he had clearly only crawled out of his own arse long enough to be incredibly patronising to both me and the people I was with.

Now reading this might well give the impression that I am one of those loud brash people who think nothing of gobbing off to all and sundry about anything and everything and it’s fair to say that whenever I meet people who know something of my background, that’s kind of how they expect me to be. Sometimes, I do actually step up and play that particular game although more often than not, it is for my own entertainment.

However, for the most part the truth is actually quite different because in the flesh I am actually quite a shy soul. That’s why whenever I am introduced to new people I never like to be introduced as a writer unless it is directly relevant. Not because I am embarrassed about it, but because I actually don’t like talking about myself or my work that much. I’m far happier sitting in the background observing as opposed to indulging in the loathsome activity of small talk. Something I am incredibly bad at.

Then again, writing this down has given me food for thought. After all, ever since I’ve been writing people have been happy to take any opportunity to comment on pretty much every aspect of my life and there are plenty of people making a very good living out of stating the obvious or merely moaning for the sake of it. So maybe there is something to be said for a bit of reciprocation. I do after all have a degree of what called be called ‘a profile’ or even ‘fame’ so telling it as I see it could be just the USP I’ve been looking for!

After all, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that if everyone was more like me, this world would be a far happier place.

Surely that stands to reason doesn’t 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 Myth of Writers Block!

It’s not often I write about the actual process of writing because I tend to think that to do so would infer that I actually know what I am talking about. 

So, when people mail me asking for advice and/or guidance, what I tend to do is to be either as supportive as I can or point them in the direction of the seemingly endless websites, blogs or even perish the thought, books (old school I know, but I am old) concerned with the world of penmanship. That way, I can’t be blamed if it all goes horribly wrong. There is however, one exception.

You see when it comes to writing, there is one topic which is guaranteed to get me going and that is the thorny subject of writers block.

Wikipedia defines writers block thus: a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand or, at the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite.

Well I’m sorry, but I’ve written a lot over the years and with 15 books on my backlist as well as three features on IMDB, I feel reasonably qualified to comment on this subject and say that as far as I’m concerned, writers block is bollocks. It’s merely a term invented by writers as an excuse behind which they are able to hide. 

So with that in mind, if there is anyone reading this who actually thinks that they are ‘suffering’ please take note of the following:

  • Not being able to sit down and write is not writers block, it is called laziness. So either man up and get on with it or give up altogether and do something else.
  •  Not being able to get past a blank screen or empty page is not writers block, it means you are devoid of ideas. So either get off your arse and get out into the real world for a while to find some inspiration or forget the idea of writing and find another hobby.
  •  Not being able to get over a hurdle in your plot is not writers block, it means that either your idea doesn’t work or you’re simply not clever enough to make it work. So again, either find a way to get over it or give up on it and start afresh.
  • Thinking that what you’re currently writing is inferior to your previous work is not writers block, it means that it probably is. So trust your own judgement, bin the lot and start again rather than flogging yourself to death.

I could go on, but you get the general idea.

Now I’m not saying people don’t get stuck and to be honest, I’ve hit an obstacle in pretty much everything I’ve ever written. But for me, dealing with problems is part of the creative process and in many ways, one of the most exciting. Not least because it forces you to look at your work from a totally different perspective and in my experience that’s always a good thing for a writer because it’s often where the best ideas are lurking.

 

@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.

writing, screenwriting, writers block, author, hollywood. green street, 

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.